Thursday 3 May 2012: Voting Day
Local council elections today, all over the UK. A slight feeling as I wrote my numbers on the ballot that the political class in general has failed the Edinburgh electorate - all the main parties have some degree of culpability in the trams fiasco. And there aren't really the alternatives out there, maybe with the exceptions of the Greens. And with the multi-member STV system I guess the familiar parties will get back in. Presumably the LibDems will continue to pay the price of their association with the Tories in the Westminster coalition, and the SNP will reap the benefit. Even although in Edinburgh it has been a LibDem/SNP coalition that has presided over the trams fiasco and the other elements of mismanagement of the capital's affairs in recent years.
Strange not to see any lamppost election signs this time round, following the council decision to ban them. Seemed like an undemocratic decision at the time, and wonder what effect it will have on the turnout, given the fact that the local elections have been separated from the Scottish national elections this time. And odd that the council tolerates the posters that get put up in the city during the Fringe. Maybe only tolerates, as there are efforts to restrict the posters to specific locations, but could the same not have been done during the election period with political posters? Trying to pretend that elections don't happen, by banning the political posters, at a time when turnout is declining seems a poor decision.
And don't get me started on the deal between electorate and the elected that is broken every time they leave the party under whose banner they were elected and don't resign and have a by-election. We generally don't elect our representatives only as individuals - parties matter. Come on, change the rules, at every level of political representation - if you leave the party you were elected for there must be a by-election. If you claim that party has moved while you have stayed in the same place, put it to the test and ask the electorate if they agree, don't arrogantly assume you are right and hang onto office. Obviously when people change sides and join another party, the beneficiaries of the extra party member are happy to accept them. They shouldn't, tempting as it is. Insist they resign.
If you haven't voted yet, still a few hours left - get out there and express your opinion - that's how democracy works. You don't need your voting card if you can't find it, and as long as you are inside the polling place before 10pm you should be able to vote.