One of the advantages of the STV voting system that will be used for the local elections next month is that it allows those of us who always vote for the same party to deliver a more sophisticated verdict on the other contenders. From memory, the approach I took five years ago was to rank the SSP third after the two SNP candidates, on the grounds that they were the only other pro-independence party in the ward. I ranked the two independent candidates next, followed (last and in every sense least) by the London parties. But the toughest part was to decide in which order to rank those three parties. I think the logic I used was that Labour had to be absolute bottom for tactical reasons, because the overall council battle in my neck of the woods was between Labour and SNP. And of course I placed the Lib Dems ahead of the Tories.
In spite of the fact that my respect for the Lib Dems (a party I once plumped for in a school mock election) has plummeted through the floor in the years since then, I think that logic still just about holds good this time - at least the Lib Dems have the decency to pretend to be a Home Rule party, one day out of every sixteen. But what about you - in what order will you be ranking the London parties? Or will you even bother ranking them at all? That's the subject of today's poll - you'll find the voting form at the top of the sidebar.
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Ah, the delights of being a Scottish curling fan. If I lived in Estonia, or Slovenia, or Denmark, I could have watched Scotland play in the nail-biting world championship final yesterday, live on Eurosport International. It goes without saying I could have watched the game live if I'd been in Canada, and with glitzy all-singing, all-dancing coverage at that. But as I live in Scotland itself and am stuck with "British" Eurosport, I couldn't.
Now, doubtless British Eurosport chiefs would point out that one of the events that displaced the curling was one in which there was plenty of Scottish interest - the GB v Belgium Davis Cup tie in Glasgow. The snag is, though, that I can recall occasions in previous years when they've made the judgement that British sports fans would much rather watch an obscure game between two non-British tennis players in a WTA event, than follow the Eurosport International coverage of Scotland playing in a major curling tournament. It seems that British Eurosport's definition of "British interest" is the same as Newsnight's - ie. whatever is most interesting to viewers in the south of England.
Sadly, in the end, Scotland had to settle for silver yesterday, although it would have been gold had Tom Brewster not been slightly wide with his final shot in the tenth end. This rounds off a 'curate's egg' season for Scottish curling - Brewster's performance arguably exceeded expectations slightly, and a first European gold medal for the women's team since 1975 speaks for itself. But the big disappointment was the failure of the women to medal at the world championships, having gone in as favourites for the gold.