Saturday 30 April 2016

The parties strut their final stuff as Scotland's election day looms

Today is the final Saturday before Thursday's vote, so I wandered along to the Foot of the Walk to see what the parties had to say for themselves as we head into the final straight.

The SNP stall is massive, and well stocked with balloons for the kids, pens for their parents and tons of party literature. It's manned by enough volunteers to answer people's questions, and believe me there were plenty of people stopping off to speak to Ben Macpherson, the candidate for Edinburgh Northern and Leith. That's him on the left of the photo, talking to one of his future constituents.

I met Ben for about two minutes a fortnight ago, but he greeted me by name and said nice things about this here blog. Given that I often cannot remember what I had for breakfast, I was impressed that his political talents are already so well developed. 

Labour were represented by these two guys, along with a woman and Malcolm Chisholm, the retiring MSP. They told me that they hope to grab two or three seats on the list, which strikes me as a reasonable hope. They might even manage four, given that they are certain to lose the constituency to the SNP. It really all depends if their vote holds up on that all-important second ballot paper.

Of all the activists that I spoke to today, these were the two that I would most like to go and sink a pint or three with. They came over as sane and sensible, just like you expect from men of my generation - ahem...

The Greens were represented by these two blokes, who told me that they are hoping to improve on their 2011 performance, which saw them take one seat on the Lothian list. That may very well happen, if their mainly under thirty voting core remember to go along and vote - always a problem for a party that relies on the kiddie vote.

Finally, we have RISE, which is an alliance of various small parties and grouplets. Their stall was attracting quite a bit of interest from the passing shoppers, even though it was stuck in a corner and seemingly out of the way. Needless to say, they are very confident of making an electoral breakthrough, as all minor parties are until the votes are counted.

You might be wondering where the Tories and Liberal-Democrats were, and so was I, but nobody seemed to know or care. They have candidates for the constituency and  full slates for the list, but if they cannot be bothered to set up a stall in the centre of Leith, on a day when the whole town and his wife will probably walk past, then they cannot hope to do well on Thursday. I think we should forget about those parties, don't you?

The SNP are clearly going to take the seat, but there is still everything to play for on the list. If Labour can get its vote out on the day then maybe, just maybe, they can surprise themselves by increasing their representation on the Lothian list.

That would be good for them and good for democracy.

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