There’s a no-nonsense streak to Ian Davidson which can only be a strength on the doorstep during the cut and thrust of an election campaign.
“The issues here are a lack of income and under employment” he says of his slice of Glasgow, describing it as “a classic inner city working class area.”
He speaks frankly about tackling the “substantial difficulties” of poverty and depravation, something which he has been doing ever since his time as a local councillor in Govan back in the late 1970s.
First elected to Westminster in 1992 for the old Govan constituency, before it was re-drawn as Pollok and then took on its current boundaries, Davidson has long fought for jobs in the area.
“The future of the local shipyards here has been an issue and that goes back to 1978. I have been here through various changes in ownership in the shipyards and I hope we have secured stability in employment in shipbuilding on the Clyde,” he says.
Highly active in the Parliamentary Shipbuilding Group, Davidson has also won praise in recent years as a reinvigorating chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. It’s has conducted a number of important inquiries under his stewardship.
He’s eager to get back to Committee business saying “last session we were pursuing various issues related to blacklisting, zero hours contracts and various constitutional issues relating to Scotland.
“With the trade unions and the Blacklisting Support Group we have helped expose the crimes of giant construction firms” – those who blacklisted workers after leading campaigns for better terms, conditions and safety measures.
“We are now campaigning for the construction firms to apologise, pay adequate compensation and adopt new working practices which protect workers’ rights” he says. “We also support Labour’s call for a full public enquiry into blacklisting.”
This success in defending and enhancing workers’ rights has given him a new target. “Now we hope to move on to look at wages and conditions in the fast food and hospitality industries.
“All these are examples of the political and industrial wings of the Labour movement working together for joint benefit. I want to be able to pursue these through, hopefully into legislation under a Labour government.”
On his party’s prospects on May 7 he remains forthright, saying “at the end of the day there’s only two parties that can form a government, Labour or the Conservatives.
“The party that has the most seats will have the first option to establish a government. “It’s important to have as many Labour MPs as possible, to have as much weight as possible behind the most radical Labour manifesto for a generation.”
It’s certainly thought provoking stuff, especially when it comes down who is best placed to assist the people of Glasgow South West, Scotland and beyond.
As Davidson says: “If we are serious about redistribution of wealth and power then only Labour, with its ties to the trade union movement and Labour movement generally, has got the link and the grounding to keep this rooted to the hopes and aspirations of working class people.”