HAVING had a distant cousin who was banished from the Catholic Church over his liberal views, you could say that politics runs in Andrew McGlynn’s blood.

The Liberal Democrat candidate for East Renfrewshire may never have met Edward McGlynn.

But he is sure his influence lives on in the party and the wider political spectrum nearly 200 years after his birth.

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Edward was a Catholic priest and social reformer who was born in America of Irish parents and quickly became controversial in church circles for his acceptance of public schools.

He actively promoted the goals of economist Henry George, who believed money derived from land and natural resources should belong to all residents of a community.

This eventually saw him excommunicated temporarily from the church as conservative Catholic leaders raged over his liberal views.

“If you look at Edward McGlynn’s philosophy, I agree with it 100 per cent,” Mr McGlynn told the Barrhead News.

“He was part of a wider movement of liberals which no longer exists in this country.

“I really soul-searched and laid out this very traditional but mostly unheard of nowadays liberal politics which is motivated by civic duty.

“These might be abstract ideas but they do have practical implications.

“If you take East Renfrewshire and a town within it and you were to speak to one of the urban planners at any university, the school of thought which is popular now is ‘new urbanism.’

“If you were to say to them ‘what does a good town look like?’, they’d tell you it should have good walkability, public squares and a mixture of housing and businesses.

“If you then asked them about East Renfrewshire, they would say it lacks many of these amenities.

“This is the root cause of many of the concerns people have over public services.”

The Liberal Democrats are being tipped to increase their East Renfrewshire vote share in this month’s election but still finish behind the Conservatives and SNP.

 

 

However, Mr McGlynn insists one of his principal aims as voters go to the polls is to build the foundations in an area which hasn’t produced a Liberal MP since Joseph Johnstone in the early 20th century.

“It’s not necessarily about winning elections but I want to make the liberal movement in my area strong,” said Mr McGlynn.

“I want us to have a robust team and good candidates in place, so we can have one in each council ward for the next council elections.

“I want to have this more civic-minded approach to politics, tackling the issues at a local level.

“That’s a long-term strategy, though, and I hope that, as Westminster candidate, I can help to influence that.

“I align with liberalism and I align with East Renfrewshire and so I align with the Liberal Democrats.”

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Mr McGlynn said he is keen to tackle the issues that affect everyone’s daily life.

He added: “It’s important to think about these issues and I don’t see anyone else doing it.

“There is an appetite for the liberal movement in East Renfrewshire and I hope we’ll be the party to feed that appetite.”