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Glasgow East voters outline the big issues for the battleground seat

Glasgow East voters outline the big issues for the battleground seat

If Glasgow’s west side is its jewel in the crown, the city’s east side is portrayed more as a diamond in the rough.

It is a terrain with a difficult reputation and even more difficult problems awaiting the successful candidate.

Connie Lam, owner of Lams Cafe, wants residents to have a voice
Community Council’s Kiera Lambie says it’s all been about independence
Daytona Mills has always voted SNP

However, it is home to extremely proud residents and communities with a lot to offer.

And many Glasgow East voters who spoke to The Scottish Sun said they were red – ready to turn their backs on independence and switch from the SNP to Labour.

Businesswoman Connie Lam, 41, was among them. And she was fed up with hearing the area get a bad rap. The mother-of-two, who owns Lam’s Kitchen, said: “I want whoever is in power to show people what Easterhouse has to offer and give residents a voice.

“It has a very bad reputation, but the stigma is not fair.

“No matter what happens here, even if people are going through difficult times, everyone comes together around each other.

“I’ve always had faith in that. If anyone says anything bad about Easterhouse… I’m very proud and fiercely protective of the area.”

She listed tackling housing shortages and poverty as two of the top priorities for the new MP. Connie explained: “There is a big difference from ten years ago.

“I used to vote SNP. I was for independence. Now I’m not at all for the SNP.

Most read in The Scottish Sun

“If you lose faith in a party, you lose faith in everything else it stands for as well.

“I would lean towards the Labour Party.”

Meanwhile, in Baillieston and Shettleston, residents told of their hopes for better homes, employment opportunities and leisure activities.
Retired painter and decorator John Thomson, 70, a Shettleston resident for 55 years, joined Connie in switching to the Labour Party.

The grandfather of five admitted: “I haven’t voted for a long time but I probably will this time. It won’t be the Conservatives because that’s how I was brought up.

“It’s going to have to be Labour for me. I’ve voted SNP a few times and they’ve done nothing for me.

Battle War Bus as campaigning intensifies with week remaining until polling day

“Young people are having trouble finding work and teenagers have nothing to do.

“It is difficult for young people to get an apartment, with the lack of housing.

“These are all issues that need to be looked at.

“The main thing is that people here are still good people.”

Scaffolder Richard Milne, 63, born and raised in Shettleston, agrees his people deserve better opportunities — as well as better accommodation.
The father-of-three was keeping an open mind about who to vote for tomorrow but has leaned towards the Conservative candidate.

He explained: “The main thing is housing, but there is not enough housing.

“Poverty is also a real problem. We need more money invested in the local area. I haven’t decided who to vote for yet, but my preference right now is Thomas Kerr.

“I’ve always liked Thomas. I tried the SNP for three years. It didn’t work. But I’m open to anything because we definitely need change.”

THE SCOTTISH SUN SAYS

By Conor Matchett

IT’S been nine years since the Nats won all seven Glasgow seats – knocking out their rivals.

But polls suggest they could now be on the verge of losing every constituency in the city to a resurgent Labour Party determined to overturn its historic 2015 defeat.

Among the seats up for grabs, Glasgow East has been under SNP control since that election tsunami.

Although David Linden won in 2017 by just 75 votes from Labour’s Kate Watson — now a key part of Scottish leader Anas Sarwar’s backroom operation.

He is running again after winning a bitter internal battle with Alison Thewliss – an ally of Nats Commons chief whip Stephen Flynn.
But it is an area that has been hit hard by service cuts and a lack of social housing.

As rents rise, it becomes harder for people to survive.
And with some of the most deprived areas of Scotland within this constituency, it will take a lot to convince voters to back the Nats again.

Pollster Mark Diffley said the seat was still “all to play for” but “it’s swinging towards Labour”, represented by candidate John Grady.

The Diffley Partnership expert explained: “Before the SNP’s landslide victory in 2015, the seat was solidly Labour, with the party winning 62 per cent of the vote in 2010.

“Although Labour came within 100 votes of unseating the SNP in 2017, the SNP’s margin of victory returned to a more comfortable 5,500 in 2019.

“Given the recent significant shifts in national support from the SNP to Labour, this seat is very much on the radar of Keir Starmer’s party, which is hoping to regain it as part of its long-awaited comeback in central Scotland.

“This seat will be an important barometer of whether Labour’s recovery will actually materialise.”

Also present are Matthew James Clark (Lib Dems), Thomas Kerr (Conservative), Amy Kettyles (Greens), Liam McLaughlan (Scottish Socialist Party) and Donnie McLeod (Reform UK).

Gentjan Gruda, 44, whose family owns Fratello’s Italian restaurant in Shettleston, blamed the 2016 vote to leave the EU for many of the problems the country currently faces, including soaring prices.
Albanian-born father-of-two Gentjan, who moved to Scotland more than 20 years ago, said: “There is not enough investment in the area and there is not enough for young people to do.

“You can see the decline in the economy since Brexit. Everything is getting more expensive.”

Undecided voter Paul McFall, 49, argued that the needs of young people should be put first.

The owner of Impulse Dental Laboratory, who has a four-year-old son, explained: “They don’t have opportunities. There are no sports clubs or youth clubs.

“If there is, they are not able to pay the monthly fees.

“They are bored and have nothing to do. I would probably have considered the SNP before, but I’m not sure I would now. I don’t know who to vote for. I will vote, but it doesn’t seem to change anything. The parties only care about their own agendas.”

Fellow trader Lynn Struthers, 42, admitted feeling the pinch when new trading rates were introduced earlier this year.

The Baillieston mother-of-three – who owns Chapman’s Butcher’s, which her grandfather founded in 1933 – said: “It went from zero to £600 a month. That’s on top of our rent constantly increasing.”

But her biggest problem was parking. She explained: “Customers complain that there is no parking. If they can’t park outside the store, there is nowhere else for them to go.

“They go to Morrisons instead.”

And drugs remained a scourge in the community, according to finance worker Ian Murray, 66. But he feared whoever was elected would not act.

The two candidates in the race

WITH voters going to the polls tomorrow, Glasgow East looks set to be a two-way contest between the biggest parties.

Here, the SNP and Labour candidates set out why they should win – and where their rivals are going wrong.

David Linden, SNP

The Tories are finished in Scotland – but prospects will not improve under a Labour government led by Keir Starmer.

For 14 years, people in Glasgow East have been let down and ignored by cruel and incompetent Conservative governments who do not have Scotland’s priorities at heart.

With Labour threatening to make £18bn of cuts before it is even elected, the concept of an uncontested supermajority should be ringing alarm bells.

We know that under a Labour government we will continue to be forced to adopt a policy of austerity.

But voters in Scotland need not accept this in silence.
Voting SNP will protect the interests of our community, take a stand against austerity and give everyone who lives here the representation they deserve and need.

An SNP MP who will not hesitate to criticise any government if he thinks he can impose austerity through the back door.
I am committed to helping the people of Glasgow East.

John Grady, Labour

KNOCKING on doors in this area, it is clear that the people of Glasgow East are crying out for change.

Glasgow residents deserve better than this broken status quo where prices are rising.

Finding a decent home can seem like a distant dream and almost one in six Scots are on the NHS waiting list.

This rotten conservative government bet on the economy.
And it is families like those in Shettleston and Baillieston who are paying the price.

The only way Scots can ensure they oust the Tories and put Scottish MPs at the heart of the next government is by voting Labour tomorrow.

He groaned, “This place has become a dump. There are more drug addicts here than anywhere else.

“I worked with dementia for ten years as a caregiver. A little woman across the street doesn’t get paid anything. It makes me sick.

“For the last six years I have voted SNP. I have been a Labour member all my days but I prefer to be an independent now.

“There is no left or right.

“Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that all politicians are liars.”

But self-employed grandmother-of-three Janet Finlay, 63, was happy to back Labour.

She insisted: “Whoever is in power must help ordinary people. We are becoming poorer.”

In nearby Garrowhill, major problems included everything from litter and dog poo to the need for better traffic control and more vegetation care.

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These were the main complaints that emerged in a survey carried out by the community council.

Secretary and shop worker Daytona Mills said she had always voted National and was firmly in favour of leaving the UK – until recently.

Read more in the Scottish Sun

The 32-year-old mother-of-one admitted: “There are bigger issues to focus on, like the council’s education cuts. Even school lunches have gotten worse.”

Lawyer Kiera Lambie, 30, also a mother, agreed: “We need to look at issues that affect us personally rather than independence.”