Inverclyde the winner

July 4th, 2011

By the time you read this, the TV cameras will be packed away, the correx boards taken down from the lampposts and the candidates leaflets binned.

But for a month, it seemed like Inverclyde was the centre of the political universe.

The First Minister seemed to be permanently camped here while heavyweights like Gordon Brown, David Milliband and John Prescott all hit the campaign trail, meeting with local people on the doorstep.

For the people of this area, it was a real opportunity to air their concerns and fears to the political elite and help them inform and re-shape the changing politics of Scotland and across the UK.

What pleased me was that despite the high-profile visits, this was a campaign that was fought on local issues and got people thinking about what has been done in Inverclyde, what hasn’t been done and what needs to be done.

I was disappointed that some of sections of the media choose to portray Inverclyde in a negative way, continually pushy lazy stereotypes of a community struggling with post-industrial decline.

For me, this by-election was an excellent showcase for Inverclyde and we were able to highlight the significant progress we have made as a community.

I have been inundated with comments from visitors from all parties over the last few weeks who have been impressed by Inverclyde, from the stunning views over the Clyde to highly visible investment in schools, housing and our waterfront.

Although we have ourchallenges, we know this is an excellent place to live and work.

When the dust settled in the early hours of Friday, Iain McKenzie was elected as our new MP with a handsome majority.

I strongly believe Iain is a worthy successor to my dear friend David Cairns and I am sure he will be an excellent MP for us in Westminster.

But for me, the real winner of this by-election was Inverclyde.