It will be a few days before the full implications of a snap election on June 8th are really understood, but following parliament’s vote today to support the Prime Minister’s plan we have some interesting, perhaps challenging, weeks ahead of us.
Undoubtedly the discussions over Britain’s continued relationship with the European Union and the constitutional future of Scotland are important, but so too are concerns around benefit cuts, holiday hunger, mental health support, homelessness, to name but a few of the issues people in Scotland’s most fragile communities face on a daily basis. It is important that these issues are not lost in the wider debate.
We also cannot allow these issues to overshadow local council elections on the 4th of May. It would be all too easy to become complacent, or allow national sentiment to influence local policy but council elections are in no way less important, and nor are they a “dry run” for June. Council elections are where decisions over local community facilities, public transport, family services, and housing are made, decisions that are going to have a huge impact on our communities. So it’s vitally important that we make sure we use our vote at all elections, even if it seems we’ve been to the polls a bit too often in recent times.
At Faith in Community Scotland we’re inspired by the commitment of local people who believe passionately in working together to change things for the better in their communities. We see any election as an opportunity to enter into dialogue and discussion about the kinds of policies the country needs to support them in their work, but our responsibility does not end at the ballot box. Their work goes on day by day, week by week – and they’ll continue to be hard at work on the 9th of June and the day after, regardless of what the outcome is.