Why blog?

So I’m intending for this blog to develop into something of a commentary on social and political issues for when 140 characters just isn’t enough! 

I’m new to this blogging thing so bare with me as I find my feet…

I’m Iain and I’m running to represent the Scottish Greens at the 2017 Council elections in Edinburgh.

For years I have been a firm believer in participatory democracy. I feel strongly that everyone’s voice should be heard and carry equal weight. I believe people of regardless economic means, gender, sexuality, ability statuses, race, religion, locality or age should be engaged in the political decision making process. I’ve long been an advocate for using that voice we each have in the way of a vote in each and every election and referendum and I’m sure my friends are sick to the back teeth of hearing my…opinions on why we should all exercise our right to vote. If we don’t vote we lose our political voice. 

Despite all my advocacy for exercising our right of suffrage – my contributions to direct participation in the democratic process has been peripheral until now. Voting, getting across key messages I believe are important both in person and on social media, leafleting for the Scottish Greens locally and doing a bit of phoning round for fund-raising. This has all helped our cause I’ve no doubt but I feel I have more to contribute.

Council elections seem like the right place for me to do this. With COSCA reporting that local councillors are more trusted than other politicians and with a very localised area to represent I feel that engagement I talked about before is so much more acheivable than in any other job. Out there, listening to what constituents want, hope for, don’t want, have problems with and being able to help them? That sounds exactly like what I want to be doing.

I’ve long been an advocate for those who are unable to speak out for themselves or feel disempowered to do so. I’ve worked in health and social care for 14 years with the latter 8 being as a Registered Nurse. Oftentimes, especially at the most acute phase of their visit to the health service, patients are completely unable to vocalise their wishes be it due to physical or mental impairment. The system of healthcare providers oftentimes leaves patients feeling disempowered and like the authority lies with the healthcare provider. It has been my pleasure to be one of those to remind these people that they are still autonomous people and that all decisions should be revolving round them. INVOLVING them in the planning, implementing and evaluating stages of their care, COMMUNICATING with them throughout, NEGOTIATING when their wishes seem to be contrary to what seems best for their health and SUPPORTING them with what expertise, knowledge and experience I can to meet our shared goals. I see this process as something I’d like to take forward with me if I am successful.

I have been in the position of being a Deputy Ward Manager  where I often had to balance the issues raised by staff against the aims of management. This again involved communication in a two-way model – downwards from management to workers and upwards from workers to management. It was my duty to see that concerns raised by frontline staff were brought to management attention and given due attention but likewise I had to “tow the party line” from my ward manager and ensure staff were acting in a way concordant with policy and procedures as well as the philosophy of the ward and regulatory bodies. This could cause some dissatisfaction and meant I had to be one quite capable at pointing to the existing evidence and explaining why decisions had been made in a certain way. This process, again, is something I think will stand my in good stead for a political office.

Lastly but by no means least I firmly believe in equality, diversity, sustainability and social justice. The Scottish Greens embody all of this at their core and have since their inception. I’ve been a long time supporter and want to build on the excellent work that has already been done here. Unlike the “big” parties who find themselves more and more conflicted of late the Greens don’t switch a policy dramatically from one day to the next to keep members happy or win voters because we already believe in what we do, what we stand for and who we are. If we want voters to support us it’s our job to get that message across enthusiastically, realistically and in a way they feel listened to, not by wooing them with promises we don’t intend to or won’t be able to keep.
So that’s by no means the exhaustive reasoning but it’s a good chunk. Feel free to ask me questions either on Twitter : @iainmckwSGP or by email iain@iain-mckinnon-waddell.co.uk