By Alex Saville
My wife and I won’t be voting in the Council Elections this week, nor do we plan to vote in any further elections in the future. Round here, it is highly likely that we will not be the only ones. For a very good reason!
The reason is, according to David Miller of Glasgow Council, that the Executive Committee of the Council decided that people like us, who live in the western end of Gourlay St, Springburn, G21, should vote in Possilpark.
The official excuse being that since the Local Government Boundary Commission changed the boundaries for elections in 2007, we can no longer vote in Springburn Nursery, since it is not in our polling district.
Completely ignoring the fact that we have voted in what used to be Gourlay St School since Adam was a boy and in what was an adjacent polling district.
Yet, since 2007, we have voted there for the Glasgow North East by-election (2009), and the following General Election (2010).
The move was only discovered by local people last year just before the Holyrood Elections. The electorate were kept in ignorance until the voters cards came through the letter box.
Not happy with Mr Miller’s response, I pursued the matter further. Eventually I was informed, by Mr Miller, that there were only 284 electors in our part of the district, 1000 electors was the required number for a ballot box, so round to Possilpark we would have to go!
I interpret “Justify” as ‘It’s all about money!’.
It is highly probable that many won’t bother to go to Possilpark! Of course, the Council say’s “You can have a postal vote.” That sentiment is also echoed by the politicians. Why should we?
Haven’t they heard of the saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?’
I wonder what bureaucratic clown thought up the idea to alienate part of a constituency and send them in a different direction to vote. Where was the consultation with the local community? Who, if anyone, was consulted about this change?
I read recently that politicians of both major parties in Glasgow were privately concerned that the turnout in the election would be low. A Labour activist, quoted in the Daily Record, said “Many folks are not engaging with the local elections so far.”
It seems that, behind the scenes, the parties are frustrated by the apparent lack of interest, given what’s at stake. When the politicians start to take the electorate seriously, maybe the electorate will reciprocate.
It says a lot about politicians that they allow a change of Polling Station and it does not occur to them that people might feel aggrieved enough not to vote. They complain about voter apathy on the one hand, and on the other, stick two fingers up in the direction of 284 potential votes.
My attitude is quite simple, if politicians want my vote, all they have to do is ensure that I can vote where I have always voted.
Not rocket science, is it?
We previously had three political parties representing this area. Labour (Two Councillors) SNP (1) and the Greens (1). Up to the time of writing this (1st May) we have had only two political leaflets (Labour & SNP) through our letter box. Presumably no other parties are contesting the election. (If they are, they haven’t told us down here!)
The two leaflets arrived here about three weeks ago. Nothing since. Strangely enough, I discovered that there are in fact 7 other parties standing in this election, fielding 8 candidates. Perhaps they think Cowlairs is on a different planet?
Since I am not happy about the new polling arrangements, I contacted the two parties who had sent the leaflets. As the two previous Labour Councillors are not standing again, I had a look at the website for the new Labour candidates.
There is no means of contacting them.
I then left two messages on the Labour Parties website … No response!
I then decided to contact Patricia Ferguson, the Labour MSP for this area, as presumably she would know who to bring this matter to the attention of. I wrote a letter and took it to the Constituency office here in Springburn.
I did this on Friday the 20th April. The office was closed and I put the letter through the letterbox … No response!
I then contacted Bob Doris of the SNP, as his name was on the literature that arrived regarding the election. I e-mailed him on the 7th & the 11th of April, again, pointing out the situation … No response!
I contacted Billy McAllister who is standing for re-election as a SNP Councillor. He said he would look into the matter. I last heard from him on the 25th of April, the matter is still outstanding.
In the light of what I have told you, who do you think is not engaging with the election?