Scottish Labour optimistic for Clacks by-election as polls open

Young Labour activist Tom Flanagan looks at the Clackmannanshire by-election and what a Labour victory could mean.

Conventional political wisdom would dictate that whichever way Clackmannanshire votes, the rest of Scotland will join them. 

The ‘wee county’ holds a weight in our political culture following the results of referenda and elections gone by, but in today’s by election, perhaps as a precursor to things to come, we could see a committed socialist in Margaret Brookes elected. 

Brookes, Scottish Labour’s candidate for the Clackmannanshire Central, spoke to The Red Robin about the seat she was trying to secure. 

“This is an area with high levels of poverty, deprivation and unemployment- yet the SNP at Holyrood has cut millions every year from the budget, which has resulted in deep cuts to local services.

"Last year they closed the community halls, this year its school closures, shorter school weeks, and larger class sizes”.

She added, “Labour tried to reverse the SNP’s removal of funding to ‘Sauchie Active 8’ (an organisation that works with children living in poverty), more money for food banks, and extra support for school clothing grants. 

"The Tories and the SNP voted that down. 

"If elected I will stand up for the values of the Labour Party, I hope they will place their trust in me”. 

Candidates from all parties, including the Scottish Greens and the Liberal Democrats, are standing in the election alongside Margaret Brookes. 

More unsually for Scotland, UKIP have also opted to stand a candidate in the election. 

Clackmannanshire suffers higher real term cuts from Holyrood than some of Scotland’s better off council areas. 

Local member Grant Aitken, who is on Labour’s National Policy Forum and also organised a Labour campaign to get more stationary into Clackmannanshire’s schools, said the questions of his area need socialist answers: “Clacks central is one of the only areas we won in the General Election, it is within our grasp. Margaret is the right person to fight Tory austerity propped up by the SNP”.

Polls close at 10pm Thursday. 


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