Three days to go

So, not long til voting day. I’m looking forward to it. And to staying up late to watch the results.

How will I vote? Well, I’ll be voting SNP on both my Scottish Parliament votes, and on my first preference in the council elections. I think my second preference in the council vote will be for the Green candidate. I’ll be voting SNP to get a number of things – an independence referendum, a Scottish Executive that will not shy away from using the full powers of the parliament or seeking more where it can, and above a sense of positivity, of aspiration, of “can do” that Scotland has lacked for so long.

And although I’ve been a supporter of both the SNP and independence for as long as I’ve had the vote, I get a real sense that this time the SNP are ready, and that Scotland is at last ready for them. The Sunday Herald backed Alex Salmond for First Minister (the first national paper ever to do so, and the SNP’s current strength is remarkable considering the print media’s hostility), and there seems a real enthusiasm across the country for change, to try out something new, and the SNP are being deemed trustworthy enough to be that “something new”.

I’ll not be voting for either of the Christian parties – I was asked for my views about them the other day, and so here goes. The Christian People’s Alliance seem like a well-meaning, heads-screwed-on, intelligent bunch of folk aiming for the mould of Christian democracy that is hugely popular throughout Europe but never quite seemed (at least under that label) to take off in the UK. They even have a Muslim as one of their leading candidates, who argues that Christians and Muslims share much in terms of moral and social outlooks. In an era of increasing Muslim disenchantment in this country, I wonder if the CPA stand for make gains in this unlikely constituency. If I recall correctly, it was the appointment of a Muslim as candidate which led to a split and the subsequent formation of the Scottish Christian Party, who say they are “proclaiming Christ’s lordship”.

I’ll not be voting for either party, mostly because I do not count myself as a social conservative, and wouldn’t find my personal views on moral and ethical issues to be in tune with those of the two Christian parties – some of which, particularly from the SCP, I would describe as alarmingly extreme. Secondly, I don’t like the assumption that there are no Christian values among the other parties. The SCP are particularly arrogant in their message, and also misguided because I do not feel that the political process is the right channel for evangelism. If their aim is to prove that Christians make better leaders, then Bush and Blair blow that argument out of the water. And in any case, if Jesus is the only perfect leader who can save the world, I hardly feel that voting SCP is going to somehow induce a quality of leadership akin to the Second Coming.

Oh, and one final political point. I had the dubious pleasure of driving through Ibrox a few days ago, the heartland of Rangers fanaticism on the southside of Glasgow. It was rather scary to note that there was a prevalence of posters for the British National Party, the UK’s scary, far-right, racist outfit. In the west end, the few BNP posters in evidence are put at such high levels (presumably for fear of vandalism) that you wonder if the party has access to ladders the other parties can only dream of. On the other hand, the numerous BNP posters in Ibrox were placed at a confidently low height. I’d say that shows you something about Orangeism, but I’ll bite my tongue this time.

So, there’s a whistle-stop rundown of the political thoughts going on in my head. Have a fun election day everyone. And remember – vote early, vote often.

17 thoughts on “Three days to go

  1. Dave, how do you mean? I’ll no doubt blog something about the result afterwards… or were you meaning more of a “running commentary”? Not sure I see myself as much of a Peter Snow…

  2. I drive through Ibrox every day and I haven’t seen a BNP poster yet
    but I’ll pay more attention.
    If they’re on the lamp posts even at a peceived lower level than elsewhere
    it’s hardly the people of Ibrox’s fault they’re not on lamp post guard duty.
    There is a lot of Asian people who live in Ibrox and Cessnock so that is probably why it has been targeted – but warped pseudo intellectuals from Milngavie are the more likely suspects than the local people.
    It is difficult to sum up a place after just driving through it.

  3. Simon you are far more interesting than Peter Snow, even although you don’t have his graphics budget… This has been a fascinating election campaign so far, perhaps because there is so much at stake… I’m afraid I don’t share your political views, have always been pro-union and was not wild about the idea of a Scottish parliament I must admit…having spent so much time working in the public sector I get very hot under the collar about how taxpayers money is spent both locally and nationally…I hate unnecessary bureaucracy… strangely my other reason for being against the parliament was that potentially it would lead to the SNP having a real chance of government (I am prophetic…no?)

    I was born in Edinburgh Pentland (don’t know if that constituency still exists)…and I have never ever voted Labour… so you can probably guess where my loyalties lie!!

    Will look forward to your ‘after’ blog…

  4. What are the chances of someone giving me a crash course on the election process here and a quick rundown of the parties and what their schtick is. I’ve been so overwhelmed with work that I have not had a chance to catch a newscast or read a paper in over a month. I have my voters registration card but don’t have a clue what I’m doing.

  5. Chris, I’d love to launch into a lecture, but you’re best off doing things at your own pace at Wikipedia.

    That page will change lots before and after the election, but if you have a good read and follow links to explanations of the parties, the voting system, and key issues like independence, then it will be probably the best “starter” course you can get between now and Thursday.

    Incidentally, how come you can vote over here? Didn’t think you had UK citizenship…

  6. Don’t have to be a British citizen but a citizen of a commonwealth country (which Canada is) living in the UK. But your comment made me nervous so I did double check – phew! In my checking I came across the electoral commission page that also has a summary of each of the parties so I’ve got some reading to do tonight.

  7. You only need to be resident here to vote in council and Holyrood elections – so, interestingly, there will be a lot of votes by English people in the Scottish Parliamentary elections tomorrow.

    Citizenship is only necessary to vote in the General Elections. I only know because Sanna’s been able to vote pretty much since she arrived in Scotland. šŸ™‚

  8. When I say “so, interestingly”, I’m not suggesting that English people don’t have citizenship, but just that many of them live in Scotland. šŸ™‚

  9. Hold my breath for 24 hours?! Impossible! LOL

    Ha! Shows you how closely I looked at that page and why I could not figure out the results of who won. Obviously I just look for quick answers.

  10. Hiya Simon.

    Re: BNP. I’ve seen a couple of their posters in Ibrox/Bellahouston, but by no means many. In fact, there are a lot more of the SCP ones. I agree about the SCP, they’re quite patronising and are displaying little competence in their strategising so far…

    Still haven’t decided who to vote for. Do you reckon that if the SNP got into power in the Scottish parliament, that independence would follow soon after?

    Someone find me an economist quick!

  11. Beat, the answer to your last question is that the SNP propose a referendum in 2010. Between now and then, so their argument goes, an SNP administration will have had the chance to prove to the electorate that it works well, and that therefore more powers for Scotland is realistic and desirable.

    I don’t know how quickly independence would follow a successful “yes” vote. If I recall rightly, it was just 90 days in Montenegro… though the SNP are saying something like a year’s negotiation process (but I’d check the SNP website to get an accurate description of their intention).

    Personally I am not entirely convinced a 2010 referendum would be won (though I’d vote yes). But that’s 3 years away, and who knows what can change in Scotland between now and then.

    Happy voting. I’m off home to go watch the count!

  12. Jimmy you’re a rude man.

    Just in this morning is that Nicola Sturgeon has won the Govan area from Gordon Jackson. I’m not surprised: based on my own experience, she turned up to help a meeting of residents (about 40 people) in Ibrox. I wrote to Mr Jackson with a relatively straightforward question about Labour policy, and got not a sausage in response.

    Do the math, as the Americans would say.

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