Boosted by the results of the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary eelctions the the SNP are fielding a record 18 candidates in the forthcoming elections to Falkirk Council they seek to oust the current Labour / Tory and Independent Administration from office..
Last time round the Nationalists fielded 14 candidates in the nine wards winning 13 seats, just 1 behind Labour who won 14.
However, so dramatic has been the upturn in the fortunes of the SNP, winning both Falkirk parliamentary seats in 2011 with a combined majority of over 9000 votes over their nearest challengers, New Labour.
SNP leaders believe that lead remains and indeed is growing as traditional Labour voters turn against their town hall representatives due to their formal pact with the Labour’s traditional opponents in the Tory Party. Equally the SNP claim that many Tory and Independent voters are angry that Falkirk’s two Tory Councillors and two out of three Independents, Robert Spears being the honourable exception, are preserving a Labour led Administration for nothing more tangible than personal positions for themselves.(quote lifted from Falkirk Herald article dated 12 January).
Said SNP leader, David Alexander,
“The formal pact that exists between Labour and the Tories effectively means that only the SNP can bring about much needed change within Falkirk.
We have had five years of stagnation and constant attacks on the public services we all require for the care of the most vulnerable in our society.
Services that were free to the elderly and disabled people under the SNP now take over £1.2m a year out of the pockets of some of the poorest paid people within Falkirk district, yet this was done by the Labour Party without any consultation what so ever and at a time when they are underspending their budget by 1.3%.
The frightening thing is that this is phase 1 of Labour’s programme of new charges on those unfortunate enough to be elderly or disabled which demonstrates the need for change within Falkirk Council.
Compare the inactivity of the last five years of Labour and the Tories with the six years of SNP led Administration from 2001 – 2007. This was the period of office that witnessed the building of 6 new schools, the Helix, the upgrade of Grangemouth Stadium to international standards, town centre regeneration programmes, the Hippodrome in Bo’ness, the partnerships with both Falkirk FC and Stenhousemuir FC and the raising of Educational standards from the pitifully low level we inherited.
The people of Falkirk district deserve a council that is ambitious and prepared to be innovative. They have already endorsed the SNP at national level and now we are seeking to deliver a political administration that delivers the same policies locally the people of Falkirk district voted for in such huge numbers last year.
The SNP are also the only party seeking to win the elections with Labour selecting only 16 candidates for 32 seats it is clear they are relying on the Tories to keep them in office”
Only Angus MacDonald MSP of the existing group is not seeking re-election. In Grangemouth Ward the SNP have two new candidates, David Balfour and Andrew Cowie.
Stephen Bird makes a return to local government politics and there is another familiar face in the Upper Braes Ward, where former Independent Councillor Ricky Wilson returns under the SNP banner.
First time candidate in the Lower Braes Ward, Robbie Landsman makes up the enlarged SNP team for May.
List of SNP candidates are as follows
Ward 1 Bo’ness – Ann Ritchie & Sandy Turner
Ward 2 Grangemouth – David Balfour & Andrew Cowie
Ward 3 Denny Banknock – John McNally & Martin Oliver
Ward 4 Carse, Kinnaird & Tryst – Stephen Bird & Steven Carleschi
Ward 5 Bonnybridge & Larbert – Tom Coleman & Lynda Kenna
Ward 6 Falkirk North – David Alexander & Cecil Meiklejohn
Ward 7 Falkirk South – Colin Chalmers & Georgie Thomson
Ward 8 Lower Braes – Steven Jackson & Robbie Landsman
Ward 9 Upper Braes – Gordon Hughes & Ricky Wilson