SNP majority for second term in Holyrood, but more needs to be done to increase turnout (7 May 2011)

I’ve just looked at a political map of Scotland, following Thursday’s elections and I have to say, it’s rather yellow with a bit of orange, bit of red and a bit of blue.

So the SNP have the majority and they’ve swept to power and already I’ve spoken to people who think they’ll rush in a referendum and we’ll be independent within a couple of years and they’re worried about that.

Well, don’t worry.  Alex Salmond has already indicated that the referendum won’t take place until the end of this term of governing in Scotland and despite the sweeping victory for the SNP in Scotland it doesn’t mean that Scotland will vote to be independent.  Alex Salmond and the SNP will have to do a lot in the next few years to convince Scotland t
hat independence is the right thing for the country and they’ll have a lot of opposition to it.

Scotland voted SNP in, yes, but not necessarily because they wanted independence.  Labour could have done better in Scotland but they had a poor campaign and an unconvincing leader, who has now announced that he’ll resign.  With Labour not being convincing enough and people fed up with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats the SNP were always going to make significant gains across Scotland.  Having said that, I’m still surprised that they gained my constituency.  Subjected as we were to a boundary change I still expected the Tories to win over the Lib Dems, they never had a chance, but the SNP gain here was a surprise.

I’m still reading through a lot of election articles, facts and figures and what stuns me still is the turn-outs at all kind of elections.  Why do people not get out and vote? Well perhaps parties need to look at what people want.  Yes, education and health are important and no one wants them to take a back seat but what no one mentions when talking about the NHS are dentists.  People want a trip to the dentist to be as free as a trip to the doctors.  Currently the cost to have dental treatment is far too high and as a result people don’t go.  Or they go for a check-up to be told they need hundreds of pounds worth of treatment – which they can’t afford.  

Mental health is something else that politicians need to focus on.  The stigma surrounding mental health issues is still huge, despite people talking about it more and despite sports stars, actors and other people in the public eye announcing their battles with various forms of mental illness.  Let’s hope that the issue is not shied away from.  MP’s and MSP’s can play a big part in ridding the stigma of mental health.

However they do it, politicians need to get out and get people voting.  I’d be against a compulsory vote but I’d be for a campaign that would focus on getting the population out voting.  I think that motivating the electorate is important and one important question to people is – why don’t you vote?