Sunday, 19 May 2013

Elections, Mandates and Community Leadership

So, as sort of expected, the yellow vote collapsed in North ward with only one out of three existing town councillors getting re-elected. However, since they took four seats in both Kirkhill and Stobhill wards – they have nine of the fifteen town council seats, and calculating that they took 51% of the total town council votes cast across the town, the yellows are claiming a significant popular mandate. I’m not so sure… 

In Kirkhill, they only had four relatively weak blue candidates and a red paper candidate opposing them. And in Stobhill, there were only six candidates for five seats – so four yellows were effectively elected unopposed and the blue paper candidate was elected rather than the fifth yellow. It is interesting to look at the proportion of town council votes not used…

Every voter had one county council and five town council votes: a total of 4669 county council votes were cast (about 40% turnout), implying a total of 23.345 town council votes available to those who actually voted. But very few voters used all five of their votes: in fact 8893 votes (38%) were not used. Breaking that down by division – in North ward, 27% of town council votes were unused; in Kirkhill, 32% of votes weren’t cast; and in Stobhill a massive 57% of town council votes were not used. Active voters were not voting for the town council candidates on offer – presumably because they didn’t like any of them. It is a huge vote for ‘none of the above’

Admittedly the yellows had 51% of the votes used, but they had twelve candidates – when you work it out on ‘votes per candidate’, they came third behind the Greens and Inds (two candidates each) and ahead of the reds (one candidate) and the blues (eight candidates). Not really that much of a mandate.

So overall – I reckon that politicians across the board let the voters down in offering a comprehensive choice of candidates and the Town Council as a whole has a lot to prove in terms its role as ‘community leaders’. But I’ll leave that for the next post.

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