by Jim Densham (Campaigns Coordinator)
A lot has changed since we last posted on this blog, but while we might not yet be in a position to know the full impact of last week’s EU referendum result, one thing we do know that we have local government elections next year in May.
As such, we are planning to select our Green candidates for out target council wards at our next branch meeting, which will be held on Wednesday 6th July atThe Travellers Rest in Neilston from 7.30pm.
Two members have put themselves forward as candidates: David Allison and Laura Stevens. Here are the candidate statements they provided to tell us why they want to stand as Councillors in East Renfrewshire…
Laura Stevens – standing for Clarkston, Williamwood, Netherlee, Stamperland, Busby ward
The Scottish Green Party is committed to reforming local democracy and that needs to start with more Greens being elected to local councils. As a community councillor I witnessed first hand how powerless local people felt in their interactions with East Renfrewshire Council (ERC). That is something I want to change by becoming a councillor and working towards the reforms so badly needed by local government.
East Renfrewshire Council (ERC) echoes the political landscape in Scotland: it is male, pale and stale. Only 4 women councillors are members of the Council, out of 20 seats (soon to become 18 in next year’s elections). It is no coincidence that many of the decisions made by ERC, such as the closure of Bonnyton House, impact directly on women who are employed in high numbers within the care industry, not counting the number of women as unpaid, and unrecorded, carers. ERC is earning a reputation of putting profits before people and wasting funds on consultations that could be better spent elsewhere. I want to bring positive change to the Council that encourages them to explore alternatives to austerity that do not begin and end with shutting down essential public services.
David Allison – standing for Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawnmoor ward
Having worked in social housing for almost a decade now, I’ve seen what effect cuts to local services have on people, and how all of that fine talk about making tough decisions drastically reduces the quality of our day-to-day lives. I’ve seen bin sheds overflowing with rubbish. I’ve seen grown men and women reduced to tears when they find themselves suddenly unable to pay their rent. I’ve seen services designed to help the elderly and infirm whittled away to next to nothing.
To say that this has made me angry would be an understatement. I’ve wanted to do more to help every step of the way, and this is why I want to be a councillor – because this situation can only change if it’s challenged at every level of government.
My experience in housing has taught me how to actually listen to people, to help them identify the sources of their problems, and work with them to establish what can be done about it.
It’s also taught me how to work from a position of weakness to actually get something done on a local level. I know that trust has to be earned, but also that it can pay off. I know when to be helpful and when to be annoying. All of this will be essential when we get our first few councillors elected to East Renfrewshire council.
I was raised in East Kilbride and I live in Busby, so I don’t have a deep connection to the Barrhead area now, but I’m certain that I can develop one with the help of my fellow Greens. If selected as your candidate, I am also confident that I will be able work together with you to secure the sort of meaningful, positive change the area so desperately needs.
Please come along to show your support for our candidates and take part in the selection process!
Minutes of our previous meeting can be be downloaded on GreenTalk.