SPEAKING to voters on the streets of Rutherglen – ahead of a much-anticipated Westminster by-election in the area on Thursday – there was one clear sentiment repeated again and again: None of the parties can be trusted to deliver, so why bother with any of them?

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat is seen as a two-horse race between the SNP and Labour, and the First Minister has admitted that the result “could well come down” to getting his party’s core supporters out to vote.

Judging by the persistent apathy among locals, that may not be an easy task.

“I’m getting old now and I’ve been hearing the same rhetoric for 40, 50 years. I won’t be supporting any of them,” one voter said.

@scotnational We hit the streets of Rutherglen to ask locals who they’d be backing in Thursday’s by-election. There was one clear winner: no one #scottishpolitics #rutherglen #rutherglenandhamiltonwest #westminster ♬ original sound - The National

Others suggested that the whole election was a “waste of time” as all the parties are essentially the same, fielding candidates that are only out for their own advancement.

Again and again, locals brought up broken promises from politicians as a reason why they wouldn’t be voting. And there was a palpable feeling that the area had been left behind.

“My house is falling apart and none of them care,” one local said. “My ceiling’s falling in. No one cares.”

Unsurprisingly, she was also not going to vote for anyone.

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Among those who said they would be casting a ballot, marginally the most popular party was Labour – but their support seemed largely to be founded on who they are not, rather than who they are.

“Labour, 200%, because the SNP need to be binned,” one voter said.

“It’s hard to choose but I’m going to vote Labour,” another said, adding: “Because I want to get rid of the SNP.”

A third person said they were backing “the Labour man, Michael something” because he is representing a party which will stand up for the working class.

They added that their father would be voting SNP, but in their eyes the party had “missed the boat” by not doing more with the time they’ve had in government.

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There was also support for the SNP, with one couple saying they would both be backing the party because they are the only vehicle through which independence can be delivered.

Another said she would be voting SNP to send a message to both Labour and the Tories, who she described as “basically the same”.

One thing that became clear from speaking to the people on the streets is that the conversations were very different to those being had by politicians and media commentators.

There was no focus – or even mention – of topics which have dominated the media’s by-election coverage, such as Labour’s support for the two-child benefit cap.

Instead, some voters were supporting parties for reasons that pre-date even the most recent General Elections. Nowhere was this summed up better than the one voter who said she would be backing the Conservatives.

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Her primary reason for supporting the Tory candidate was wanting to remain British, not just Scottish, and a concern that Labour were too weak on the issue of the Union to truly stand up for her views.

But among the other reasons given was a surprising one: Fear of losing access to the Great Ormond Street specialist children’s hospital in London. It was a line which had come straight out of the Unionist messaging of 2014.

The hospital spoke out at the time, saying it in “no way endorse[d]” the messaging from the No Borders campaign. But it is still in voters’ minds. And Malcolm Offord, the millionaire financier behind that campaign, has a cosy seat in the House of Lords.

So what did I learn about the by-election from speaking to the people of Rutherglen?

Enough to bet that one option will attract more voters than any other: Abstention.