Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Plus ça change ...

If the Labour Group on Midlothian Council is intent on seeking my support to get back into power, it is most certainly going the wrong way about it.

Today's full council meeting appointed the replacement Council Leader and Depute, following the resignations of Lisa Beattie and Jim Bryant from those positions respectively.

I had signalled my intention in advance to vote for the replacements nominated by the SNP Group, as my earlier agreement with them is still in force, and despite a few misgivings about how things have been handled, I see no reason to change it just now.

I cannot say I yet have total confidence in the SNP-led administration, but what I do know is that if today's performance by Labour is anything to go by, they'll need to change their game plan if they have any hope of me changing sides.

Labour Group Leader Derek Milligan started by referring to the SNP/Independent/Green coalition. Thankfully this was corrected by the Provost, but why do such a thing if not to provoke a reaction and risk alienating me still further? In a fit of what seemed entirely false indignation, and supported in turn by other Labour councillors, he then claimed the Labour Group knew nothing of the Depute Leader's resignation and demanded an hour's adjournment to consider his group's nominations.

Firstly, even a three hour adjournment wouldn't change the fact the numbers didn't stack up in their favour - except of course they probably knew Peter de Vink had to leave shortly and were maybe hoping one of the SNP councillors would somehow expire during the course of the meeting.

Secondly, why did they need an hour to discuss their nominations when they had presumably thought through their options when they first proposed them on 22nd May? Had they lost confidence in their own nominees in the meantime?

More succinctly, it was pointed out by Owen Thompson that the procedural niceties that the Labour Group were insisting must be carried out to the letter were largely ignored by their own administration when in office. Insisting that Council needed more time to consider nominations to Cabinet is one thing, but then when the Coalition responded by agreeing to defer a decision until the next Council meeting, they then complained that the Cabinet would as a result be operating in a vacuum (mainly during recess). A better example of sheer bloody-mindedness would be hard to find.

Other than where my agreement with the SNP Group is in force, I remain neutral and will vote on an issue by issue basis. Labour accuses me of continually siding with the Nats whilst never giving me a good reason to do otherwise. Two months ago I told them that if there is an issue coming up on which they want my support, they should approach me beforehand and discuss it. I'm still waiting for the first knock at the door.

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