ELECTION HAGGIS

Alarm bells rang when we read the opening headline 'Shirley-Anne Somerville – A Strong Voice for Leith & North Edinburgh'. We thought the SNP's unsolicited colour newsletter was already repeating recent Lib-Dem muddles over a local constituency name (Breaking news 11.3.11). However, the copywriters put the issue beyond doubt on page 2 with an unambiguously accurate reference to Edinburgh Northern and Leith.

Less clear was a prominent quarter-page advertisement in the 4-page newsletter. Perhaps the parallels between an SNP manifesto and 'Scottish-sourced butcher, baker and deli produce direct to your door' were too good to resist. In which case, surely someone should have deleted the line 'Pick your own contents or let us bring you a random mix'.

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Replacement Conservative candidate Sheila Low has contacted Spurtle with updated biogaphical details. She does not live in North Queensferry but Trinity, is no longer at Baker Tilly, and remains a governor of her former school (see Breaking news 21.3.11). Rather than just coming fourth, she prefers to stress that she managed to double the Tory vote in last year's Westminster election in Glenrothes from the level of the by-election 18 months before. 'I am relatively new to politics and, as a result, bring no entrenched thinking, just a commonsense approach coupled with real-world acumen,' she writes. Low is the only local candidate so far who has offered to buy Spurtle staff a cup of coffee – an admirable initiative which others will surely want to copy if they have any real-world acumen.

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The Edinburgh Central Lib-Dem candidate Alex Cole-Hamilton withdrew at short notice from Tuesday's Transport-themed hustings at the Quaker Meeting House. Hopefully, this was not due to a reappearance of the scurvy he recently contracted (according to the Daily Express) during extensive door knocking and insufficient sensible eating in the run-up to the election campaign. Spurtle first and last discussed politics with Mr Cole-Hamilton at a children's birthday party in Bellevue in February, at which point he had his face submerged in a pizza and looked the picture of good health. At least, we assume it was a large portion of pizza.

Cole-Hamilton's admirable and boundlessly energetic pressing-of-the-flesh will – according to one informed observer who might be expected to wish otherwise – likely insulate him from a more widespread voter backlash against Lib-Dem and Coalition policies at Westminster. The national press has reported disaffected Lib-Dem supporters transferring loyalties to the SNP. We shall see.

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It's a small world. Addressing candidates at the Spurtle hustings on 23 March, Solidarity candidate and proud dad Willie Black spoke from the heart about the importance of preserving the Arts in Edinburgh life. There followed a brief aside in which he mentioned that his daughter was up for an Arts-based prize. Black naturally hoped she would win, before jokingly continuing that as a good socialist he hoped all those in the running would also win. Who was the mystery daughter? None other than Sarah Drummond, coincidentally featured a week later in Spurtle Issue 193, as a Broughton-based TV producer and new-talent BAFTA award winner.

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A new independent candidate has emerged – principles blazing –  for the Lothians list. Ken O'Neill, a 'left-leaning libertarian', is realistic about what he could and could not achieve if elected, but promises to work for a more transparent Holyrood and to donate a three-figure sum monthly from his MSP salary to a local charity. We can't see that idea catching on with fellow candidates. Find out more at his website.

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The Scottish Greens launched their Lothians campaign yesterday, with top candidate Alison Johnstone already familiar to readers for her work as a councillor in seeking ways to defend Edinburgh's 'town centres' from supermarket monocultures (Issue 193). Who, though, remembers another Green Lothians candidate: Adam Ramsay? We do. Adam briefly wrote briefly for us around the time of his (eventually successful) election as President for the Edinburgh University Student Association. We recall in particular his controversial (some felt wrongheaded) views on dangerous pavement railings (Issue 159).

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Spurtle welcomes further communications from voters, political observers, candidates, and non-specific hangers-on. Please send us your election snippets – no tidbit too small, no issue too large, no assertion too unpublishable – so long as it's Broughton-local.