Friday, September 07, 2007

FMQ untruth

I'm all for a bit of political banter, but really don't like complete 'untruths' - and, I have to say, at FMQ's yesterday I'd humbly suggest that we heard a bit of an untruth ... check out the First Minister's answer to a question put by Malcolm Chisholm - here.

The answer given states that "the so-called hit list was devised under a Labour Administration" ... sorry, this is simply NOT TRUE.

Now, I doubt if the First Minister himself reads this blog ... but I know some of his supporters do ... so I hope they might draw his attention to the 'History' section in my earlier entry - here - and some of the links therein.

I'm a charitable bloke, always willing to give the benefit of the doubt ... but the answer given yesterday was clearly an untruth and a public clarification wouldn't go amiss.

I'd applaud such.

7 comments:

John Wallace said...

Councillor,

You have again made reference to your post in which a lot of answers are still missing. Just a taster - you haven't mentioned names yet but you do know that a list names of schools to close was put together. In fact, there was a report done by/for Ewan Aitken to close Brunstane and Lismore schools and build a new school at Duddingstone Yards. You will be happy to know that the current administration have updated it.

Now I KNOW that this was done and there are the first two to start you off. Please, please add to the names already mentioned.

Most people know and realise that some schools may have to close, especially the former Executive Member for Children & Families. It seems that the FM's statement is also believed by most of the population of the city and that belief was evident even before the statement yesterday.

I find it extremely difficult to believe that your colleague Maureen Child would vote to close Lismore a few years ago and then at a meeting in Bingham last week say she would fight every school closing today. What has changed her mind about Lismore - the fact that the pupil numbers are even lower than they were in 2004.

Maybe these couple of examples will explain why the difficulty we are having is not that schools have to close it is just the previous administration's total denial of that fact - kind of like the SNPs as well.

I think I am beginning to ramble....

Andrew said...

John

Sorry - this argument appears to be going round in circles ... you say "the difficulty we are having is not that schools have to close it is just the previous administration's total denial of that fact" ???

PLEASE, COME ON - I've never denied that schools may have to close; do re-read my entry of 16th August (just to pick one of many) that make this very point.

ALL I'm saying here (as I've repeated frequently) is that following the collapse of the Cross Party Working Group there was NO political input to any process and NO list. That's why I can't (not won't) name schools, as there was NO political list.

Its simply a lie to say that the previous Administration had a political list of schools it wanted to close.

It's just not true.

Andrew

P.S. at the risk of rambling myself ... I'll be quick as I need to get on with varnishing these bloody floorboards - I actually don't think there's much of a disagreement between us on all of this ...

... post-election we offered a Cross-Party approach to try and resolve the situation, it was rejected, that was (clearly!) a mistake, with a little humility from the new crowd we could potentially just get that process up-and-running yet?

John Wallace said...

Actually, I don't think we would be too far apart when the situation is finally under control. But I can definitely see the trust issues the new administration would have with the previous one:

1. Extremely small rise in Council tax just before the election and leave a defecit
2. Senior member of previous administration (in charge of finance) telling a public meeting in the last fortnight that she would fight all school closings when she voted for them before.

Those are just a couple of examples and I am sure the new administration and indeed myself could come up with lots more.

The issue hear doesn't seem to be the issue. The issue hear is one of trust. I think the ballot box proved that not only the current administration does not trust the Labour group - the electorate doesn't. The behaviour at meetings and in the press since the election purely reinforces that distrust which is becoming more and more deep rooted as time goes on.

Perhaps Edinburgh's labour party could take advantage of a good change management practitioner (not Jobson - that's not the type of change you are looking for) rather than having fancy dress parties. I am sure you would agree with me, some people the electorate think, have had their noses in the trough for far too long and need to be removed.

Don't say you are listening to the electorate, show the electorate you are listening to them. It would be ever so slightly refreshing not to mention out of character if recent behaviour is anything to go by.

Jon Wallace said...

Oh, good luck with the varnishing. Don't think I could manage that.

Andrew said...

John

Thanks for the further comments - I absolutely agree with your 'general' points about trust and politicians ... unfortunately, I think it crosses ALL Political Parties and is not confined to being an issue with any particular one.

I can only repeat an earlier comment I made from 16th August, here:

http://andrewburns.blogspot.com/2007/08/26-educational-establishments-in-8.html

... when I said:

"I take your point about the standing of politicians ...

... what can I say; I'd hope you would agree that many are hard-working and sincere, others less so - a reflection, in many ways, of wider society. That's representative democracy, and for all it's flaws, I'm still committed to supporting it and working within it."

There; I've admitted it at least TWICE now - I'm not perfect, politicians aren't perfect, but who the hell in general society is?

Andrew

P.S. Not sure I can manage this damned varnishing either - stuck for a couple of hours now between 'drying coats'. I'm told it needs at least three :-((

John Wallace said...

You must have been a good child. You seem to take care of all the vegtables - unfortunately you don't really get into the meat.

It now appears in the Evening News that:
When council officials working under Labour looked into closing schools, they had a list of six primaries and one secondary, which they expected would shave £9 million off their overall running costs over three years. The Lib Dem-SNP expanded this to 22 schools as well as four community centres, and yet the saving was the same. How is this possible? Even if the officials were optimistic under Labour and pessimistic under the new administration this seems unlikely.

Perhaps as someone asks in the Evening Labour Party News, can you list the schools. This is what I have been asking you for some time now and you have never given names or numbers. Obviously journalists get more info than voters.

Andrew said...

John

I certainly do not "really get into the meat" as a good vegetarian :-)

But seriously, we're going around in circles again.

I'm assuming the italicised
section of your comment is a quote from Gareth Rose's piece in today's Evening News ... it's not fact but opinion.

Even so, have a look at:

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1304102007

- this is an article from the launch of these ill-fated proposals in mid-August, and halfway down you'll see the statement:

"Council leaders said they had more than doubled the six primary and one secondary school which they said had been privately earmarked for closure before the May elections."

Thus - I REALLY HOPE - you'd agree this is most likely what Marilyn MacLaren has told Gareth Rose on the 17th August and which Gareth Rose is now simply repeating.

It certainly DOES NOT mean there was a political list before May - because, as I've now said till I'm blue in the face, there wasn't such a list.

Of course, officers would have been preparing for a post-May Administration (whoever that was going to be) but there was NEVER any political agreement to a list or input to any such process following the collapse of the Cross Party Working Group on 10th October 2006.

Andrew