Local government elections take place on 3 May 2012 and there is already a bitter contest hotting up at The City Chambers.
The SNP have said that online comments made by the man behind Labour’s biggest election campaign in Glasgow are a ‘body blow’ to their campaign. Dominic Dowling, who is the election agent for all of Labour’s 45 Glasgow Council candidates, has used the Labour Hame website to praise the leadership of Alex Salmond and also deride his own party’s inability to connect to voters since devolution.
The comments – made last summer and reported in today’s Sunday Herald – also warn that the result the council election ‘could be devastating’ unless Labour got its message out through grassroots campaigning.
Mr Dowling also describes Alex Salmond as ‘a politician of genuine caliber [sic.]’ and said he has “connected with the electorate in a way that none of Labour’s post-devolution Scottish leaders has done.”
Since these comments were made, the Glasgow Labour council group has been plunged into internal chaos and infighting, with a third of sitting councillors deselected, and a spate of resignations that has seen Gordon Matheson’s comfortable council majority evaporate.
James Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, commented:
“Mr Dowling has a key role in Labour’s election campaign, and his assessment of the state of the party is devastating. This is a body blow to Labour’s crisis-hit campaign in Glasgow, and beyond.
“His warning that the results of the council elections ‘could be devastating’ unless Labour got its message out has not been heeded. Labour have instead reverted to type, with a relentless stream of negativity filling in for their complete lack of ideas.
“By contrast, SNP candidates on the doorstep are able to put forward a positive platform to build for recovery, and help families with the council tax freeze and our commitment to extend the Living Wage to all council employees.”
LAMONT STAYS SILENT AFTER YET MORE BULLYING ALLEGATIONS
As Johann Lamont prepared to address her first Scottish Labour conference as leader this weekend, further questions were raised by the SNP over her authority as her party’s discipline crumbles around her.
In recent weeks, Ms Lamont has stayed silent as the list of allegations about the behaviour of Labour candidates and elected members grows.
• Johann Lamont has yet to make any response to serious
allegations of threats and bullying against Councillor Anne Marie Millar of
Glasgow City Council. These allegations have since been compounded by
the actions of the City Building Board in Glasgow, which summoned Councillor
Millar – the victim – the explain herself, while continuing to take no
action against the alleged perpetrator, Councillor Gilbert Davidson
• On Tuesday 28 February, Labour made a late candidate
selection in the Garscadden/Scotstounhill ward in Glasgow. John Kelly –
the election agent of Margaret Curran MP – was selected, despite being
the subject of another complaint about bullying by a Labour member in
• Former MSP Frank McAveety is being promoted by Labour as one
of its leading candidates for the local elections in Glasgow, despite
being the subject of an ongoing police investigation
• Although she was elected as leader of Scottish Labour MPs,
MSPs and councillors, Ms Lamont took no action in response to the
arrest of Eric Joyce MP, leaving Ed Miliband to suspend the Falkirk
MP. It took Ms Lamont over a week to make any response to the Eric
Joyce case. She has also stayed silent on comments by a Labour HQ
source that Labour would “rather have a nutter than a Nat” in Falkirk
James Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, said:-
“Johann Lamont will address her first Labour conference as a leader without control or credibility, presiding over a party whose internal practices increasingly reveal it to be unfit for office.
“I have now written twice to Johann Lamont, asking her to take action following the alleged acts of bullying and intimidation against Councillor Anne Marie Millar, which were witnessed by myself and many others in Glasgow City Chambers a few weeks ago. She has not had the courtesy to reply and has said not a word publicly to condemn this behaviour by
one of her party’s elected members.
“Not only that, the party has gone on to select yet another candidate against whom a complaint of bullying and intimidation has been made. And while over a third of their council group was prevented from standing again for Labour because they were deemed not good enough, a former MSP who is subject to an ongoing police investigation is apparently entirely suitable as a Labour candidate, as is Alistair ”Taj Mahal” Watson”
“It’s quite clear that in Glasgow Labour there’s one rule for some people and one rule for others, and if you’re one of the favoured clique you can rely on Johann Lamont to stay silent, no matter how you behave.
“As Labour’s roll of dishonour grows ever longer, voters in Glasgow and across Scotland can clearly see that there is something rotten at the heart of the Labour party – and that its leader Johann Lamont apparently has neither the will nor the inclination to do anything
“Glasgow and Scotland deserve better – if Ms Lamont is unwilling or unable to get her own house in order, how can she ever seriously be considered as a potential leader of the country?”
LAMONT’S CONSTITUENCY “CENTRE OF LABOUR MELTDOWN”
LABOUR LEADER LOSES GRIP ON HOME TURF
The scale of the problems within the Labour Party in Glasgow continues to grow. The constituency of the leader of the party in Scotland, Johann Lamont, is at the centre of Labour’s meltdown.
It has now emerged that four of the six rebel Labour councillors represent wards in Johann Lamont’s Glasgow Pollok constituency.
Four of them – representing all three Glasgow Pollok wards – voted against Labour’s Budget; Ruth Black – Craigton, Stephen Dornan – Govan, Tommy Morrison – Greater Pollok and Willie O’Rourke – Greater Pollok.
Humza Yousaf, Glasgow SNP MSP, said: “How can Johann Lamont hope to run the opposition when she can’t even stop the civil war in her own constituency party?
“Ms Lamont’s own constituency is the centre of Labour’s meltdown. No wonder under Ms Lamont’s leadership Labour in Scotland have sunk to an all-time low of 23 per cent.
“Ms Lamont has been the MSP since 1999, and was deputy leader of the party for three years – she has to accept personal responsibility for Labour’s shambles in Glasgow.
“What an embarrassing mess the Labour Party have become – Glasgow deserves so much better.
“Pollok is formerly a Labour heartland but there is now no such thing, anywhere across Glasgow.
“Labour has taken this city for granted for too long, and the people will have their say at the local authority elections in May – when I trust they will put their faith in the SNP, who have a first class team of councillors working night and day to move Glasgow forward.”