Best of enemies?

A PAIR of unlikely bedfellows joined together this week to fight for the union.

Labour councillors Ian McAlpine and Jim Fletcher were side by side with Conservative rival Jim Swift as they lobbied locals at the Broom shops in Newton Mearns.

Although Labour formed an administration with the SNP group in East Renfrewshire, Newton Mearns south representative Ian McAlpine believes the campaign may make the coalition difficult.

He said: “It’s going to be tricky from now till 2014 and the relationship could become strained at points. At the time of negotiating the administration, we wanted to get the deal done and worry about the campaign when it came around.

“Hopefully we can all keep the two issues seperate without splitting the coalition.

“It is strange campaigning with somebody who has been a bitter rival. Usually we are at each other’s throats but now friends together, it was strange for both me and councillor Swift”.

However, Giffnock and Thornliebank SNP councillor Vincent Waters is positive about the future of the coalition.

He told The Extra: “I don’t believe the opposing campaigns will create any tension. The administration’s focus is East Renfrewshire and that’s it.

“In terms of the manifesto both parties stood on, we were similar in local government policy areas. Nothing will change because of the campaign. I expect no difference in the relationship between 20 councillors. We all have different opinions about the issue, and that’s fine.

“Labour and Conservative are free to put their view forward but I think they will struggle to campaign together. I doubt they will enjoy the experience and I am sure the councillors will feel uncomfortable.

“The campaign for a yes vote in East Renfrewshire will be run by Yes Scotland, not the SNP. There are loads of people with no political background involved.

“The response from local people so far has been really positive”.

Newton Mearns south Conservative councillor Jim Swift added: “We are better together. Independence is a one way ticket to a very uncertain future”.