A new step in democracy for people with learning disabilities took place in the council elections in May 2012. Jimmy McIntosh, one of the Board member of LDAS stood for election in the Leith Walk ward of City of Edinburgh Council.
Jimmy said, “I gave myself a challenge. I saw a lot of things going wrong, with service users not getting the right support and services getting worse. Some people have different staff coming in every day to support them. People should be able to make relationships with the people they support. I was the candidate for the rights of service users and of people with dementia.
“I wrote my own leaflets and put up posters in shops up and down Leith Walk. People got their friends to tell other people about what I stood for. I even went to a Hustings meetings where all the candidates including myself spoke and answered questions.”
It is a long way from the time, forty years ago, when Jimmy and other people at Gogarburn Hospital had to go to court to win the right to vote. Now Jimmy says it’s come full circle, “I met lots of people who didn’t know how to vote. There were many people wasted their votes in the election because they were so angry about Edinburgh’s trams.”
“I got 91 votes and I beat the Liberal Party In Scotland candidate. I think I will stand in the next elections too. I have a bit of experience and know what to expect. “
Jimmy who is also the subject of an award winning documentary by Martin Smith called simply “Jimmy” concluded by saying, “The message I would give to everyone with a learning disability is – no matter what age you are – no matter what your disability is – you can go where your mind takes you. You should just go for it. “