On May 4th the people of Dundee will go to the polls to vote for councillors to represent their wards. Now there are many reasons why one particular candidate might be more suitable than others.
For long, the dead hand of Labour controlled the politics in Dundee, but recently, things seem to have changed and I would say, in the main for the better, now there are a myriad of reasons why councillors will be voted for. Some if these reasons will be local, in otherwards how they have performed or how they promise to perform if elected.
There is also, of course the issue of which party they are members of and in Scotland today this can be a very important consideration, with the possibility of another attempt at independence and also with a general election to be held in six weeks there had been great stock put into the theory that the council elections might give an indication of voting intentions in that forthcoming General election.
Now I live in Angus and my intention is to give my votes to the SNP councillors who, I believe will both give their very best on a local level but just as important are committed to the cause of independence.
As far as Dundee is concerned, I have a business there and most of my day to day activities are centred in Dundee. Some of you will know that I was heavily involved in the independence movement through the Yes Bus and we campaigned throughout Angus Fife, but mainly Dundee where I came in contact with the local politicians on a regular basis. We also depended on their good offices regarding permissions to campaign in and around the City centre.
We found that regrettably we did not perhaps get as much direct cooperation that we could have from the SNP politicians as far as helping out on the manning of the yes bus whilst in and around the City Square and found that unfortunately they were inclined to show up when the cameras and press were there, and they would leave around the same time as the press.
However, we had a good campaign and I feel contributed hugely to the fact that Dundee turned in the highest Yes vote in the whole country and this brings me to my point. We in the yes bus team urged the SNP to continue the campaign in a lesser manner, utilising the grass roots groups to address the issues we lost the referendum on. We knew it was not going to be a short campaign but we thought that it would be best to be prepared for a campaign proper, should the opportunity present itself and two days after the referendum I approached the SNP with this suggestion but was turned down. This is why we find ourselves in the position we are now and that is we have had multiple opportunities to go for another referendum but we still are not prepared as we have not addressed a single issue we lost the last referendum on .
Ok, so what has all of this to do with the local elections? Right, I will tell you and it is all about getting the best people into power to progress our ambitions regarding independence.
So after the referendum defeat and realising that the SNP were cool on further attempts to progress towards another attempt, we decided to keep the flame burning by having various events centred around independence and we organised various rallies on the theme of “A road map to independence”. Unfortunately we had some pretty fierce resistance from Dundee council, which was surprising seeing it was an SNP controlled council.
Now there is too much to go into here although I do intend writing about the whole fiasco in the not too distant future but I thought that seeing there are council elections shortly, I felt that perhaps some of this which relates to the willingness of certain SNP councillors to promote the cause of independence should be known.
Now the main person responsible for allowing the elements of the rallies I am writing about is a councillor called Stewart Hunter who is the convener of the licensing board/ committee and as such has discretionary powers to accept late applications he is standing in the Stathmartine Ward.
Now again without going into too much detail we had to depend on this councillor to authorise a couple of late applications one for a parade and one for a rally which was only two hours late out of the 28 days requested. Now there is a very well used procedure for this and it is only in the most unusual circumstances that a late application is refused, however on these occasions Stewart Hunter did refuse them. Not only that, but there was an orchestrated campaign by members in the Dundee West SNP office to discredit the organisers of one of the rallies’. Stewart Hunter actually used a Unionist newspaper to further his aim to cast a shadow on the event which, despite the best efforts of the SNP turned out to be a great day.
So the point of this article is to say this, I do not know what Stewart Hunter has done for the people in his ward, he may very well be a good councillor in that respect, but as an SNP representative and the SNP’s reason to exist being the attainment of independence, he, in my opinion, is not a suitable person and if he was a councillor in my ward I would not under any circumstances vote for him.
If Councillor Hunter wishes to dispute any of this I will willingly meet with him in public, prior to the election, to debate the issues raised here and possible a few more.