Comment: ‘Heartening to see locals in politics’

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IT is time to forget the Vicar of Dibley stereotype of community councils as bodies which meet in drafty church halls and spend hours talking about ­flowerbeds.

As today’s news proves, interest in local grassroots politics has never been stronger – at least in certain areas of the city.

While many were said to be on the verge of extinction, some city community councils are now ­having to stage elections because so many candidates have come forward.

The situation in Portobello, Craigmillar, and Liberton may not be repeated across all areas of the city of course.

There are big local issues, particularly around schools, which have stoked debate and led to rival interest groups vying for power.

But it is heartening nonetheless to see people getting involved in their local communities and taking an interest in the decisions which directly impact on their quality of life.

Whether it is over plans for a new school, the state of the local park, or the latest bid to close ­police stations, these are hugely important issues.

If people start to believe ­community councils can make a difference and take real decisions which influence their communities then hopefully we will be seeing even more elections in the years to come.

While they may not attract the same profile as other polls, they must still be open and fair and stick to the issues rather than ­personalities.

That is why we will be covering the elections in detail by focussing on each area, highlighting the ­different candidates and encouraging all local residents to get involved and use their vote.

So forget what you thought you knew about hyper-local politics, and get ready for an unexpected election campaign.

Good luck to everyone involved and let’s hear it for local 
democracy.