This was my first real blog and the script of my first YouTube video, and was the start of my online activism for independence and the SNP. I reposted the clip before the local elections. (It remains the only YT clip – among my subsequent 1667 video clips - in which I used a voiceover.)
On 30 June 2008 David Marshall, Labour MP for Glasgow East, resigned from the UK Parliament on the grounds of ill-health, thereby triggering a by-election. The decision by Labour to call a quick by-election (set for 24 July 2008) was partly attributed to Labour's troubled finances and fears of an SNP campaign building up enough momentum.[ John Mason was selected as SNP candidate for Glasgow East on 3 July.
Mason won the by-election in a surprise victory, defeating the Labour candidate Margaret Curran MSP for Glasgow Baillieston. He overturned a Labour majority of more than 13,500 to win the seat on a swing of more than 22%. It was Labour's third safest seat in Scotland.
(My note: John lost the seat in GE2010 to Margaret Curran, but was later elected as an MSP to the Scottish Parliament.)
This by-election could be the most important ever
4 Jul 2008 08:10
The people of the east end of Glasgow have been cynically and comprehensively betrayed by Labour machine politicians for over half a century. I was born and bred in Glasgow's east end and was shaped for life by the wonderful, resilient character of its people. Their most characteristic trait was loyalty - loyalty to family, to friends, to their district and to their political party - Labour.
That loyalty was increasingly strained as the bright hopes of the 1945 Labour Government, and its formidable achievements - the NHS, the Welfare State - were almost nullified by the corrupt and uncaring municipal politics. But during the Thatcher years, it could all be blamed on Maggie and the Tories. Then there was the brief flash of hope when the Blair government arrived, soon to be dashed as the ideals were trashed. And then Iraq - the final loss of innocence, the last betrayal of idealism.
Rather like Londoners, natives of Glasgow think of themselves as Glaswegians first and Scots second. But awareness is gradually, if belatedly dawning. We cannot look for our salvation to that increasingly irrelevant expedient political grouping known as Great Britain, with its desperate attempts to posture on a world stage as a great power, sending our brave young men and women to their deaths in misconceived foreign adventures.
The Scots who currently dominate the British Parliament seem increasingly alien to us and our concerns - we are not proud of them, but ashamed of their failure.
We can now see the possibilities for Scotland the small, Scotland the beautiful, playing a vital role within Europe, free from the old unionist shackles, regenerating our great cities, giving hope to our young people, freeing our old people from fear, crime, squalor and degradation, and delivering our unique entrepreneurial and financial and technical skills to the world as a proud free nation.
I fervently hope that the Glasgow East by-election will be a pivotal moment in that great renaissance - a new enlightenment for Scotland. Electors of Shettleston - lift your heads and vote for a new future! I finally abandoned a moribund Labour Party after half a century of misplaced loyalty, and so can you.
And there is only one choice, and you know it.