Ten questions for election candidates

Scottish Local Government elections will take place on 3 May 2012. With this in mind I am suggesting that Occupy Edinburgh asks candidates some or all of the following questions and the answers used to decide which candidates to endorse. If Occupy Edinburgh does not wish to do this than I shall probably ask the candidates standing in my ward to answer them anyway.

These questions, with minor adjustments, could probably also be put to candidates elsewhere and in other elections, be they local or national.  Please feel free to copy them and adapt them as you see fit.

One of Morag Livingstone's photographs of a poor council estate.

Question 1.

Morag Livingstone’s photographs document life on bleak council estates, and Clare Galloway has written movingly of the prejudice and oppression suffered by those living in Edinburgh’s Wester Hailes.

Please read Clare’s essay and state how you would improve things.

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone


Question 2.

Have you read The Spirit Level?

If so, would you comment on it?

Screenshot of a video in which Richard Wilkinson talks about the major findings presented in 'The Spirit Level'.

Click on the image to watch, on the Equality Trust website, a video in which Richard Wilkinson talks about the major findings presented in 'The Spirit Level'.


Question 3.

In light of the extensive evidence presented in The Spirit Level and on the Equality Trust website that socio-economic inequality is a major cause of crime, poor health, etc., what will you do to reduce it?

Graph from the Equality Trust website showing that health and social problems are worse in unequal countries. Click on the image to visit the site and learn more.

Graph from the Equality Trust website showing that health and social problems are worse in unequal countries. Click on the image to visit the site and learn more.

Jenny Jones of the Green Party campaigning for a maximum pay ratio in the Greater London Authority. Click on the image to learn more.

Jenny Jones of the Green Party campaigning for a maximum pay ratio in the Greater London Authority. Click on the image to learn more.

Question 4.

Given the damaging effects of inequality, will you campaign for a maximum pay ratio in the public sector?

Question 5.

Do you agree with what Dr Katherine Trebeck says in her short essay titled ‘It’s the inequality, stupid’.

If not, what do you disagree with and why?

Dr Katherine Trebeck of Oxfam Scotland has written an essay titled 'It's the inequality, stupid', criticising the current economic/political situation in Scotland. Click on the image to read it.

Dr Katherine Trebeck of Oxfam Scotland has written an essay titled 'It's the inequality, stupid', criticising the current economic/political situation in Scotland. Click on the image to read it.

The emperor's new clothes.

Is the emperor wearing any clothes? Mainstream economists, politicians and media give the impression that never-ending economic growth, as measured by GDP is a good thing, but many NGOs and public bodies believe that this is nonsense, and that the emperor effectively has no clothes. Click on the picture to read what they say.

Question 6.

Do you think that economic growth, as measured by GDP, is a good thing and is sustainable?

Question 7.

With reference to work such as that done by Greenspace demonstrating a sevenfold return on greenspace investment with benefits such as improved health and reduced crime, how will you make sure that Council decisions take account of externalities?

In other words, how will you ensure that the best long-term interests of the population of Edinburgh are not sacrificed for short-term council cost-cutting which may end up costing payers of Council Tax more in the long run?

Relaxing in a park. Social Return on Investment methodology reveals the huge benefits of greenspace. Conventional accounting misses both significant benefits and significant negative effects of various projects. Click on the image to learn more.

Relaxing in a park. Social Return on Investment methodology reveals the huge benefits of greenspace. Conventional accounting misses both significant benefits and significant negative effects of various projects. Click on the image to learn more about SROI.

Beyond the Corporation, Humanity Working by David Erdal

As explained in 'Beyond the Corporation, Humanity Working' by David Erdal, employee-owned companies are better not only for the people who work for them but also for the broader community. Click to learn more.

Question 8.

Given that employee-owned companies have been proven to be better not only for the people who work there but also for communities in which a significant number of people work for them, what will you do to promote the adoption of this business model?

Question 9.

How will you ensure that the Edinburgh tram fiasco can never be repeated?

Princes Street is ripped up to make way for tramlines.  The Edinburgh trams fiasco has cost Edinburgh taxpayers a fortune. Click on the picture to learn more.

Princes Street is ripped up to make way for tramlines. The Edinburgh trams fiasco has cost Edinburgh taxpayers a fortune. Click on the picture to learn more.

Edinburgh City Council did not renew its contract with Eden Springs, an Israel water company that takes water from occupied Palestinian territory in the Golan Heights.

Edinburgh City Council did not renew its contract with Eden Springs, an Israel water company that takes water from occupied Palestinian territory in the Golan Heights.

Question 10.

With reference to the controversy that surrounded Edinburgh City Council’s contract with Israeli company Eden Springs to supply drinking water, what will you do to make sure that the Council implements an effective ethical and environmental procurement policy, and doesn’t support companies flouting the rights of Palestinians, for example?

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About biowrite

I am a writer specialising in non-fiction, particularly in assisting people with their biographies.
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