Now we are down to the big guns.
The SNP have sent me two leaflets, one A4 and one half that size. The big one features Shirley-Anne Somerville on the front, the candidate for Edinburgh Central. Inside there is some well-written text and a list of policies which includes - abolishing council tax, affordable housing, better public transport, no more nuclear, more police, better recycling, no more wars and removal of business rates to help small businesses. The other leaflet is a big picture of Alex Salmond, the SNP leader and covers some of the same ground. Funnily enough you can see that the SNP, Solidarity, the SSP and the Greens all have a number of policies in common but the SNP seem best placed to deliver. I watched the Leaders Debate last night and there is no doubt whatsoever that Salmond is the sharpest wit amongst them and the most eloquent when it comes to public speaking. The problem I have is in determining how left wing the SNP really are. Still of the 4 main parties they are the only one promising to end public/private partnerships (which always result in someone lining their pockets at our expense), they are also the only one committed to independence which is ultimately the only way we are going to stay out of wars like Iraq. As long as Westminster is deciding on our foreign policy we are going to be dragged into situations which the Scottish people do not support. As far as the economy goes the claims made by the SNP and those made by the Unionist parties about the impact of independence are simply incompatible and so someone is mistaken or lying. It´s pretty clear that the main beneficiaries of the UK system are the south-east of England and London; I don´t believe we would be any worse off as an independent country and I am looking for a way to avoid paying tax money which will be spent on weapons and wars. At the moment it looks like the SNP might be the way to go.
The Liberals are the clear winners in terms of the staggering amount of crap they have posted through my door. I am wondering how much they have spent on this election campaign having received two fake newspaper style leaflets, one small glossy double-sided leaflet, three A4 leaflets which were actually addressed to me and the crowning glory - a stamped addressed letter to me from local candidate Siobhan Mathers. Straight away I find myself irritated at this deluge, within this material there is very little news of policy. They crow about their achievements in government with Labour which include abolishing student fees, free personal care for the elderly, free eye and dental checks and banning smoking in public places. That´s what they have achieved over the last few years; well forgive me if I remain unimpressed. All of the Liberal propaganda is patronising in tone and it is quite badly written in places. Their commitment to any of these policies has to be questioned when they are clearly so willing to work with other parties, they have bent over for Labour over the last few years and in my eyes their credibility is thrown into doubt. The same old argument about Liberals being wishy-washy can still be levelled at them and while they may support some positive policies I don´t trust them to deliver.
Finally we come to the Labour Party, the current power holders. Under Blair they have perpetrated a great deal of evil, they have basically betrayed Labour supporters by implementing policies which would have been more at home in the Tory party, then there´s the war, Blair´s lasting legacy. I doubt I´ll ever vote for Labour again and I think a great many people feel the same way. Luckily they aren´t asking me to anyway; amazingly I have not received a single piece of propaganda from the Labour Party. I don´t know whether they have given up altogether or arrogantly believe they have it sewn up but as of yet they have stuck nothing through my letterbox (though there is still time). Beyond Blair I´m also seriously put off Labour in Scotland by First Minister Jack McConnell, the guy is an embarrassment; he struggles to string a sentence together, obviously has no understanding of political issues and has been accurately described as Blair´s poodle. There is simply no getting over the cringe worthy performance of him kilted up for Tartan day in the States clearly enjoying yet another holiday at our expense. Watching him flap about open mouthed in the Leaders Debate last night the word spineless just kept floating into my head.
That´s it so far, I´ll update if I receive anything else before Thursday. Should be an interesting election this time around with both the Liberals and the SNP claiming they are the only ones who can beat Labour it remains to be seen whether Scotland can break the habit of a lifetime and elect a government which isn´t Labour, of course Tony Blair visiting should go a long way towards ensuring that happens. Happy voting.