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Spokes hustings meeting (April 2017)

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  1. chdot
    Admin

    SPOKES PUBLIC MEETING – COUNCIL ELECTION HUSTINGS

    THURSDAY 6 APRIL 2017

    7.30pm – doors open 6.45 for coffee, stall and chat

    Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh

    "

    http://www.spokes.org.uk/2017/02/spokes-council-hustings-6-april/

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. chdot
    Admin

    Or follow on-line

    https://mobile.twitter.com/search?q=%23Spokesmtg

    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. chdot
    Admin

    All happening, mass twits!

    https://mobile.twitter.com/search?q=%23Spokesmtg

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. Rosie
    Member

    P Gregson, evidently leaving the Shelter meeting downstairs, came in with a mate and I thought he'd join a discussion group. But after hanging around for a few minutes they went off again.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. Stickman
    Member

    Thoughts:

    No surprises in anything Nigel Bagshaw said.

    Adam McVey making very positive noises about SNP enthusiasm for cycling.

    Maureen Child likewise for Labour.

    Hal Osler for LibDems not so strong on travel matters but she spoke about care/benefit funding issues in our group and I was really impressed by her. Hope she gets elected.

    Nick Cook: didn't try to hide his views about 10% budget/20mph, so credit for honesty, but his big vision for cycling is fixing potholes. He did say he thought segregated routes were the future and that a north-south route was the obvious next step.

    All candidates frequently said "don't pigeonhole people as cyclists/pedestrians/drivers etc"

    Went away feeling more positive than I thought I would.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. HankChief
    Member

    Yeah. It was a positive evening with all candidates speaking up for non-car based travel and to give them credit, not being afraid to hold their party lines.

    Biggest disappointment was the LibDems who said the 10% earmarked for cycling would have to be shared with walking.

    I get the point that 'cycling' schemes should consider walking as well but it feels like a funding cut compares to other parties commitments.

    The Conservative message was a bit confused to me. The roads were in such a state that they couldn't commit the last 10% to cycling as they needed it to sort them out, but they were big fans of segregated routes.

    Also the 'confusion' over the 20mph roll out is apparently best served by halting the roll out to the rest of the city and having a review...

    The SNP story positively surprised me, not just with 10% cycling investment being in their manifesto but Adam conveying a strong commitment by the party to invest it wisely and their party having strong support of AT from the existing and potential future candidates.

    Not sure I've heard him be so positive about the future previously...

    Not unexpectedly, the Labour and Green messages were strongly supportive of AT and taking hard decisions to move more people away from car-based travel.

    All in all a good evening. Thanks to Spokes for organising and the candidates for coming along and speaking.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. Rob
    Member

    I didn't pay attention to politics until the Scottish referendum. I'm an IT guy, not a finance guy. Forgive me if this is naive/obvious/wrong. That said ...

    The potholes argument feels like a debate tactic. Pick unassailable thing, frame the debate as that vs thing-you-don't-want. I've seen it a lot, especially when cycling infrastructure is proposed ("I'm not against cycling but what about...Long list of things never considered when the space is used for parking").

    Is the other 90% of the transport budget spent entirely on pothole repair? If not, why is cycling the only thing* being held up against it? Are they even the same budget (capital expenditure Vs ongoing expense)?

    If 90% really is being spent on potholes and we're in this mess, how much will another 10% really achieve? Is the transport budget too low? Again, why isn't anything else in the general budget held up against potholes? Why is Scotgov spending billions on road widening and bridges while local councils can't afford street repairs?

    Are potholes costing significantly more to repair now than in previous years? Why aren't we talking about that and ways we can address the causes?

    Anyway, you get the picture - it's a complex issue. Framing it as cycle lanes Vs pothole repair tells me that particular councillor has no intention of spending anything on cycling.

    *Also 20mph but I think it's safe to say that also falls under things they don't like.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. Frenchy
    Member

    Good evening. The cynic in me wonders if the messages from some candidates would be different at a different audience.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. Rob
    Member

    The other thing which stood out from your tweets was the argument about being unable to discourage driving without providing alternatives.

    On the face of it, quite reasonable ... Meanwhile, we're investing more in things which will actively encourage even more driving (e.g. sherrifhall), seemingly with no consideration of the impact.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. chdot
    Admin

    "the argument about being unable to discourage driving without providing alternatives"

    Which assumes so many things -

    'Driving is normal' - and by implication - 'everyone does it' (and owns a car).

    'There aren't alternatives in place.' Edinburgh has got a pretty impressive bus service/system (could be better of course - esp if there was less traffic), it's also getting on with building the beginnings of an improved network for cycling.

    That 'downsides of current levels of car use are outweighed by the upsides'. That may well be the case for drivers, but also for the majority of Edinburgh residents/visitors?

    "Meanwhile, we're investing more in things which will actively encourage even more driving (e.g. sherrifhall)"

    Quite.

    "seemingly with no consideration of the impact"

    It's hard to believe that's true, but -

    'Fix' Sheriffhall and the problem will move elsewhere because of the extra traffic that's encouraged (of course the fact that any real consideration for improving cycling facilities seems to have been abandoned makes the whole thing worse).

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. Stickman
    Member

    DdF's comment on the likely CEC election result is a neat summary of the evening. The man is a prophet.

    Coalitions - I'd be astonished if either Lab or SNP went into coalition with the Tories in Edinburgh, even if Tories were to get 2nd highest number of councillors, so with the (definite) Lab and (almost certain) SNP and Green promises for 10% minimum for cycling, it looks very likely that will remain policy in the new council. Brilliant!!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. fimm
    Member

    Can anyone expand on DdF's remarks on "How to vote" - something about numbering all the candidates? There was a short comment on Twitter and I couldn't work it out from that but was interested.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. HankChief
    Member

    @fimm.

    You'll have between 5 & 10 candidates in your ward going for 3 or 4 seats.

    You are asked to order them in preference order 1,2,3,4... etc.

    If you only fill in 1 or 2 numbers for your highest choice (and leave the rest blank) you are missing out on your vote's maximum power.

    Some wards will be incredibly tight, so if you like Candidates A & B, ambivalent about candidates C & D and really don't like candidate E, you should order them all the way down.

    If you don't rank C & D above E you are loosing the opportunity to negatively influence the chances of candidate E.

    Hope that helps.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. Rob
    Member

    @chdot even if you ignore the plans for sherriffhall, that argument is far too close to the usual "I'm not against cycling but things have to be balanced" excuse that leads to useless paint and "quiet" routes to nowhere.

    100 years of prioritising one mode to the detriment of all others and now you want to talk about balance? I've more respect for Nick Cook's stance.

    Seems I'm running out of people to vote for.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. jdanielp
    Member

    @fimm it's a single transferable vote so you can rank as many of the candidates as you like with #1 being your favourite - if they are elected or knocked out, your #2 vote (if you made one) is then considered, and so on.

    http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/single-transferable-vote

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    It's come to something when intelligent adults are not sure how to operate a ballot paper.

    I'm not sure having a different electoral system for all four layers of government (De Hondt, FPTP, AM and STV) is a good thing, but if it is there should be a massive training effort to explain all four systems in very simple language.

    Brexit will inevitably take out one of the four layers and systems, but which one, which one?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  17. fimm
    Member

    Thank you.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. Stickman
    Member

    Rob: the Lab/SNP or Green candidates were all very clear that the balance was far too skewed in favour of cars. Perhaps tweets didn't capture the context but I thought they were all also very clear that using a distinction between drivers/pedestrians/cyclists wasn't helpful for achieving change or persuading people of the benefits of "cycling" projects.

    I think the fact that all parties are taking this seriously (and they are - even the Conservatives* although we may not agree with their approqch) shows how far things have moved in the last few years.

    *As a reminder: Nick Cook said he supports segregated routes, thinks they are the future and said a NS route was the obvious next step. Ten years ago can you imagine a Conservative Transport spokesperson saying that?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. Frenchy
    Member

    @fimm:

    Longer version (uses Scottish council : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote

    Shorter version: Number them in order of preference and keep going until you can't face it any more.

    EDIT: Far too slow.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

    This isn't the answer but might help -

    "

    The Voting System

    The Single Transferrable Vote (STV) system is used for local council elections in Scotland.

    This is a form of proportional representation which means councillors are elected in multi-member wards and voters rank the candidates in order of preference. The STV system has historically resulted in some councils being run by coalitions.

    With the STV system, voters are asked to rank candidates in order of preference.
    You can indicate your preferred candidate by marking a '1' in the box next to your first choice.
    If you wish you can mark a '2' next to your second preference, a '3' next to your third and so on.

    There is no minimum or maximum number of preferences that can be marked. You just carry on until you no longer wish to express a preference.

    Unlike the more well-known first-past-the-post system, candidates don't need a majority or more votes than their competitors to be elected, just a known or share, or "quota".
    The votes are counted in stages. During the first stage only the first preferences are counted and anyone who reaches the quota is elected.

    Leftover votes are then transferred to the second preference, and if not enough candidates hit the quota, the one with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and all their votes are passed to the next preference on the ballot papers.

    The process is repeated until three or four candidates have been elected.

    STV also means that the parties have to think about how many candidates to put up in each ward. The influence of a vote may be limited if a person only votes for a few candidates.

    "

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-39495112

    IF everyone just put a 1 by the only candidate they fancied that would replicate the (Westminster etc.) FPTP system.

    Some people will only vote for 'their' party - which is up to three candidates (small number of wards).

    I suspect most people will put a number by all the candidates/parties they can 'support'.

    There will be people who will only vote for candidates in parties which support (for instance) 10% for cycling.

    The advantage of putting a number against all candidates is that you'll be able to say 'look I voted for you' whoever gets in!

    Even though it's a local election there will be people refusing to vote for parties for/against Independence.

    Writing "none of them" is perfectly legitimate/democratic, but only practiced by a small minority.

    If there is a candidate you really want as a councillor probably best to put them as 1 or 2 rather number all the candidates of your 'normal' party first (assuming that person is from a different party of course).

    Parties have lost good councillors in the past because they have more than one candidate and the incumbent is alphabetically further down the list.

    If you like one particular person, make sure you give them a lower number than the other(s) from the same party.

    This might sound obvious, but I think this time some people/parties will do badly because people don't bother to turn out to vote for them.

    If that bothers you then vote. Postal ballots available.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. Frenchy
    Member

    I'm not sure having a different electoral system for all four layers of government (De Hondt, FPTP, AM and STV)

    To be fair, the AM system uses D'Hondt and FPTP. So arguably "only" three voting systems (but one election uses two). Not sure if that increases or diminishes the confusion.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. chdot
    Admin

    "Not sure if that increases or diminishes the confusion"

    Confused me already.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. chdot
    Admin

    There is always the 'don't vote it just encourages them' thought.

    I always find it disappointing that local elections usually have lower turnouts.

    Generally councils have more influence on daily lives (especially when it comes to things like walking/cycling) than national Govs.

    It's also easier to get at councillors than MP/MSPs.

    Whoever gets in this time is likely to have a difficult time due to a wide range of political/economic situations plus the (possible) difficulty of forming a decent (I won't define that) administration with so many experienced councillors leaving.

    I think the last 5 years has made a massive difference in Edinburgh (particularly) for 'active travel' - both in attitudes and MONEY.

    I don't think there is any real threat to the '10% for cycling' but there may need to be vigilance about what it's actually spent on - plus any attempts to subvert it to being the active travel budget.

    In may be other other 'model cities' spend nearer 20%, but a don't see a further 1% per year coming any time soon.

    Much better to hope that ScotGov significantly increases money available via Sustrans.

    BUT I think a more active call for 'more money for walking/pedestrians' should be a theme for the next 5 years.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  24. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    Not sure if that increases or diminishes the confusion.

    Increases, hugely. To understand AM you have to understand both FPTP and De Hondt and then understand how they interact. I'm guessing maybe 5% of the population know for sure how their two votes in Scottish general elections are counted.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  25. Rob
    Member

    @stickman it's probably just me seeing the negative. That does all sound much more positive.

    The tricky part is figuring out who supports cycling in principle and who sees it as a solution worth prioritising.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. Stickman
    Member

    One other thing from last night: I asked Nigel Bagshaw whether there were enough people to deliver on all the consultations and new projects. He said that recent
    redundancies and restructuring meant things were uncertain but he felt that would settle down and "priority" projects would see progress.

    Final point: despite all the allegations about incompetence and corruption in the council I got the really strong impression that all of the candidates were in it for the the right reasons and genuinely want to improve the city. I can't say that for all councillors I've encountered.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  27. Rosie
    Member

    I thought last night's councillors were pretty impressive on the whole.

    They were of course the cycling-friendly ones, and so preaching to the choir.

    I felt for Maureen Child's frustration on the congestion charge failing the (to my mind, unnecessary) referendum. I dunno if anyone would want to take that bull by the horns. However congestion charge first, referendum after (or at least opinion poll) might be a way to go.

    Princes Street came across as a hard nut to crack from all the candidates. The most positive suggestion was from Nigel Bagshaw to get the tram through to Newhaven to take off the Leith load from the buses. Trams take (?)x of bus capacity. I'd have thought it would apply to the south side as well when it comes to through traffic.

    @chdot - I find local politics more interesting than national politics and as you say, the ordinary citizen can have some affect.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  28. chdot
    Admin

    "I find local politics more interesting"

    "

    Because the downside of dominance isn’t just about whether you agree or disagree with that particular party. Politics, especially local politics, should be about sharing power and making decisions together instead of imposing on people. Such a long period of dominance can only breed complacency, and the result is that many people feel that politics is something that’s done to them, instead of something they can take part in.

    "

    http://www.thenational.scot/comment/15209330.Patrick_Harvie__We_shouldn___t_hoard_power_but_put_it_in_the_hands_of_local_people/?ref=mr&lp=16

    Posted 4 years ago #
  29. chdot
    Admin

    "

    A deal between the SNP and the Tories - who are also aiming to be the largest party - seems unlikely. The hostility between the two parties and their supporters is probably just too deep - although everyone will likely leave all options officially open until after the results are known. But if the Greens - who are aiming to at least double their current five-strong group - ended up with enough councillors to give the SNP a majority, that could be a serious option for the Nationalists.

    And if there were a revival in Liberal Democrat fortunes it is not impossible they could also find a role - the SNP was in coalition with them for five years at the City Chambers up to 2012.

    ...

    But such is the dominance now of the independence debate that some have predicted voting patterns on May 4 will be dictated by that, with SNP supporters giving their second or third votes solely to the pro-independence Greens, and Tory and Labour voters more likely than before to consider backing each other’s parties.

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/opinion/national-issues-look-set-to-dominate-council-election-1-4411748

    Perhaps...

    Posted 4 years ago #
  30. Stickman
    Member

    Spokes' write-up of the hustings:

    http://www.spokes.org.uk/2017/04/spokes-2017-council-hustings-report/

    Posted 4 years ago #

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