Nominations closed today for candidates standing for the various wards in Argyll and Bute Council to be voted for in the local authority elections on 3rd May 2012.
All the old faces are back, with the exception of Provost William Petrie who is retiring from local politics.
Wards immediately worth watching are:
- Dunoon: with the entry in the lists of Michael Breslin for the SNP, Principal of Argyll College; Mick Rice for Scottish Labour; and Tony Mile for the Liberal Democrats, election agent for Alan Reid, Argyll and Bute’s MP – and with current Councillor Leader, Dick Walsh, deciding to stand again.
- Kintyre and the Islands: with a cracking Labour candidate in Tarbert resident, Bob Chicken in the lists where the Liberal Democrat’s Robin Currie threw his constituency interests to the winds in the school closures fiasco.
- South Kintyre: with the SNP entering a strong local candidate, Anne Baird, a seasoned and successful schools campaigner in a ward where the Liberal Democrat’s Rory Colville, who got in by one vote last time after multiple count – and who, like Robin Currie of Islay, controversially changed his declared voting intention and sacrificed Southend School for his party.
- Oban North and Lorn: the entry of Donald Melville for the SNP, well known through his work in Strengthening Communities with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and of Independent, the respected Iain Macdonald, architect and community councillor from Ardchattan – opens up the possibility of one of the Alliance of Independent Councillors candidates taking the exit door. Our bet is on Elaine Robertson surviving regardless. That leaves two controversial familiars – Duncan Macintyre and Neil Mackay.
- Oban South and the Isles: where, with an extra seat to be fought over and with Mary Jean Devon’s pragmatic return to the SNP fold, there is room for movement with some lively new blood in the offing.
- Lomond North: with Provost William Petrie’s retirement, there is room for movement here too, with some keen new heavyweight candidates.
- Helensburgh Central: with the sad loss of the Liberal Democrat’s Al Reay, there is room for some musical chairs in this ward.
- Helensburgh and Lomond South: the Liberal Democrats currently have two out of three seats in this ward – but they got their second (Andrew Nisbet) at a by election. The big question here is that with this particular party unlikely to be able to push two candidates over the threshold in the same election, which one will speak to the future for the Lib Dem faithful of the area?
Two key tests for Argyll’s future
Dunoon and Oban North and Lorn are the key litmus test wards where the results will show whether Argyll really cares to change the culture that is killing it on its feet or whether it does the same old deals as before.
If these two wards go for change, there is some hope for Argyll to regenerate.
If they do not, hope will be stillborn and quite where Argyll goes from there, is beyond imagining.
What, seriously, would Argyll feel, on the evening of 4th May, were it to discover that we were carrying on as now?
While every ward matters, the reality is that these two wards hold the key to Argyll’s hope for the future. What they choose to do will extinguish or enliven hope for better.
Here is the final list of nominations: Statement_of_Persons_Nominated