Monday, 1 February 2010
Standing Down and Defection
First up the rumours that Edinburgh South MP Nigel Griffiths was going to step down have been confirmed. In what was the Lib Dems number 4 target seat across the UK and top against Labour the former deputy leader of the house was defending a 405 vote majority. Unlike John McFall who announced his retirement at 65, Nigel at 54 is announcing his next career as a director of an education institution.
However, even before his sex scandal on Remembrance Sunday in the House or the expenses claims Labour's popularity in the area was declining. That was evidenced when the former leader of the council Donald Anderson stood in the Holyrood seat in 2007 to try and reclaim it from Mike Pringle only to see a swing from Labour the Lib Dems as Mike increased his majority. I don't see how anyone this close to an election can eat into the growing popularity of the Liberal Democrat candidate Fred Mackintosh, which may have also been a reason for Nigel jumping before the electorate pushed him.
Last night Yousuf hinted that there would be a SNP defection to Labour. It led to both Jeff and Will speculating that is was only a councillor and as Jeff said that maybe someone that 'the SNP would be better off without'.
Well it appears that everyone is right, South Lanarkshire councillor John McNamee who the Herald describe as a rising star of the party is the defectee. He cites the dropping of GARL (Glasgow Airport Rail Link) and the inadequacies of the SNP at town hall levels. Though the local party are investigating him after "concerns were expressed over his expense claims and use of council travel allowances" as well as his "inappropriate behaviour" at a Strathclyde Fire Board event before Christmas.
Sounds to me like he is the ideal substitute for Nigel Griffiths, in that case. Hardly one for Yousuf to have been so joyful about.
Although with 5 retirements in the last five days is there a sign outside the Labour whips' office saying retirees queue here?