Friday, 4 May 2007

Couldn't organise an election in a brewery?

It's the lunchtime after the night before, and I still don't know:

  • who is the largest party in Scotland.

  • who will be First Minister.

  • on what mysterious journey my ballot paper has been during the night.

Satisfied with the result locally. However, the way this election has been conducted, in Scotland, in 2007, makes me almost physically sick.

It does not make Scotland look good. It makes us look more like an Eastern European country before the wall came down. For whatever reason(s), the problems with postal votes and (b) the utterly shocking number of "spoilt" papers means that democracy has taken a bit of a backseat. 100,000+ papers not counted in a country of 5 million. Oh, and ballot boxes bursting open in Edinburgh, with forms being stuffed into carrier bags, the boxes themselves not being sturdy anymore but pathetic cardboard constructs vunerable to anything, software not working, remote communications not working, and not to mention the issues with transportation in Arran and here...

Locally, we had the first embarassment of the night in Scotland. To put a few things incorrectly mentioned on the news straight - there WAS NO BAD WEATHER IN THE OUTER HEBRIDES. Some complete d*ckhead, somewhere, decided that the helicopter would fly (seemingly at the last minute) from Inverness to the Outer Hebrides, then loop northwards picking up boxes on the way. Fog in Inverness meant no take-off - despite the Outer Hebrides having excellent weather, as confirmed by residents of Barra on the radio this morning. Worse, whoever was running this hadn't learnt from previous helicopter unreliabilities.

People - that is residents and taxpayers who live here - were fuming in Lochmaddy this morning. Nobody finds it funny. Everyone expects better.

The more sensible approach would have been:

  • have the helicopter in Barra SOONER.

  • have a decent back-up plan. Not "Ah well, we'll put the boxes somewhere overnight then take them on a ferry tomorrow".

  • build a few weather-proof tunnels so this kind of shambles - and that's what it is - doesn't happen again.

  • ban the returning officer, and any other person who says "Well, this kind of thing happens in the Western Isles" on national TV, from ever having any position of responsibility, or media exposure again.  

Mr officer, on your appearance on national TV last night, you made the islands look backwards. You are a disgrace and an embarassment. You have an unacceptably poor attitude, and you don't fit into a modern island economy or infrastructure. Myself and many others here compete, against mainland companies, for mainland clients. With your unacceptable attitude you've given an almost retarded impression of these islands, which to put it very mildly, does not help local businesses. Do the right thing and resign. I hope you, and anyone else with your attitude, never holds a position of responsibility again.

Bottom line: just because we live on islands on the periphery doesn't mean the infrastructure should be unreliable. Far more remote communities in the periphery, in Norway, Finland, Lapland and beyond, wouldn't accept this. Why should we?

The future? As of early afternoon, the day after a supposedly hi-tech election, it looks like either Labour or the SNP being the largest party with a very narrow margin. This means four years of acrimony. Never a dull moment here.


  1. Just be thankful that elections in the UK are held on a Thursday. Just imagine if they were on a Saturday ...TBH, I can't really understand what all the fuss about the "complicated process" was.Two bits of paper, a couple of crosses and some numbers. It's not rocket science.

  2. A 10% vote for the Spoilt Party.That's comparable to the 14% that YouGov thought the Liberals would get, and very close to the 13% they expected the Stupid Party to get.

  3. Custard Surgery » Blog Archive » Murder On The Dancefloor5 May 2007 at 00:57

    [...] I type the Scottish race is still undecided [partly thanks to quite a lot of official twuntarsery] - fingers and other body parts crossed….Extract From Chat The Other [...]

  4. Hi,I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog and your account of an election day in one of the most remote part of Scotland was unique.I liked the picture of the voter on his tractor. In fact, I mentioned it on my blog. It's in French so I don't think you'll find it very interesting but keep up the good work. And good luck with the new parliament.

  5. Surely it's the right result that counts? And, by a whisker, that is what Scotland had yesterday. And it was quite fitting for Labour's hopes to be dashed by a late-arriving helicopter from the Outer Hebrides...I bet they thought they were winning until then.