Fans’ act on the agenda

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Special - Dou­glas Dickie

Elec­tion sea­son is now well un­der way in Ruther­glen with nom­i­na­tions clos­ing last week for can­di­dates to throw their hat into the ring.

As ex­pected, it is only the four main par­ties who will con­test the seat, with smaller par­ties con­cen­trat­ing on the re­gional list votes.

James Kelly is de­fend­ing the seat for the Labour Party. But with the SNP still rid­ing the crest of a wave fol­low­ing last year’s his­toric General Elec­tion re­sult, he starts very much as sec­ond favourite be­hind Clare Haughey.

With a ma­jor­ity of just 1,779, the seat is 12th on the list of the SNP’s top targets. Tay­lor Muir of the Tories and Robert Brown of the LibDems make up the short­list, but any­thing other than a straight fight be­tween Labour and the SNP is highly un­likely.

Mr Kelly chal­lenged his op­po­nent this week, fo­cussing on the Of­fen­sive Be­hav­iour at Football and Threat­en­ing Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Act Bill, which he op­posed as jus­tice spokesper­son and this week he asked Ms Haughey to make clear her views on the is­sue.

He said: “Over the course of the last par­lia­ment I was con­tacted by hun­dreds of con­stituents op­posed to the football act, and I led Labour’s op­po­si­tion to it as a jus­tice spokesper­son. From my work with an­ti­sec­tar­i­an­ism char­i­ties lo­cally I know how im­por­tant it is to tackle big­otry in the com­mu­nity. But the football act is not the so­lu­tion: it is a spin ex­er­cise gone wrong by the SNP who will not ad­mit that the law does not work.

“We all know sec­tar­i­an­ism goes be­yond 90 min­utes on a Satur­day, yet this leg­is­la­tion does noth­ing to fix the wider prob­lem and has bro­ken down the re­la­tion­ship be­tween fans and the police.

“On the football act, I have al­ways been against it, and if re-elected, I’ll bring for­ward my plan to re­peal it. I am ask­ing Clare Haughty to spell out her po­si­tion on the football act – did she agree with its in­tro­duc­tion and will she sup­port my plan to re­peal the act?”

But Ms Haughey hit back, say­ing: “As with any leg­is­la­tion, I be­lieve the Of­fen­sive Be­hav­iour at Football Act should be re­viewed to en­sure it is ef­fec­tive.

“A year ago Tom Greatrex, backed up by James Kelly, made the Of­fen­sive Be­hav­iour at Football Act a cam­paign is­sue. Why has Mr Kelly, the for­mer MSP for the area, failed to bring for­ward his Pri­vate Mem­ber’s Bill dur­ing his time at Holy­rood, wait­ing un­til now to make it a cam­paign pledge?”

With her cam­paign now well un­der way, Ms Haughey re­it­er­ated her party’s com­mit­ment to free ed­u­ca­tion.

She crit­i­cised Con­ser­va­tive plans to charge stu­dents £6,000, say­ing: “The Tory scheme is less about fund­ing uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges and more about the Tories’ ide­o­log­i­cal ob­ses­sion with in­tro­duc­ing fees. It will raise al­most noth­ing in the next five years but what it will do is put poorer kids off go­ing to univer­sity.”

Labour of love James Kelly and his sup­port­ers are ready for a bat­tle

Sup­port Clare Haughey teamed up with John Swin­ney

Go­ing live Tay­lor Muir (right) and DJ Tam Curry

Cam­paign trail Lib Dem Brown and sup­port­ers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.