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.