Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SNP Glasgow Councillor Defects to Lib Dems

I've been over a few times recently in Glasgow North campaigning, indeed early last year I thought a sight of Partick Thistle's Firhill would be the nearest I'd get to a football ground before the election.

Therefore it is great news that one of the Councillors for Kelvin and Maryhill Alex Dingwall has after 31 years as a member of the SNP decided to join the Liberal Democrats, his new ward colleague Mary Paris and the race to elect Katy Gordon as the next MP for Glasgow North. He had been the SNP finance spokesman on the council.

Speaking of his reasons for moving to the Lib Dems Cllr Dingwall said:

"I believe that Glasgow needs a change in how our city is run and a party that sets out a clear, credible alternative to the current Labour Administration. Regrettably over the last year it has become clear to me that the Glasgow SNP Council Group lacks both the leadership and the authority to set out an alternative vision for our city.

"After 31 years of membership with the SNP the decision to leave has not been an easy one but the move away from a local to a centrally set income tax and the recent threats to take away control of schools and care for the elderly from local authorities show the SNP simply doesn't trust its councillors, preferring instead to govern local communities by ministerial decree.

"That's why I am pleased to be joining the Liberal Democrats. I share their commitment to local government and to the core principle of keeping local decisions local.

"I will continue to work constructively for my constituents and for the people of Glasgow, but now in a way which is entirely in keeping with my personal and political beliefs."

I'm pleased to welcome him to the Liberal Democrats, as the SNP have made Scotland the most centrally controlled part of the EU outside of the small islands state of Malta, including parts of the former Soviet Block. Therefore his desire to keep local decisions local in a bespoke manner rather than an off the peg one size fits all top down degree shows how out of touch the SNP are.

Katy Gordon the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Glasgow North said:

"I've known Councillor Dingwall for many years and I’m really pleased to welcome him to the party.

"This is a real boost to the Liberal Democrat campaign in Glasgow North. People are fed up with Labour and Councillor Dingwall’s decision demonstrates once again that the real alternative is the Liberal Democrats."

Katy is only 3338 votes behind Labour in the seat that includes part of Roy Jenkins old Hillhead seat, close to restoring a Liberal Democrat voice in the north of Scotland's largest city in Westminster. First the Greens lost a young potential candidate and blogger and now the SNP lose their finance spokesman in Glasgow council. As the going gets tough and we head to an election the Lib Dems message is leading to people coming to the conclusion that the Lib Dems message and agenda is what the people want and need.

Update: I've just reread Yousuf Ahmed's blog post from Monday about Nicola Sturgeon chairing an emergency meeting of the SNP council group that day. With hindsight the comments make rather interesting reading.

Anne 'Indy Gal' McLaughlin tried in the comments on Monday to pass this off as a normal group meeting as indeed did Cllr Alison 'Bellegrove Belle' Thewliss. Rather too much protestation they doth make in one 15 minute period on Monday night. Maybe as Yousuf correctly pointed out they would have been better waiting for developments over the next couple of days (see above post). I await to see either of those blogging SNP elected representative's reactions to the news of the Lib Dem's newest councillor.

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