Ready for ac­tion

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Special -

Ruther­glen South was the first lo­cal ward to de­clare on the day.

Just five votes sep­a­rated the SNP’s Carol Nu­gent and Robert Brown of the Lib­eral Democrats, with Ms Nu­gent com­ing out on top.

Labour’s Mar­garet Cowie was also elected.

Ms Nu­gent said:“I am ab­so­lutely de­lighted, we’ve worked re­ally hard on this cam­paign.

“I’m just pleased to be elected. I’ve al­ready had peo­ple come to me with cases so there is a lot of hard work still to be done.

“I think peo­ple want to be lis­tened to. I will be a vis­i­ble coun­cil­lor and I prom­ise I will lis­ten and do my ut­most to help.”

Mar­garet Cowie is al­ready well known in the ward and said:“Our cam­paign has fo­cussed on lo­cal is­sues and I will do my best for the area.

“South La­nark­shire Coun­cil have been a fan­tas­tic coun­cil in Ruther­glen South when you think of the new schools and hous­ing. Hope­fully that can con­tinue.”

Robert Brown saw his own vote rise by over 600 votes with turnout up nearly seven per cent on five years ago.

He said:“I’m very grate­ful to peo­ple for their vote against re­ally big na­tional is­sues. Be­ing on the coun­cil is all about re­la­tion­ships and I was for­tu­nate to have a very good re­la­tion­ship with the last leader. I hope that con­tin­ues with the new leader.”

Both Labour and the SNP were keen for suc­cess in Ruther­glen Cen­tral and North with the sym­bol­ism at­tached to Ed­die McAvoy’s old seat.

But sit­ting coun­cil­lors Ger­ard Killen and Gor­don Clark were beaten by new SNP can­di­date Ja­nine Ca­likes with the Con­ser­va­tives’Jared Wark man­ag­ing to mus­cle his way into third place.

Mr Killen said:“The re­sult goes to show you how di­vided this coun­try is. Ni­cola Stur­geon has achieved what no Tory leader could - a Con­ser­va­tive re­vival.

“The Labour group will be meet­ing early and it will be im­pos­si­ble to say at this stage what sort of role I could play but I will be hop­ing to de­liver where we can and fol­low through on the com­mit­ments we have made.”

Ja­nine Ca­likes was vis­i­bly stunned at los­ing her run­ning mate, say­ing:“I’ve not re­ally had time to di­gest it. My aim is lo­cal en­gage­ment and mak­ing peo­ple’s voices heard by the peo­ple who rep­re­sent them.

“I’m just so ex­cited. It’s a big re­spon­si­bil­ity and I will take it very se­ri­ously.”

Mr Wark looked equally shocked, say­ing:“I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it, but I’m look­ing for­ward to it.

“There was a lot of en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to get out and vote. The SNP are very loud and vis­i­ble and they are good at en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to get out, that’s what we were try­ing to do.”

In Cam­bus­lang West much of the fo­cus dur­ing the cam­paign had been on the state of the Main Street and all three coun­cil­lors were asked their plans.

The SNP’s John Bradley said:“I’m look­ing for­ward to rep­re­sent­ing the peo­ple of Cam­bus­lang West to the best of my abil­ity and live up to Clare McColl’s abil­ity.

“I’m fully agreed with the com­mu­nity coun­cil and their am­bi­tions and plans to trans­form the Main Street to re­gen­er­ate the area, bring in shops and sort out the park­ing.”

Mar­garet Walker of Labour said:“It is a priv­i­lege to serve the peo­ple of Cam­bus­lang West. I will be fight­ing on be­half of the peo­ple.

“I want to work in part­ner­ship to achieve the im­prove­ments - with busi­nesses, the pri­vate sec­tor and find fund­ing sources to take ac­tion.”

The Con­ser­va­tives’Ann Le Blond pledged to work across party lines to help the town cen­tre:“I’m just over the moon, I’m just so pleased peo­ple have given me their back­ing,“she said.

“The prob­lems in Cam­bus­lang are what pushed me to get in­volved. I am will­ing to work with the other two coun­cil­lors to get the best for the area.”

In Cam­bus­lang East cam­paign­ing had fo­cussed on the lack of fa­cil­i­ties and hous­ing de­vel­op­ments.

Per­haps re­flect­ing lo­cal anger, turnout was up nearly 10 per cent, al­though it was still the low­est in the four wards.

Alistair Ful­ton, whose elec­tion for the SNP meant they would emerge as the big­gest party, said:“That was nerve wrack­ing, I’m very re­lieved, but it is a great op­por­tu­nity to serve the peo­ple of Cam­bus­lang East.

“It’s go­ing to take the week­end to get over the shock, I am so happy.”

When asked if Cam­bus­lang East would get a high school, Katy Loudon said:“I hope so. It’s cer­tainly some­thing Clare Haughey has been cam­paign­ing on.

“I have been elected to serve the folk of Cam­bus­lang East and that is what I’m go­ing to do. Some dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions will have to be made and I will make sure their voices are heard.”

Wal­ter Bro­gan gained the most first pref­er­ence votes with 1,553 but his run­ning mate, Stu­art Gal­lacher, could only muster 134, mean­ing he was squeezed out.

Mr Bro­gan said:“On a per­sonal level I am de­lighted but I am dis­ap­pointed for Stu­art. He would have been a great help.

“We’ve spent 10 years build­ing this place up and now we need to make sure we keep that go­ing. We need that school, a med­i­cal cen­tre and in­fra­struc­ture. The most im­por­tant thing for me is to get more power for lo­cal coun­cil­lors in the com­mu­nity.”

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