Today, May 3rd 2007, is election day in Scotland. Pictures on this page were taken today around Berneray and are on my Flickr area.
Here, we get to vote (twice) for members of the Scottish Parliament, and we also get to rank our candidates of preference for the local council (the Comhairle).
Luckily, the polling station is on my daily walk route, so was able to vote and still enjoy my two hour amble over road, across machair and along beach. On the way, I pass various election posters. Threee of the many parties contesting this seat and area had put posters around Berneray, they being the Scottish National Party:
...the Labour Party:
...and the Scottish Christian Party, who had the most posters up around Berneray:
Berneray has a current permanent resident population of 128, who about 109 (roughly) are eligible to vote. So over 15 hours of the polling station being open, even if everyone voted, that would be on average one voter every 8 minutes and 16 seconds. Not surprising that, on the stroll down to the polling station, the most visible activity was Chrissie's cat looking for lunch:
The road itself to the polling station (the building with the red roof, centre right) wasn't exactly choked with traffic:
...though on approaching, it was surprising to see three cars in front:
Inside were five residents of Berneray. The rule of thumb here is that if you get five residents in the same small room, it is automatically either (a) a committee meeting, or (b) a ceilidh. Two were doing the allocation of voting papers, one was assisting with telling folk what to do (useful, as I nearly put one of my papers in the wrong box - they both looked white to me) and the other two were having a blather. It turned out that quite a few people had voted already, and Berneray looks likely to have a quite high turnout for this election. Which, in a democracy, is healthy.
On the way out, spotted the list of candidates, a la how they appear on the Parliamentary ballot paper. And yes, it really was this long (here's the larger version of this picture):
Outside, a few more voters appeared, one crofter coming to vote on his tractor before going off to do crofting things on the machair. This reminds me of my home village (someone once turned up to vote in a combine harvester and caused all sorts of traffic chaos), but otherwise was not a common sight in others places I've lived in, such as inner city Glasgow:
Civil duty done, it's off for a stroll across the machair:
...then through the dunes:
...and finally onto the west beach. By this time, yet again, the sun is searing down. With a three mile beach, as usual, to myself, it was time for a paddle in the sea, off the Outer Hebrides, on election day May 3rd 2007: