Labour victory in Glenrothes area

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THE colour of political power in the Glenrothes area has changed after last week’s election.

Labour now holds the majority of seats locally, in a straight reverse of the 2007 poll.

That vote gave the Scottish National Party six seats and Labour five, but this time around it is six Labour and five SNP.

The crucial result came in the first local ward to be declared at Friday’s count at Fife Institute - Glenrothes Central and Thornton - where Labour’s Ian Sloan picked up the last of the three seats available after colleague Ian Crichton and the SNP’s Ross Vettraino had already been re-elected.

Cllr Sloan effectively replaced the SNP’s David Cunningham who had stood down for this poll.

Outgoing council leader and SNP town councillor, Peter Grant, felt that had influenced the outcome in the ward.

He said: “David was elected narrowly last time on a big personal vote, so we lost that this time, although Vikki Wilton (the other SNP hopeful) was a very good candidate and did her best.”

Cllr Sloan commented: “I am proud to be have been elected in the ward and I hope to be able to repay the confidence that people in the area have shown in me at the election.”

In Glenrothes West and Kinglassie, which was the next seat to declare, two Labour and the same number of SNP councillors were again elected.

Labour’s Betty Campbell and the SNP’s Cllr Grant retained their seats, and will be joined on the Glenrothes-based local authority by ‘new boys’ Altany Craik (Labour) and Bill Brown (SNP).

The elections were conducted on a proportional representation basis, with some candidates only being elected after they picked up surplus votes from candidates who had successfully passed a quota, or had been eliminated and there was a narrow squeak for some of the local candidates before they eventually made it.

In Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch, it’s as you were, as all the sitting councillors were re-elected - Labour’s Bill Kay and Kay Morrison and the SNP’s John Beare and Fiona Grant.

Cllr Grant was Glenrothes Area Committee chairwoman, but the power on that will now lie with Labour - if it is retained after a new administration takes power.

Cllr Peter Grant said, after the result came in: “Labour has said that if it was in a position to form an administration after the election, it would look at the future of the area committee, so we will have to see what happens.”

There was little cheer for the All Scotland Pensioners Party, led locally by Jim Parker, who said: ““It has been disappointing for us. People have to wake up and realise the main parties are failing them.”

Independents too had slim pickings and one, Bob Taylor, a former Labour town councillor pointed out the difficulties those outside the main parties can have: “You can always say that you should have perhaps done more, but I did the best I could.”

The Conservatives, led nationally be former ‘Gazette’ reporter Ruth Davidson, at least had the comfort of finishing above the Liberal Democrats whose vote in the Glenrothes area, as in the rest of the country, went into meltdown, although Glenrothes has never provided fertile ground for those parties anyway.

Turnout was around 37 per cent, in line with the Fife average and although that figure looks impressive compared to the depth it sank to elsewhere, it is still not, surely, a satisfactory situation.

New Labour councillor, Altany Craik, was delighted that he won and is looking forward to getting to work.

He said: “I’m very pleased - we have been handing out leaflets and kicking doors.

“It was close in all of the wards, but then again that is the nature of the beast.

“I think it will be an interesting experience.

“We have had a good day.

“I think it is very important that people try to make things better, it’s not about party politics really.

“It was good to focus our campaign on things that make a difference to local people.”

Cllr Craik believes Glenrothes now has a good balance of experienced councillors and ‘young blood’

“It’s a good mix of people that know what they are doing and people like myself who are keen to get started.

“I wasn’t shocked at the number of votes Betty (Campbell) got.

“The amount of goodwill from people for Betty was amazing when we went round the community.

“People know her, and she obviously has a real connection with the people.”

Cllr Kay Morrison said: “It was a tough campaign - plenty of pavement-pounding, plenty of sore feet and hard work.

“All of it helped and it all made a huge difference.

“I’m very, very grateful for the support I received during the election campaign and, boy oh boy, am I grateful to the folk who voted for me and Scottish Labour!

“Your vote got me re-elected and I will never forget that.”

The SNP’s Ross Vettraino said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be re-elected and I’m pleased to be in a position to do what I can for ward 16.

“The way ahead is going to be interesting.

“I’m waiting just as patiently as everyone else to see what will happen.

“During the five years I was elected member I found it hard work but very rewarding and I look forward to doing the same again.”