MAY 4th 2007
The last thing I would want to do is decry the efforts of those who wish to take part in local government. The quality of life in the islands always depends to a considerable extent on the intelligence, honesty and head work of those who deal with the issues that affect our communities in their immediate surroundings. For this reason it is quite right that local councillors and their election is independent from elections to parliaments, whether Westminster or Scotland. Nevertheless councillors stand on a party ticket, so it is up to the electorate to organise their choice with a bit of good sense. The SNP complicates the issue in that it was formed and exists in order to break up the UK. That is a poor idea from many reasons and it is extremely unlikely to happen in anyone living's lifetime. If Salmond pushes it he will lose. Only 16% of the elegible electorate voted for the SNP and we are reliably informed that many of those would never vote for independence. Salmond is not to be taken seriously on that score.

On the other hand we have a situation now where the electorate has not the slightest idea if the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Plaid Cymru or even the Tories have any ideas or any capability when it comes to running the country as a whole. It is hardly surprising that between them these parties can pick up many more votes than Labour, given that on the major national issues none of them have even had the chance to make a mistake. They are blameless, because over the past 12 years they have done absolutely nothing to affect national policy other than vote against most of the measures that we know were necessary and in some cases obstruct them, while failing to pre-empt or mitigate those mistakes that the Labour government must hold its hand up to. Be that as it may, it is always good to give new teams experience and a crack of the whip. That may include the SNP.

The only Westminster party to vote for leaving Saddam in power was the Lib Dems and it seems to have done them a fat lot of good electorally. The swing to the Conservatives in local government was likely a tribute to some good work done by Tory councillors or some local gripes against Labour non-delivery. But I can't for the life of me see David Cameron winning a general election when from day to day he seems to exhibit little understanding of major issues other than those on which he agrees with Labour.

Of rather more interest than the above was the number of electors whose intelligence or literacy (it could presumably be either or both) was so inadequate that they were unable to fill in the voting forms correctly. This seems a satisfactory method of ensuring that there is at least a very minimal intelligence and education test before individuals are allowed to participate in choosing who runs the country. It may not have affected the result, but an examination of the attempted votes may tell us that. From what I have seen of the forms they do seem very clear, but the spoiled papers tended to nullify the advantage of the computerised counting system. I see from the newspapers today that the sperm-donor business is booming in spite of the change in the law so that the unfortunate progeny can find out the cause of their arrival on this planet, and that for some period there was a single donor responsible for the whole of Scotland. By the time a few generations have inbred by marrying their own brothers and sisters no doubt the rather particular personality traits and genetic illnesses will have further reduced those capable of voting by any system at all. It always struck me that anyone who was a sperm donor must have a level of insensitivity and an incomprehension of the nature of humanity that renders them highly unsuitable as healthy breeding stock, let alone fathering hundreds. A sort of parallel that led Douglas Adams to the opinion that anyone with ambitions to be president or prime minister or ruler of the galaxy should automatically be disqualified.  Actually, Adam's hypothesis is much less reasonable. A good amount of intent and application is necessary. The sperm donor is just a thoughtless, conceited wanker.