I’ve just acquired a leaflet from Bill Cook, my Labour opponent in the Liberton/Gilmerton by-election.
Let’s take a look at it. Here’s the front page:
Here are the center pages:
And here’s the back page:
Reading through it, Bill Cook comes across as an amiable and decent person. If I was electing my drinking buddies, I might well vote for him. But this isn’t an election for one’s drinking buddies, it’s an election to Edinburgh Council, an organisation with a budget of over a billion pounds, whose work affects — for better or worse — everyone in Edinburgh, and those who visit our city.
So it’s incumbent on candidates to say what they would do if they were elected. Bill Cook doesn’t do this. The nearest he comes is by saying “We have had a strong Labour team in South Edinburgh and it has delivered many new homes, services and facilities for local people”. “Services” and “facilities” are vague words that can mean anything. So let’s have a look at Labour’s record on homes.
First, remember this is after 13 years of Labour rule nationally from 1997 to 2010. Edinburgh’s council house waiting list is now 28,000, and increasing at 1,000 a year. The average house price in Edinburgh is £208,000, which is roughly nine times median income (and higher multiple than in 1997).
Thus, judging from Labour’s record, we can see that they do not have a commitment to affordable housing. Oh, they say they do, but politicians should be judged by their deeds not their words.
But one thing we can say about Bill Cook: since he avoids making any promises (unlike me — I have a fully worked out plan for housing) you can be sure he won’t break them.