Freelance Web/Graphic designer, photographer & community campaigner
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Local elections, independence and the union

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 vote​s​ 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 friend​s​​ ​and​ ​family, including​ ​my partner,​ ​who fervently support remaining within the United Kingdom. Despite our differing political persuasion​s​, 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 council​l​ors 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. Th​is 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.

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Tech geekery, blogging, volunteering, graphic/web design, photography, digital activism and community-based campaigns are some of the things that I am passionate about.

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  1. Pingback: Local Schools and Health | James Glen

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