‘Opt out now and it could all go wrong again’

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Tomorrow is a chance to make a difference. It is the day the people of Scotland elect their local councillors for the next five years.

A lot can happen in five years. Remember the days when the majority of people in Edinburgh thought trams were a good idea?

Yes, a lot can happen. And a lot of positives can happen if we elect the right people.

The Evening News has two key messages for its readers. First, be sure to vote. And second, vote for the person and not the party.

Why vote? Well our councils are responsible for so many local services: education, social work, roads, planning and environmental health for starters.

And the last five years has proved that it is possible to make an almighty mess of things. Edinburgh’s reputation has been dragged through the mire not only by the trams fiasco but by the ongoing statutory repairs notice scandal. Add in the state of our roads and you have a powerful cocktail that would dissuade most residents from voting again.

But if we opt out now, we run an even greater risk of it all going wrong again.

The national news headlines on Friday and Saturday will be dominated by the SNP’s relative success. Did it take Glasgow from Labour? How many local authorities does it now control?

But the important picture for Edinburgh is whether we select men and woman of sufficient calibre to take our great city forward.

It does not matter what colour of rosette they are wearing. What matters is whether they have the drive and passion for the role. The commitment to public service. And the intelligence to put Edinburgh first above party politics.

This was so often lacking in the last administration.

The MPs’ expenses scandal proved that in national politics many of the wrong people were elected. The trams fiasco in Edinburgh showed that when it came to making big decisions at a local level many councillors were not up to it. They retreated to safe ground, abdicated responsibility or pushed ahead at the wrong time.

The Evening News hopes that the new Council Chamber will be made up of doughty and perspicacious men and women whose main concern will be those they represent and the wider city region rather than any party loyalty or political ideology.

Perhaps it is time for a new grey rosette. One which will allow the colour of the candidate to stand out and not the party.

So don’t forget to vote – and choose the candidates you believe will put the city first.