Jun 242010

First of all let me be clear. I don’t want to be a local councillor. I think it’s probably a very thankless task, and the rewards, except for the youthful aspiring party hack-career politicians for whom minimum wage fries-shuffling in fast food outlets is the alternative, aren’t great. I’d hate the tedium of standing orders, the drudgery of committee work discussing the dog doo-doo problem in Dyce and would sicken pretty quickly of the public ridicule invited by increasingly-cynical ageing Benjamins the Donkey like me.

I’m still a voter though, and like many others, feel that we’ve been short-changed more than once by those who want our votes but seem to ignore us on key issues – and you know what they are.

The local press regularly carries letters from Disgusted of Danestone and Fuming of Fittie exhorting us to “vote them out” at the next opportunity, but those of you sharpening your polling booth HBs in anticipation of the day of reckoning for local democracy – bad news. You’ll have to wait for the best part of two years, thanks to the unbelievable inability of thousands of our fellow citizens to master the simple task of voting properly in the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary elections, this despite press and TV campaigns to publicise the voting procedure and to make it (it seemed) idiot-proof. Perhaps we should take some pride in the cunning of our local and national idiots for their success in circumventing the system. Here’s tae us, wha’s like us?

The Gould Report was commissioned to look into why the idiots conspired to body swerve the idiot-proof and one conclusion reached was that holding Council and Parliamentary elections on the same day was A Very Bad Thing. Not only, Gould concluded, do same-day elections cause even more confusion among the already-confused, but they also serve to muddle local and national issues. That’ll be why some of the more terminally-gypit want MSPs sacked because their buckets aren’t emptied before 10 am and who opine loudly in pubs, “it’s high time the council sorted oot the bloody Palestinians”.

The recommendation made by Gould was to stagger Parliamentary and local elections and postpone local elections for a year until 2012. Isn’t it just our luck to be landed with the current lot for an extra year? The council elected in 2012 will also sit for 5 years (that’s until 2017, arithmetic fans) and then revert to four years (2021) which will mean that local elections will be held midway between Parliamentary elections. Long term, this is to be applauded, but you know what it means for all of us in the short term. Ach weel…….

Nearer election time, we’ll bring you advice on how best to use the voting system to make sure you get what you vote for and ONLY what you vote for. We’re cunning monkeys here at Aberdeen Voice…..

Dave Innes