Here at Better Nation, we asked the candidates in Edinburgh Central (where Malc lives) to tell us a bit about themselves, about why we should vote for them and generally what they believe in.Â Jim Jepps beat us to it, asking each of the candidates for specific reasons to vote for them. We just gave them 300 words each. Here’s what they said:
Sarah Boyack (Labour): My mailbag is full of the quality of life issues people raise with me, about the security, maintenance and amenity of where they live.
In Parliament I have campaigned on behalf of residents plagued by antisocial behaviour and have persuaded the SNP to introduce new laws to hold irresponsible landlords to account.
I have also supported Labour legislation to prevent property factors from dodging their maintenance duties and am currently pressing the SNP/Lib Dem Council to take action to address the persistent problems that people encounter with statutory notices.
Our aging housing stock is not just a worry in terms of maintenance but because of the rising cost of energy bills. I want to see a green housing revolution to insulate our older properties while ensuring that new build homes are designed to energy efficient standards incorporating micro renewable technology. To achieve this Labour will use the opportunities created by the Feed in Tariff and the forthcoming Renewable Heat Incentive initiated by the previous Labour Government. This will not only tackle fuel poverty but also make a valuable contribution to meeting Scotlandâ€™s climate change targets and create skilled green jobs.
Edinburgh continues to face a shortage of quality, affordable housing. Since 2007, the number of new home completions in the city has declined by over a third, a situation not helped by cuts to Housing Association Grants. Moreover, housing and regeneration was the big loser of the SNPâ€™s budget with a Â£94 million cut.
The Housing (Scotland) Act was a huge missed opportunity. Rather than tinkering with the right to buy system I would rather have seen the SNP providing more support to tenants and building more homes. During the next Parliament we need to find ways of building quality homes that people can afford to live in with access to green spaces, allotments and play areas for their children.
Alex Cole-Hamilton (Liberal Democrat): What’s happening in North Africa right now is an incredible Â demonstration of what ordinaryÂ peopleÂ are capableÂ of.Â WhilstÂ I’ve never known theÂ sort of oppression thatÂ those in Egypt, Tusinia and Libya have experienced. I have complete solidartity with the belief that compels them to take to the streets.Â It isÂ central principal that unites the Liberal movement across the world. People should not be afraid of their governments, Governments should be afraid of their people.
It is the principal that has driven much of what we have alreadyÂ delivered in government in Westminster. Inch by inch we are rolling back the culture ofÂ control freakery and state intrusion that were the hall mark of the last Labour government, by scrapping ID cards and expunging the DNA records of innocent people, we are restoring civil liberties and personalÂ freedom. Because people should not be afraid of their governments.
With a yes vote to voting reform and the passage of right to recall legislation, Lib Dems in government will have created a situation where MPs will have to work harder and listen more attentively. No more â€˜safe seatsâ€™, no more duck houses. Because governments should be afraid of people.
This Scottish election is important, it’s being fought at a time of unparalleled hardship, and tough decisions must follow. Liberal Democrats have shown that when it comes to difficult decisions we are equal to that challenge. But we have an intensively positive vision for a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland. One in which people are trusted to make the decisions that effect them by devolving power locally, instead of centralising everything; where solutions are formulated to bring about lasting change, not just quick fixes and where opportunity and access to quality education exist for all regardless of background.
Ours is a vision of a Scotland that thrives as a world leader, in education, in green technologies and in tackling climate change. It is a bold vision, a long range vision and one that puts people, not politicians in the driving seat.
Marco Biagi (SNP): â€˜What has the SNP Government ever done for us?â€™ asksÂ the video, and heartily does it answer its own question. Minds are now focusing on the future. Labour – formerly the party of â€˜Noâ€™ â€“ has suddenly become the party of â€˜Us tooâ€™. As well as being uninspiring,Â it seems unconvincing and at times faintly ridiculous.Council tax freeze?Â Free education?Â Maybe even minimum alcohol pricing? Really? Itâ€™s all hauntinglyÂ familiarâ€¦
Going into the elections in the SNP we are offering yeses. Real promises built on a record of commitmentÂ to those causes consistentÂ in both opposition and government. Free higher education, protecting people from an unfair local tax we have worked to abolish, putting the NHS first, completing our school rebuilding, a Victims Rights Act, pushing towards an all-renewable Scotland and plenty more besides. And for all that some talk about â€˜fighting the cutsâ€™ it is only the SNP of the four main parties that back having the ability actually to do anything about them.
Indeed, I came into politics for Scottish independence, but I donâ€™t support independence for what it is. I support independence for what it enables us to do â€“ and right now choosing a different course to that taken by Westminster is more important than ever. My support for independence grows on the same ground as Annie Lennoxâ€™s â€“ the hope of building a forward-thinking, ethical and moral, outward-looking Scotland. I would even go as far as to use the word liberal â€“ with a small â€˜lâ€™ of course.
Edinburgh could be at the heart of that. As the modern capital of a better nation we perhaps have more to gain than most. This May voters should see through the polls and the pandering and the pointing at potholes, and do instead what these elections are for – choosing the leadership and direction of the nation.
Iain McGill (Conservative): Iâ€™m really pleased to be invited to take part in this online hustings â€“ it guarantees me at least a couple of positive mentions!Â A hustings usually start with the candidates introducing themselves â€“ so here goes. I am Iain McGill, the Conservative candidate for Edinburgh Central. I am director of the Harmony Employment Agency who provide social sector staff across Scotland & Northern Ireland.
Between leaving education & starting my own business in 2005 I was an aid worker overseas, working in Albania, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique & Malawi learning Portuguese, Albanian & how to fly a hovercraft amongst other things.Â I then worked in Edinburgh for a number of organisations working with the homeless in Edinburgh, including Bethany Christian Trust as Team Leader in their Care Shelter, 4 Square at their Cowgate Day & Night Centre & the Edinburgh Homelink Partnership as Special Projects Manager.
Itâ€™s not your typical background for a politician, but I feel it gives me a vital edge â€“ when we look at the way Holyrood operates it clearly needs some real business experience on itâ€™s benches â€“ as a successful businessman I can bring skills that I see lacking and help Holyrood to start getting some value for money!
My background working in international development & then health & social care show were my priorities lie â€“ Iâ€™ve spent my life advocating, helping & enabling those that need it â€“ that would not change in Parliament â€“ it would give a better platform to do it!
I believe the Conservatives have some exciting policies to make Scotland a better, fairer place â€“ opening up choices in schools, freezing council tax â€“ and lowering it for pensioner households â€“ protecting the NHS budget & creating a cancer drugs fund â€“ ending automatic early release and introducing elected local police commissioners.
So there we go guys – the Edinburgh Central candidates in their own words. Food for thought for Malc and the 70,000+ electors in Edinburgh Central who get to vote for one of them. Â Any questions, fire them into the comments and we’ll see what we can do about getting them answered!