Just about the strangest by-election that I can remember is due to take place this coming Thursday. Labour has a seemingly decent candidate in Marion Donaldson who works at a food bank, and is the only party that has managed to canvass the ward, albeit only once about a month ago. Given that there are two vacancies to fill in this four member ward, you would think that the nine parties and one independent would put a bit more effort in, but only Labour and the SNP have even bothered sending leaflets out. The rest just seem to have assumed that we will vote for them for the fun of it, or something.
The end result of all this indolence is that not a single house even has a window poster stuck up, the election is hardly mentioned in the pubs and shops and turnout will probably be embarrassingly low.
Setting up street stalls, just as they do for a student union election, only creates the impression that the parties expect us to go to them as if we are the supplicants seeking their favours, instead of the other way around. I can understand the Tories and Liberal-Democrats keeping their heads down, and the Greens are nothing more than a student pose, anyway, so they can be ignored by the adults. The Trots want to sell their tedious papers and recruit members into their wanky little sects and don't ask me what the Libertarians plan for Leith as I have no idea, but the buggers seem to think that running a candidate via a website is enough.
Give credit to the Labour Party as enough of them seem to know that people actually like it when the party activists knock on their doors and ask them to vote for their candidate. When I canvassed for Labour back in the 1980s, one of the reasons why we were able to turn Oldham into a one party council was all that hard work on the doorstep. People told our teams time and time again that ours was the only outfit that came out to actively seek their votes. They were able to raise issues there and then, and if happy with the answers, they would often take a poster to stick in their window.
Labour's membership is in freefall, so we are told, but if they can still manage to get one canvass in then it is possible that they are not as near to death's door as people think. The SNP are still riding high in the polls and now have over 100,000 members across the country. If that is the case, why are SNP canvassing teams not out every night encouraging people to vote for their party?
That aside, The SNP have probably done enough to ensure that they grab one of the two seats, and if there is any justice in the world then Labour will take the other. As for the rest, I hope that people treat them with the same indifference that they have demonstrated to us, the electorate, during this campaign.