The Glasgow List

I apologise for not having kept us this blog over the last week, a combination of events left me with very little time to consider the political goings on, and when I did I was often pipped to the post by other bloggers.

On monday, I received my ballot paper for the Glasgow Regional List, and on saturday I thought I’d pop along to the hustings,there are a total of 11 candidates standing for the list, 8 of the 9 constituency candidates (with John Mason deciding not to stand) and 3 list-only candidates.

At one point I was planning on giving a critique of each of them and then stating how I was going to rank them all, but when considering all the candidates I didn’t feel as if it was as clear-cut as I was hoping. There were a few points worth considering however.

I was a bit uneasy with the way that James Dornan referenced allegations of sexual harassment being made against Labour councillors in his biography on the ballot list and that uneasiness was compounded when I saw the way he erupted at one member of the audience at the hustings who questioned certain aspects of his strategy as group leader.

There are two Asian candidates, both only contesting on the list and not standing for a constituency, and while both were young, clearly capable men there was a marked difference between the two. In Humza Yousaf, we have a candidate with plenty of experience of the political machinery, having spent most of his professional life in the offices of SNP parliamentarians. Mr Yousaf during his hustings speech, spoke about his Pakistani heritage; of how his father was amongst the first Asian members of the SNP, and that he didn’t believe his ethnicity should play a part in member’s decision-making process.

On the other hand Sid Khan is still new to the world of politics, having made his living in financial services and latterly in the construction industry, Mr Khan was clearly nervous when addressing the hustings talking quickly and at one point having to be asked to speak up. Interestingly, Mr Khan didn’t reference his Asian heritage during his speech, and because of that I think he made Mr Yousaf’s point more effectively than he had, in fact during his speech, Mr Khan spoke of the proud heavy engineering traditions “we have in Scotland and particularly here on the Clyde” while references to “we” in Mr Yousaf’s speech were never so inclusive, tending to refer to the young Scots-Asian community.

I think of the two, it would be Sid Khan’s experience in the private sector and outside of the parliamentary bubble which would be of most use to the SNP team, and the Scottish Parliament as a whole, but in all likelihood it will be Mr Yousaf who will finish with a higher ranking on the list.

The others all delivered strong cases for their respective returns to parliament, and while I said I wouldn’t be providing a full ranking from 1 to 11, I think there is one clear front-runner.

Since Bashir Ahmed’s tragic death in February 2009, Anne McLaughlin has become one of the most well-kent faces in Glasgow, not just for her tireless constituency work from Cranhill to Govanhill but also for her work on behalf of Florence & Precious Mhango and cases like theirs. The list system exists in part to ensure that people like Ms McLaughlin who have supporters all over the city rather than concentrated in a single constituency, have a chance to  be elected, and I would urge you to give her your #1 ranking to ensure they get that chance in May.

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