Election17: The Final Countdown – George Alexander (Forres)

All individual candidates or political groups contesting the forthcoming local council elections in Moray are invited to state their case through the pages of our community news site – contact for submissions is editor@insidemoray.news. Today George Alexander, Independent candidate for Forres.

WE KNOW THE NAMES of the 45 candidates who are brave enough to offer themselves forward to take on the hugely responsible task of steering the Moray Council through the next five years.

The next council of 26 elected representatives will be in charge of the council during one of the most unpredictable and uncharted political times in the history of our country during any time of peace.

In UK terms we can expect many years of Brexit negotiations which will distract politicians from the really important matters of domestic politics. In Scottish terms we have witnessed years of distraction of our MSP’s, due to campaigns for referendums and nationalism and this seems set to continue for years to come.

Meanwhile our local elected representatives, all over the country, are left with the unenviable task of maintaining the basic services which make life enjoyable and they are being asked to do this and take on extra responsibilities, with ever reducing budgets.

Depressingly, the political parties are viewing the elections on May 4 as no more than an opportunity to gauge their particular party’s popularity throughout the country. In other words, the bosses who run the political parties are not interested in getting the right people elected to do a good job at running local authorities, but rather wish to get people elected who will sell the party line.

Unfortunately, too many of us who enjoy the services provided by local councils, seem to take delight in denigrating the efforts of councils and seldom give them credit for their efforts. It is little wonder that in Moray, with a population of 94,000, there are only 45 individuals who aspire to becoming part of a council which aims to deliver a top-quality service to all our Moray people.

I have the utmost respect for the other 44 candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring and I wish them every success. Inevitably 17 of us will fail to be elected and I for one will feel equally satisfied whether I am one of the 26 or one of the 17. The decision is one for the voters and I have no difficulty in accepting that.

I am honoured to have been one of those elected representatives over the past five years and I believe it is my duty and privilege to offer my services for a further five years.

I have no preconceived ideas of how this vote will work out for me personally – but I hope anyone who votes for me will understand that you are voting for someone who believes that the main duty of the Moray Council, as with all local authorities, is to serve the population equitably, efficiently and to the highest possible standards.

Unlike some candidates, I am not on the payroll of a political party and I have never been a member of any political party. I believe that local government is the last line of defence for ordinary people who see their public services being continually starved of finance as national politicians follow their own vanity projects.

Unless the national governments decide to change their approach to local government finances, I can see little point in promising the voters jam tomorrow, but I do know that Moray must review its school estate and the longer this is delayed, the more likely an unplanned reconfiguration of that estate will be forced upon us.

There are a number of local issues upon which I will continue to focus such as the improvement of care for the elderly, the installation of traffic signals at the Orchard Road/St Catherine’s Road junction, the long overdue provision of an all-weather football pitch near to Forres Academy, the restoration of the Forres Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) when funds become available and of course the continuing challenge to bring employment into the Forres Ward.

May 4 will be a day when the people of the Forres Ward will undoubtedly decide my future for the next five years.

More importantly, the decision of the voters will affect the futures of all the people of Moray for the next five years. There are another six worthy candidates from which to make the choice of four councillors for the Forres Ward. All I ask is that every eligible voter makes the effort to exercise that choice.

Other candidates contesting the Forres ward are: Lorna Creswell (Independent), Claire Feaver (Scottish Conservative and Unionist, Jeff Hamilton (Independent), Aaron McLean (SNP), Terry Monaghan (Independent), Fabio Villani (Scottish Greens)