Monday, 27 April 2009
The SNP have announced that they will continue their support for Glasgow parents and children by making the school closure issue a central plank of their by-election campaign.
Martin Docherty, a Policy Development Officer with West Dunbartonshire Community Services been selected as the "SNP - Save Glasgow Schools" candidate and will ask the people of Drumchapel/Anniesland Ward to give their verdict on the schools issue and show solidarity with parents across Glasgow.
Speaking from Drumchapel as the SNP kicked off their campaign Mr Docherty said: "Although no schools in this particular ward were part of the closure programme I think people here were as sickened as those affected by the shambles of a consultation and the refusal of the Labour Group to even listen to the people they are supposed to represent. I am saddened by the arrogance of Labour Councillors who believe that people will have forgotten all about it by the time of the next election.
"I imagine they didn't reckon on one of those elections taking place quite so soon and I'm calling on the people of Drumchapel and Anniesland to wipe the smiles off their faces and show the Labour group that they can no longer treat people like that and expect to get away with it."
The by election is a result of the decision by SNP MSP Bill Kidd who was also a Councillor to stand down and force an early verdict on school closures.
Mr Kidd said: "The whole Labour Group has let itself down badly over the schools issue but the architects of the plan and therefore the two biggest culprits are Labour Group leader Stephen Purcell and Executive Member for Education Johnathon Findlay who are both Councillors in this ward.
"I have decided to put the spotlight on these two and resigning and forcing a by-election will do just that. Having an “SNP - Save Glasgow Schools” candidate will ensure this issue remains high on the agenda."
Mr Docherty said voting for him wasn't just about supporting other parents and he warned that local parents may find they have their own campaign to fight in the near future.
"It would seem that grade C and D schools are next on their hit list which would affect Blairdardie and Stonedyke Primaries within the ward. Labour has allowed these schools to get into the conditions they are in and simply bulldozing through closures is not acceptable.
They have to conduct consultations in a meaningful manner with transparency and with a listening ear. That hasn't happened here - just the opposite - and I have no confidence that parents of schools in this ward will be treated any better by Labour."
He added that this would not be a single issue campaign and many other issues would be highlighted including the failure of the Council to improve Drumchapel Shopping Centre and the need to protect the local voluntary sector from further cuts by Labour.
SNP Council Group Leader James Dornan said every SNP Councillor would be campaigning on the doorsteps in Drumchapel: "We are proud of our record as a group on this. We, along with SNP MSPs, have stood shoulder to shoulder with the parents right from day one. Our record is exemplary. I'll be interested to see how many of the Labour Councillors are prepared to knock on those doors and defend their actions."