That Friday Feeling…
Friday, April 27th, 2007 @ 8:20AM
This time next week I’ll hopefully be in bed catching a couple of hours sleep before the local government election count starts, Sarah Boyack will be the MSP for Edinburgh Central and Scotland will have a predominately pro-union Scottish Parliament.
I spent most of yesterday afternoon out leafleting. It was a welcome break for an election agent usually confined to the desk of a campaign office organising street runs, leaflets, car calls, emails and press events. What was so interesting about this experience was the number of people running out of their houses after I’d put a leaflet through their door to wish us luck, tell us what a disaster it would be if Alex Salmond was first minister or to gossip about how misleading the Lib Dem leaflets were. One woman in particular just had to tell me what a disgrace it was for the Lib Dem candidate to claim success for a new gym and canteen at Flora Stevenson’s Primary school in Comely Bank.
Another women stopped me in the street to wish Sarah luck, said Labour were going to ‘get a kicking’ but Sarah would be fine because she’d done so much good work locally. She said she’d sat at her kitchen table for over half an hour with her postal ballot that morning completely torn over what to do with her list vote. She was voting for Sarah in the constituency vote, assumed that a list vote for Labour was a wasted vote but couldn’t bring herself to vote Lib Dem on the list because of their local income tax plans.
As someone who passionately believed in the union voting SNP just wasn’t an option, but that also ruled out voting for Margo MacDonald, the SSP, Solidarity and the Greens. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard someone discounting voting Green on the list because of their stance on independence.
On the bus to the office this morning, I heard two young guys in painters dungarees arguing about the ins and outs of the barnett formula! - I think this is possibly the most policy rich electorate in recent times. Tribal party politics seems to be a thing of the past. People are reading in depth, listening hard and seriously thinking about their vote.
I posted a excerpt from Things Can Only Get Better a few months back where John O’Farrell describes voting Labour with ‘a passion that nearly snapped the lead in the pencil’ only to be cancelled out by the next person in the polling booth going ‘eeny-meeny-miny-mo’ - voting Tory. That’s just not going to happen this time round and consequently is of great credit to our democracy.
What was so interesting about the chat with the lady in street was that she couldn’t quite believe that she was about to give the Tories a vote for the first time in nearly 20 years. I just wonder how much of a trend that example might prove to be…