Perhaps you can indulge me for needing to post another political piece. After all, local elections were at one time the stuff of personal agony….
Well, the results of the local elections are now in. There were several surprises. Congratulations are certainly in order for the Labour party in Glasgow and also the Greens. Both did well – better than many expected them to do. Labour did amazingly well to regain the city with the Nats on their coattails and their former councillors turning against them. To gain any working majority under STV is a huge achievement and to do so under these circumstances is all the more so.
My dire predictions about the Liberal Democrats came to pass.
No-one asked me to vote for them and given that I’m reasonably politically connected, that seems rather a surprise. It is perhaps no wonder that there is a low turn out when the local parties are at such a low ebb that they don’t get much done.
There are, no doubt, good councillors and bad councillors out there. I find myself feeling terribly sorry for those who work very hard, engage in good public service and then lose their seats because of national events. Seeing the Lib Dems swept away from Stirling Council, I can’t hep but feel for those involved. Had circumstances been ever so slightly different, that could well have been me.
The fate of political liberalism in Scotland hangs in the balance right now. There are a number of options for those so minded, if they want to see a more liberal Scotland.
– Accept that the Greens shall inherit the liberal earth.
– A new party in the liberal tradition making a clean break with the past. This will only work and have energy if there remains a Liberal Democrat party to oppose. I’m thinking something in the tradition of the NDP in Canada.
– A new role for the Liberal Party which still continues yet, believe it or not. (If it hasn’t happened yet, my guess is that it is not going to happen).
– A break with the past.Â A new leader in Westminster & a new message in Scotland. (Specifically, a leader’s office which is not sponsored by an anti-gay right wing group). Public penitence. “We got it wrong”. Grassroots takeover.
Continuing down the same road that the Liberal Democrats have been treading this last 18 months is not an option that will lead to more power, greater liberalism or better government at local or national level.
(If you ask me).