Voter to Jo Swinson: “We’ve missed you”

The New Statesman has a profile of the East Dunbartonshire seat where Jo Swinson is hoping to regain the seat she lost to the SNP in 2015.

It’s clear that she is held in great affection by the voters:

The Liberal Democrat candidate is happy to play on her personal connection to the constituency where she was raised. This election has come so soon after the last one, at which Swinson lost the seat to the SNP, that she can run on her record. She had a reputation as a hard-working local representative, and voters seem to have retained a remarkable fondness for her. One young mum I encounter confirms Swinson has her vote, and then adds: “I feel connected to you. We’ve missed you.”

Another supporter admits that Swinson’s personality is swaying her choice. She dismisses sitting MP John Nicolson – “I don’t like him. Jo did more for us” – before turning to Swinson and softly saying: “I’m so glad you’re back.”

It’s impossible to tell if there are tears in Swinson’s eyes as she steps away from the doorstep, or just drops from the relentless rain. “When you’ve lost your seat and you know you worked hard, you know it’s not personal,” she says. “But still it’s nice when people actually say stuff like that and confirm it.”

And the New Statesman is on to the SNP’s spurious claims (which they are making in Edinburgh West and North East Fife too) that it’s the Tories that are their main opposition. 

The SNP are talking up the Tories in the hope they can split the unionist vote and let Nicolson win again. His majority of just over 2,000 is one of the smallest among the Nats, who all but swept the board in Scotland in 2015. The Lib Dems are convinced that had the Conservatives soft-pedalled back then, they could have won over more voters and kept Swinson in.

Jo’s a veteran of four campaigns in East Dunbartonshire and this feels better even than when she first won the seat in 2005:

“I wasn’t able to corral votes to stop Labour in 2005 like I’ve been able to corral votes to stop the SNP at this election,” she says. “Two years ago people hadn’t experienced what it’s like having 56 of the 59 Scottish seats represented by the SNP and how that feels like a one-party state. That’s uncomfortable for the 55 per cent of people who don’t back them. You saw in the 2016 Scottish elections, people got savvy and we saw some pretty sophisticated tactical voting.”

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  • The quote I love from this article is Nicolson saying he thinks people will be put off by all the leaflets the LibDems are delivering. If that’s the worst he can say about us….

  • Squeezing the Tory vote in 2005 was awful. We went out again and again in places like Lenzie and they just kept voting Tory.

    We got enough to win, but that vote was so hard to squeeze. This year, it’s a completely different story.

  • Richard Fagence 7th Jun '17 - 11:04pm

    I’m with the young mum quoted above; I’ve missed Jo Swinson in Parliament, too. And I live in Berkshire.

  • Carol-Anne McLean 8th Jun '17 - 10:04pm

    Hi Jo just wanted to say good luck, l feel you’re going to do it tonifgt in fact
    I know it

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