Category Archives: Scottish Highlands

The lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter…

If you are reading this in England you may be wondering what I’m on about. You’ll be thinking that The Labour Party is getting ready to turf the Tories out and sort the upstarts of UKIP and the LibDims. If you were here in Scotland you would be looking out onto a political topography on which the lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter has diminished to a degree, which is nothing short of astonishing.

There’s a long way to go until May 2015 but at the moment polls are indicating that Labour are polling around 20-25% whilst the SNP are polling around 51% to 60%. No need to look at the figures for the other parties they are struggling to gain double figures.

During my stint leafleting on the run up to the Scottish Independence vote I met a few Labour voters. They all seemed to fall into the same sort of “type”. They started shouting fairly quickly, they tore up any leaflets or newspapers I was attempting to deliver.

Whilst a lot of Labour voters voted NO a lot also voted yes but not enough so why have so many Labour voters changed to the SNP now? Well it’s simple, very, very simple. Labour have not represented their historic support base since Tony Blair strode onto the world stage. The other reason is that Labour sharing the stage with the Tories and being so negative and wilfully telling porkies was just too much.

I can provide a great example of how inept Labour politicians have been. In the 80’s I had to visit a client in Greenock. I was surprised when I got there. On both sides of the road there were shipyards, heavy engineering, metal bashing and more. Step forward Maggie and her desire to stop metal bashing and go for services instead.

Jump forward to New Labour being in power. Almost all of the manual, metal bashing jobs and the other industries that supported them were gone. I had cause to visit Greenock a number of times and all of the yards were gone. Some housing and the odd supermarket replacing the yards. Not a huge amount of jobs on offer and a populace fighting over call centre jobs.

Blame Maggie? A good bit I’d suggest. But and this is a really big but, the Labour Party had made no real effort at all to help Greenock and many similar places throughout Scotland back to prosperity. And yet the people in these working class towns still kept on voting for Labour. It’s a disgrace many times over. Thankfully it’s now changing and the Labour vote is crumbling.

There isn’t a day that goes by that my twitter feed doesn’t contain a good few people saying they voted NO and they were wrong to do so. Too late, but not too late as in forever, just wait and see.

So all Labour has to do in Scotland is come up with policies which will appeal to their own traditional voter base and for the potential voters to actual trust them to deliver.

That’s easy.



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How many jobs…

On a number of occasions I’ve worked with rural communities. These communities were all looking for the same thing, trying to survive in the shorter and longer terms.

They live in gorgeous surroundings, fresh air, nature etc. etc. The communities consist of the real long term locals, the transient and of course the incomers. It’s not difficult to come across very wealthy people with a fabulous house and a bit of land who work in London Tuesday to Thursday and spend the rest of the time in their chosen village.

Everyone contributes to the local economy in various ways, which mostly results in local spending although online shopping can impinge on that. Going for a Sunday newspaper could easily be a 30 minute job and going for a fish supper, in the more remote areas could take two hours and the fish supper would be cold by the time you got back although, no doubt, you could fall back on their statutory can of Irnbru, Red cola or Vimto.

Most of these communities have some form of tourism happening too but they still carry on with the basics of earning a living. On my travels I used to ask people how many jobs they had. The winning chap had nine jobs. He had nine jobs because at any one time during the year some of them would be profitable.

His job list went something like this –

* He farmed some land and had sheep.

* He bred and trained sheep dogs.

* He rescued sheep dogs, which had become a bit unruly and trained them properly before he sold them.

* He had a shooting range.

* He charged a local adventure business for using some of his land for mountain biking and quad biking.

* He was in a folk/country-dance band (hooch!).

* He sold CDs of the bands music.

* He had converted an old barn into a function room (once used by Rob Roy apparently).

* He used his dogs to perform herd geese at one of the visitor attractions.

There were lots of B&B’s as you would imagine which provided jobs mainly to the younger generation, which the villages and their outlying areas desperately wanted to hang onto. Too many young people left for college or Uni and never came back.

Most of the communities had a group of people who tried to encourage people to work together to support the area. There were many skills available to them as you would imagine but not everyone wanted to play ball.

In certain respects large cities such as Edinburgh and London are similar. The Shore in Leith, Out of the Blue, Stockbridge, the Grassmarket, George Street are all like villages within a bigger town. Okay there isn’t a lot of grass and it can get busy at times but there will be, for sure a lot of people with more than one job.

How many jobs are enough?


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