As campaigns for the local council elections ramp up, the major parties are courting voters with a predominant focus on national issues.
Candidates for Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are already using arguments for staying in the Union as reasons for your vote while prospective SNP candidates are seeking votes to help bolster the case for an independent Scotland.
In my opinion this issue has no place in local politics where the first and last job of a councillor is to ensure that local community priorities are being met by the local authority.
Yet all-important local issues can get sidelined or dismissed altogether during local elections because of a focus on national issues which a local councillor is more or less powerless to resolve.
Campaigning on national issues for local elections serves as a distraction from the immediate issues facing our towns and villages such as the dilapidated state of our local playparks, under-investment in frontline services, the poor condition of our roads and the disengagement of communities from Fife Council.
I support independence for Scotland on the basis that I believe it will radically increase local democracy. However, I will not be using it as part of my campaign to be elected as an Independent councillor for the Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty ward.
I have friends and family who are supporters of an independent Scotland, and I have friends and family, including my partner, who fervently support remaining within the United Kingdom. Despite our differing political persuasions, we respect each other’s viewpoints.
There are compelling arguments for staying in the UK and compelling arguments for an independent Scotland. It is a national issue to be debated at length by political parties at the Holyrood and Westminster parliaments. At some point the electorate will be asked to vote in another referendum.
I do not believe these are issues for councillors and candidates to campaign on, and I do not believe councillors or candidates should be trying to elicit votes based on a stance for or against the union.
Councillors and candidates should be focused on the issues within their communities. Their job is to represent the residents of their ward at Fife Council. This calls for a collaborative approach with councillors of all colours alongside residents, community groups and Fife Council in seeking innovative and creative ways to resolve local issues and improve our towns and villages.