Friday, December 11, 2009

Breaking News! Lib Dems gain Bearsden South from Tories

Congratulations to new Councillor Ashay Ghai and the fabulous East Dunbartonshire team. Details to follow!


Well, that was posted much earlier. I was outside the school waiting for the bell to ring in the freezing cold when I saw that brilliant result come through from East Dunbartonshire. I blogged that brief headline from my blackberry. What a clever geek I am, indeed.

I spent a fair amount of time in Bearsden (and Bishopbriggs and Milngavie for that matter)in the run up to the 2005 election delivering leaflets in all weathers for Jo Swinson. I also spent a lot of time in the area as a child because my much loved Auntie Vera and Uncle Sandy lived in Milngavie. I never did find their house. It was on Mugdock Road and was, I think, called Cranford. I spent loads of time with my Grandma when I was wee and she often used to take me to stay with Auntie Vera so the whole area has a very special place in my heart. I have nothing but happy memories there - I've forgotten about the damp, sodden, freezing Easter Monday in 2005 in Bishopbriggs, honestly. I've also forgotten that blistering hot Sunday afternoon on some very long drives and huge houses which I think must be in Ashay's new ward.

Anyway, enough of my rose tinted spectacles and on to the by-election. In the words of Craig Revel Horwood on Strictly, this is fab-u-LOUS. I know our new Councillor Ashay Ghai from campaigns past and I think he'll bring a real energy and positivity to the Council.

There have been two major by election contests between the Tories and the Lib Dems this year and the Tories have been found wanting in both. David Cameron just isn't cutting it up here. In fact, he doesn't seem to be cutting it in very many places. Our friends in Cornwall have had some stunning and not entirely expected by-election victories from the Tories recently and in Devon yesterday we took another seat from them. We came close as well in another seat in Hythe. It's clear that people are not convinced by Cameron's Tories in significant parts of the country.

Perhaps part of the reason up here is that at Holyrood they're so tight with the SNP. We're kind of used in general to their being a bit of a shadow at least between Tory word and Tory deed and this was no clearer than on the matter of the demotion of Fiona Hyslop the former Cabinet Secretary for Education, now Minister for Nothing Much in Particular cos Salmond's taken the important bits out of her job. They'd been at her for ages, referring to her as Hapless Hyslop
yet when somebody actually did something constructive to get rid of her, what did the Tories do? The somebody is Tavish Scott and the Liberal Democrats, who made it clear to all the other parties that they would use their opposition day on 3 December to put a motion of no confidence in Ms Hyslop. The best the Tories were ever going to do on that motion was to abstain. They would not vote against the SNP. Maybe now is a good time to look back to March and a Friday afternoon of fun with a Tory logo maker.......

And as for the parties of Government at Holyrood and Westminster, well, they were a long way back. Labour came last, not an impressive result from a party that says it's a challenger in Jo's Westminster seat and the SNP weren't that far ahead of them. Hardly what you'd call a vote of confidence.

For those of you to whom numbers matter, here's the full result:

Stage 1:
LD 1110
Con 1261
SNP 783
Lab 626

Stage 2:
LD 1381
Con 1306
SNP 972

Update: I've updated this because I got the Tories and the Lib Dem figures the wrong way round the first time at the second stage.

Stage 3:
LD 1770
Con 1499

It's definitely been a great day for the Lib Dems and I send my heartfelt congratulations to everyone who worked so hard, in the freezing cold, to deliver a winning campaign.

I'll give the last word to local Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson:

"I’m delighted Ashay Ghai has won this by-election. There is no sign of a David Cameron bounce in Scotland.

"This is a tremendous boost to the Liberal Democrats as we head towards a general election."

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