Politics Scotland hosted the first live debate between the 'main four' candidates in the Glasgow East by-election. Now considering the Times and I are in agreement that Labour are rightly worried about losing a chunk of their votes to Granny Maggy's Socialist namesake, Frances Curran, I would have thought she could have got a place in the studio, but alas not.
Anyway, to the debate. Christ alive what a poor calibre of candidate, from all the parties.
Maragaret Curran (Lab)... just wouldn't shut the fuck up. My God, her voice goes through me at the best of times, but when she interupts everyone else, the whole way through the debate, making ridiculous 'the poverty is at the heart of my politics' speeches, she really is not a shining light candidate. As with the majority of senior Labour MSPs, she has that angry chip on her shoulder about not being in power anymore, and I think that Scotland, Glasgow in particular, doesn't need that sort of bitter Labour politics anymore. It certainly won't help the constituents in Glasgow East. And on the topic of standing down as an MSP should she win, or even now, she did nothing but waffle shite, which took me back to her days as a minister.
Davena Rankin (Con)... a more invisible candidate in a debate I never did see. First of all, when she was involved in the debate, she seemed clueless. It seemed like she had been given seven one-line cue-cards to memorise, and that is strictly what she has done and had nothing else to offer. Now the Tories were never going to do anything worth noting in this by-election, but she certainly failed the party spectacularly, a wee bit of homework might have helped her. But the fact that she was only willing to speak when prompted, made it more like there's a three-way debate and a side-show interview (with a side-show candidate).
Ian Robertson (Lib Dem)... first of all, he's a Lib Dem, so was never going to get a standing ovation from Political Dissuasion. But he rarely spoke on issues relating to Glasgow East. He spent the majority of the debate, bitching, condemning Labour and SNP (cos being invisible, he didn't notice the Tory candidate), and just whinging. He offered nothing to any prospective voters to entice them over. More than once he criticsied Labour's leadership in the Scottish Parliament over the last two terms. Firstly, the by-election is for Westminster, and it irks me when they cross the Parlimentary divide to help them try (and in Ian's case, always fail) to score some points. Secondly, the Lib Dems seem to keep on forgetting that they were Labour's partners in crime, they were in coalition...they were the poop, to Labours scoop, hand in hand.
John Mason (SNP)... is just a little weasel of a candidate. There's no secret that I've been pretty impressed with the SNP and building up to this by-election, would have loved it if Labour got spanked, or just narrowly beaten. But with Mason as the candidate, I can't get on board. When he repeatedly goes on and on about Curran being a part-time MP if she won, he is repeatedly asking us to question Alex Salmond's role, which from the party's perspective, is just plain stupid, and from a campaign perspective, is hypocritical which looks like what it is, cheap, News of the World style political sniping, which does nobody any good and just makes you look like a greasy little shite.
So all in all, if I was one of the twelve residents of Glasgow East who might have watched the Politics Scotland debate, and wasn't one of these masochists who, "live or die - I VOTE LABOUR", then I wouldn't know who to vote for. Nobody seems good enough. None of them seemed to want to represent Glasgow East, and while I'm not an idealist who thinks that the candidates' only desire is to benefit these constituents, even a bit of faking it, a bit of compassion towards them may have gone a long way to securing my non-existent vote.
This is a great advert for "I don't like any of them so I'm just not going to vote".
But seeing as I don't believe in such a mindset, I have to pick someone...er......and the winner is...
Frances Curran, Scottish Socialist Party. She's the only one who'd stand up for the area, kick up a fuss and truly represent the people. By god I hate Socialists, so it kills me to say she'd be best, but invariably, she would be.