Elections can be cruel on hard-working councillors who miss out – Steve Cardownie

The City of Edinburgh election count at the International Conference Centre last Friday brought back a flood of memories as candidates were either preparing to toast their success or drown their sorrows.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 12:30 pm
Frank Ross, seen with Prince William and Nicola Sturgeon, had planned to climb a Munro if he lost in the elections (Picture: Jane Barlow/WPA pool/Getty Images)

It is indeed a cruel business but one that candidates voluntarily embrace so they should be prepared for any outcome.

The phrase “one day cock o’ the walk and the next a feather duster” may be an unkind description of the fate of ousted councillors but it does adequately sum matters up.

With that in mind, I spoke to the outgoing Lord Provost, Frank Ross, about his prospects prior to the outcome of his contest being announced.

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He was concerned that he may lose out given previous results in the west of the city but, thankfully for him, he was returned to the City Chambers.

He told me yesterday that he had made plans to climb a Munro at the head of Loch Nevis last Saturday (which he had last climbed as a school pupil back in 1973) such was his concern that he might not be elected, freeing him up from attending group meetings over last weekend.

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He said that many sitting councillors were defeated due to matters outwith their control, particularly Conservatives. He re-iterated that their defeat was not necessarily a reflection of their record as a councillor but rather the behaviour of the current Tory Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and their Scottish leader, Douglas Ross MSP.

I mentioned the fate of former SNP councillor Rob Munn who lost out due to no fault of his own and who had a reputation, across the political divide, for being a hard-working, conscientious councillor and who Frank said will be sadly missed at the City Chambers. He gave a special mention to those outgoing councillors who involved themselves in the civic agenda.

It is well known in the City Chambers which councillors are pulling their weight and which are simply content to be bystanders. Not all the bystanders have been weeded out but at least there is now an influx of new blood which augurs well for the future.