The local Council election campaigning in Edinburgh is heating up before people go to the polls next Thursday, 3rd May.
As an easy point of reference, here are links to the manifestos of the
five main parties a number of the main parties and independent candidates along with my preliminary opinions on having skim read the documents. If any independent candidate or other party wish their manifesto linked to as well, feel free to leave a comment here and it shall be done.
While I have admittedly so far only read the manifestos in a rather rapid fashion, Labour’s production does seem to me as by far the best. Aside from the initial diversion into negative campaigning, it quickly regains focus on some fairly concise and well thought-out plans. Their policies appear to be derived from a public consultation exercise, which certainly shows and is to their credit. Whether you agree with their plans or not, it is the only manifesto of the main five that have set out in fairly concrete terms what they intend to do and actually “put their head on the block”.
Well, it is in a very presentable format but left me slightly disappointed. There is a distinct lack of engagement and it has essentially missed the mark. When one reads into it further, there are good policies there, written in an non-obvious way. A hint of passion behind those words and it would have been a winner, however the reader very much has to work for it.
Whether this has been created through disinterest or misplaced intent, I do not know. From my own perspective, it completely and manifestly failed to engage and sounded like it was pitched to businesses rather than voters. Not impressed one bit and I suspect SNP have probably lost any chance of obtaining my vote in these elections.
Whoever wrote this should probably not be writing material for public consumption. Their writing style is akin to my own, which is precisely the type of writing you do not want for enticing voters. In the same sentence that they accuse Labour of having been arrogant and remote they use the word “profligate”; fine, it may be the most suitable word but ornate language is likely to be interpreted by many a voter as a sign of showing-off. Despite the poor formatting and the absolutely inappropriate style of prose, there are some interesting policy nuggets carefully burried in there. I suspect it is worth the time to read, how many voters have that time is another story.
Despite my holding the current Westminster government in utter contempt, I did decide to be fair and at least skim read their local election manifesto. I feel further comment is unnecessary.
From all other evidence, Gordon Murdie appears to be a very capable and committed candidate. Certainly, it is heartening to again see candidates stand for election purely for the purpose of changing things they perceive as wrong, a refreshing counter-point to career politicians. His manifesto is unfortunately not up to scratch and it is probably better either checking his blog here – which has far more concise information and relevant information – or tweeting/emailing him.
If you are looking for an easily digestible, clear and concise manifesto then this has come top for me so far: I could read it and comprehend the policies advanced in less than five minutes. The policy content itself is unlikely to garner voters though. I get the impression there has been some significant difficulty in shoe-horning their very well delineated national policies into a local context. There are sensible suggestions in there such as allowing a connected journey on a single far bus ticket or the bike sharing scheme, however they are consistently undermined by oddities such as motorising the aforementioned bikes. More seriously, I suspect the true complexity and practicalities of the major issues have not been fully appreciated. I would posit the singular success of Phil Hunt’s campaign will be awareness of the party at a national level, which is not a bad result.
For those who use Twitter, I have compiled a list of all the local election candidates I could find.
In the future, all parties should really take a leaf out of Labour’s book and list your candidates with email AND Twitter or Facebook addresses – it would have saved me a substantial amount of time doing Google searches and rummaging through other peoples’ followers.
Anyway, the full “official” Council list can be found here (I did have an easier list but cannot find it, typical).
For the Twitter list I compiled, it can be found here. Again, if there are any omissions or errors, feel free to notify me.
- 28th/29th April, correct spelling mistake.
- 30th April, add Gordon Murdie's manifesto
- 1st May, add Pirate Party manifesto