February 2022

Thurs 5 May: 2022 Council Elections

Council elections are approaching and are critical to cycling and transport policies and budgets for the next 5 years.   We’ll tell you here how to make the most of the election opportunity locally. Please use our info to contact and try to influence your own candidates. Send us any useful replies you receive from them.

This article is being filled out further as the election approaches and more info, such as manifestos and hustings, becomes available.

Spokes Hustings – report on Mon 28 March #SpokesMtg

There’s a detailed report on the meeting, and a full video, here

“Transport Policy with particular reference to Cycling”

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Spokes Manifesto

Our manifesto is centred around 5 themes…

  • Safety – Vision Zero
  • Traffic Reduction – including staged programme of reduced onstreet parking provision
  • Cycle Network – protected main-road infrastructure and Cycling by Design standards
  • Cycle accessibility and supporting infrastructure – including bike hire + cargobikes, bike storage, pothole action
  • Resourcing – maintain/increase transport 10% allocation to cycling, plus new fund for footway enhancements

Our full manifesto is here [pdf]

Also in the Edinburgh Reporter

Please raise these issues with your candidates

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Candidates, including those who are Spokes members

  • Below we list candidates who are Spokes members – let us know of any omissions
  • We will not add anyone who joins Spokes after this point, though of course they will be listed in a future election if still a member and standing again
  • It is worth noting that councillors almost always support their party manifesto, but they are also individuals with their own views, and this matters too.  If a councillor is very supportive of a particular issue (e.g. cycling) they may push their party to go further than their manifesto, they may take other cycling initiatives and, exceptionally, they may even vote in a different way to their party.  Conversely, if most councillors in a party are uninterested in a topic, then there’s little chance of going beyond manifesto promises, and things can even move backwards
  • We do not endorse any candidates – and, of course, there are many very supportive councillors who are not Spokes members.  The choice is yours!

Candidates who are Spokes members

EDINBURGH CITY COUNCIL [listed in order of Ward numbers]

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Party Manifestos

Overall manifesto ranking for cycling and some active travel

  • Tops – Green
  • Good – Labour & SNP
  • Medium – LibDem
  • Disappointing – Conservative

For our article comparing manifestos, see here

For a pdf of the manifesto comparison table (with footnotes) see here

Party manifestos for Edinburgh Council

Party manifestos (where published and known) for Lothians Councils

Note that it is common for parties in smaller Councils not to publish a local manifesto. Please let us know of any we have missed below

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What you can do

  • Register to vote if you are not already – see the Council links below.  A postal vote is easy to arrange and is particularly useful if for any reason it will be inconvenient to get to the polling station on 5 May.
  • If you are on twitter, RT one or more of our election tweets …  this articleRegister for VotingReport of our hustings  …  Manifesto comparisonsHow to Vote
  • Email (or speak to) your candidatesFind them (and contact details) … awaited.   Get ideas for questions from the Spokes manifesto above and, particularly, from issues on your local cycling journeys.  Please send us copies of any useful responses.
  • Go to election hustings [not just the Spokes one] and ask questions.  Again, consider putting forward any of our ideas above
  • Pedal on Parliament  April 23 – Loads of politicians usually turn up – a good chance to collar them, as well as helping impress them with the numbers

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Election pages from local councils

Including registering to vote, full lists of local candidates, important dates, etc, etc [some of this will not appear until closer to the election]

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Election hustings – please go along, and ask questions!

With a very few exceptions we will only show events in Edinburgh/Lothian.  There will probably be an all-Scotland listing of important hustings and other dates on the WalkWheelCycleVote or other websites

NOTE: Some hustings include refreshments at the start.  Check the links below for details, and whether the start time includes any refreshments time.

March 28 7.30-9.30 SPOKES HUSTINGS Hustings Report Tweet (please RT!)

Apr 12, 5.00-6.30 Living Streets Edinburgh online

Apr 20, 7pm City Centre ward, by Broughton Spurtle live+streamed

Apr 21, 6.30-8pm Edinburgh – by Another Edinburgh is Possible Online Qns in advance if possible. Note – AEIP has a series of requests, effectively their own manifesto, including Will you retain & maintain ‘Spaces for people’ as introduced during Covid? (see here under ‘Pledges – Transport‘)

Apr 21, 7-9pm Edinburgh Climate Hustings by FOE Scotland, Transition Edinburgh & others. Augustine United Church and online.

Apr 26, 7.30pm Portobello/Craigmillar ward, by Portobello Community Council online Questions must be in advance, by 24 April

Apr 26, 6.30 Leith ward, by Leith Links Community Council online

Apr 28, 6.30 EIS hustings (for teachers) online+streamed Could ask re School Streets, Safe routes, etc

Apr 28, 5-6.30pm Cost of Living hustings by @evoc_edinburgh / @SocEntEdinburgh

Bus-tings Instead of a Hus-tings, Edinburgh Bus Users Group issued a questionnaire to parties

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How to vote

No – we are not suggesting who you should vote for!!  And of course you will likely be voting on more than just cycling or transport issues.  However, this section is about the voting system for council elections, and how to make your vote have the greatest possible effect.

  • In most wards your ballot paper will have between 5 and 10 candidates (including maybe more than one from the same party) from which either 3 or 4 councillors will be elected.   You have to number the candidates 1,2,3,…
  • If there are two candidates from the same party, you have to decide which of the two you prefer [or dislike least] and number the one you prefer before the other – do not just rely on what order they are in on the ballot paper.
  • To make your vote have the maximum possible effect, do number all the candidates, not just those that you like.*  So, for example, the person you least want to be elected gets the last number.  There’s a simple illustration of why it matters here by @hank_chief.
  • The one exception is if you reach a point where your views on all the remaining candidates are identical (i.e. you dislike them all equally, or like them all equally, or are equally indifferent). In that case there is no point continuing to number them. However, even if your views on their policies are identical, you may still wish to rank them for other reasons, e.g. to support younger candidates or those from minority groups.
  • Tactical voting – you can safely forget about tactical voting, and just rank the candidates in your genuine order of like (and then dislike).   Explanatory note … If your first choice is knocked out, your vote will pass on to your second choice, and so on.  If your first choice has excess votes, then they will be elected and part of your vote will pass to your second choice, and so on.  By the time your ‘vote’ reaches your first ‘dislike’ candidate, all your ‘like’ candidates will have been either elected or eliminated, so you will next be showing who you dislike least.
  • Vote till you boak – This snappy phrase is popular but misleading, suggesting you should stop numbering candidates once you reach those that you dislike or strongly dislike. As explained above, unless you dislike the remainder equally, you should keep numbering them so as to affect how likely each is to get elected. The phrase is also discussed in this ERS article.
  • If you are really interested in how the system works (the counting method is complex) there’s a full discussion here.

*A few people have questioned this advice.  The confusion often arises when people feel that numbering someone is voting ‘for’ them. In fact, you are just putting them in order, from best to worst. One could say that you are voting strongly for your first choice and strongly against your last choice. However, as our advice had been queried, we contacted the Electoral Reform Society (Scotland), who told us… The voting description you have on your site is very good. Our advice would similarly be to rank all candidates, as leaving any unranked is equivalent to saying that you rate all of those equally. While this might sometimes be the case, in reality even if there are some candidates one would hate to be elected there are usually still different degrees to this dislike. The ERS has also published this excellent article: Should I rank all the candidates in the Scottish council elections?

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Other useful sites & resources

  • Edinburgh Elects and twitter account Really useful site, includes listing all known candidates in advance
  • WalkWheelCycleVote We are supporting and working with WWCV – an umbrella group of organisations working to ensure a high profile for active travel, emphasising accessibility, infrastructure and investment
  • Cycling UK Scotland CUK has a variety of useful materials for the elections, including their own Cycling Revolutions manifesto, a petition in support of it and an Elections Toolkit
  • Pedal on Parliament PoP does not usually run election materials, as WWCV and CUK already do this at national level. However the big annual PoP weekend is usually shortly before the elections, and spreads influence in that way. This year Sat 23 April sees the traditional mass ride from Edinburgh’s Meadows to the Scottish Parliament
  • Sustrans Scotland Manifesto for the local elections
  • Stop Climate Chaos Election page
  • Democracyclub.org.uk fantastic community-interest group providing information to help people take part in public life. Includes whocanivotefor.co.uk, to identify known candidates in every UK constituency.
  • Community Transport Association – manifesto for the 2022 local elections “Sustainable Transport for All
  • How to Take your Candidates for a Bike Ride – Cycling UK blog

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