Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Nemesis, Glenrothes-style

The Fife town of Glenrothes was recently awarded the "Plook on the Plinth" in Scotland's annual 'carbuncle' awards, with architectural judges slamming its "depressing and investment-starved town centre". Cue the predictable responses from local politicians: "Doing Glenrothes down", etc. However, a letter in yesterday's Courier took a different tack:
Pardon me for not feeling a shred of sympathy if the place is becoming run down and lacking investment. A few short months ago the people of the town had the chance, in a democratic way, to at least indicate their dissatisfaction at the result of 12 years of new or was it hard Labour. As the majority voted instead for the status quo it seems to me they have the town centre they deserve.
The writer, of course, alludes to last year's Glenrothes by-election, which Labour snatched from the jaws of a widely-predicted SNP victory.

Vindictiveness is an unattractive but hardly exceptional human trait, and it's thus unsurprising that it features in the arena of politics. However, whatever people may think in private, saying it in public seems altogether different - the letter-writer's message seems to be, "You didn't vote SNP, so you get what you deserve."

Of course, it's ironic that Peter Grant, the SNP's defeated by-election candidate, is leader of Fife Council and thus surely has not a little clout as regards Glenrothes and its future. Indeed, responding to the award Cllr Grant said:
Almost everywhere you go in the town you have green open spaces within a few yards. This is due to the vision of those who created Glenrothes more than 60 years ago. Glenrothes is a great place to live and work.
Mr Grant's wife and fellow councillor Fiona Grant said:
We have a great community spirit in Glenrothes - perhaps those who give out such awards should look beyond the fa├žade. Carbuncle? We are in fact a shining light to show how good new towns should be!
Thus the disappointment of the by-election result has clearly not resulted in Mr Grant blaming previous administrations for the town's perceived shortcomings, and nor has he demonstrated the Schadenfreude of the Courier's correspondent.

Meanwhile, today the newspaper reports that the electoral register used in the by-election has gone astray, thwarting SNP attempts to inspect the official record of those who voted.

I smell a conspiracy. Or accusations, at least!


sm753 said...

"I smell a conspiracy. Or accusations, at least!"

The latter is inevitable.

However, note that the Courier reports that the actual voting papers ARE available.

So if anyone is prepared to sit down and do a hand recount, the result is verifiable.

Stuart Winton said...

Nevertheless, there's already talk on Subrosa's blog about corruption and the result being null and void.

Scotland's "hanging chads"??!!

Indy said...

sm753 Can I explain this to you?

The marked up register shows who voted - it does not show how they voted but it shows who voted.

The loss of the marked up register means that it is impossible to carry out a verification exercise - to establish whether people who are recorded as having voted did in fact vote.

I don't know if it is a hanging chads moment - I would say the cock up with the electronic count in 2007 was our hanging chads moment.

This is actually more serious. Whether it would have changed the result if some of the postal votes were fraudulent - who knows? But it undermines the integrity of the democratic process itself whjch is the worry.