Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd?

Ed Jacobs looks ahead to next month’s Glasgow council elections, asking if Labour fail to win there on May 3rd, where will they win?

E-mail-sign-up Donate



Glasgow Labour Party this week launched its 100-point manifesto (pdf) amidst what will be the fiercest fight outside London on May 3rd.

George-Square-GlasgowKey pledges include:

• The provision of free public Wi-Fi internet access across the city;

• A London-style Oyster transport card;

• A “Glasgow guarantee” to provide everyone aged between 16 and 24 with support in the form of an apprenticeship, training or work;

• A promise every child will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare at the start of the term in which they turn three;

• Reinstating the scrapped Glasgow Airport railway plan;

• Continuing the Scottish government’s council tax freeze and the introduction of a “happy hour” at council-run five-a-side pitches, providing under-16s with free access.

In formally presenting the party’s manifesto, Labour’s leader of Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson declared:

“Labour has the record, the vision and the team to win the council election in Glasgow.

“I am going to spend every waking hour between now and then fighting for what I believe in: a city that fights poverty, creates jobs, that gives chances to the next generation, looks after the elderly, and has respect and decency for every single person who is blessed to live here.

“Ours is the only major city where unemployment fell last year. Youth unemployment is rising at a fraction of the Scottish and UK averages, and more school leavers are going to university than ever before.

“This didn’t happen by accident but because the people of Glasgow have made this city what it is today.”

Despite the rhetoric, however, Labour faces a tough challenge to retain Scotland’s largest local authority, one seen as a fortress for the party but which is now being considered by some as Ed Miliband’s next Bradford West.


See also:

Mr Miliband goes to Scotland 30 Jan 2012

Scottish Labour needs a full redesign 19 Dec 2011

Iain Gray warns Scottish Labour successor of “poison” being levied at them 30 Oct 2011

Douglas Alexander outlines harsh truths for Scottish Labour 13 Oct 2011

Scottish Labour needs a new Donald Dewar 26 Sep 2011


The question marks over Labour’s ability to regain control of the council come after a spate of internal spats which has seen it divided and ultimately lose its majority.

In February, the party secured its budget by just 2 votes, reducing Labour’s notional 47 seats to 40 as a number of the its councillors decided to jump ship altogether and vote against the proposals in protest over decisions made to de-select them.

In a sign of the bitterness and rancour felt within the council group, Govanhill councillor Anne Marie Millar, one of those who resigned from the party, explained before the budget vote in February in an interview with STV:

“A letter has been sent to the Labour Party this morning. It has been prompted by the actions of the central Labour Party in stopping the Govan Labour Party from exercising its right in choosing its own candidates for the local election in 2012.

“I believe the decision was made under the dual influence of party officials from London and cliques within the Labour Party in Glasgow who have set out to make space for followers of particular dynasties, but knew that leaving the choice to the local parties would not deliver the required result.”

Whilst a spokesperson for the Scottish Labour at the time argued the party’s case for Scotland would now be “put forward by a new generation of Labour candidates proud of and passionate about Glasgow”, by the middle of last month, the news of the suspension then resignation from the party of  Shaukat Butt saw Labour formally lose its majority followed just weeks later by the announcement a  ninth councillor, Ellen Hurcombe, would also be resigning, a year after being de-selected by her local party.

With the SNP having already declared the Labour Party in Glasgow to be in complete “meltdown”, the nationalists now have high hopes of what would be a remarkable victory by taking full control of the authority.

Speaking to the SNP conference in the city last month, the party’s deputy leader and MSP for Glasgow Southside, Nicola Sturgeon, declared:

“We are not like Labour, we take nothing for granted, we will work hard for every vote.

“The people who will decide the election here in Glasgow and in every part of Scotland are the voters. But we face here a Labour Party that is crumbling before our eyes, a Labour Party that is discredited, that is losing councillors hand over fist.

“We are working hard in Glasgow and we are working hard right across our country. We are fighting hard to win the local elections in every single part of Scotland.”

The party further argues victory in Glasgow would represent a significant stepping stone towards a successful “yes” vote in a referendum on Scottish independence.

Losing control of Glasgow, a council they’ve had an iron grip on for more than 40 years, would be an embarrassment for Labour to say the very least, particularly given the party’s leader in Scotland, Johann Lamont, is herself MSP for the Glasgow Pollock seat whilst shadow Scottish secretary, Margaret Curran, shadow Scotland Office minister, William Bain, and Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, Anas Sarwar, all represent Glasgow seats in the House of Commons.

But don’t just take our word for it; as the fiercely Labour supporting Daily Record has declared of the party:

“If they can’t win outright in Glasgow, then it not only raises a question over whether they can defeat the independence campaign, but also over whether Ed Miliband is the leader who can win the United Kingdom for Labour.”

Expect Labour to throw everything into Glasgow as it seeks to regain lost ground and momentum in the wake of the shock of Bradford West.


Sign-up to our weekly email • Donate to Left Foot Forward

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

33 Responses to “Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd?”

  1. Marcus A. Roberts

    Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd? by @EdJacobs1985

  2. Ed Jacobs

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd?

  3. Andy Shaw

    RT @leftfootfwd Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd? < Edinburgh?

  4. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd?

  5. BevR

    Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd? by @EdJacobs1985

  6. Pulp Ark

    Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will… #LeftFootForward #Glasgow #localelections #muslim #tcot #sioa

  7. Edward Mayes

    If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd?-

  8. Anonymous

    Who pays, and how much?

    Ah yes, lets get the kids into debt.

  9. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2012: If Labour don’t win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd?

  10. Anonymous


  11. Anonymous

    Yea, you’d know ALL about that.

  12. Anonymous

    Ah yes, you gotta fit the anti-Semitic ranting into there.

    I’m sure you’d absolutely like to damn “immigrants”.

  13. Internet Magazine

    N8: Vote 2012: If Labour don't win in Glasgow, where will they win on May 3rd?: Glasgow Labour Party this week l…

  14. Matthew Little

    This article is full of factual inaccuracies. A number of Councillors didn’t decide to “jump ship”, they were deselected by the party and then formed a new party called GlasgowFirst (though up here its being referred to as mefirst).

  15. Angus McLellan

    Ah, the council tax freeze. Labour’s pet hate between elections – and proof that the SNP are evil Tartan Tories – but oddly enough it keeps turning up in Labour manifestos. And the “oyster” thing isn’t new and the job creation and wifi schemes aren’t credible. No money for GARL either. So Labour seem to be offering SNP policies with the added bonus of plenty of fairy dust, some fantasy economics and presumably the usual graft, cronyism and bullying will be part of the deal. How could anyone resist? As for the “throwing everything into it”, still no sign of Labour round here yet just as there was little to none last year.

  16. Angus McLellan

    Ed Jacobs and mistakes in an article about Scotland? Unthinkable, like Partick Thistle (or Hibs if I’m honest) winning the Champions’ League.

    But what evidence is there that the deselected are running as “GlasgowFirst”? Millar is down as “independent” on the official list and her advertising.

  17. Anonymous

    “Losing control of Glasgow, a council they’ve had an iron grip on for more than 40 years, would be an embarrassment for Labour”

    Yes and the complacency that went with it will come back to bite them. Just look at the statistics for health, life expectancy, child poverty, employment and other measures of quality of life to see what forty years of socialism has done for the city. The cities biggest problem is its mindset that “its all someone else’s fault” and waiting for a white knight to come to its rescue. Like Liverpool, revelling in your own pity and misery wins no support.

  18. George Davidson

    Labour in glasgow are damaged goods. in control for so long yet things never get better – always butter tomorrow never today. The perception is that they are corrupt to the nth degree and exist simply to feather their own plush nests.
    The reality? Well it doesnt help when there’s allegations of intimidation going on in the council chamber, labours golden boy steps down due to drugs and possible blackmail, ex-councillors getting nice little earners at the expense of grant monies and the p!ss poor service the council taxpayers get.
    … and how do I know? I pay these frackers their salaries!

  19. Anonymous

    Newsbot9 – Milli Band is the son of a Jewish immigrant “fact ” , in what way by stating that fact does stating that fact turn my post into an anti-Semitic rant , by the by , sorry but the Holocaust is another never ending mantra , I am sick of hearing about , every time Israel commits another crime against the Arabs or wants more . My own father spent 3 years on the Burma Road , Kwai Bridge , as a Jap POW , no compensation no apology , why are we not told about this ad nauseum .
    The Waitrose supermarket chain have permission for a development in Sterling , that permission could now be jeopardized by the Muslim community , who now threaten to take this to law , their reason , they would be offended by having to past an establishment selling alcohol ,on their way to the local Muslim centre. (Pakistani owned off licence shop springs to mind at this point ) Would you feel this to be a Muslim rant .
    Not sure about damning the immigrants , I`d just like to know why they are here , other than keeping down the wages of the native working class , and the ending of free speech we gained hundreds of years ago with the invention of the Hate crime /speech law trash to do so .

  20. Charles Patrick O'Brien

    I no longer live in the city of my birth but Glasgow is very close to my heart,I love my city.I also believe that the Labour party have kept Glasgow poor deliberately,as to ensure their votes.Now I firmly believe that we can turn the city back to where it should be as a shinning example of working Scotland,by voting for the Independence party vote SNP 123. We should never be under the thumb of London,and that is where we are,just now.
    Glasgow will have nobody stepping on the city like Labour have for 50 years,we need to show how great we are,we have talent hell we invented talent. Glasgow can be the bridge that carries Scotland to Freedom and independence,no more being trod on by that Labour Mob,the petty party.Just my opinion. Charlie O’Brien once of Springburn.

  21. Gregor Addison

    The name is an anagram of Conservative Bigot. I think someone’s at it.

  22. Anonymous

    That IS more blatant than usual. Not in content, but…

  23. Anonymous

    Of course it’s perfectly possible to do Wifi across a city enter.

    For the rest, you have your own sites to troll on.

  24. Test

    No, no it’s not.

  25. D M Gordon

    Vote 2012: If Labour don't win in Glasgow, where will they win on …: Ed Jacobs looks ahead… #News #Scotland #UK

  26. Anonymous

    Ah yes, the rational analysis of calling people you dub foreigners as “the mob”.

  27. Anonymous

    It’s more than twenty years since I lived in Glasgow and was active in the Labour party there. At the time it was a clique ridden hive of public sector professionals with knives in each others’ backs. Nothing changes.

  28. Garanx

    Wow, shit, Labour. it’s almost like you abandoned the working classes to suck up to the middle classes, and now the middle classes have abandoned you you’ve find you’ve lost the support of the very people you were founded to help.

    Well done. Really.

  29. Robin McGhee

    Labour might not win Glasgow, despite it having a brilliant manifesto and it being Glasgow.

  30. Anonymous

    The problem is, Newsbot9, is that Labour are no longer the party of the working man. They ceased being that when the Wilson era ended. In Scotland, Labour are seen as directionless and opposing for no other reason than they didn’t think of a policy first. We even had the amazing sight last year of Labour proposing an amendment to the Scottish budget, the SNP took it on board and then Labour voted against it!

    Newsbot, you’d have to be here to believe it!

  31. Anonymous

    That doesn’t change the fact that the rant was technically incorrect.

  32. Anonymous

    Why are we even discussing Labour in LFF? They’re no longer a left wing party and are just the Tories in disguise.

  33. Thathistorybloke

    SO Labour in Glasgow have adopted a raft of SNP policies….whaich is what happened last year in the Holyrood election….how well did that work?

Leave a Reply