Saturday, April 28, 2007

Goldilocks Weather

Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. That summed up today's weather as I went out to campaign in Edinburgh Central for the SNP's candidate, Shirley-Anne Somerville. We've been friends (and occasionally rivals!) for the best part of a decade, but having worked so far in Stirling, Dundee East & West, Livingston and Argyll, it was time to clock up a few more hours in my 'home' constituency and help a friend to hopefully get elected.

So, off I went, delivering leaflets in and around Ravelston. It's not a place you would normally expect the SNP to do well in, but the returns from our resident canvasser (a QC, as it happens) have been pretty exceptional, and back up the polls which show that the SNP currently has a lead amongst all socio-economic groups in Scotland. (Apropros nothing, I'm told there's been a steady stream of pupils from Fettes College coming in to SNP HQ to buy party badges - we live in interesting times!) And with no entryphones, quiet streets and lots of well-kept gardens, it's without doubt one of the nicest and easiest parts of the seat to work.

But back to the morning. By the time I arrived in Gorgie we were already set up, with the Labour Party close by. For all the disagreements and occasional banter we have with them, there's never any nastiness between ourselves and Labour in Edinburgh Central. Both parties seem to recognise the sincerity and good intentions in each others' people, and as such when paths cross there's always been a certain amount of mutual respect, even when for example we ran them fairly close in 1999.

Would that I could say the same about the local Lib Dems. Having had no presence in the seat since the days when Donald Gorrie was a Councillor, they had what was for them a unusually good result in 2003, when weel-kent face Andy Myles was once again their candidate. But even on what was a fairly grim night in Edinburgh for the SNP, the seat was still in effect a 4-way marginal, with the Greens actually winning the regional 'list' vote in the seat.

Seemingly undaunted by the fact that this time round it's the SNP which appears to have 'The Big Mo', the Lib Dems and their new candidate have resorted to some pretty questionable tactics. I've mentioned one of their letters before (and this from a party which once squealed like a pig when a 'Literal Democrat' polled 10,000+ votes and cost them a European Parliament seat - how short some memories are). However, they've surpassed themselves with their latest wheeze - a letter which claims that the SNP are urging their voters to back the Lib Dem candidate in order to turf out Labour!

The cheek of them! Of course, the SNP has done no such thing, since even if we weren't the ones on the way up and the Lib Dems becalmed, we'd still be fighting for every vote. This sort of stunt requires no skill or guile - only a willingness to get lower and dirtier than a snake's belly. If the Lib Dem candidate feels that she is justified in attempting to swindle voters to try and get into Holyrood, then God only knows how she'd conduct herself if she did manage to get in.

But then, maybe this is just a variation on the sort of campaigning which the 'Northern Scot' newspaper apparently failed to understand during the Moray by-election, when editor Pauline Taylor took exception to the Lib Dems' doctoring of quotes from her newspaper, to show their candidate in a favourable light. After being accused on live TV at the count by Lib Dem MP Malcolm Bruce of running a "rural newspaper which does not understand robust campaigning", she hit back with a pithy: "Being a rural newspaper, we recognise bullshit".



Anonymous said...

LOL I hadn't heard that before. I expect Malcolm Bruce will have plenty more to whine about on Friday morning.

I dunno. Some of us have been up and down tenement stairs all week, and then other folk swan in and get main doors... ;-)


Richard Thomson said...

If you want to help me with the flats in Whitfield and Douglas, you only have to say... ;-)