Edinburgh Council Elections 2017 Morningside Ward

My vote has arrived for Edinburgh Council elections.  These decide the politicians who will run the city council a layer of government tasked with important but often boring tasks like running schools and social care.  Choosing who to vote for is based on a mix of what you think of the candidates, the party policy for Edinburgh and the party policy nationally.  The last one is unfortunate but seems inevitable as the parties often promote their national politics above those that the election is for, Theresa May even said it was a sign of whether or not we wanted a Scottish referendum and even respected bloggers like ScotGoesPop James Kelly vote entirely on national issues and not local ones.  The sensible but faffy STV voting system means you get to vote for all of them (and should vote for all of them) raked in number order.

My street has moved up in the world and instead of the working class Fountainbridge we’re now part of rich banker land Morningside. Hustings for Morningside ward are next Wednesday.

My main local issue is ensuring landlords and owners in tenements with shared communal property do their job and help out with repairs.  I’ve tried in vain for well over a year to get any of my neighbours to even look at the leaks in my flat and so far only 1 out of the 10 has.  The council even licenced an HMO in my stair knowing that the property didn’t meet The Repairing Standard and was illegal to rent out.  Other issues I care about include support for the new 20mph speed limit in Edinburgh and improved cycling provision.  So how to they match up?

Melanie Main for Scottish Greens, I like their national policies and have found myself voting for them at all 3 other layers of government.  At the HMO licence committee meeting Melanie was the most useful of the people on the panel for understanding the problem. She’s also taken an interest in a wee road improvement I pointed out that would ease my commute to work.  The Green manifesto is packed with good ideas

On tenement repairs it says

Help homeowners to make homes wind and watertight
with a trusted not-for-profit service to manage major
repairs, including to tenements; explore more ways to
help with the cost of repairs – for example, investigating
a “tenement contract” for owners to agree matters like
maintenance and cleaning; with grants for low-income
households, interest-free loans, or options to defer
paying repair costs until the property is sold; and work
with industry bodies to press for legal reform to make
common repairs easier to organise;
Which is all well and good but won’t be any use if owners and agents can’t even be bothered to look at the property.
They are all for 20mph zones and cycling.
Sandy Howat for SNP, nice guy and with competent political presentation skills. When I went to a housing hustings he gave the best answer to my grumble about tenement repairs and said more enforcement was needed.  Weirdly the SNP Edinburgh manifesto seems to be a PDF squashed into small images so it’s very hard to read and can’t be searched.  On repairs it says a return to the staturoty repairs scheme is not wanted (it’s not it’s what led to the culture of lazy landlords I now suffer from) and suggests factoring instead.  Well maybe but I’d rather people just spoke to their neighbour and did their jobs rather than paying someone else to do it.  Nationally they are doing what they can to save us from a destructive Brexit policy so I’m all for them.  I can’t search their manifesto so I’ve no idea about 20mph zones or cycling but they implemented them in the current administration so I assume they’re all for them.
Mandy Watt Labour, no web presence from candidate (the local party picked a candidate who it turned out wasn’t eligible and had to bring someone in at short notice).  Labour Edinburgh Manifesto says
Strengthen the Registration System for private
landlords to ensure that they maintain their own
properties, participate fully in common repairs, and
treat tenants fairly. We will set up an inspection
team to back this up
Which is exactly the answer I want.  Except as the main party in power currently they didn’t and the HMO licence committee licenced my illegal landlord upstairs and Fineholm agent.  When I pointed  this out to the council leader Andrew Burns his reply was

Which feels a lot like throwing jargon at someone to make them get confused and go away.

They have taken the lead in increasing spending on cycling and implemented the 20mph polity.  Nationally they’re a disaster and leading us into a destructive policy of taking away our freedoms and rights and citizenship.

Neil Ross Lib Dem, seems to be a pin stripe suit wearing church elder type. They have no manifesto and a few uninteresting bullet points is all I can find about politices.  When I’ve seen Lib Dems at hustings they are amateur and unprepared.  Nationally they have picked the UK over the EU while pretending they can have both which they can’t, so I’ve little interest in them.

Nick Cook and Chris Land, Conservative and Unionist. I sat next to Nick at a hustings while he told well-kent Edinburgh figure Gandolf that he was wrong.  Tory boy politician who from his online presence is only interested in cars and higher speed limits even if that means death from pollution. Nationally they are the nasty party with support for a the rape clause and driving the hardest of Brexits to kill off our freedoms and economy. The Conservative Edinburgh manifesto leads with nasty politics like removing need for affordable housing and stopping the 20mph zones.  But from their campaigning all they are about is stopping a Scottish Referendum and putting us at the mercy of a government we did not vote for.  They are feeling brave enough to put up two candidates, no idea who Chris Land is and don’t really want to find out.

With all that in mind my vote is as follows:

  1.  Melanie Main Green
  2. Sandy Howat SNP
  3. Mandy Watt Labour
  4. Neil Ross Lib Dem
  5. Chris Land Tory
  6. Nick Cook Tory

 

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