Tuesday, 14 July 2009


I guess there is no point in my pointing out the inaccuracies of The Scotsman's reporting of the SNP's candidate selection procedure in Glasgow North-East. I mean, why let the facts get in the way of a good Labour story? Presumably (if previous comments are anything to go by) I'll just be accused of being bitter. But for the benefit of those who may read the article, let me point out a couple of things.

The Scotsman claim that David Kerr will become the SNP's "fourth choice candidate" - thereby implying that there were three people in line for the candidacy before him. Those named by the Scotsman as ahead of him are current SNP MSP Anne McLaughlin, Glasgow Councillor (and former blogger) Grant Thoms and SNP leader on Glasgow City Council, James Dornan.

Where to start?

Anne McLaughlin was the SNP candidate for the corresponding seat in the Scottish Parliament - Glasgow Springburn - in 2007, but was elected an an MSP earlier this year on the death of Glasgow Region MSP Bashir Ahmad (just in case there is any confusion, Glasgow Springburn and Glasgow North-East, although they cover very similar territory, are actually constituencies for two different parliaments). She may have been in consideration as a candidate in the event of a General Election (which was never called) but after she became an MSP that was no longer the case.

Grant Thoms was, I believe, slated to be the the candidate for Glasgow North East in the event that a snap General Election was called by new PM Gordon Brown. SNP rules dictate that if a by-election is called in a constituency then the party must hold a selection procedure again. Grant Thoms at that point decided that he did not wish to put his name forward for selection, with speculation that he feared his sexuality would be attacked by opposition parties, and subsequently did not put his name forward.

Then the selection meeting occurred and James Dornan won the candidature. Subsequently, he decided that his previous financial difficulties may come to light and stepped down as a candidate, leaving David Kerr as the favourite for the post.

In that fact based telling of events, how many people can you count that were ahead of David Kerr in the selection procedure? I count only one - James Dornan - who was selected by the local SNP to fight the by-election (apparently against the hopes of the First Minster though not the Deputy FM - at least according to the above linked article).

Meltdown? Not so much. Labour propaganda? I'll let you decide, though here are some other posts which discuss the issue to help you make up your mind.


Jim 14 July 2009 at 10:29  

I find this story that Grant Thoms was concerned that his sexuality might be an issue a wee bit strange, given that the Labour leader of Glasgow city council and surely a future Labour leader in Scotland, Steven Purcell is openly, unashamedly and unreservedly gay. It would be an extremely strange thing for Labour or anyone, for that matter, in the 21st Century to attack someone on such an issue.

Malc 14 July 2009 at 10:43  


I understand your point.

And while I am not close enough to either Glasgow SNP or Grant Thoms himself to know for sure, I'd understand if it was the case.

Standing for election is one thing in a General Election when it is one contest in 59 (or 73 in a Scottish Parliament election). It is quite another in a by-election when the weight of all the media heads to the area and looks for any sign of a story that might not befit a future MP.

While I would like to think the majority of the electorate have moved beyond judging a person's ability to do their job based upon their sexuality, I wouldn't think for a second that the media were above making it an issue in the campaign.

Perhaps there are other reasons why he decided not to stand. If this were one of them, I'd understand his logic.

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