Comment: If you don’t vote, you can’t blame the council for everything

It’s all the cooncil’s fault. Everything.

Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 8:10 am

It’s a familiar refrain which can be found posted as a comment to almost every story we publish on social media.

And yet, on May 5, a chunk of the population of Fife will decide not to bother voting and then carry on berating.

I’ve never got the ‘cannae be bothered’ approach to elections.

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Pic: TSPL

It’s one thing to spoil your ballot paper as some sort of protest - and they number barely a handful each election - and another to simply sit in your armchair and opt out of your responsibility to vote.

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Do the latter and, to me, you have no right to then lament any cuts to a service you hold close to your heart, or the closure of that centre you used to like going to once a week.

Local politics may well be about roads, bins and everything in between, but every single decision taken at Fife House or the Town House has an impact on your life.

So, why wouldn’t you vote?

Don’t rate the councillors in ward? Vote ‘em out – get rid.

Want to see new faces at the table? Give them your support.

Do nothing and the wheels of the administration will simply rumble on regardless, and you may not like the outcomes.

At least by casting your vote - whether that’s in person, by post or proxy - at least you have made your voice heard.

It may be small, but every vote counts.

I’ve seen paper candidates - people who sign up just to fill the ballot paper and then do zero campaigning - end up getting elected. Come to think of they didn’t even bother to turn up for the declarations. For me, attendance should be compulsory.

I’ve also seen folk work their socks off and get their rewards come declaration day when they win their ward - and then go on to make a real difference to their community.

I’ve never bought into the dog-tired myth that councillors are just in it for themselves.

Over the last four decades, I’ve worked with, and criticised, some very capable councillors; people who have risen in stature and made a real difference to people’s lives.

I’ve also seen councillors lose their seats because of the prevailing political winds, or because they backed a project the voters simply didn’t like.

This week’s vote promises to be as fascinating as many of the elections I’ve covered over the last 40 years.

Where will the personal vote of retiring councillors go?Will local Tories escape the wrath of voters still furious with Boris Johnson’s partygate?

Which party will get their vote out most successfully?

Will the Lib Dems break out beyond north-east Fife?And will Labour and the SNP again work together? Blimey, there was a time when they could barely sit in the same room as each other.

That change came because of your votes.

You handed them a joint administration which actually proved more effective than many thought possible.

Your vote counts.

So, on May 5, make sure you use it - and then you can blame the cooncil for everything