STRATHCLYDE’S finest will, I trust, be on the lookout for a truck driver seen blatantly breaking the law this afternoon in Shettleston Road in the constituency of Glasgow East. This individual was driving a white open-top truck with one hand while holding a microphone – into which he was shouting – with the other.
That he was promoting the SNP candidate in the by-election is neither here nor there, of course: not only was he breaking the law but he was also putting at risk the lives of pedestrians and other drivers.
This little anecdote reveals a truth so far overlooked by the media: SNP activists aren’t nearly as numerous on the ground as they claim. Why send a single person out on loudspeaker work in the first place, knowing that in order to do the job single-handed he’s going to have to break the law and risk generating bad publicity for the campaign if he gets caught?
And I’ve yet to encounter an SNP canvasser who was accompanied by a single other activist.
The Labour campaign, on the other hand, has been extremely well-supported by activists, as well as enthusiastic and motivated.
Oddly enough, when the lone driver/loudspeaker user drove past today, I was in the company of Alan (now Lord) Haworth, with whom I did some loudspeaker work in the Kincardine and Deeside by-election in November 1991. The campaign was nearing its end, there was no more press work to be done (I was still employed by the Labour Party as its press officer in Scotland at this point) and Alan, unable to sit still for long, asked if I wanted to take microphone duties in one last tour of the Aberdeen end of the constituency. So he drove while I ranted.
Soon, we passed Winnie Ewing campaigning in a local street. I decided, probably rather unwisely, that my Sean Connery impression was called for. Now, I am the first to admit that my Sean Connery voice sounds more like me than Sir Sean, only more nasally and slurred. Still, it amused me to shout “This is Sean Connery – I’ve changed my mind and decided to support the Labour Party…” as we passed Winnie’s entourage.
We came fourth. Anyway, the point is: how desperate must the SNP be if they’re willing to tolerate one of their volunteers risking lives – and his licence – to promote their candidate?