So the Scottish Parliament election has come to an end and the results are in. The SNP increased their vote share and did really well but didn’t manage a majority despite an increase in votes. This is because the current voting system in Scotland is designed to prevent a single party from being able to get an outright majority forcing parties to have to work with others. The 2011 SNP majority was a pure fluke that was never meant to happen and is unlikely to be repeated easily. Why is this? It’s because of the D’Hont system. There seems to be much confusion amongst voters in Scotland over how the D’Hont voting system works, some confuse it with STV while others have little understanding of the formula behind it or simply misinterpret it.
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Final Results for Highland
|Scottish National Party (SNP)||28,681|
|The Brexit Party||13,854|
|Conservative and Unionist Party||7,577|
|Scottish Green Party||7,052|
|UK Independence Party (UKIP)||1,619|
|Change UK – The Independent Group||1,199|
The counting of the votes for the EU parliament elections 2019 will begin today. Ever wondered what happens to all those ballot papers after closing of polls on Thursday? The Electoral commission shared the following images on twitter…
The Pride Ness parade takes place in Inverness on the 6th. This video is worth another share, MFR interview the man behind the petition to try and prevent the event from going ahead.
The front page of the Nairnshire this week features the story on Fit housing coming to Nairn (you can view a larger PDF version of this here). This innovative project in partnership with NHS Highland, Carbon Dynamic and Albyn Housing could pioneer the future of health and social care across Scotland and has already won a top innovation award.
Having no previous experience or knowledge of working in local government the last two years has been a huge learning curve but during that time I have learnt so much and have built a good working relationship with many groups in Nairn.
**press release from the Highland Council SNP group**
As time passes and the Highland Council approach the eleventh hour with regard to the setting of the budget the SNP Group are pleased to acknowledge that the proposed cuts will be nowhere near what was originally proposed by the Independent Group.
Talking about this, Cllr. Maxine Smith, who leads the Opposition and the SNP Group in Highland Council said, “The Scottish Government will be raising money from the highest bandings of Council Tax, in order to assist local authorities in balancing their budgets. This rise by Scottish Government will only affect the very large houses in Highland and there will be mitigation measures for those living alone or people with little income.
Originally it was thought that this £5m, which will be raised would go directly to schools suffering in the educational attainment gap. However, subsequently the Scottish Government decided to fund this initiative separately so the whole £5m will assist Highland Council with balancing its own budget without being ring-fenced. At the full council the Independents formed a last minute motion to write to the Finance Minister, and now they are claiming it was their letter that effected a change of mind in Holyrood. This I found amusing, as I had told them time after time that the money raised by the “Council Tax multiplier” was always going to come back to Highland, but they didn’t listen! Now they see this was in fact correct.
Further to this some of the media releases submitted by the Independent Administration have been less than genuine. They were looking at a budget gap of over £29m just a few weeks ago, but since being given their grant settlement figure, are now only looking at a gap of £22m. They pontificated about the cut from Scottish Government being worse than they were expecting, when the truth of the matter is that the Scottish Government under the current economic situation, have given Councils a good settlement, as best they could and Highland Council are now looking at £7m LESS cuts than they were a few weeks ago. Surely, this is a good news story?”
**press release from the Highland Council SNP group**
Councillors today rejected an SNP proposal intended to enable the public to ask questions of Council leaders in their communities.
Today the Lib Dem Group proposed that members of the public should be allowed to ask a 1 minute question at Full Councils, with the whole session taking no longer than 20 minutes. Councillors debated the merits of this, with the Independent Group suggesting the idea be thrown over to the Re-Design of the Council Board for them to consider. Opponents of this said that this was just “kicking it into the long grass”.
The SNP Group Leader, Cllr. Maxine Smith put forward a further amendment that suggested her Group wanted to engage the public to a greater extent and that the Lib Dem motionb didn’t for far enough. She proposed that the public should be able to ask questions on the Council’s website, and receive an answer, which will be published and filed under a topic heading so that people can easily find it with a simple search. The SNP Group further wanted a question and answer forum to become part of the community planning district partnership meetings going forward.
The Lib Dems and the Independents offered that the SNP amendment be attached to their own, as they both felt it held great merit and was a good idea. However, when it came down to the vote the SNP amendment was defeated, with the Independent Administration winning through, meaning the suggestion would be taken to the Re-Design Board.
Speaking about this debate today, Cllr. Maxine Smith said, “I thanked both Groups for saying that they liked the SNP proposals, but unfortunately they didn’t follow through in voting for it, instead simply voting for their original ideas. The SNP Group feel it is imperative to engage better and wider with the general public when looking at service delivery, as they know what they want and what is important to them. As councillors we do regularly speak to our constituents, but the website idea gives the opportunity for anyone, who wouldn’t normally participate to freely and easily ask a question that must be answered promptly. Furthermore, if we take forward our suggestion that our community planning partnerships should include a public question and answer session, this would be taken at district level which interacts with a wider audience, who are just not city-based. It also offers a chance to do it any time, day or night.
After the break in Full Council, both the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Margaret Davidson and the Convener, Cllr. Isobel MacCallum said they liked both of our ideas and would investigate them further with a view to implementation. So even though we may have lost the chamber vote – we won the point.”