Candidates seek your votes in Langside by-election

Stock ballot box image
Stock ballot box image

Langside is one of four wards to be contested in by-elections next Thursday (August 6).

The southside ward will vote alongside Craigton, Calton, and Anderston City to elect a new council representative, following the resignation of Green councillor Liam Hainey.

Eileen Dinning will contest for the Scottish Labour Party, Ian Leech for the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Will Millinship for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Cailean Mongan is standing for UKIP, Robert Pollock for the Scottish Greens and Anna Richardson for SNP, while Kyle Thornton will represent the Scottish Conservatives.

We asked candidates to share their statements ahead of next week’s vote.

Anna Richardson, SNP

As a southsider I grew up in this area and have chosen to make Langside my family’s home.

My three children attend the local school and nursery, and I’m an active participant in this diverse, welcoming community.

I’ve worked in local government and HR, but in recent years have been busy raising my family and working part-time for a national parenting charity.

Langside is a great place to live but a lot more could be done to improve local services and facilities. I’m passionate about creating safer neighbourhoods for us all; pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike, and taking care of our public spaces and parks.

We’re fortunate to have good local shops but these businesses need support if they are to thrive, especially those affected by the closure of the Victoria Infirmary. I care deeply about education services and will ensure resources are sought to maintain schools and improve local early years provision. Childcare must be accessible and affordable to allow parents to balance work and family, and I will make this a priority.

Many local residents- including those with illnesses and disabilities- and their carers, struggle at the receiving end of cuts to social care services. I’ll work hard to secure the services and support they need.

If elected I’ll join SNP colleagues in the City Chambers to give the people of Langside and Glasgow more of a say in the decisions that affect them. I will listen and take forward the issues that matter to our communities.

It’s time for a positive change for Glasgow. It’s time to give Glasgow back to the people.

Robert Pollock, Scottish Greens

I’ve lived in the ward for 15 years and was co-chair of Mount Florida Community Council. I’ve worked in community regeneration, transport and renewables at senior levels.

We should maintain Scottish Green Party representation in Langside, a ward with three councillors. Labour and the SNP are represented. Unfortunately Liam Hainey, the only Green councillor on Glasgow’s southside, had to resign for health reasons.

I’m proud to live here but pressing issues need addressed.

I’ll work for more services to be delivered at the New Victoria. The Small Injuries Unit needs enhanced and doctors should be available 24/7. Current arrangements are inadequate and ensure most people have to journey to the new Southern Hospital.

I’ll work to ensure that the re-development of the old Victoria site is in the community’s interest. This site can be a great opportunity for investment in housing, recreation and sustainable transport at the heart of our community, rather than a liability. The obsession with city centre shops and malls at the expense of local businesses must end.

The closure of the Victoria Hospital has affected many local retailers and many people despair at the appearance of our streets. I’ll work to ensure the council creates a plan for local shops in partnership with local business and our community.

Cuts have meant fewer staff delivering public services. This has harmed service quality and employee wellbeing. I’ll challenge the logic of redundancy, real term wage cuts and increasing workloads.

While recognising the great community work Queen’s Park FC does, let’s build on having Hampden, the national stadium, in our ward.I’ll work to enhance the quality of public spaces, transport, cycle routes and expand recreation options.

Kyle Thornton, Scottish Conservatives

I’m standing in this local by-election as I believe Langside ward needs a councillor who will stand up for the things that really matter.

There are real issues that need to be looked at such as the poor condition of the roads, the continuing parking problems, bus services to the new hospital and ensuring a proper redevelopment of the Victoria Infirmary.

If I am elected, I will look to make a real difference for local people on all of these issues. I will also hold the council to account on how they spend your money, ensuring it is spent on vital services not on vanity projects.

However, I’m also standing to offer a political change here in Langside. Our Labour council are more out of touch by the day and the SNP are simply too concerned with independence to bother to solve the real problems we have in Scotland’s NHS, schools or police.

This by-election is a chance to let Labour and the SNP know you want change — and in Langside ward, only the Scottish Conservatives can offer that change.

If elected, I’ll do my best to make a real difference for local people. I pledge to keep you informed of what is happening in the local area by delivering a regular newsletter and I will do my best to meet with local community groups whenever I can. I will also try to be as available as possible by e-mail, phone and social media.

I will work with your MSP Ruth Davidson and the Glasgow Conservative team to deliver on the things that matter to you.

King’s Park, Mount Florida, Langside and Battlefield need a champion in the city chambers — to be that champion, I need your first preference vote on August 6.

Cailean Mongan, UKIP

Like many, I felt that my choices in the 2015 general election were badly compromised.

My family were Labour voters until Labour sold us out. I completely sympathise with those forced into a political wilderness and still believe in Scotland and the United Kingdom.

I also never considered UKIP.

But the epiphany came when I read the UKIP manifesto. Until that moment, my perception had been that the party represented the very rich with nothing much for the working class people like me. I was wrong.  

Likewise, the other main parties had been successful in implanting false misconceptions about UKIP. The truth is that UKIP has many ethnic minority members and candidates, several of our top people are women and our leader in Scotland, David Coburn MEP, is openly gay — and for the record so am I. I am also a proud member of LGBT UKIP.

Now, standing as a councillor in Langside, I am again revelling in UKIP’s common sense principles.

Unlike my opposition, UKIP allows me as a prospective councillor to put the needs of community before the will of the party. That’s a free hand to do the right thing in local matters and you might suppose that’s what all councillors do, but no: often their party’s objective comes before constituents’ wishes.

On grounds of morality, I couldn’t stand for a different party. The response I have received on the doorstep while canvassing in Langside has been fantastic.

So, with a renewed optimism in politics, having found a party awash with values and constructive policies including education, healthcare, pensions and child care and the removal of the bedroom tax, I have found the ‘real opposition’. I urge you to explore the party’s principles. Or you may prefer to message me on Facebook at Cailean Mongan UKIP.

Eileen Dinning, Scottish Labour

I’ve lived on the southside all my life – educated in Langside Primary and Shawlands Academy and got my first Saturday job at the Coop in Shawlands.

The injustices and unfair treatment of people that angered me to join Labour when Thatcher was Prime Minister still anger me today.

I live my Labour values in my working life as a trade union equalities officer ensuring that people are treated fairly and with respect at work.

I’m standing as a candidate at a difficult time.

Times are hard for Councils across Scotland because the SNP Government in Holyrood is choosing to pass on cuts to councils rather than protect services.

I’m clear though that the Labour administration on Glasgow City Council has delivered an anti austerity project by investing £2.7 million in primary education in the Langside Ward and through the City Deal, which will bring £1.13billion and 28,000 permanent jobs to the region, as well as 15,000 construction jobs.

Langside needs a strong and confident voice to fight for a clean and safe environment and for an increased investment from the SNP government for local colleges for our young people. I will also be fighting for more council nursery school places.

Let me continue that work and vote Labour on 6 August.

Ian Leech, Scottish TU and Socialist Coalition

I’m standing as the 100 per cent anti austerity socialist candidate opposed to all cuts.

This year the Labour council voted through £29 million worth of cuts.

The cuts include £2.5 million cuts from addiction, disability and homeless budgets. There were savage attacks on mental health services, housing support to older people, the ending of social work community development, the closure of two day centres for learning disability and an increase in the cost of school meals.

This is on top of over £200m in cuts in the last five years and 4,000 job losses.

There is huge anger at Labour over the cuts but where was the opposition inside the council chamber? The SNP and Green groups on Glasgow council have put forward alternative cuts budgets each year since 2012.

Labour recently put forward an £800,000 cut to the Glasgow Association of Mental Health. The SNP’s response was to argue for a £600,000 cut for GAMH – a 30% cut rather than the 40% called for by Labour.

My union suggested using some of the council’s reserves and borrowing powers to meet the £29m “gap” for 2015/16. This would allow the time and space to build a mass campaign of elected members, trade unions, user groups and local communities with the objective of winning more money from national government, especially in light of the £400M Scottish Government underspend. Glasgow’s politicians have a choice — make the cuts or do not and they have chosen to make the cut. It’s time to end this grotesque game of pass the parcel and elect a candidate with a record of fighting the cuts tooth and nail in the workplace and the communities

Will Millinship, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Where to begin? “Hello”, I guess. Hello! I’m Will Millinship and I’m standing for the Lib Dems in the coming Langside by-election.

Little bit about me: I am 33 years old and my day job is an insurance claims handler - I’m that guy you ring when your house has flooded, been broken into or simply if you’ve dropped your smartphone down a flight of stairs.

Working in the job I do keeps me grounded in the simple fact of life that it’s the little things in life that matter, and it’s the little things that are often overlooked.

As candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Langside, I have been struck by the passion for community matters in Langside, Battlefield, Mount Florida and King’s Park.

Every conversation on every doorstep has told a different story, be it the bin collections, the state of our pavements, the local transport issues and speeding along busy roads, and I want to be the councillor who makes a difference.

I want our street bins emptied more often. I want to see speed controls on Mount Annan Avenue to make it safer.

I want more buses down Cathcart Road and Kings Park Avenue. I want the bus companies to be open about their fare structure – exactly how far can you travel on a “short hop”? The much-missed City Sprinter buses were open about their fares – I’d like to see other bus companies follow their lead.

In short, I live locally, I care about the area, and whilst Langside is a great place to live, I want to make it better.