Campaigning around the West Aberdeenshire and Angus constituencies for Stuart Donaldson and Mike Weir I have been heartened by the engagement and empowerment folk are showing about politics.
Not everyone agrees with me, and of course not everyone has made up their mind about who they are going to vote for in the General Election in some 21 days, but almost everyone I have spoken with is actively thinking about parties and their policies. Folk are listening to what Westminster politicians are promising and what they can really deliver for Scotland.
Social media now play an enormous part in elections and as a result folk are more informed and aware than ever before of the bias often found in main stream media, and for some the credibility of the party they usually would have voted for has been shattered.
Locally it remains the case that some candidates are campaigning on issues that they don’t have any powers over, and I don’t think people like to feel ‘the wool is being pulled over their eyes’.
For example on issues like roads, health and education we know these are the responsibility of Holyrood not Westminster, so making big claims about what you are going to do about these issues will amount to nothing much other than getting peoples’ backs up.
On matters for which Westminster is responsible; like the growing effects of austerity policies and benefits cuts for people with disabilities, and the widening inequality gap, the local candidates for the Tories and Lib Dems are strangely quiet.
I recognise that in some constituencies voters can fairly identify that their preferred candidate is not going to win and will then be inclined to vote tactically, but when a party starts promoting tactical voting to keep another party candidate out I suspect that just demonstrates their lack of credibility. I remind you that you can vote for a party that will always represent Scotland’s best interests at Westminster.
On a final note I have had a number of constituents contact me who would not normally be on my political side but who now are as a result of the dreadful behaviour displayed by some party leaders during last week’s televised debates.
Bullying and scaring folk does not impress anyone; it is not, and never will be my practice nor an approach I will support.