On a pedestrian bridge over the M8 into central Glasgow on 11 December, three men in hi-vis jackets were tying a banner to the railings bearing a simple message: “Get Tories oot” – “oot” meaning “out” in Scots dialect.
Although there is talk of a quiet Conservative – or “shy Tory” – vote simmering here north of the border, few would admit it in Glasgow, where the city’s main divide is between Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party.
Corbyn made a surprise appearance in the city’s shipping district of Govan on Wednesday, a day before the election, stumping for candidate Matt Kerr, who is looking to overturn an SNP majority of just 50 in this hotly contested parliamentary seat.
A former postman, Kerr told Euronews that what was once a solid seat fell out of favour with voters during the New Labour era of Tony Blair. Now, under Corbyn, the party was again focusing on issues that resonated with working class Scots, he said.
“What I think is great over the last few years is that we’ve gone back to our roots, back to what we’re all about. We’re talking about socialism,” he said.
Indeed, Corbyn barely mentioned Brexit in his speech on Wednesday, choosing instead to focus on the issues of minimum wage and the British National Health Service, the day after a scandal over a four-year-old boy treated on the floor of a hospital in Leeds because of a lack of bed space.
Perhaps channelling the language of former US president Barack Obama in his 2008 election campaign, he told the crowd that had gathered on a bitterly cold morning that a vote for Labour was “a vote for hope”.
“In this city of Glasgow, which has some of the poorest people in the United Kingdom, which has wards containing the lowest life expectancy anywhere across the country, they need an end to austerity, they need a UK government that will invest all across the country and give real hope and real security to people,” Jeremy Corbyn told supporters.
The Labour leader’s focus on matters such as austerity and the health service contrasts with the SNP, which has made Brexit – and a second referendum on Scottish independence – its key electoral issue. Labour activists say that is because its domestic record – the SNP has led Scotland’s parliament for a decade – is so dire.
“We’ve had a lost decade,” one Labour activist told Euronews just before Corbyn’s speech, “and we need something better.”
Euronews has repeatedly attempted to interview SNP candidates in Glasgow over the last week but all requests have been declined. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party told us that its candidates were too busy campaigning to be interviewed.
Also on the podium with the Labour leader in Govan was Paul Sweeney, Labour’s candidate for Glasgow North East, who beat the SNP in 2017 by just 242 votes. He spoke to Euronews live from his campaign headquarters on Tuesday night.
The UK goes to the polls on 12 December, with all official campaigning ending at midnight on 11 December. Voting ends at 10pm, with exit polls giving a steer on the expected result at around 11pm GMT. The actual results will be unlikely to be given until between 2pm and 4pm on 13 December.
Although polls still show a comfortable lead for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, Labour is gaining in the final days as Corbyn tours the UK. The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, have slumped in the polls and on Tuesday one of its candidates admitted to Euronews that its promise to revoke Article 50 and prevent Brexit was a mistake.__EuroNews