It's an old one but it still baffles me. What on earth has Labour done to inspire such loyalty in Glasgow? What do people think they'll lose of they go wild and give another party a go? I merely ask because having read this Scotsman article I'm none the wiser.
The article concerns the forthcoming Glasgow East by-election and quotes a fellow named John Smith who describes himself as a Labour man and will be voting Labour because 'everyone here votes Labour'. I'm sure Mr Smith is very pleasant but is he a sheep or something? Does he think he's in there to pick the likely winner rather than choose the best candidate? For heavens sake it's a ballot paper not a betting slip. Someone take this man to a library or show him his payslips before and after he got walloped with a tax increase.
The east end is home to many low paid workers. Could they be the only electorate in history to respond to a tax increase they can ill afford by rewarding the party who inflicted it on them with electoral victory?
It's reasonable to assume that if a party is returned to power over several elections then the electorate are reasonably happy with them but it's hard to see what there is to be happy about in Glasgow East, unless of course it's populated by a higher than usual percentage of masochists. Nevertheless let's examine what a million years uninterrupted Labour rule have done for the good folk to my east.
1. It's the poorest area in the whole of Britain.
2. It's the unhealthiest area in the whole of Britain - life expectancy for men 63 for women 74.
3. 63% of children live in homes on benefits.
One constituent a Jeanette West is somewhat disillusioned with Labour;
'Nothing seems to get done, we need more police on the streets and we need the potholes in the roads fixed and it just hasn't happened.'
Oh come on Jeanette they've only had decades in power give them a chance. Still it's good to see someone is thinking but what will it take for the rest of the electorate to make the connection between who they elect and the state of the place they live in.
I cannot help but think that the journalist who wrote the article missed a trick. I'd have been forced to ask what exactly Labour does from them and why do they regard it as better than the other parties. Then again the poor guy was probably in a state of shock.
What are the voting for exactly? As far as I can tell high crime, high tax, junkies cluttering up the place, pointless health initiates that achieve nothing, low investment, dubious expenses claims, and total government and council indifference. I wouldn't mind if benefits were really as generous as certain folk make out but if it's benefits that keep them voting Labour then we really are in worse trouble than I thought. If you're out for cash at least try and get enough for more than a weeks messages from Farmfoods out the bastards.
It is of course up to the people of Glasgow East who they vote for, even if their behaviour does suggest mass hypnosis. However given the abysmal standard of the candidates they send to Westminster and Holyrood with depressing predictability I think the rest of us are at least entitled to ask why. Other than the MPs and MSPs themselves it's not clear who benefits from this rather one sided love affair.