Labour source says Cumbernauld seat loss would be a “humiliation”

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 21:55 on 11 February 2015

Politics    Labour    Westminster

Labour member tells Cumbernauld Media that losing might be the best option for the party. Picture: Scott Campbell for Cumbernauld Media.

A LABOUR member in Cumbernauld has told Cumbernauld Media that the local party branch is “seriously struggling” to find support ahead of the UK General Election, in May.

Speaking to Cumbernauld Media, the CLP member described how Labour faces “humiliation” from the SNP in May’s General Election.

Last month, the Sunday Herald revealed that fewer than 100 contacts had been made in Cumbernauld by Labour, with a major offensive launched to claw back ground lost to the Scottish National Party.

However, according to the local party activist, Labour has already lost the ground and will only gain it back “once we’ve accepted our fundamental problem – we’re seen to be too much like the Tories”.

Jim Murphy MP, leader of the Scottish Labour Party has reportedly ordered activists to pick up their clipboards, pin on their badges and chap as many doors as possible in the party’s traditional heartlands. 

However, the offensive in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East seems to be “turning some folk off”, our source explained.

“Most voters see this as being political opportunism; there’s an election coming up and we look set to lose heavily, therefore people see our rigorous campaigning as us trying to save the jobs of people like Gregg McClymont.”

Voting ‘No’ in the Scottish independence referendum last September, our source described his “utter disappointment” at how Labour dealt with the campaign and the result’s aftermath.

“A massive transfer of powers was promised; we were promised the universe and all we got was a Milkyway chocolate bar – that’s the only way I can describe the let-down,” he told us.

According to recently published opinion polls, conducted by Lord Ashcroft, Labour’s Gregg McClymont MP risks losing his Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East seat, with a 25.5% swing from Labour to the SNP.

Lord Ashcroft’s polling shows that 52 per cent of voters polled would vote SNP if the election were held tomorrow; 34 per cent would back Labour, 6% would vote Conservative, with 2 per cent backing the Liberal Democrats while ‘Other’ parties racked up 7 per cent support.

“The trouble with Labour’s answers” to recent polling, our source added, is that “the party believes voters will simply return to them in May – and this is part of the problem; they believe it’s peoples’ responsibility to vote Labour, instead a right to.”

In Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, the news for Gregg McClymont seems to be getting bleaker, after a social media campaign was launched in a bid to oust the incumbent Labour MP.

“It’s simply a natural response after years of not seeing him,” our source commented. “People are fed up with ‘business as usual’, and the belief that Gregg is simply ‘your friendly local MP, from Cumbernauld’ can’t be maintained anymore. Google him and up comes details of his Oxford fellowship and PhD – not many people in Cumbernauld relate to this.

“I believe Gregg has been a fantastic MP,” he added. “However, his lack of visibility and persistent criticising of the SNP has only exacerbated the situation.”

Asked what he thinks the final result will be in May he told us bashfully: “I expect my party will lose in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, but I believe this is what we need – Labour needs to lose so it can assess itself truly and realise it’s abandoned the working classes who originally set it up.”

When he pressed him on why he had stuck with Labour over the years, he told us: “It’s a combination of both generational and personal factors, I suppose. My family always voted Labour and I believed Labour were the best party to stand up for what I believed in. However, over recent years I’ve started to re-assess the party, but I’ve kept telling myself ‘it’s still Labour, it’s still Labour’, and stupidly I’ve believed myself.”

When asked which party he’ll vote for on May 7th, the party member said he will make his mind up closer to the election, but that the SNP is the “most likely option” at present. 

Cumbernauld Media was unable to reach Mr McClymont for comment before the publication of this article.