‘Perhaps it is time for a new grey rosette’

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THE release of the nominations for the forthcoming council elections on May 3 give us all a chance to ponder the strength and breadth of the candidates in our area.

The majority of those seeking your vote come with rosettes firmly pinned to their chest: Conservative, Green, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and so on. But do you vote for the party or the person?

Edinburgh and the Lothians face many challenges in the coming years: youth unemployment, crime, overseas competition and inequality among them. But it is not parties that will solve these issues it is people, especially in a coalition.

It is those individuals who can work together for the greater good who will ultimately help shape the future of our capital city and its surrounding towns and villages.

Why dismiss an individual because you are irritated by Alex Salmond? Or vote against a Lib Dem because of Nick Clegg and the coalition? Or reject the Labour candidate because Ed Miliband reminds you of a cartoon character? The council elections should be decided on local issues and an assessment of the best candidate in each ward.

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.

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.

Ticket to ride

FrEe bus travel for older people has been one of the most popular moves introduced by the Scottish Government.

The idea is still supported by people of all ages – including this newspaper – despite growing concerns about the cost of funding it.

This year there is likely to be a £7 million shortfall in public funding – and private bus companies cannot be expected to pick up the tab.

The Scottish Government has to provide the money to meet its pledge. If it cannot do that, then it has to look again at the criteria.

Can we afford for everyone over the age of 60 to get free travel at a time when the pension age is 65 and rising?