Today’s election is not just the first STV local election not held on the same day as a Holyrood election, it’s also the first time the capital has voted since banning lamppost placards. In June last year the SNP and Tories voted the ban through, meaning Edinburgh, like Glasgow, Dundee and other local authorities, would be placard-free this year.

It’s a baffling decision, given the legal requirement, largely well-observed by all parties, to take them down promptly. When the turnout figures are published, it’ll probably be forgotten amongst the reasons given for low numbers.

In general I have less of a problem with low turnout than media commentators tend to do, and compulsory voting means we get results driven more by those who don’t really care about the results. But government and agencies at all levels should still be making it easier to vote (including a move away from Thursdays, or towards voting on more than one day), and easier to remember to vote.

It’s unlikely that placards ever change elections much, although 1999 may be an exception – a sea of Green placards across Edinburgh gave Robin Harper’s candidacy a boost. What they do do is remind everyone that there’s an election on. They spark conversations about politics, and they used to give the city a “festival of democracy” feel. The city allows placards for the Fringe and for the actual festival, which is fine – but is an election not equally worth promoting? Whoever wins in Edinburgh I hope this bizarre rule gets overturned before the city votes again.