Tag Archives: edinburgh west

The day Tim Farron cooked my breakfast

Eighteen years ago today, at around 5:30 in the morning, I was being wheeled back to the ward with my new baby. Try as I might, I couldn’t sleep because I was too besotted to take my eyes off the gorgeous bundle in the little hospital cot.

At that time this morning, I was hitting the M8 to drive into Edinburgh. What could I possibly be doing at a cafe in Corstorphine at 6 am with Edinburgh Western MP Alex Cole-Hamilton and Edinburgh West Lib Dem candidate Christine Jardine?

The answer duly emerged – after a slight detour for this vehicle. There are, apparently, two establishments called Cafe Vigo in Edinburgh and, you guessed it, they went to the wrong one.

Tim was kicking off a tour of key seats in Edinburgh West, one of the best prospects for a gain on Thursday. He later went to another – East Dunbartonshire.

They disappeared into the kitchen surrounded by a gaggle of hungry journalists.

Tim made fried egg rolls, Christine made bacon rolls. And they were good, too. I had a fried egg one. Normally, I like them with a softer yolk, but it was just as well this one a tad over-cooked to avoid mess.

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Edinburgh West profile: Labour candidate accepts that voters will vote tactically to defeat the SNP

Radio 4’s PM programme covered Edinburgh West the other night and the profile was surprising in some ways. The Labour candidate, Mandy Telford, was pretty candid about tactical voting to stop the SNP:

Labour is out there fighting for every vote but ultimately we are dead set against the SNP and their desire to have an unwanted second divisive independence referendum. That’s the message we are getting back on the doorsteps very strongly. People will use their votes in whatever way they want to defeat the SNP.

It’s a cleverly crafted comment. She’s obviously not endorsing any other candidate but she’s summed up the reality of the situation on the ground pretty well.

People want a decent MP who will champion what is important to them and fight their corner. In Edinburgh West they know that Lib Dems deliver on that score. They are also highly motivated to get the SNP and to do whatever it takes to do so. Here and elsewhere I have been staggered by the intensity of people’s desire to see the back of the nationalists for all sorts of reasons. It’s primarily independence, but they are also sick fed up of falling school standards and an NHS lurching from one crisis to another.

Our Christine Jardine had this to say.

People are looking for the party who are more likely to beat the SNP and in this election stopping that independence bandwagon is the most important thing.

Conservative and Labour voters recognise it’s the Liberal Democrats who can beat the SNP.

That was certainly backed up by two Tory voters who were interviewed saying that they were voting Lib Dem.

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Canvassing in the sunshine

The idea of knocking on strangers’ doors and asking them how to vote can be a bit daunting. Even those of us who are experienced at it can feel a bit nervous about doing it sometimes – but the good news is that as soon as you are out and you have knocked on a few doors, you really start to enjoy it.

Last night I headed out for my first big canvassing session with the fantastic Edinburgh West team.

We were in an area of the constituency which is not part of Alex Cole-Hamilton’s Scottish Parliament seat. It was a beautiful evening, with warm sunshine and pink cherry blossom. It’s an area where we have in the past successfully persuaded people who support other parties to vote tactically for us. With the Tories surging in Scotland, would they still be willing to do so?

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In pictures: Tim Farron in Edinburgh West tonight

Tim Farron has been in Scotland today. He started off this morning in East Dunbartonshire with Jo Swinson, went on to North East Fife with Willie Rennie and local candidate Elizabeth Riches and ended the day in Edinburgh West, at Davidson’s Mains Primary School in the Almond Ward with Alex Cole-Hamilton and Christine Jardine. As Alex pointed out in his speech, 13 months ago, that area had no Liberal Democrat representation. Thanks to the power of that #libdemfightback, we now have an MSP and Cllrs Kevin Lang and Louise Young elected with a massive majority.

I was there, for the first time in a long time doing duty as a Lib Dem diamond bearer behind the leader as he spoke to a crowd of around 100 activists.

The advance team spent a while getting us in the right position for the camera shots and got us to practice our cheering.

Then we saw The Bus reversing down the narrow school lane.

And then he was here.

Alex and Christine spoke first and then Tim delivered what in the West Wing would be called “modified stump” – our basic pitch with embellishments for topical events (immigration targets today) and venue). It’s absolutely bang on.

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Rennie, Cole-Hamilton and Campbell launch Christine Jardine’s campaign to take back Edinburgh West

You know that wonderful post-election Saturday morning feeling, that you can lie in bed for a bit longer and you don’t have to rush off and do anything? When you can lie about all day reading trashy novels and drinking gin and tonic in the sunshine?

Well, it will be lovely when we get it in 5 weeks’ time.

Today, we had to drag our weary limbs out of bed sooner than we would have liked and head out campaigning.

In my case, it was to the Edinburgh West campaign launch. Regular readers will know that last week, the Edinburgh West campaign moved into the old SNP office next door to what is now Alex Cole-Hamilton’s constituency office.

Some considerable pleasure was taken in removing the giant poster of Nicola Sturgeon on the window. It has now been replaced with this:

So, this morning the office was jam packed with party members, including our new councillors Kevin Lang, Louise Young and Hal Osler, a film crew making the party election broadcast, a bunch of photographers and Tom Gordon, political editor of the Sunday Herald.

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It’s the knitwear election in Edinburgh West

People say that the election in Scotland is pretty hostile. They are right a lot of the time, but in Edinburgh West, where Mike Crockart’s campaign HQ is next door to the SNP base, things are much more civilised, as this Twitter exchange between Mike’s campaign manager and the SNP candidate Michelle Thompson shows:

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Mike Crockart retiring? Errr, no…

Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Crockart, elected as MP in 2010, has been quick to emphasise that he is standing again for Parliament after a letter sent round by his SNP opponent Michelle Thompson, who was once his boss at finance firm Standard Life, referred to him as the “retiring MP.” She says she didn’t mean to imply that he wasn’t standing. The Evening News has the story:

But Mr Crockart – who worked under Ms Thomson at Standard Life around 15 years ago – said he would fight for re-election on May 7 and blasted the document as “misleading”.

It is the latest spat in a fight that has seen the contenders open campaign offices right next to each other – with Mr Crockart putting up a window display taunting his opponent.
He has also demanded Ms Thomson “correct the mistake” in her letter and ensure nothing else is published with similarly “inaccurate” information.

Mr Crockart was elected as constituency MP five years ago with a majority of 3803 over Labour. He said: “It has been brought to my attention that the SNP candidate for Edinburgh West recently sent a letter to voters across Edinburgh which twice referred to me as ‘the retiring MP’.

“I want to categorically state that I am not retiring. I am fighting this election and intend to be returned as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh West on May 7.

“Whilst I am sure that this poorly chosen phrase has ­simply been misused, I am concerned that the many voters who received this letter could be misled into believing that I am retiring and standing down at this election.”

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Unmasked: The “tall young man” in the Liberal Democrat office

The Guardian has a report today on Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to the SNP office in Edinburgh West – which just happens to be right next door to the Liberal Democrat campaign office on one of the busiest roads in Edinburgh.

SNP supporters from the city and beyond had come to greet Nicola after her excellent performance in the leaders’ debate on Thursday. Severin Carrell, the journalist who wrote the article, alluded to the contrast with the quietness of Mike Crockart’s campaign office where only four people were to be found and made a number of very flawed conclusions about the party’s prospects in Edinburgh West:

But now, to add to the Lib Dems’ discomfort, the SNP’s campaign headquarters is in the old Yes Scotland shop immediately next door to Crockart’s high street office.

And protected behind a privacy screen, four Lib Dem workers stoically continued working away on their campaign, as scores of raucous SNP supporters, their saltires, SNP placards and balloons above their heads, greeted Sturgeon’s arrival.

Crockart was away at a meeting. A tall young man in his subdued office seemed to shrug off the contrast. Were they flustered by the huge crowds outside? “Not really. We had it during the referendum. It’s fine. It’s democracy,” he said.

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Lib Dem MP John Barrett to stand down at general election

Here’s how The Scotsman reports it:

EDINBURGH West Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett is to quit at the next general election. After eight years in the Commons he said he wanted a change and to spend more time in Edinburgh. He was due to tell local party members of his decision at a special meeting this afternoon.

He said: “I’m now 55 and if I do the rest of this term and another one, I’m going to be 60. My health is good and I’m definitely not planning on retiring – but I would like to do something else.” Mr Barrett said it was the right time for himself and for the local party for him to move on. He said: “The constituency is in fine fettle. I had a majority of 13,600 at the last general election, the second largest Lib Dem majority in the whole of the UK after Charles Kennedy – and I always think in politics it’s good to go out at the top.”

Mr Barrett has two grandchildren living in Edinburgh, one of whom is disabled, and he said he wanted to have more time for them. But he pledged there would be no let-up in his efforts between now and the general election. “I will be working flat out for the next year doing everything I have done for the last eight years,” he said.

Lib Dem bloggers have already paid their tributes to John’s work:

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PPC News: Edinburgh West & Bexhill and Battle

Congratulations to John Barrett MP, re-selected to fight the seat next time round, and also to Mary Varrall who has been selected to take another shot at Bexhill and Battle.

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