Comment posted Misleading instructions to voters: is Duncan Macintyre trawling for 4th preference votes? by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll.
I have always felt it inappropriate that a Chief Executive be a Returning Officer due to potential conflicts of interest. This is not meant as a specific reference to A&B Council as the CE is the returning officer in a lot of local authorities (although one must wonder why A&B’s CE felt the need to replace the normal returning officer with herself).
The CE’s position is very much tied to the administration, in fact it is the only post within the Council over whose appointment (and removal) elected members have influence over. Given this it seems quite clear that they shouldn’t play a role which has any influence whatsoever over the election process.
That isn’t for one second to say that CE’s do, as a matter of rule, make inappropriate use of this influence however removing them from the role would protect them from any accusations of having done so.
A&B provides a great example just now. If I was Sally Loudon I would desperately want Dick Walsh as Council Leader with his Alliance backing him – it’s the most protection she could dream of having. What I wouldn’t want is a new administration who have been critical of her corporate management team and, therefore, her leadership. If she feels that is a distinct possibility then I would imagine her CV has been getting circulated for a number of months now. If that is the case the fact that she is still in post suggests she is not an attractive proposition to other Scottish Local Authorities and therefore her best strategy is to cling to her job with A&BC. As returning officer a few decisions may fall on her plate which would help that strategy.
Whether she makes the right decision for the appropriate reasons is not something I can question as it hasn’t happened yet (and might not happen) but it begs the question ‘Why is she, or any other CE, in a position to make these decisions?’
Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll also commented
- Why wait for the council to do it. Any member of the public can submit a complaint. Better that way as it doesn’t appear to be politically motivated.
- The ballot paper will (or should) make it clear that the voter can put as many choices as they wish and should further make clear that you put a 1 by your first choice, 2 by your second etc ec
Standard text on guidanc provided is that you need to follow the instructions as per the ballot paper or your vote MAY not be counted which does leave it open to interpretation and therefore, as Ken says, at the discretion of the returning officer. Given that A&Bs returning officer has a lot more to lose if the next council is not made up of the Alliance of Independents one could argue that her discretion MAY not be all that impartial!
Recent comments by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll
- SNP Chairs and Members of Westminster Committees
I don’t have a problem with someone of Mhairi Black’s age being elected. I don’t think it can do politics any harm whatsoever to have some elected members who can better represent the aspirations of a more youthful section of society. I would have concerns if there was an excessive number of younger of politicians say in their twenties but it is highly unlikely that will ever be the case.
Would she have been elected if the SNP were not on such an upswing nationally? Probably not but you could say that about a lot of the other SNP MPs elected (and also of a lot of Labour ones in the past when Labour were the dominant party in Scotland).
She was heavily criticised during the campaign for some of the remarks he made about drinking (was it alcopops?) but that never really bothered me. She was still a student and if there two things that tend to happen at university it is drinking and hangovers! I also think too much was made of her remarks about Celtic – it wasn’t sectarianism if I recall correctly – it was just a few choice words on twitter – what percentage of people in the world use that sort of language from time to time, especially in their youth!
The head-butt remark was stupid and I doubt she will make that mistake again. It was borne out of frustration and naivety and she didn’t help herself by going on about No voters being selfish and gullible. However there are plenty of more experienced politicians who have mad similar remarks about No voters – not to mention posters on here who seem to think being a No voter makes you less Scottish, a very childish position to take.
However I wouldn’t want to put young people off an interest in becoming a politician by their mistakes when they are in their late teens or early twenties being used as a club to beat them with.
I do think her position on the Work & Pensions Select Committee is odd and maybe ill advised. I think, there are other committees where an inexperienced politician and person (and I mean that purely in terms of her age, not as a statement on her potential ability) might be better placed initially.
- Motion sends Scottish Parliament’s condolences on death of Sir Nicholas Winton, the British Schindler
It is quite amazing that he never made his actions public – they were only discovered by chance by his wife about 25 years ago. A remarkable man. Very fitting and just that he got to live a very long and full life.
- SNP Chairs and Members of Westminster Committees
There is a chuckle to be allowed at the fact that Jim Murphy was regularly criticised by SNP supporters for being a career politician who had no experience of working and now we have an SNP MP with no experience of working sitting on the ‘Work & Pensions Committee!
No criticism of Mhairi Black intended and I hope she does a great job. Just highlighting yet another case of total hypocrisy amongst ardent political party supporters.
- SNP alerts infantry to prepare to hunt out Carmichael
I tend to agree with JB on this. Alastair Carmichael did wrong, of that there is no doubt. I personally think he should stand down (but there are a few other politicians in all parties who should have done the same in the past and haven’t). However I just don’t see how pushing for this court case is merited given the other much more important priorities in Scotland right now.
The crowd fund is sitting at round about £60k just now (which was the target) – if this goes to full trial then that isn’t going to touch the sides of the total bill – it would surprise me greatly if the total bill (for both sides added together) ended up being south of £300k. Where that money is going to come from I am don’t know. The Lib Dems are refusing to comment on whether they are picking up Alastair Carmichael’s bill, who is going to be picking up the ‘people’s final bill if it does go to a full and length trial?
Yes we want fair and honest politics and yes we are not getting it. We didn’t get it from Carmichael but we also don’t get it from Tories, Labour or the SNP (and you can add other parties to the list at will). There are liars and cheats in every party, some on ‘lesser’ issues, some on greater issues. Those pushing for this wearing their SNP badges, including the main petition leaders, are blinded by party loyalty and the stench of hypocrisy is quite foul. All parties need to clean their act up but the ‘outrage’ at this particular incident whilst whistling innocently with a ‘nothing to see here’ attitude to their own ‘houses’ is a bit pathetic.
- Council cuts teacher numbers – without consultation – at Sandbank Gaelic Medium Unit
Whether it is in ‘crisis’ is debatable and is possibly overly dramatic language however Angela Constance herself has admitted that standards in literacy and numeracy are falling and Nicola Sturgeon whilst denying the Scottish education system is failing has admitted it isn’t doing well enough.
I think we can all acknowledge that politicians (of all parties) exaggerate their successes and downplay their failings so you can consider what Constance and Sturgeon are ‘admitting’ within that context.
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