Where better place to start with my revamped website than the General Election? I was very proud to give voters in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine an opportunity to vote Green for the first time ever.
My campaign was relatively low key but my Election Address did go to 44,000 household throughout the constituency and I also got some canvassing done, chatting to local people about the issues that concerned them. Of course, I didn’t go into the election expecting to win but this canvassing told me that many people who might have been inclined to vote Green were not intending to, because of the political landscape in Scotland and across the UK as well as the First Past The Post system. In a nutshell, people either wanted to see the SNP elected or they absolutely didn’t. They did not need a degree in PPE from Oxbridge to recognise that a vote for me would not achieve either of those aims.
From a very early stage, once I started speaking to constituents, the outcome was never in doubt in my mind and I knew what this meant for the picture across Scotland. Of course, the UK picture was very different, with nobody predicting that the Conservative’s would win an outright majority. Other than my disappointment at a Government that will find it all too easy to impose austerity measures that will hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest, I feel slightly short-changed by the result. I had envisaged the days immediately after May 7th being filled with intrigue as negotiations took place that would allow a government to be formed. Even more appealing was the prospect of that government containing a range of voices.
As it happened, we have ended up with the same thing we have had following almost every election in my lifetime; a single party in government, from one of the two ‘big’ parties. For a while it seemed that scenario was going to become increasingly less inevitable as both Labour and the Tories appeared to be losing support to a variety of alternative parties.
This outcome will have two big, negative consequences to my mind. Firstly, the opportunity for the government to implement policies that I simply don’t believe will benefit the country as a whole. During the election campaign, and indeed throughout the last parliament, the Liberal Democrats were at pains to point out that they had protected us from the Tories’ worst excesses. We are now surely going to find out just how much truth there is to that claim. Of course, the government would suggest that they have a mandate to do this. They are right in that they have a mandate as enabled by our current electoral system. They would have no such mandate under the terms of their own proposed union reforms, which brings me to my second major negative. The chance for electoral reform appears to have been lost for some time. While it looked like First Past The Post might not even work for the behemoth of the Conservatives and Labour anymore, there was hope that some sort of reform might be on the agenda but that would seem to be a forlorn hope now.