It was as good an April day as you could get in south west Scotland yesterday so I accompanied various SNP members during the day to post leaflets and speak to voters to find out their concerns. First stop was Beattock, nestled beside the M74 and West Coast Main Line. The train station was closed in 1972 but there have been plans devised to re-open it.
I should emphasise that my aim as the SNP candidate for Annandale North is to listen to the voters in the Ward and work with all other councillors to try and achieve improvements where possible. I’ve had some encounters already with representatives of other parties and have been surprised by negative comments about the fact that I currently live in Dumfries. This is a geographically large area of Scotland and most of the voters I’ve spoken to accept that in this day and age it’s the norm to have to travel between the numerous towns in the region to get to work, access services and shops, and to visit family or enjoy events. My job as a councillor, should the voters elect me, is to listen to, represent and fight for the needs of the Ward. I think that is more important than my post-code.
Anyway, the feedback from voters in Beattock was interesting although I was concerned by some of the younger voters who felt totally disconnected from the political process as if it was irrelevant. One of the reasons for me standing in this election is the growing recognition that significant numbers of people don’t see the point of engaging. There has been talk that the turnout for the local elections could be 30%.
30%. Is this going to elect a representative council?
Arguably it will represent those who vote, but definitely not the majority of eligible voters by a long way. I don’t know the best way to approach this failing but harbour some hopes that bringing government closer to home, post-referendum, will be the start of a process that will encourage especially younger voters to believe that they are closer to mechanism of action and change.