Council leader Jenny Dawe probably summed it up best when she said: “I had my boxes all packed.”
The (now former) Lib Dem councillor knew that when it came to the ballot box voters would have their revenge. And how they did.
Dawe herself came an ignominious fifth in her ward, while tram boss Gordon Mackenzie was also dumped out of the City Chambers. Voters spoiled their ballot papers by scrawling childlike pictures of trams over the names of candidates and writing long and winding letters to the council on the back. Professor Pongoo – a man dressed in a not-very-convincing penguin suit – polled more first preference votes than a Lib Dem candidate in the Pentland Hills ward.
Even the SNP’s Steve Cardownie , who has tried to distance himself from the trams project, found support hard to muster.
Yes, this was no ordinary election. This was years of frustration pouring out behind the thin veneer of a 3ft by 3ft ballot box.
The result has left Labour as the largest party with no obvious coalition for giving Edinburgh the strong and stable leadership it desperately needs in the coming years. The city needs a leader and a coalition that will change the narrative from the trams project by shaping new ideas and a vision for where the Capital is going. Someone who will demand more resources from the SNP’s government. Someone who can work with other parties without paying so high a price that nothing gets done. All in all, a formidable task.
Before the vote, the Evening News talked about the need to put party politics to one side. It is clear now that this is even more important than ever.
Our message to Edinburgh’s 58 elected representatives is: put that party rosette in your bottom drawer. Instead think of the voters in your ward. Think of the city. Think about what’s right. And leave petty squabbling at the door of the City Chambers where it belongs. Edinburgh deserves better than it has had in the last five years.
Let’s give the people what they deserve: leadership.