Local council elections take place tomorrow (Thursday) and one local parish church got involved by holding an election event with a difference.
Stockbridge Parish Church asked three local people to speak about an aspect of their lives in the local area and the council candidates were asked to respond to what they heard. The emphasis was placed on the community shaping the conversation rather than candidates talking solely to each other.
The themes explored were how the Council can support local businesses in the area, grandparent carers in Stockbridge, and access to mental health services.
A local grandmother challenged the candidates asking them, “Where are the people in your manifestos?” The candidates were told that communities are about people, not cars, buildings or funding, and that local government must change to focus on co-operation with local people to find the right solutions for each neighbourhood.
A need was identified for more consultation, getting to know each other better and more support for local work that is not necessarily financial.
The Doing Politics Differently event was held on Friday 28 April with candidates from six parties participating, including the Scottish Green Party, SNP, Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Libertarian Party, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
The event was organised based on the SCPO and JPIT resource, ‘Explore Faith and Politics 2017 – Guidance on holding local election meetings with a difference’
For advice about adapting this model to the General Election on 8 June please contact SCPO. Alternatively, guidance on organising a hustings event is available here