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    Brown's Birthplace Sours on Him, Labour as Scottish Party Gains

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    sang_garuda
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    Brown's Birthplace Sours on Him, Labour as Scottish Party Gains

    Post by sang_garuda on Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:11 am

    July 24 -- Out of work for three decades in a part of Glasgow where life expectancy is lower than in Iraq, former steelworker John Graham says he's had enough of voting for Britain's governing Labour Party.

    ``It's bad here, the gangs, the stabbings and the shootings,'' said Graham, 55, a navy blue quilted jacket insulating him from the chilly Scottish summer. ``It's better having a change.''

    Graham's decision to end a lifetime of support for Labour in favor of the pro-independence Scottish National Party in today's special election for the parliamentary district of Glasgow East shows the depth of Gordon Brown's unpopularity. The prime minister was born in Glasgow.

    Brown's standing has plunged to near the lowest for any Labour leader since World War II. Polls in Glasgow East, which stretches from the city center for about five miles, show his party's 44 percentage point edge over the SNP in the last election, in 2005, is crumbling. An upset loss could trigger a move by his party to push him out, says John Curtice, a politics professor at the city's Strathclyde University.

    ``Something has got to happen that makes Labour members of Parliament, and particularly Cabinet ministers, panic, and think that this guy is desperately unpopular and there's no way out, so they've got to get rid of him,'' Curtice said in an interview. ``Glasgow East could be that catalyst.''

    So far, one Labour lawmaker, Graham Stringer, has publicly called for Brown to resign, saying that a new leader would save the party from ``disaster'' following a pair of special-election losses and a tax increase on the lowest income earners.

    SNP Resurgent

    While the Conservatives are the main opposition to Labour in England, in Glasgow East the challenge comes from a resurgent Scottish National Party, which defeated Labour in Scottish parliamentary elections last year for the first time.

    A poll by ICM Ltd. for the Sunday Telegraph July 13 put Labour's Margaret Curran, a Scottish lawmaker, at 47 percent compared with 33 percent for the SNP's John Mason, a Glasgow councilor. No margin of error was given. In 2005, Labour beat the SNP almost 61 percent to 17 percent, with the Conservatives winning 7 percent.

    Labour ``can't hide the pain their policies are inflicting,'' Angus Robertson, the SNP's leader at the House of Commons in London, said July 14.

    Brown was born in Glasgow in 1951, where his father was a Church of Scotland minister. When he was three, the family moved to Kirkcaldy, near Edinburgh, the district where the prime minister grew up and which he now represents in Parliament.

    One-Time Industrial Hub

    Once a hub for building locomotives and ocean liners such as the Queen Mary, Glasgow suffered from the collapse of heavy industry in the 1960s and 1970s. That legacy of unemployment and social inequality persists in Glasgow East, where Graham's former employer, the Forge steelworks, closed in 1976.

    Today, fewer than half the area's 90,000 people live in an owner-occupied home, compared with the Scottish average of about two-thirds, according to the Glasgow Centre for Population Health. The 2001 census found one in four adults there saying they had a long-term illness that stopped them working.

    Life expectancy for a man in Glasgow's east end, which comprises several parliamentary districts, is 68 years, the GCPH says. It has western Europe's highest incidence of heart disease and liver cirrhosis. In the Parkhead area, where Celtic soccer club's 60,000-seat stadium towers over streets dotted with betting shops and discount stores, it's just under 63 years -- almost 14 years lower than the 76.4 average in the U.K. In Iraq, life expectancy is 68.3 years, the CIA World Factbook shows.

    The plight of the people of the east end may deteriorate further as the British economy slumps, said Bruce Whyte, a program manager at the government-funded GCPH.

    `Worse Than Most'

    ``In areas where there are fewer jobs, like in eastern Glasgow, it will hit worse than most,'' he said in an interview.

    Curran told supporters July 8 at the start of her campaign for the seat -- vacated by Labour's David Marshall due to ill health -- that ``Labour has begun the regeneration of the east end,'' according to comments posted on her Web site. ``But the work goes on.''

    Labour can point to successful state-funded improvements in the area. In Easterhouse, 1950s high-rise housing projects have been replaced by two-floor brick homes. The Bridge, a community complex completed in 2006, boasts a swimming pool, college and arts center.

    ``It's not as bad as people paint it,'' said Karen Taylor, 45, who works in the Jackpot Too amusement arcade in Easterhouse's Shandwick Square shopping mall. ``It's bad, but it's not that bad.'' Nevertheless, Taylor said she's also abandoning Labour for the pro-independence party because the SNP ``can't be any worse.''

    In Parkhead, where a blue forge hammer stands as a monument to the area's former glories, Graham said housing has improved under Labour.

    But ``I think the SNP can do better,'' he said, scratching his gray stubble. ``It's hopeless here.''

    car0_linex
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    Re: Brown's Birthplace Sours on Him, Labour as Scottish Party Gains

    Post by car0_linex on Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:49 pm

    thank 4 sharing affraid

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    Re: Brown's Birthplace Sours on Him, Labour as Scottish Party Gains

    Post by sodong on Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:29 am

    thanks 4 info bro garuda rock

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    Re: Brown's Birthplace Sours on Him, Labour as Scottish Party Gains

    Post by Prodip2007 on Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:39 am

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