It’s election time again. Voting day on May 5th and 7 candidates are standing in my ward – all presumably wanting my vote. I say presumably because I’ve not yet heard from all of them and as a postal voter, today its the day I can vote as the ballot paper has arrived.
We have SNP, Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and Green Party candidates and 2 independents, one incumbent and one new but based at the other end of the ward. 3 of the 4 incumbent councillors are standing again.
My main decision is based on what have they done for my community in the past and what are they likely to do on the new council. I try to ignore Party affiliations at local elections but as a recovering politician and ex councillor that’s not going to be totally possible for me!
2 of the incumbents standing again have responded to personal requests for action and or supported local initiatives in my village so they go on the short list. One has posted 2 leaflets and arranged hand delivery of a third (no prizes among political friends for guessing which Party!). The other has not delivered a leaflet yet but the digital Party machine and social media is impressive!
Of the rest one has sent a leaflet by post, one has hand delivered, spoken to me and has sent me a letter (because I’m a postal voter) encouraging me to vote for him and he lives locally so on the short list – for now at least.
The other three have as yet made no contact. 2 are Party candidates so must know the importance of engaging with postal voters so they’ve had their chance.
I can vote for all, preference 1 to 7 but it’s looking like I’ll be voting for no more than 3. One of those 3 is from a Party I’ve have never voted for in my life. He’d make a good councillor but can I do anything that can be construed, however distantly, of supporting his Party? Would that he were standing as an independent!
Why am I even writing this blog post when most don’t even bother to vote? Because despite the limited choice it’s important and to friends who don’t vote – please don’t bend my ear about how awful the Council is if you haven’t engaged!
Should I wait until Thursday and go to a hustings? Probably not as it’s unlikely to change my mind. I’ll sleep on it and vote for no more than 3 at the beginning of the week. Whether it’s 2 or 3 and in what order will be between me and my ballot paper at least until after May 5th but voter engagement is poor and Covid cannot be blamed – a little exercise in the open air is safe and possible if you want a ‘paid job’ for the next 5 years!
My prediction is 3 incumbents and the Tory will become councillors but I will watch the count on the 6th with interest to see if I’m right or wrong (Highland Council Twitter feed is well worth a follow at election time!).