It wasn't even four years ago that my close friend and colleague Charles Dundas turned up at the Labour by-election head-quarters with a few others carrying new brooms to demand a clean sweep and new start for Livingston*. It was in reaction to one of Devine's election promises which was actually to correct something not done by the then Labour run local council.
However, he and his heavies (yes there were heavies around Devine when he ventured out) came out to get into an argument about a Local Income Tax while Charles was being interviewed. His soundbite which was aired on Radio Scotland was about an average family of a nurse and a firefighter. Their literature when it came through the letterbox talked about a senior grade Fireman and his top grade nurse wife. In essence earning more than double the average household income in Livingston. An early sign of how out of touch
One of the thrusts of our campaign 4 years ago was that Devine was not going to bring about change of what Labour was doing to this nation, and to the people of Livingston. In his maiden speech to the Commons on 25 October 2005 he called his predecessor Robin Cook 'the outstanding parliamentarian of his generation'.
However, Devine also said of himself:
"I have ideas on how we should improve turnout. From my experience in the by-election, one idea is about political honesty and political debate....dishonesty alienates voters, and that is why people do not participate in the political process. "
Sadly Mr Devine your honesty has been found wanting.
It is time for Livingston to get out the new brooms again and select a new MP. They deserve a great Parliamentarian of the caliber of Cook.
But will they get it from a local Labour Party that only last week endorsed the man now found wanting by their NEC. I don't think so?
Will they find it an the SNP who within months will be wanting a divorce which will lead to greater poverty and pressure than what Labour have led us into over the next number of years.** What's the point?
If Livingston voters are truly sick and tired of the excesses of Devine and his Labour cronies, and want a new MP that will stand up for their best interests they should take a serious look at the Liberal Democrats. The party has been arguing for change and openness on expenses and voted with one voice for that last summer. The party that warned of the banking crisis as long ago as 2002 through Vince Cable and is offering real solutions to both these issues and many more.
*Sadly I didn't blog it. It must be on the old party website.
**Commentators are saying a UK will not fully return to pre-credit crunch levels of employment for another 8 years. Many say an Independent Scotland will make international employers less willing to take a chance and we could take longer.