The view from a Labour Ghetto
Mr Brown is in deep political trouble. The mere mention of the Prime Minister's name provokes a blast of fury, a beery explosion of rage of which only the expletives are comprehensible.
Glasgow East is more than just traditional Labour territory: for five decades the party has taken for granted the support of voters here almost as a feudal right. Glasgow East is a hard place to live, and a grotesquely easy place to die. In parts of the constituency, male life expectancy is 54, lower than The Gambia, nearly a decade lower than Bangladesh, and about 24 years below the national average. Move just a few miles to leafy Bearsden and you will live, on average, 30 years longer. Despite this, people here do not and cannot leave. For all Ms Livingston's lament, her kids are stuck in a ghetto ringed by some of the saddest statistics in Britain. Glasgow East has the highest proportion of voters on incapacity benefit or disability allowance and the fewest qualifications in higher education; nearly half the constituency's homes are social housing; and, in parts, unemployment has reached 50 per cent.
Money has been spent on the area, including investment in schools and housing, but the visible effect is negligible.
Another important tribal element is religion. Glasgow East is predominantly Roman Catholic...another quality to the East End electorate that is probably best defined by the Scots word “thrawn”, meaning contrary or perverse. If the experts in Westminster are predicting disaster for Mr Brown, then the voters here may well do precisely the opposite, partly out of residual sympathy for an underdog, partly out of defiance, and partly out of habit.
“I've always voted Labour. Always will. Just like my father did,” said Douglas Connor, heading to the shops in Easterhouse. “None of youse is going to tell me how to vote.”
Sometimes you wonder if people get what they deserve.