Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Green With Envy On Polling Day

So this Thursday Scotland goes to the polls to elect local councils and in most parts of the country you’ll have a Green on your ballot paper.

Greens have worked hard over the past five years with five councillors in Glasgow, three in Edinburgh and two in Aberdeenshire (they were Libdems but quit in disgust at the Trump debacle and joined a party with principles).

Here’s hoping we see those Greens returned, added to and we see breakthroughs in other council areas.

I would particularly like to see Fab Fabio of Forres and Findhorn fame elected to serve on Moray Council. And in Highland there are some cracking community stalwarts in the shape of Donnie “Knobbly Carrots” Macleod, Myra “Caring” Carus, Mandy “Tree-mendous” Haggith and Anne Thomas. (Sorry, Anne - don’t know you well enough to bestow a nickname but friends in Inverness say you’re impressive on the doorsteps and persuasive with the leaflets so fingers crossed!)

Maybe if my new job in Edinburgh hadn’t come up I would have been running for council myself. Since moving away in January I haven’t been following the situation in Nairn too closely but I suspect Bellydancer Macdonald will get back in as one of the four ward members. (Liz is SNP and a former provost who had the ceremonial chain yanked away from her unceremoniously by the three non-SNP, all-bloke councillors.)

The Nats are pushing two candidates in four member wards and maybe that’ll happen in Nairn given the departure of independent convener Sandy Park and the other two incumbents having jackets on shoogly pegs. Independent Laurie Fraser made some ill-judged comments about Muslims (he also doesn’t like wind farms, begging the question how he expects the lights to stay on in his electrical goods shop) and Libdem Graham Marsden just seems generally ineffective although may corner the small but important venison vote.

Ideally any fresh blood on the council would be just that. Fresh. Sadly Highland will probably continue to be male, pale and stale.

In terms of freshening up local government I heartily commend this report by the Jimmy Reid Foundation. A lot of what it says is what Greens have long argued for.

Greens are contesting every ward in Edinburgh but I’m just over the border in East Lothian where there are no Green candidates. What’s more I’m in a three member ward - one Nat, one Labour and one indy. It’s difficult to see how this make-up can be altered.

Musselburgh High Street has been bustling these last few weekends. Labour along one side asking you to sign their petition against local bus service cuts caused by the SNP. Nats on the other side saying they’ve saved the buses (from their own cuts) while handing out photos of Alex Salmond. The Neep-in-Chief and Rupert Murdoch Cheerleader is relevant how exactly? In fact he’s a liability as he’s tied the hands of the councils by restricting their ability to raise funds.

With no Green I’m in a pickle. Who to vote for or do I even vote at all?

Judging by the leaflets we’ve had through the door I’m leaning towards giving my Number 1 to the local independent. His very wordy leaflet talked about the need to tackle traffic in the High Street.

The SNP put something round recently and under ’environment’ it talked about spending more on roads!

We’ve had nothing from Labour or the Libdems although I did see Willie Rennie sticking cards through doors nearby the other day.

The Tory chap says his top priority is repairing the cemetery wall. Not a hot button issue I had been aware of.

So, if you have a Green on your menu when you go into the booth on Thursday remember your Greens are good for you! A “1” in the box if you please. I am envious of your choice. But if like me you don’t have such good fortune… Good luck deciding!

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