Don’t let the oddballs put you off…your vote really matters – Annie Brown

Alba were back on the campaign trail yesterday – which is about as welcome as the return of rickets.

Alex Salmond has said he believes his party is poised for a “historic political breakthrough” in the council elections next month.

But Alba has as much chance of a breakthrough as a blue tit flying into a closed window.

The promise last year was that the party would “shake up the cozy politics of Holyrood” in the Scottish elections.

When the results came in, Alba’s impact was more dripping tap than tsunami as they polled only two per cent of the vote.

Alba’s candidates should note that there is a fine line between confidence and delusion.

When Alba is gone, her devoted coterie will walk the streets in sandwich boards proclaiming “the end is nigh” for the SNP.

Alba or “Al-a-buh” are fielding 100 candidates and if they are anything like the caliber of the party’s offerings at the Scottish elections, prepare for lots of apologies.

Last year the boast was of a “political orchestra of women and men of ability” but soon the tune they were playing was, “Who’s Sorry Now?”.

Remember Dr Jim Walker, the economist and Alba candidate who had to apologize for calling Nicola Sturgeon “a cow” on Twitter?

And then there was former boxing champion Alex Arthur, who vomited up some racism on Twitter.

He wrote: “Them Romanian beggars in Edinburgh ain’t hungry!! Just drove past them all ready to switch up begging posts and ALL of em fat as big juicy overfed pigs!”

He should have taken his boxing gloves off when he typed that.

Surely we won’t see such gaffes now as the world deals with the horror of Russia committing mass murder.

Well, maybe don’t mention John Jones, who was touted to stand for Alba in a Fife seat but had to part company with the party after describing Vladimir Putin as his “hero”. He said Putin was only invading Ukraine to rid it of Nazis. Speaking of fascism, Jones also said trans people should have their genitals removed “by law”.

As an independence supporter and, hell, just as a Scot, I would suggest Alba needs to quietly disappear now, like outdoor toilets and potted meat.

Of course all the parties have had their share of embarrassing candidates.

There is currently pressure on East Lothian Tory hopeful Judy Lockhart-Hunter to withdraw her candidacy after it was unearthed she had petitioned against Syrian refugees.

In 2015, she said refugees would be “far better placed going to another Islamic country” while portraying them as dangerous bogeymen. But these bigots and oddities are no reflection of the majority of candidates who will stand in the council elections out of a sense of public duty.

Most are passionate about their local communities and want to roll up their sleeves and effect change.

There is little gratitude and lots of abuse for councilors who try to fix problems for constituents ranging from the irksome to life-changing.

They find themselves in an increasingly toxic political landscape in polarized communities.

Council work is often portrayed as a gravy train but in reality it’s excessive hours on an allowance amounts which to below the minimum wage.

And they find themselves trying to help those in grinding poverty while battling against ever-decreasing budgets and burgeoning bureaucracy.

Voter turnout for local elections is notoriously low given the huge impact they will have in the day to day of our lives.

I am ashamed to admit I didn’t vote in them until I became old enough to care about boring old necessities such as street lights and bins.

My city of Glasgow is currently overflowing with rubbish and rats, while binmen had to strike for a decent wage and care workers were forced to battle the council for equal pay.

Every community has its own problems and it’s the council we turn to for solutions.

So, we should get out to the polling stations on May 5 because if these candidates can be bothered to stand, then we should at least make the effort to vote.

Patel makes May look like Mother Theresa

It’s grim when Theresa May – the architect of the UK’s shameful hostile environment policy – ​​is dubious about the ethics of Priti Patel’s plans for refugees.

Patel, pictured left, is such a despicable Home Secretary she makes May look like a leftie social worker in the old days of Lambeth Council. May has questioned the legality and ethics of Patel’s ghoulish plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda to be prosecuted.

Patel plans to stop the trafficking of refugees by having the UK Government traffic them instead, 4000 miles to East Africa.

In the Commons yesterday, May demanded evidence that the policy “will not simply lead to an increase in the trafficking of women and children” – which is like Cruella de Vil developing a sudden concern for puppies.

Everyone apart from Patel and fascists like Britain First have condemned this scheme, including Patel’s own civil servants, the church and the UN’s refugee agency.

So far, Patel’s response to her critics is that they have failed to offer any alternative solution to the migration crisis.

The alternative is not a solution but the only acceptable response – treat asylum seekers as human beings, abide by international law and process them. And only then accept or reject them.

He said, she said ugliness

US actor Johnny Depp sits in the courtroom

The Johnny Depp v Amber Heard counter libel suits being played out in the US right now are a tawdry watch.

Earlier this week, Depp’s nurse recalled having to scour the couple’s house in Australia for the type of the actor’s severed finger, which he injured during a fight with his ex-wife.

It’s hard to feel sorry for either party in this as they tear into each other publicly, although Heard was found by a court to be a victim.

What has definitely been proven in the court case is these multi-millionaire movie stars are both spoiled brats.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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