Monday, 30 April 2012

A Dilemma


My polling card has been propped up on the mantlepiece for a few weeks, gently reminding me of my responsibility on Thursday - the day Scotland goes to the polls to elect local councillors.

Not only has the system for voting changed in recent years, the boundaries have also changed.  No longer do I have a councillor for my old ward, but I have the choice of three councillors for a newly named area.  Confusing?  Of course.  For those of us of a certain age we prefer to acquaint ourselves with one, rather than three, individuals who would be the catalyst between ourselves and the distant council offices.

However, it's not the amalgamation of wards or the complex voting system which are causing me concern. It's the candidates.  I don't think any of them deserve my vote yet I feel an obligation to place my cross somewhere.

My local councillors have betrayed many people around here.  Along with others I attended the many public meetings involved in this large development; listened to their well prepared speeches in which they promised to fight tooth and nail for our cause, yet they let us down. One of these councillors is the convenor of the planning committee yet was unable to convince a few others to vote against the project.  None of the others who voted for it live in this area and I was reliably informed none had even visited the site prior to the vote.

Various rumours have come and gone about how much effort councillors did make and I've paid little attention.  It's too late now anyway because the development is well under way and the builders appear to have carte blanche to do whatever they wish.

Apart from this issue I don't see any improvements in the local area other than the main road having been resurfaced, primarily to make the approach to the new development more attractive.

No candidate or activist has been seen during or prior to the campaign and it's been suggested 'they're taking our vote for granted'. I agree.  But the dilemma is do I vote for the party which I support even though I consider its candidates to be unworthy of my loyalty?  Do I not bother voting at all?  Or do I vote and spoil my ballot paper?

I have until Thursday at 10pm to decide.

21 comments:

JRB said...

Subrosa – I find myself in exactly the same predicament, for exactly the same reasons.

I read recently that someone in Aberdeen had put up a tailor’s ‘dummy’ as a candidate. That would have been amusing if it weren’t so near the truth of things. Here, we have nine ‘dummies’ standing for four seats.

Am sorely tempted to stay at home, in the vague hope that a very low turnout might just send them a message – but being the ‘dummies’ they are, they probably wouldn’t get it.

tedioustantrums said...

No one has appeared on the door step although we've had a few leaflets. They all claim the same successes. Labour were blaming the SNP and the LibDems for the tram fiasco!

Anyway, I think it would be a disaster if people voted green because it would be a protest vote. You don't have to vote 1 - 2 - 3, you can just vote once which will hinder the other parties.

I also saw the following on a blog which I can't find again. If you spoil your ballot paper by writing a message on it all the candidates will see as they have to agree its spoilt. His suggestion was not fit for genteel company but would certainly gain attention.

Me? I'm with Rosie. No one really deserves a vote but I have to vote!

Simonp said...

In my opinion it is your right not to vote if they are not worthy of your vote, even if they are your favoured party,If i thought my local candidate snp bod was not worthy I would not vote for him or her, otherwise I get what I voted for. Then again I have to balance the fact that a lot of what is promised to us never gets delivered or the person we vote for does not have the clout, or that cliques appear once they are all comfortable, to make it easier for themselves.
Anyway if you can't vote for any of them dinnae bother or scribble none of the above :)

pa_broon74 said...

I don't know who my local councillors (potential or otherwise) are. No idea if they're good or bad.

My logic is thus, generally speaking, your vote is probably moot, even if different people get in, once there; you'll probably be ignored most of the time despite the best promises (as pointed out by SR.) All parties do that because during election campaigns they'll say what they think will get your vote, but once in will form alliances and pacts that may not suit what they said before.

So I'm voting with the bigger picture in mind, I would never vote labour or tory anyway, I might vote for an independent, even a libdem at a push at local level but; I'm voting SNP because it sends a message of support on a national level and sticks two fingers (or just the one) up to the unionist parties who are still being smug, complacent and generally over-confident in their negativity & sneering disdain for the Scottish electorate.

I don't agree with everything the SNP do but in the meantime, they're the best game in town.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

The horns of dilemma -strategy or quality?

Generally if you advocate and support independence or even competent governance the SNP are the only game in town.

However I would follow it up with a letter to the local candidate with a copy to SNP HQ, pointing out why you voted for him and the fact you're not at all impressed by his performance nor his commitment to democracy at local level.

Apogee said...

I am wondering how many are just rent seekers. In this area one hopeful showed up, joined the SNP and wanted to be a councillor. Went through the process and was not put forward. Next thing I hear is he is standing as an independent. Heard that previously he was well known in various labour positions, including working for various councils in England.
How many more are at the same racket in these elections.
As TT said earlier, if none meet your specifications, vote for none and write on the ballot paper why!
Let them seek their rent money elsewhere,we don't owe any of them a free lunch,and if the first you hear of them is a flowery election pamphlet, with no track record to back it up,you dont owe them anything, and that includes voting
for them.

Demetrius said...

If only there was scope for a "write in" option. Shaun The Sheep would win hands down. Even Bitzer would be elected.

dognamedblue said...

"don't vote... it only encourages them" says the old lady who lives up my street

I walked out with my ballot last general election, I say my ballot, my signature creates the live document, the law tells me "the creator owns what he creates" so the police can't arrest you, for what? stealing from yourself? it even has my name and address printed on it, you'll even get on ceefax
if only enough people would actually do this

or you could stand for election yourself, might be someone worth voting for?
[do you ever notice how the first thing these newly elected councillors do is vote themselves a pay rise before they've even done anything?]

subrosa said...

A difficult decision isn't it JRB. We've a couple of days to think about it.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the info TT, I may well do that. My conscience tells me I should vote although it would be so much easier to stay at home.

subrosa said...

Good advice Simon. Thanks.

subrosa said...

My local council leader is SNP pa-broon and I like the man - always have. Problem is he stands in another area.

Council-wise I don't see the SNP as being the only game in town. The tories have done a reasonable job in the past and once I had a very approachable and helpful Libdem councillor. I hadn't voted for him either but he was effective at looking after his electorate.

subrosa said...

That should have been the title of course Crinkly.

Good advice but I think a letter would be ignored.

subrosa said...

Apogee, that doesn't surprise me in the least. I had one joint SNP leaflet through the post today (there are two SNP candidates).

No I don't owe them anything, especially when I've had a rumour confirmed first hand today.

subrosa said...

I feel I'm obliged to vote dognamedblue but that's mainly because of the history of the women's vote.

I'm too old now to be a candidate and also, in my ward here it's always been a tory councillor who has been elected - for the past 40 years I'm told. Now the tory is part of the bunch who promise to look after my interests.

With the 'new' system in Scotland you don't have a local councillor, you have a bunch of them. The more to spread the incompetence of course.

Woodsy42 said...

In local elections I generally vote for the best individual irrespective of party - assuming there is such a person who qualifies.
I love that idea from dognamedblue of walking out with the ballot paper though - a few hundred lost papers and numbers not tallying with the voting lists would provide some headaches for the system.

subrosa said...

I would if there was one Woodsy. The libdem and labour candidates I've never hear of and the other 3 are not worth my vote.

RMcGeddon said...

The SNP have been smearing the Independent candidate in my area so I'll vote Independent.
He must be doing something right if his opponents have to resort to printing lies about him to try to stop him being so popular.

Jockdownsouth said...

I'm with tedioustantrums. Spoiling your paper is the only way to ensure the candidates actually see how some of us feel. Many years ago I earned a few bob by helping at the count for a general election. Even a tick instead of a cross had to be shown to the candidates' representatives for agreement of voting intentions. I have often written "none of these candidates deserves my vote" or words to that effect. I have also voted for fringe candidates standing on local issues. From the first time I was eligible to vote (at 21 in those days) my mother used to say, "I don't care who you vote for as long as you vote. If you don't use it one day you'll find they've taken it away". Her mother and aunt had both been involved in the suffragette movement when they worked in the Dundee jute mills so opting out of a hard-won right wasn't an option in our family.

subrosa said...

Good for you RM. Unfortunately no independent candidate here.

subrosa said...

For some strange reason a comment from Jockdownsouth hasn't appeared here so I'm taking the liberty of posting it:

I'm with tedioustantrums. Spoiling your paper is the only way to ensure the candidates actually see how some of us feel. Many years ago I earned a few bob by helping at the count for a general election. Even a tick instead of a cross had to be shown to the candidates' representatives for agreement of voting intentions. I have often written "none of these candidates deserves my vote" or words to that effect. I have also voted for fringe candidates standing on local issues. From the first time I was eligible to vote (at 21 in those days) my mother used to say, "I don't care who you vote for as long as you vote. If you don't use it one day you'll find they've taken it away". Her mother and aunt had both been involved in the suffragette movement when they worked in the Dundee jute mills so opting out of a hard-won right wasn't an option in our family.

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