Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Local Council elections. Who will be the lucky winner's keeping the Courthouse Gargoyle's company for the next four years?

So, we are to have an election after all, for a while it looked possible that there wouldn’t be one but eight hopefuls have put themselves forward for the public vote.

Three out of the four current Councillors are standing; Liz MacDonald (SNP), Sandy Park (Ind), and Laurie Fraser (Ind). The fourth, John Matheson, is taking his
golden handshake and standing down.

The other five, some of whom are known about the town and some have never been heard of, are locals Graham Marsden (LibDem), Jim Lennon (Ind) and David Fraser (Ind). The unknowns, and so far unheard of’s in this household, are Bob Ross (Con) and Ron Stevenson (Lab).

Out of the eight, leaflets have only been received from three and, to be truthful, only one of these provides any in-depth information about what they stand for. Perhaps some of the others are riding on their previous performances? This time round this may not be such a foregone conclusion as in the past. Nairn no longer consists of four wards with one Councillor in each, it will now be one ward with four Councillors. So, where previously it could be relied on that a fair whack of the vote could come from concentrating on keeping everyone within the ward being represented happy and not being too bothered about upsetting those in other wards, now there will be a bigger reliance of having to have get a larger slice of more voters to win. Could this provide an opportunity for disgruntled voters to have a ‘payback’ vote?

This is certainly going to be one of the most interesting local elections for a long time, apart from the changes to the wards there will also be a change in how we actually vote and, as well as being interesting, it will also be very confusing to some voters. The Single Transferable Vote System will be used for the first time, full details and an explanation can be found here

For a start, you have to put a number beside each candidate, not a cross. Then, in our case because there are eight candidates, you decide who your first preference is then your second, third and up to eighth. On top of this it would seem that you don’t have to ‘rate’ all eight and can pick as many as you like. Reading it it’s not as confusing as it seems but for many voters confronted by this at the polling station for the first time could result in much bemusement. Let’s hope there will be some literature appearing to provide an easy guide on how to use the system.

There is a note of caution about what will happen after the vote though with potential worries about the counting system.

With just over two weeks to go, let’s see how things hot up!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Swan tales

During stormy weather a few weeks ago this young swan fell foul to a feathered territorial battle and ended up bruised, battered and exhausted on a footpath near to the river.
The SSPCA were called and the Inspector came out. He gave the youngster a check over and decided to relocate him to a place of safety away from the battle scene and the marauders.
Off they went with the swan safely tucked under the Inspector's wing!