We couldn’t have done any more

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Reaction - Dou­glas Dickie

Tom Greatrex reck­ons there wasn’t any­thing else he and his team could have done to pre­vent the SNP tak­ing the Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West seat last week.

Mr Greatrex was de­fend­ing a ma­jor­ity of over 21,000, but even that proved in­ad­e­quate in the face of an SNP surge that swept across Scot­land.

He was one of the few Labour can­di­dates who re­mained favourite to take his seat go­ing into the gen­eral elec­tion, but in the end he lost out by over 9000 votes to Mar­garet Ferrier.

The 40-year-old also said he was dis­ap­pointed Labour would not be able to im­ple­ment their poli­cies at West­min­ster.

He said:“When you look at the swings across the west of Scot­land, it’s pretty clear they were all around the same level.

“There was not a pe­cu­liar re­sult in Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West.

“I don’t think there’s any­thing we could have done lo­cally. I’m grate­ful and proud of the cam­paign. I spoke to al­most a third of the elec­torate but they made their de­ci­sion.

“Over the next few weeks there will be a lot of anal­y­sis. I’d just point to the fact that, in terms of poli­cies, the SNP three weeks be­fore the elec­tion adopted Labour poli­cies.

“It wasn’t a prob­lem with pol­icy but ob­vi­ously the prob­lem was who peo­ple trusted to im­ple­ment th­ese poli­cies. The irony now is that none of th­ese poli­cies will now be im­ple­mented.

“Any chance we had of them be­ing im­ple­mented was with a Labour gov­ern­ment.

“The fact is, and I’ve learned this over the past five years, you can make as many speeches, ask as many ques­tions and iden­tify and ex­pose in­jus­tices, but when there is a ma­jor­ity against you, you will not win the vote.

“My dis­ap­point­ment is not for me per­son­ally, but that the op­por­tu­nity to make the whole of the UK fairer, bet­ter and to have a more bal­anced ap­proach has been lost.”

Mr Greatrex ad­mit­ted he was con­cerned for the fu­ture of the UK, but said he didn’t re­gret the de­ci­sion to cam­paign for a No vote in last year’s ref­er­en­dum.

He added:“This anal­y­sis that Labour were too left wing in Eng­land and too right wing in Scot­land is flawed.

“What ul­ti­mately made the dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing a Labour Gov­ern­ment and a Con­ser­va­tive Gov­ern­ment has been the way English na­tion­al­ism was set against Scot­tish na­tion­al­ism.

“It seems that worked as a tac­tic for the Con­ser­va­tive Party, but it was a danger­ous ap­proach that will have long-term im­pli­ca­tions for the rest of the UK.

“It put a great deal of at­ten­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent parts of the county. It seems the Con­ser­va­tives have de­cided to be the party for Eng­land and that’s very, very danger­ous for the fu­ture of the UK and any­one who be­lieves in sol­i­dar­ity and peo­ple across the UK work­ing to­gether.

“Some peo­ple I spoke to voted for me and Labour in 2010 but said they could not vote Labour be­cause of the ref­er­en­dum, but if I had my time again I would still vote for Scot­land to re­main part of the UK. ”

The out­go­ing MP also re­fused to rule out a re­turn to front­line pol­i­tics, but said he wouldn’t be stand­ing for Holy­rood next year.

He said:“Lo­cally, we have a very good MSP who will be stand­ing next year and I will be do­ing what­ever I can to sup­port him. We have can­di­dates se­lected for the next Scot­tish Par­lia­ment.

“As for me, I am do­ing the hor­ri­ble busi­ness this week of mak­ing peo­ple re­dun­dant, then I am go­ing to have a rest, re­cu­per­ate and re­con­nect with my fam­ily. Whether I stand as a can­di­date again or sup­port other can­di­dates is not some­thing I have thought too much about. It’s not just a de­ci­sion for me ei­ther.”

All over Tom Greatrex, left, couldn’t hold on to his seat

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