Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 3 September 2010

Couple to fight adjacent constituencies in Highlands

A husband and wife couple, David and Linda Stewart, have been chosen to fight for two adjacent constituencies in the elections for the Scottish Parliament in May 2011 as Labour Party prospeective candidates. He will be standing in the new Inverness and Nairn constituency and she will be standing in the similarly new Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency - both constituencies have apparently been re-drawn to take account of population changes and provide a more even balance.

David Stewart was formerly the MP for the Westminster constituency of Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber between 1997 and 2005, when he was defeated by the current LibDem MP Danny Alexander. Since 2007 he has been a List [i.e. effectively unelected - *] MSP for the Highlands and Islands regional constituency. Linda Stewart was a Scottish Parliament candidate in 2007 for Labour for the Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber constituency.

I think the chances of either being elected next year are pretty negligible (notwithsanding the potential collapse in the LibDem vote if their popularity continues to suffer because of their presence in the current Coalition government). However, I really do wonder if it is sound, from a democratic perspective, to have a husband and wife 'team' potentially in place for two constituncies and even more so when it is two adjacent seats. The other political party that seems to specialise in this kind of incestuous politics is of course the SNP. Both Labour and the SNP have local and national government representatives amongst close family members in various parts of the country. I consider it deeply worrying. This may have been common in the Conservative Party in the past, but in recent years this phenomenon has lessened for them - a very helathy development in my view.

The "People's Party" and the political party aiming for separation of Scotland from the UK seem to be stuck in a political time-warp; they are both left-wing of course - one only has to look at countries such as Cuba or North Korea to see that this phenomenon is pretty common amnongst left-wing politicians worldwide (and of course in the US), but is it healthy and likely to increase democratic accountability? I doubt it.

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