Candidate statements — Glasgow South

The Extra asked candidates to share their final bid for votes ahead of the polls opening — here are the statements from Glasgow South.

Stewart McDonald, SNP

I’m standing in this election because I want to make the southside of Glasgow a better place.

I was born in Castlemilk, and have spent most of my adult life here in the southside — and I won’t be going

anywhere else.

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It’s a vibrant and diverse community, both in terms of the people that live here, and also the shops and cafés you’ll see me in at the weekends.

I know the southside will do well when there are more SNP MPs at Westminster, arguing our corner, ensuring we have the powers required to make people’s lives better — SNP MPs will vote to end austerity, the cuts, and the bedroom tax.

We’ll compliment the work already undertaken by the Scottish Government to make real jobs the basis of a fairer recovery: voting to increase the minimum wage to £8.70, and clamping down on the zero-hours contracts that keep so many working in poverty.

We can afford to do this because I will also be voting to scrap the multi-billion pound Trident nuclear weapons system, and to take a harder line on those companies and people who cost the economy billions in tax each year.

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Finally, scrapping the unelected House of Lords will allow us to spend the savings wisely.

I want to be an MP who is visible and accessible to my constituents - one of the first things I would do is to open a shop at a prominent location in the Southside so people can come in and see that their MP is one who listens to and understands their concerns.

Today, many people will be voting SNP for the first time — I want to thank them, and everyone else for taking part in what has been a good-natured campaign here in Glasgow South.

Ewan Hoyle, Scottish Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have never been a party that could take power for granted.

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We don’t have a wealthy base or a union base that we know will always turn out for us. We have to work very hard in order to earn the opportunity to influence at the highest level in politics.

In 2010 we were suddenly in a position where that hard work had presented us with a poisoned chalice. We had to ask ourselves whether we could enter coalition with the Conservatives in order to ensure political stability at a time of economic chaos.

Ultimately we had to choose between the long term interests of our country and the short term interests of our party.

I’m glad we put the country first. I’m glad that Britain is recovering steadily after a time of great difficulty. I’m glad that our influence in government meant the lowest earners got a tax cut while we closed loopholes and ramped up prosecutions to tackle tax avoidance and evasion by the greediest rich.

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Placing ourselves between the Tories and the most vulnerable in society has been an incredibly bruising experience, and with Labour saying they will be tougher on benefits that the Tories, it looks like many people will need us to perform the same role again with a different coalition partner.

We remain the only party that will examine the facts on issues like drug policy and mental health, and show determination to break through the stigma, to place these issues centre stage.

We are the party that can reach across divides, and calmly refuse to demonise. I think deep down, you know that Scotland needs the Liberal Democrats now more than ever.

Alastair Whitelaw, Scottish Greens

There are five vital issues in this election. Equality not poverty: the coalition’s austerity policy in reality means austerity for the poorest and weakest in society and tax cuts for the rich, as the escalation in foodbank use shows.

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The Greens want a £10/hr minimum wage; a citizens’ income scheme; and fair, redistributive taxation with a crackdown on tax avoidance. Public services in public hands: we support renationalising the railways and utilities.

It’s vital the NHS be saved from privatisation. Contracting services out means public money going to private profit. We will resist the corporate power grab. Power to communities: this election will show up the shortcomings of our electoral system.

We need proportional representation for all elections, and an elected House of Lords.

We support extended devolution to Scotland and importantly, stronger local government.

All other parties are deeply centralist.

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Action on climate change: Westminster and Holyrood have a disgraceful record here and other parties refused even to address the environment in this election.

We must invest urgently in renewable energy, home insulation and improved public transport (in 30-50 years a private car will be an unbelievable luxury). Scotland’s economy is over-reliant on oil and we for years have been pointing out the need to diversify both the economy and energy production.

Peace and disarmament: the Greens are totally opposed to nuclear weapons and to Trident renewal. We would reduce military spending and leave NATO since it is a nuclear club.

This also means “de-militarising” the economy so that public money can be spent more constructively.

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We strongly support peace — keeping via the United Nations and international humanitarian effort.

A vote for me is a vote for a fair and humane society and for maintaining quality of life in a habitable world for future generations.

Tom Harris, Scottish Labour

There are plenty of people around who want you to feel cynical about politics, who will tell you “they’re all the same” and “it’s not worth voting for any of them”.

In fact, that’s the biggest lie of them all. Politics, one way or another, makes a difference. The government we elect on Thursday will change people’s lives, either in a good way or a bad way.

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And to those who claim that the last Labour government didn’t change anything, I would say: look at the facts. How many people realise, for example, that the last Labour government trebled spending on the NHS. That’s right — because a Labour government was elected in 1997, spending on health increased by 200 per cent. And those aren’t just numbers — they resulted in lives being saved, in lives being transformed.

That’s how politics can change things for the better. It’s the same with the National Minimum Wage, with tax credits, with the Winter Heating Allowance and free bus travel for pensioners.

These were life-changing policies. And they were so successful that even this Tory-led government wouldn’t dare scrap them.

That’s why i can confidently say that the next Labour government will change lives for the better, just like its predecessor did. We’ll tax the wealthy where we need to and we’ll give tax breaks for the less well off. We’ll scrap the tyranny of zero hours contracts and we’ll give first-time home buyers a tax break by scrapping stamp duty for them.

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We’ll boost the National Minimum Wage and promote the Living Wage.

Only Labour has the track record of helping working people and making it easier for them to nurture their families.

And only Labour can beat the Conservatives and deliver for everyone in the UK.

Kyle Thornton, Scottish Conservatives

At this election, we face a choice between two futures. We can choose chaos with Labour and the SNP or stability with the Conservatives. Your vote will decide.

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Over the last five years, the stability offered by a Conservative-led government has helped businesses create 1.9 million more jobs and given ordinary men and women the economic security needed to create 750,000 more businesses.

We’ve supported the economy by reducing the deficit by half, created a tax system which has taken millions of the lowest paid workers out of income tax and we’re reforming the welfare system to ensure work always pays.

We’ve also ensured that those who have worked hard all their lives are rewarded. The State Pension will now rise by 2.5 per cent, inflation or earnings — whichever is highest.

However, we need your support to finish the job of economic recovery. Labour and the SNP are promising more borrowing, higher taxes and less security. We can’t afford to let them put our future

at risk.

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The Scottish Conservative plan for the next five years is simple: eliminate the deficit, create more jobs, take more of the lowest paid out of income tax and begin to pay back our debts.

There’s also one more incredibly important reason I’m asking you to vote for me: our Union. We can’t let Labour gamble our union by getting into backroom deals with the SNP.

I won’t do a deal with the SNP. I will put Glasgow South and our country first — always.

So if you want David Cameron to be prime minister, if you think Ruth Davidson is a fantastic spokesperson for Scotland and if you want to secure our economy and secure our union, I’m asking you to vote Scottish Conservative.

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A vote for anyone else risks our economy and risks our Union.

Staying up for news from the counts? The Extra will be tweeting live tomorrow night and into the morning @ExtraSouthside — so tune in and share your thoughts.