April 2017

Spokes 2017 Council Hustings – report

Our April 6 Hustings gave the 70 or so people who came along a great chance to interact with politicians from the 5 main parties standing for Edinburgh City Council …

We used our tried & tested hustings approach of short introductory speeches after which the audience splits into 5 groups of 15 or so people, with each politician spending 10 minutes in each group; then a final coming together with each politician speaking for 2 minutes on what they had learned from the meeting.   An aim of all our meetings is for the audience and the speakers both to educate each other!!

Top conclusions from the meeting

“On the ballot paper, to give your vote its maximum power, it is important to number every candidate, putting your top favourite first and your most disliked last. Hopefully these 5 candidates will at least persuade you not to put them at the very bottom!”     [photo – Suzanne Forup]

  • Cycling Budget – Four of the 5 parties said their manifestos continued the council’s groundbreaking policy allocating 10% to cycling.  Exact details await manifestos, but the already-published Labour manifesto promises an additional fund for new pedestrian facilities; whilst there was a hint that the LibDem 10% might include walking (so cycling <10%).
  • Congestion charging – The speakers were all surprised (and some were delighted) that congestion charging was raised spontaneously by individuals in several groups, though it had not featured in the initial speeches.  Speakers pointed out that it is still thought toxic by most politicians, and if there is growing public support then people should tell their MSPs & councillors.
  • Onroad segregated routes – Strong support from all 5 parties represented.  Several speakers mentioned how valuable it is that all-party support was eventually achieved (subject to a review after one year), so this is not a political football at the election.
  • 20mph roll-out – This was frequently raised in group discussions.   All parties supported the rollout other than the Conservatives who want rollout suspended for further consideration.
  • Tram – The tram came up in most discussion groups.  Generally people supported extension, but only if much greater consideration is given to cyclist safety in the detailed design and if the opportunity is taken seriously to reduce other traffic at the same time.  Interestingly, one speaker (a sitting councillor) said the tram has resulted in increased bus use, as many people now uses buses to get to the tram!

What the candidates said

Each politician had a ‘note-taker’ for their speeches and for their comments in the groups.  The notes are below.   These notes should not be used as direct quotes from the candidates, or taken as 100% correct.  It is always possible that the note-taker mis-heard or misunderstood, so some points may not be a fair reflection of the candidate’s views or attitudes – and, of course, each set of notes was taken by a different person, so they will vary for that reason too.  Also, candidates often were asked for and gave personal rather than party views.  If you want clarification on any candidate’s views we suggest you email them.

  • ConCllr Nick Cook  –  Notes – Morningside candidate, Conservative Transport Spokesperson
  • GreenCllr Nigel BagshawNotes – Inverleith candidate, Green Transport Spokesperson, Spokes member
  • LabCllr Maureen ChildNotes – Portobello/Craigmillar candidate,  currently Convener of Edinburgh City Council’s Communities Committee, Spokes member
  • LibDemHal Osler  – Notes – Inverleith candidate
  • SNPAdam McVey  – Notes – Leith candidate, currently Vice-Convener of Edinburgh City Council’s Transport Committee

Meeting overview

You’ll get a nice mix of comments and pictures by checking out our #SpokesMtg hashtag … there are two ways to do this …

Many thanks to @hank_chief   @walkcyclevote    @CllrChasBooth  and @PidginPosting  who did extensive live tweeting.

  • There a discussion of the hustings, before and after, on the City Cycle Forum.
  • Please send us links to any blogs referring to the meeting – we’ll add them here.

What you can do next

  • See our full article on the election – including details of manifestos, other local hustings in Edinburgh and Lothians, and lots of other useful info.  This article will be updated as we get more info.  Please do go to any local hustings in your area, and let us know of any that are not already on our website.
  • See the  #WalkCycleVote website to find details of individual candidates for every ward and council in Scotland, and more ideas on what you can do to support the case for cycling.


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