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Election 2024: Glasgow East voters outline the big issues for the battleground seat

Election 2024: Glasgow East voters outline the big issues for the battleground seat

IF Glasgow’s west end is its crown jewel, the east of the city is portrayed as more of a rough diamond.

It’s a patch with a tough reputation and even tougher problems awaiting the successful candidate.

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Connie Lam, who owns the Lams Cafe, wants residents to be given a voice

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Kiera Lambie, of the Community Council, says it’s all been about independence

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Daytona Mills has always voted SNP

Yet it’s home to fiercely proud residents and communities with plenty to offer.

And many Glasgow East voters who chatted to The Scottish Sun claimed to be seeing red — ready to turn their back on independence and flip from SNP to Labour.

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

“It’s got such a bad name but the stigma isn’t fair.

“No matter what happens here, even if people are going through a tough time, everybody rallies around each other.

“I’ve always had faith in it. If anybody bad-mouths Easterhouse . . . I’m so proud and fiercely protective of the area.”

She listed tackling housing shortages and poverty as the two big priorities for the incoming MP. Connie explained: “There’s a big difference from ten years ago.

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

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“If you lose faith in a party, you lose faith in everything else they stand for as well.

“It’s Labour I’d lean towards.”

Meanwhile, in Baillieston and Shettleston, residents told of their hopes for better homes, job opportunities and leisure activities.
Retired painter and decorator John Thomson, 70, a resident of Shettleston for 55 years, joined Connie in leaning towards Labour.

The grandad of five admitted: “I’ve not voted for quite a long time but I probably will this time. It won’t be the Tories because that’s the way I’ve been brought up.

“It’ll need to be Labour for me. I voted SNP a few times and they’ve not done anything for me.

War of the Battle Buses as campaigning ramps up with week to go till polling day

“Youngsters are finding it hard to find work and teenagers don’t have anything to do.

“It’s hard for young people to get a flat, with the lack of housing.

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

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

Shettleston born-and-bred scaffolder Richard Milne, 63, agreed his people deserve better opportunities — plus better accommodation.
The dad of three was keeping an open mind on who to vote for tomorrow but leaned towards the Tory hopeful.

He explained: “The main thing is housing – there’s not enough of it.

“Poverty is also a real issue. We need more money to put into the local area. I’ve not decided who to vote for yet but my preference right now is Thomas Kerr.

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

THE SCOTTISH SUN SAYS

By Conor Matchett

IT’S now nine years since Nats claimed all seven Glasgow seats — wiping out their rivals.

But polls suggest they could now be set to lose all the city’s constituencies to a resurgent Labour intent on reversing that historic defeat of 2015.

Among the battleground seats, Glasgow East has been held by the SNP since that electoral tsunami.

Albeit 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 stands again after winning a bitter internal fight with Alison Thewliss — an ally of Nats’ Commons chief 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 is becoming harder for people to get by.
And with some of Scotland’s most deprived areas within this constituency, it will take a lot to convince voters to back the Nats again.

Pollster Mark Diffley said it was still “all to play for” in the seat but it was “leaning Labour”, which is represented by candidate John Grady.

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

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

“Given the significant recent national swings in support from the SNP to Labour, this seat is very much on the radar for Keir Starmer’s party who will expect to win the seat back as part of its anticipated revival across Scotland’s central belt.

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

Also standing 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 Shettleston Italian takeaway Fratello’s, blamed the 2016 vote to leave the EU for many of the problems facing the country now, including rocketing prices.
Albania-born father-of-two Gentjan, who moved to Scotland more than 20 years ago, said: “There’s not enough investment in the area and 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 young people’s needs should be put first.

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

“If there are any, they can’t afford to pay the memberships.

“They’re bored and have nothing to do. I’d probably have considered SNP before but I’m not sure I would now. I don’t know who to vote for. I will vote but it feels like it won’t change anything. Parties only care about their own agenda.”

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

The Baillieston mother of three — owner of Chapman’s Butcher’s, founded by her grandad in 1933 — argued: “It went from zero to £600 a month. That’s over and above our rent constantly increasing.”

But her biggest bugbear was parking. She explained: “Customers complain there isn’t a car park. If they can’t get parked outside the shop there’s nowhere else they can 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 is elected will fail to act.

The two candidates in the running

WITH voters heading to the polls tomorrow, Glasgow East looks to be a two-way fight 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 get any better under Keir Starmer’s Labour.

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

With Labour threatening £18billion in cuts before they’ve even been elected, the concept of an unchallenged supermajority should be sending warning bells.

We know that under Labour we will have continued austerity forced upon us.

But voters in Scotland don’t need to just quietly accept this.
A vote for the SNP will protect the interests of our community, stand up against austerity and give everyone who lives here the representation they deserve and need.

An SNP MP who will not shy away from taking any government to task if they think they can slide austerity in through the back door.
I am committed to delivering for the people of Glasgow East.

John Grady, Labour

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

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

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

This rotten Conservative government has gambled with the economy.
And it’s families like those in Shettleston and Baillieston who are paying the price.

The only way for Scots to make sure they boot out the Tories and put Scottish MPs at the heart of the next government is by voting for Labour tomorrow.

He moaned: “This place has become a dump. There’s more drug addicts here than anything else.

“I worked in dementia for ten years as a carer. A wee woman across the road from me gets nothing. It makes me sick.

“Over the last six years I’ve voted SNP. I was Labour all my days but I’d rather be independent now.

“There’s no left and no right.

“Anybody with an ounce of sense can see politicians are all liars.”

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

She insisted: “Whoever is in power should help the common people. We’re getting poorer.”

In nearby Garrowhill, the big issues included everything from litter and dog poo, to the need for better traffic control and greater care of greenery.

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Those were the key gripes that emerged in a survey conducted by the community council.

Secretary and shop worker Daytona Mills told how she’d always voted Nats and was firmly in favour of exiting the UK — until recently.

Read more on the Scottish Sun

The 32-year-old mum of one admitted: “There’s bigger issues to focus on, such as the council’s education cuts. Even school lunches have gone downhill.”

Solicitor Kiera Lambie, 30, also a mum, agreed: “We need to look at issues impacting us personally rather than independence.”