Leaflets for the General Election in West Dunbartonshire on Thursday.
The prize for the best election leaflet in West Dunbartonshire goes to the candidate who doesn’t have one.
Independent Andrew Muir thought that instead of paying lip service to all the hot air about climate change and recycling, he would actually do something about it.
So, instead of having thousands of leaflets printed, which would eventually, or more realistically, end up in the blue waste paper bins of homes throughout West Dunbartonshire, Andrew took a half page in the Community Advertiser, which is delivered to 25,000 homes and businesses in the constituency.
Andrew, pictured left, had to pay for it though, since the Advertiser charged him for it as advertising, which it is, and not editorial, which it is not.
The other five candidates – Martin Docherty Hughes (SNP), Jean Anne Mitchell (Labour), Alix Mathieson (Conservative), Jenni Lang (LibDem) and Peter Connolly (Green Party) – must be kicking themselves for not thinking of that.
Had they done so, they could have avoided all those soakings and all that shoe leather while canvassing round the doors.
Although in this election, one of the quietest we can remember in the past 50 years, there wasn’t much of that happening.
Certainly no one knocked on our door, although the SNP did post a personally addressed letter through the door along with their leaflets, of which I think there were at least three.
None of the candidates did a face to face interview with The Democrat, despite the fact that our editor is no Andrew Neil and would not have monster-ed them on behalf of the long-suffering electorate.
The idea of campaigning around the doors is supposed to be all about getting your candidate’s and party members’ faces known in the community and making certain you get your message across.
The SNP managed to make a farce of this when their leader of the local, basket case council, which has imposed austerity with relish – and continues to make serious cuts in council services – turned up looking like a cross between a skier and a sunbather. In shades and a tassle-topped toorie.
Councillor Jonathan McColl, pictured right, looked more like a bank robber than a personable young man getting his face known round the doors and looking for votes for the SNP.
We haven’t a clue how much canvassing the other candidates did on the doorsteps delivering their leaflets.
But we do know that Andrew Muir and his wife, Claire, stayed out of the rain and took a leisurely stroll round Morrisons supermarket, canvassing friendly faces, many of whom are already familiar with his views on mental health issues, abortion and corruption in local government.
The Green Party’s man, Peter Connolly, backed the Save Loch Lomond campaign and wants to see vast improvements to the under-performing local bus and train services. On Vale of Leven Hospital, he wants the Health Board to “end the neglect and constant threats to services” there.
Tory voters may well be wishing their candidate’s name was Alexa and not just Alix Mathieson in order that they could call out: “Alexa, win me the election.” And see it done immediately.
Alix, who took a belt and braces approach to her publicity and used both a leaflet and and the Community Advertiser, wants nothing to do with Scottish independence and to be a strong voice for our armed forces and veterans, while sustaining jobs in the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane and Coulport.
Also on her “to do” list is “building on the fantastic work of our local Conservative councillors to see more social housing built on brownfield sites”. Really.
Alix, left, also wants to see mental health services improved at Vale of Leven Hospital.
Jenni Lang of the Lib Dems wants everything her leader, Jo Swinson, wants, which is no Brexit and no further cuts to services at the Vale.
Labour’s Jean Anne Mitchell has the support of Jackie Baillie MSP and wants to end the years of austerity which the SNP Government and Council have brought to West Dunbartonshire – “Throughout my life, I have come to understand the good that a Labour Government can bring to people in communities like ours.”
In his four-page leaflet, the sitting MP, Martin Docherty Hughes, mentions the SNP only once.
Strange one that, or else it can be put down to the fact that he is not very proud of the opprobrium Cllr Jonathan McColl and the SNP-run Council have attracted to his party.
That’s for being anti-democratic; getting caught up in a corruption scandal and handling it in a cack-handed manner; failing for years to implement procurement rules in regard to contracts.
Ignoring the management code of conduct; losing £5 million – yes, a cool £5 million – on a communal heating scheme in Clydebank, and inestimable £ millions on uncontested contracts.
But then, we are told SNP Local is not SNP National. Our experience in regard to bans and boycotts is that it is and that they are together in all they do.
Remember Aonaichte (Together in Gaelic) used to be the motto on Dumbarton’s coat of Arms? Not any more it’s not, anything but. The atmosphere is cold and chronic.
Cllr McColl and his colleagues are aggressive and not progressive as well as being economical with the truth.
They should remember that all politics is local and that the result of the election on Thursday may well bear out the truth of that.
The six candidates – Muir (IND), Lang (LIBDEM), Connolly (Green), Mitchell (LAB) and Docherty-Hughes (SNP). Voting takes place on Thursday, December 12.