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To my friends in Labour 455

Posted on September 13, 2014 by

Hello. Some of you will know me, but most of you won’t. That’s alright. That’s not important. All you have to know right now is that I’m just like you. We may well be on different sides in this referendum race – I’m on team Yes – but we are the same.

I come from a working-class family, in a working-class area of Glasgow. My father worked for Glasgow City Council in the Parks department, and I followed him there and spent seven years out cutting grass, planting flowers, picking up litter and raking leaves in the rain.


I joined the Labour Party when I was 17, and was a trade union activist a year later. I was a local branch chair at 21, and I was proud to have worked alongside the team at Keir Hardie House to deliver a Labour government in 1997. The Labour Party was my second home.

In 2001 I decided to go to university, so I signed up for night school and for a year I went religiously, doing three subjects a week on top of my job. I passed them all and chose Stirling, where I quickly became involved in student union politics. In my first campaign for an executive post I was tagged one of “Blair’s Poodles”. I wore my party colours on my sleeve.

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Ears wide shut 71

Posted on March 23, 2014 by

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”


It’s one of the most famous lines in the history of cinema. I’ve heard it a hundred times. And lately, to me, it’s a pretty fair summation of everything that’s gone wrong in Scottish Labour’s relationship with both its own members and its voters.

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Reading through the lines 129

Posted on November 09, 2013 by

Sometimes I can be a deeply cynical man. I get it from a couple of sources. Some is from my time as a political activist, when I learned the game in the sewer of Glasgow politics. Some is from my media degree, which taught me (to paraphrase the song) to believe none of what you hear and less than half of what your read. An education heavy on sociology, history and psychology helps too.


I didn’t grow up with this view of the world. I came to it, over time, and much careful consideration. Yet at heart I remain a socialist, and I believe that people are inherently good. It’s the systems we build for ourselves that skew the perspective, that bend our good intentions out of shape, that make us less than what we should be.

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