ALTHOUGH the SNP is not due to publish its manifesto for the SBC elections until next week, the party of government at Holyrood is thought to be bullish about its chances on May 3.
All six councillors who currently form the main opposition group to the Con/Lib Dem/Independent administration are seeking re-election, and their bid to emulate Alex Salmond’s landslide victory last May will, it believes, be strengthened by new candidates.
These include former Scottish rugby internationalist Alastair Cranston in Hawick and Denholm, and two community council stalwarts – Clovenfords’ Stuart Bell in Tweeddale East and Tweedbank’s Jim Torrance in Leaderdale and Melrose. Into the fray will also step freelance journalist Maggie Stansfield in Kelso and District.
If the details of its policy programme are not yet finalised, it is known that the local SNP wants to replace the current executive/scrutiny decision-making system at Newtown with a more inclusive committee set-up.
Councillor John Mitchell, seeking re-election in Galashiels and District, said this week that, if the SNP is in a power-sharing position after May 3, he would at least expect the Lib Dems to support this change.