Who am I and why did I decide to enter the Blogsphere?
My name is Ian Baxter, a Green Party activist. I’m also chairman of Bonnyrigg & Lasswade Community Council, and I’ve lived in Midlothian for over 30 years.
Midlothian has changed a lot in that time. In 1980 we had coal mines and nearly all the councillors were Labour. Now the pits have gone, and many Midlothian residents work in offices or shops in Edinburgh.
Politics has changed here too, though not as much as I would like. Many Labour councillors are still ex-miners or hark back to the ‘good old days’ of the one-party state, but largely thanks to the introduction of the STV voting system they are now held more to account, with a sizeable SNP group on Midlothian Council.
But how are they held to account? A number of issues have arisen over the last few years which made me realise how hard it is to tell people how it really is. Yes, we have a fine local paper in The Midlothian Advertiser - but for some reason or other, it’s often not keen to criticise our council, and there's a rumour it's closing its Dalkeith office. The Edinburgh Evening News? - well, the clue’s in the title.
Come election time, election leaflets from Labour councillors are not exactly forthcoming about the council’s failures. And then there's 'Midlothian News' the council's own Pravda-esque bulletin, delivered to all homes. No bad news there.
I wondered what would happen if The Advertiser disappeared.
So I thought I’d write a blog. Partly to publish an uncensored, albeit partisan, Green perspective on Midlothian, but also as a way of getting feedback from my readers. Politics, after all, should be a two way communication process, and although I do knock on a lot of doors, people are often out. So here goes ...