Monday, April 11, 2005

Scotland Devolved

In the run up to the general election I've been trying to write about local issues in Aberdeen South, my own constituency. It's a Labour/Lib Dem marginal as I mentioned in Aberdeen South Election News. Quick reminder - only Anne Begg (Lab) or Vicki Harris (Lib Dem) has any chance of winning this seat. I'm not connected to the Liberal Democrats (except as a voter) but I'd like Vicki Harris to win in order to reduce Blair's majority in the next parliament. Backing Blair also recommends this.

I've been trying to make this stuff more relevant to local issues but I always run into the same anomoly. Here are some examples:
What are the two candidates positions on funding for Aberdeen Royal Infirmary?
Doesn't matter, it's a devolved issue. The Scottish parliament decides.

What about their position on improvements for local schools?
Doesn't matter, it's a devolved issue.

More police on the streets of Aberdeen?

What about the fabled Western Peripheral Route? (The long promised bypass which has people up in arms for all sorts of reasons.)
I think you see where I'm going with this.

Agriculture, an important part of the north east economy?
You guessed it.
Local environmental issues?
Yep, it's devolved.

You see my problem. The general election in Scotland just is not about local issues. We have our own elections for those. As an aside for anyone reading this south of the border, I'm pretty sure that all 59 Scottish MP's will be able to vote on your local services. As a Scotsman, even I find that ridiculous. (I haven't actually checked this so I could be wrong. It's happened before.)

Via BBC Scotland, here is a list of the issues which are relevant to Scottish voters in the general election:
Westminster powers
Asylum/immigration, Benefits, Broadcasting, Defence, Employment legislation, Energy, Foreign policy, Pensions, Treasury and the UK economy.

At least this explains why I rarely find any relevant election news in the local newspapers.
Oh, and if you were looking for information on Aberdeen, South Dakota, can I just say "Hello, I hope you are well. Don't be discouraged, I can assure you that there is a great deal of information out there. It's just not here."

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