The proposal to separate council election from Scottish parliamentary elections is one of those things that seem blinding obvious, so much so that it blinds us from the fact that it is an unnecessary and unhelpful move.
There is no evidence that peoples clear confusion with the Scottish parliamentary elections was in any way caused by having the election on both days, evidenced by the fact that the new system introduced for council elections caused far fewer spoilt ballot papers.
The idea that Councils will be called to account on their own record has to be countered by the clear evidence that midterm Council elections are always seen as a opinion poll on the Government.
If this is a response to what happened in 2007 then its the wrong target. The solution lies in having the ballot paper as it was before, with the list vote second.
If it is about making Councils more accountable then it will not achieve that to the extend that might be assumed and there remains the issue of voter fatigue. There are better things for Parliament to to be doing with legislative time and resources.
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