Dumbarton Labour candidate Jackie Baillie and Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader.


Elections are like big sports events. If anything they are worse in that the political pundits on TV and radio most times haven’t a clue what they are talking about.

Too many of the candidates in elections have only one thing on their mind – themselves and how they will fare in the eyes of the electorate in the ballot box test.

For them, the public are simply voting fodder.

Football fans are let down at every turn, over-charged for watching mediocre matches at every level of the game.

Most politicians are terrified of the electorate; they fear that they will ask them embarrassing questions, such as their stance on abortion or gay rights or nuclear weapons.

Or: “Can you tell me precisely how many Scots have died in the Covid 19 pandemic so far. It can’t be 10,000 and more so far, or can it?”

And how do you think the government coped with this catastrophe?

Were they really prepared, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told us, to deal with anything coronavirus threw at us?

Did they really have sufficient vaccines and PPE?

Or did they lie and play for time to get things right, something they have not yet achieved?

When will the care workers they called “heroes” receive that £500 bonus they were promised?

Were Nicola Sturgeon and her accomplice in obfuscation, Health Minister Jeane Freeman, being economical with the truth about this?

And disingenuous about the number of virus-infected patients who were transferred from hospitals into care homes?

Maybe we should ask if they think we live in a fair society where local government administrators are paid £150,000 a year, while the public they are there to serve live in poverty and poor housing and collect food parcels from church halls.

Or when they ban journalists from asking embarrassing questions about this and other questionable matters and proceed to smear them when they refuse to tow the establishment line?

They wouldn’t know about Freedom of Information if the Act came up and grabbed them by the throat.

And what about the lockdown restrictions?

Were they acting within the law when they asked the police to impose these burdens on people?

Was halting visitors to care homes and patients in hospital for almost a year a humane or reasonable measure to take?

And the limited congregations in church at funerals, weddings and baptisms? What was that about?

Who gave permission for DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) notices to be placed in patients’ medical files without permission from their relatives?

Should deprived and hungry children really have been kept away from their education (and school meals) for so long, damaging their prospects of employment in worthwhile jobs? Ruining their lives in effect.

As for all the adults who have been placed on furlough and are now worried to death about whether they will retain their jobs or ever get another one.

That’s a huge question for the politicians, who have a sin to answer for and should think black burning shame of themselves.

The SNP in particular have spent precious time discussing independence and have forced those opposed to them into a position where they have had to spend much of their time answering them.

This means of course that parliament and the SNP have imposed restrictions on their opponents.

They have taken up valuable time with constitutional matters when they would have been better employed facing up to questions about how they come to be losing ridiculous sums such as £100 million nationalising a company that has failed to deliver two new ferries.

Or unwisely agreed to the opening of the supposedly super £850 million Queen Elizabeth II University Hospital where patients, including children, died after drinking contaminated water?

Or stood by watching the hospitality industry bleed to death in the wake of their ridiculous restrictions on whether people can eat inside or outside or have a drink without being hassled.

Public transport, train services and buses, may never recover from this pandemic. Too many shops have had to close for good.

And when will we get our airports back in order that we can enjoy a break away from this tedium, which has seen faceless bureaucrats and police officers imposing their will on the rest of us.

If the SNP live up to their reputation of ruling by austerity, as they have in West Dunbartonshire Council, and they win this election, then Scotland will be plunged into penury.

Did you watch Val McDermid, the crime writer, telling Julie Etchingham of ITV News at Ten why so many Scots wanted independence?

Oxford-educated Val’s puerile answer was that we would be in charge of ourselves; we would make our own decisions and not leave so many important matters to the English. That we no longer wanted to be British.

However, the truth is that we have had our own parliament – Sir Billy Connolly once called it ‘a pretendy wee parliament’ – for more than 20 years now and we have used it disastrously.

No politician deserves credit for what we have become, never mind a statue erected in their honour, not Donald Dewar, not anyone.

If the SNP win on Thursday, the major debates for the next five years will not be around child poverty; the recovery of the Health Service; a national care service for the elderly and infirm or pensions and employment issues.

They will be about independence and whether or not we should have a statue of Nicola Sturgeon in Charlotte Square.

Anas Sarwar – forget about how much money he’s got – sounds like the kind of person we would want running our country, an intelligent, caring family man who loves his wife and children and who cares passionately for the community in which he lives.

A vote for Jackie Baillie on Thursday will be a vote for Anas Sarwar. A vote for Labour.

It would send a message to politicians like Ms Sturgeon that this election is not all about her and her creepy colleagues who indulge themselves in the murky business that goes on in the twilight zone at Bute House.

It is only then she will get the message that this election is about us, the electorate, our children, our relatives and friends, and not SNP cronyism, nepotism and nationalism.

It’s time to reject the past. Forget who you voted for previously.

Remember this. If you always do what you always did, then you always get what you always got.

For the past 14 years under the SNP that has been far from satisfactory. Nicola Sturgeon has had her opportunity. She is burned out and devoid of progressive ideas.

Vote Labour on Thursday. Your future and the future of your loved ones depends on it.

Seven candidates will contest the Dumbarton constituency in Thursday’s Scottish Parliament election.

Listed in alphabetical order by surname, they are:

  • Jackie Baillie – Scottish Labour Party
  • Maurice Corry – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Andy Foxall – Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Toni Giugliano – Scottish National Party (SNP)
  • James Morrison – Independent
  • Andrew Joseph Muir – Independent
  • Jonathan Rainey – Scottish Libertarian Party

Polling stations for the elections on Thursday May 6 are listed here.



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