Saturday, May 05, 2007
Voting after all.
On Thursday it was the election for the members of the Scottish Parliament and local councillors. At the moment there doesn't seem to be a party that represents my views and I seriously thought about not voting at all.
Then I thought back to all those history lessons about the long hard fight for the right to vote and headed off to the polling station at the library.
As soon as I got there I knew that I had done the right thing - though there was no-one I would say I truly supported there were quite a few parties on the form - such at the UK Independence party - that I definitely do not want anything to do with so I could at least use the opportunity to vote against them.
I was doubly glad that I had voted on Friday evening when I came across a Scottish blog entry of shocking xenophobia - it read very like the canvassing letter from UKIP that arrived on my doormat last week. It complained about those hordes of foreigners arriving in our Scottish towns, taking our jobs and leering at our women.
Drymen, where I live, and the surrounding area is an area of fantastic beauty - tourists flock to see Loch Lomond, to climb the hills and to walk the West Highland Way. The area is very reliant on tourism in all its forms and the tourism industry is very reliant on workers from other countries, who are chosing to spend some time working and travelling in Scotland. Just as every other waiter in Sydney seems to be a Scot working their way round Australia, there are a lovely stream of foreign nationals working in our hotels, on our farms, and so on. They add to the area, some come back year on year, some return with their families on holiday.
My constituency now has a Scottish Nationalist Party member of Scottish Parliament. The SNP now have the most MSPs (by 1) but no obvious prospect of forming a coalition government with another party, so no prospect of real power. Their policies, I hasten to add, have no xenophobia in them at all and if it was not for their yen for an independent Scotland many of their left wing policies would probably appeal to me. However I do hope, as an English neighbour said this morning, that they weren't voted in by insular Scots wanting to keep all sasenachs and foreigners out.
In my opinion Scotland's problem is that it isn't diverse enough - it is only because of the recent bolstering of Glasgow's Polish community that we can now get decent rye bread at Partick farmers market!