April 22, 2007

I’m standing outside of the train station. There’s a group of people huddled together, with an array of yellow banners, badges, leaflets, and clipboards. The SNP look to be canvassing. Standing amongst this group is Nicola Sturgeon, deputy leader of the party, also campaigning against the majority Labour vote to win a seat in this particular part of the city. It’s always interesting to see somebody from the TV standing in front of you in the street.

I watch quietly, off to the side, to see what they’re doing. While they’re talking, a gent in his thirties approaches the group. He’s recognised Nicola, and he’ll realise that she’s running for the local elections in this area. He tries to get her attention.

“Nicola. Nicola… Nicola

She either ignores, or doesn’t hear. He’s not being obnoxious or impolite, though perhaps he is just a touch forward. Eventually, she notices, and moves toward him.

“Nicola, you’ve got ma vote. Nicola, you’ve got ma vote. Ah cannae even get a job at the moment. Nae fuckin’ money.”

She steps over to him, doesn’t say a thing, and shakes his hand. She walks away. He’s determined to have his say.

“Nicola… Nicola…”

She takes a leaflet off a fellow canvasser, and hands it to the poor guy. He stumbles away.

She seems to have his vote either way, but she wasn’t exactly an advert for herself or her party. Too busy to talk to a voter? Come on.

I’m not sure what he’s wanting out of the SNP. Does he actually want a job? Or does he want a bigger state handout? Scotland’s been slowly but surely working off the socialist leanings it had to adopt after two world wars to survive. We don’t want to step back.

What’s important for Scotland?

  • Governance. Whether that means increased power in the devolved parliament, or total independence, I do not know.
  • Transparent taxation. All the parties win votes by campaigning for lower taxes, but they’re never clear on how they’re going to lower taxes and improve everything else. I want an honest-to-god tax, straight up. Tax my income. Don’t tax my income, my home, my car, my fuel, my miles, my air travel, my beer. We have no clue how much tax we actually pay, because most of it is hidden away from us.
  • Education and healthcare for all. Total left-wing stance on these issues.
  • Improved infrastructure. Maintain and improve basic amenities: electricity, water, gas, data, travel. Private companies who offer services over this infrastructure is great. Encourage any public transport scheme, improve bus links, build new rail lines, open up tram links. I’d heartily suggest unifying the ticketing scheme used by all forms of Scottish public transport, and the publishing of a guide to services.
  • Politicians who speak to the people. My previously neutral stance of Ms. Sturgeon has gone downhill somewhat after her behaviour today.

She may have just lost my local vote.


2 Responses to “Canvassing.”

  1. And how many politicians have you actually spoken to? Has Gordon Jackson ever chatted to you? Have you even seen another candidate in Govan? Sounds like a bit of a whinge based on one event.

  2. How many have I spoken to? A handful, when I was in an excellent position to view them as a bystander: a barman. You get a good feel for somebody by how they treat a blue collar. Servant or staff? Demand or request?

    The key point I pulled out of this encounter is that it’s the voters who are the people who (should) matter. Arguably, Govan is a blue-collar oriented area. That this gentleman walked away happy to have seen a face from the TV is fair enough, but what I saw was a politician uncomfortable talking to the people she is hoping to represent after the elections in a couple of weeks.

    She could have done way better.

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