As a postscript to the Glasgow East byelection, some readers may be puzzled why I took such an interest in an area roughly 200 miles north of Liverpool. The reason is that the parallels between the Glasgow East seat & the Bootle constituency are uncanny.
Setting aside the factor of sectarianism (although that was a problem in this part of the world just four or five decades back), the social & economic issues are one & the same.
The fall-out from industrial decline was high unemployment & its consequent economic hardship for families whose male breadwinner(s) were rarely skilled in anything other than manual work. The social results of such hardship are still with us today; men in their late 30s were signed off "on the sick" when they had at least three decades of working life still to offer. As for the promise of better times in the future, well, I'll let Deborah Orr in yesterday's Independent sum things up (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/deborah-orr/deborah-orr-new-labour-has-only-itself-to-blame-877795.html ):
"In battered areas like Glasgow East, where the trickle-down of the decade's now collapsing economic miracle never, even quite displayed itself anyway, the continued raw exposure of the populace to economic vicissitudes is now more painfully apparent than ever. Glasgow East, like other neglected parts of Britain, has waited patiently for prosperity to reach it. Now it is clear that the wait has been quite futile."
Another damning indictment of New Labour.