Time for a change?

David Meikle
David Meikle

“VOTERS are most concerned by the basics; dog dirt, getting their bins emptied and getting the roads fixed”.

That’s the view of SNP candidate Stewart McDonald, who will be standing for election to the Linn ward of Glasgow city council on May 3, which encompasses much of Muriend, Kings Park and Cathcart.

Meanwhile, councillor Stephen Curran, a Labour man who will be campaigning for re-election in the Newlands/Auldhouse ward believes employment is the main issue for southsiders.

Hoping to build on the progress of the Commonwealth Jobs Fund, councillor Curran believes there is still a “real issue with jobs and training”.

“We are committed to creating 1,000 jobs a year for young people, graduates and over 50s”.

Although, in a bid to tackle dog fouling and anti-social behaviour, the Labour man has guaranteed an extra enforcement officer for each office, in the event of his party forming an administration.

Both Stewart McDonald and Pollokshields Conservative councillor David Meikle believe the Labour led council has had a “real issue with transparency”.

Councillor Meikle, who if elected is hoping to help influence the council to act on issues such as litter, potholes, speeding traffic and high council tax, told The Extra: “People will remember what has happened during the last five years.

“Labour has imploded in Glasgow and people won’t forget the Stephen Purcell scandal which impacted heavily on the council.

“There was a lack of investigation and a lack of action. The Labour party in Glasgow is in turmoil, riddled by backbiting, resignations and infighting”.

However Stewart McDonald believes people “already know about disarray within the Labour party and don’t need me to remind them.

“We will focus on a positive message and offer a different approach. We will listen and be accountable and that is something that hasn’t happened in Glasgow for 50 years.

“We will ensure the council no longer spends on extravagances.We will also open up the council to the ordinary punter, by creating a formal link with citizens by way of a city petitions committee”.

However, Stephen Curran downplayed recent troubles within the party, which saw five rebels vote against the administration’s budget and announce they will stand at the elections under the banner of Glasgow First in an attempt to pull voters from Labour.

Councillor Curran said: “This all came because of a decision to de-select candidates which meant some were disappointed, but the bar was set high.

“As a result, Labour now has a team of focused candidates, which is more active in community than ever before”.

An issue which continues to occupy the minds of voters is the issue of Shawlands town centre.

Although an action plan is now progressing, locals still feel more needs to be done to invest in the area.

Mr Meikle argued: “The southside should no longer be ignored in terms of resources and projects. It is important that money needs to be pushed towards Shawlands to finalise the town action plan, invest in pavements and street lighting, cut business rates and revitalise the town centre”.

Stewart McDonald believes more needs to be done to ensure Shawlands becomes “a natural competitor to the westend”.

“We need to look at why shops are shutting and look at how the local authority can help”.

As for Stephen Curran, he thinks the priority is to ensure Shawlands becomes “more than a night-time centre”.

“We need to change the nature of Shawlands, to make sure its clean and safe”.

A further issue on Mr Curran’s agenda in the run up to the election is nursery provision, as the former Holyrood candidate wants to ensure young children have access to nursery places earlier.

Meanwhile, Mr McDonald is focusing his efforts on working towards a “proper integrated health and social care strategy for Glasgow where the needs of people , families and carers are taken into account”.

Voters in the southside of Glasgow will be asked to elect representatives on May 3, in what councillor Meikle describes as “the first Glasgow city council election in 30 years with a realistic chance for change”.