Edinburgh Council elections 2022: A unionist party coalition or a minority administration might well take control of the Capital – Steve Cardownie

Recently, as expected, pages of this newspaper have been devoted to the forthcoming local authority elections a fortnight tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 12:30 pm
It's all to play for in the Edinburgh Council election (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
It's all to play for in the Edinburgh Council election (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Speculation is rife regarding what form the new city administration may take, with national political heavyweights joining the fray by offering their tuppence-worth.

Nicola Sturgeon has said that the local elections provide an opportunity to send a message to Boris Johnson by voting SNP.

By doing so, she is obviously placing national considerations well and truly to the fore at the expense of local considerations, while some opposition party stalwarts have said that a vote for them will send a message to the SNP and signal opposition to a second independence referendum next year.

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So, despite pleas from some political commentators that local matters should be the priority, it looks like their appeals will fall on deaf ears.

However this is music to the ears of SNP candidates in Edinburgh. With their party riding high in the opinion polls, it appears that they will reap the benefit with the SNP’s record in office up at the City Chambers unlikely to feature to any great extent.

For, while they could highlight some successes, there is no doubt that there have also been some calamitous decisions made along the way.

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The post-election waters are now in danger of being muddied with both Labour and tje Liberal Democrats signalling that they will play no part in any proposed coalition with the SNP.

Indeed, in a bold bid to mop up Tory second votes at the polls, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said that his party could favour an “alliance” with the Conservative group on Edinburgh Council.

That leaves the Greens who are unlikely to secure the return of enough councillors to make a difference, despite previously aligning themselves with the outgoing SNP/Labour coalition on many major issues.

So, a unionist party coalition or a minority administration could well be in the offing unless one of the groups raises a two-fingered salute to their national leaders and defies party “orders”.

While that particular scenario may be highly unlikely – time will tell!

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