Saturday, 24 March 2012

Campaign gets underway

Only 40 days to go and for me, that marks the start of the election campaign proper. Nomination papers are in, election newsletter deliveries started and canvassing sheets printing off as I write.

Tomorrow I start canvassing in the leafy lanes of Lasswade. I was down that way a few days ago delivering newsletters and already got caught up in conversations with people I met - some of whom I already know.

It seems that every street I go down there's someone I know, and over the last few days I've already logged three people I've promised to get back in touch with if elected, to help with issues they are interested in - and doorknocking hasn't even started!

So far there seems little evidence of activity from other parties. Labour has delivered two newsletters - both claiming the credit for new infrastructure provided by the Scottish Government or NHS Lothian, so I'll be interested to see how the SNP campaign reacts to this!

I've also heard that the two Labour candidates have been knocking on doors in Polton. I hope they continue as one  of them once confided to me that he didn't like doorknocking as it tends to alienate as much support as it attracts. In his case, understandable.

In 2007, we were the main recipients of voter transfers in the Bonnyrigg ward. However, a worrying number of votes did not transfer through to the last round of counting. This could be for the legitimate reason that the voters had no preference beyond those they expressed, or it could be because people don't fully understand how the system works.

One questionnaire I had returned said the voter (who had voted Lib Dem previously) wouldn't vote for us because we're too small a party - a bit ironic as the Lib Dems have fewer MSPs than we did at our high water mark and in 2007 we came fourth in this 3-member ward and the Lib Dems didn't stand.

Hence the need for me to speak to people individually. If people want a Green councillor, then they should vote for one with their first preference, and if we're not elected, their vote simply transfers to their second preference. A simple message I will be putting to people over the next five weeks.

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