“It’s not about a manifesto or a national party; it’s about what the folk in the West Mainland want from me…” So said Barbara Foulkes on Radio Orkney this week in a programme segment on the forthcoming by-election.
Cllr Bill Stout, Convener of the OMG comments “It’s perfectly legitimate for Barbara to question the value of a manifesto, especially since it’s the main plank of our platform – in fact it is our platform - and we are happy to engage in debate. In fact we are delighted that Barbara has recognised and highlighted the very fundamental difference between us. She makes a virtue of having no manifesto and no platform.
“We on the other hand, think it’s important to run a campaign where we tell voters where we stand on the issues affecting Orkney and how we are likely to vote in the Council chamber – and to demonstrate that we’ve done our homework to enable us to arrive at a set of consistent policies. We’ve worked with Rachael King to do that in this by-election.
“Rachael has insisted on doing the legwork herself, in terms of visiting every home in the West Mainland ward. She has had a terrific campaign, meeting so many folk and hearing at first hand their views and problems. Behind the scenes she also took a very active part in writing the version of the Manifesto on which she is campaigning.”
Rachael adds “I have a very good understanding now of the concerns of a large number of West Mainland voters. I also have some idea of how to go about fixing some of them with the support of my OMG colleagues. I can’t do anything to change the weather, but I know there are ways in which the Council can ameliorate the problems caused to farmers by the terrible growing season we’ve had this year.
“However, it’s about more than what the folk in the West Mainland want from me, although that is my priority. It’s also about the bigger issues: the looming financial crisis in local government, developing the Orkney economy, transport infrastructure, housing, home care, child care, roads, amenities and education. Joined-up thinking on all of these is essential. That’s the value of our Manifesto!
The by-election for the vacant OIC seat for the West Mainland ward will be held on Tuesday, 18 August.