Thursday, 3 May 2007

Election day in the Outer Hebrides

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:



  1. Fantastic scenery! Not at all like the polling station in Hyndland in the west end of Glasgow.

  2. Surreptitious Evil4 May 2007 at 00:42

    It looks like you had even more of the numpties to choose from than cared to make themselves available in Central. Mind you, I did have a few more on the constituency list ...S-E

  3. You live in a beautiful place.

  4. What a great way to vote!Do you know if your votes are counted there, or are they flown / sailed to the mainland for counting?

  5. michael greenwell4 May 2007 at 01:48

    i am from scotland and you are making me jealous too. i have been trying to find a job and an excuse to live up there for years. indoor or outdoor is fine. i get to the islands a lot but not nearly enoughbeautiful pictures

  6. Marvellous pictures! [Though I'm not sure your island will look quite so heavenly come the next force 10... :-) ]And thank you for dropping by my site, and feel welcome to come back anytime.

  7. Why so few on the pink list?

  8. Nosemonkey / Europhobia » Blog Archive » UK local elections today4 May 2007 at 03:16

    [...] From the comments, this strikes me as the best election day ever. I am quite insanely envious. Bookmark [...]

  9. Sense and worth o'er the Earth4 May 2007 at 03:41

    What a beautiful island ;o)And the ballot papers were not in Gaelic?Election fever!There are *dozens* of real reasons to vote New Labour out. It's extraordinary they're considered fit enough to run a bloody tap:For peace, sense and worth Scotland:Print version poster: emailing: them off. Email them to friends, family and strangers. Help rid us of an appalling regime.See through the labour lies and spin!SNP for a return to democracy...1, 2 and 3.

  10. Richard Havers4 May 2007 at 04:09

    Great pictures and a prfect way to cast a vote. Cheers from the Borders

  11. Looks beautiful :)We had a lovely, sunny election day down here too - hope it helps the turnout!Cheersm0ok

  12. Malcolm Clark4 May 2007 at 04:46

    Thanks for the insight into polling day up there. Really useful and interesting to see one of the ballot papers. What did you think of the ballot paper for your local councillors? How did you find voting using numbers instead of just one cross for that one?

  13. Always good to have a walk across the machair to exercise your perogative!

  14. beautiful - definitely a prettier walk to the polling station than down here

  15. Thanks for sharing the pictures - it's good to know what's happening on the front line. As an Englishman I have sadly had nothing more exciting to do than vote for two local councillors!

  16. teeweewonders4 May 2007 at 07:52

    SIGH - I'm homesick for the Outer Hebrides, even though I've never been there! Your pictures are brilliant.May the best candidate win!

  17. I've given you a Thinking Blogger tag. Apologies, but I do appreciate your blog.

  18. Scottish Roundup » Blog Archive » The blogosphere votes4 May 2007 at 12:03

    [...] Silversprite votes in Berneray [...]

  19. Wow! Beautiful day to vote. It was nice where I was, too. But not quite as scenic.

  20. I was driving up the M9 when the Western Isles result came through.Even from the radio one could tell that there was a great atmosphere up there. And the winner doing his acceptance speech in gaelic really touched me.

  21. Redemption Blues » BritBlog Roundup 1166 May 2007 at 21:25

    [...] final dispatch from the political battleground (and, I admit it, my favourite) is Silversprite’s Election day in the Outer Hebrides, the perfect antidote to the bickering and recriminations from an island with “a [...]

  22. Relentless Outer Hebrides heatwaves at Silversprite6 June 2007 at 00:10

    [...] summer time. We’re yet again in the grip of a heatwave, with no end in sight. Remember that election day here on Berneray was hot. And April had long periods of sun too. Maybe that’s why local people comment so [...]

  23. Absolutely stunning. I'd give up Westminster for that countryside anyday!

  24. Auntie Flo'18 July 2007 at 04:23

    Excellent pictures, thanks for these. How do you manage to retain such good picture clarity on the website? So many website pictures look very poor quality indeed by comparison with yours.I'm related to the Morrisons in the far north of Scotland - Easter Ross and around that way - and the Alasdair Morrison standing for Scots Labour bears a remarkable resemblance. Though Morrison is a VERY common name in your part of the world.

  25. This must be a really torturous place to live. I mean, it's so cluttered and busy and..GahWho am I fooling?