Thursday, November 22, 2007

No early evening finish!

Shock, horror - the Full Council meeting finished just before 4.30pm ... a mere six-and-a-half hours, with at least two breaks totalling around an hour. So only just over 5-hours of actual meeting time! Now, I don't think that's too drastic for the main decision-making body of the capital city, Local Authority of Scotland?

And whilst I've openly admitted that I do think there are a large number of motions at current meetings, there was a strange reaction to them today by the Administration - they simply moved "No Action" to most of them, in an effort to try and 'persuade' us troublesome Opposition politicians from tabling anything that may just commit the Council to anything remotely innovative :-(

And when pressed in various debates on this, they seemed to indicate that all we had to do was ask the relevant Convener (and/or Officer) and we'd get the answers we needed without 'wasting' good Council time by tabling troublesome motions and questions??

I'd accept that with a bit more good grace if I thought it would actually happen - but I've now had two written assurances (via Council Questions, not voluntarily) from the Convener of Education that all Opposition Education Spokespeople would be kept informed of progress with Portobello High School, and the other Wave3 schools, and to date I've received not one single e-mail, letter or verbal briefing to such effect? Could be that absolutely nothing has happened (which wouldn't have surprised me) but I know that's not the case.

Communication has to be two-way, and at the minute it certainly is not. I know who's "court the ball is in" on this general issue, and it's not the Oppositions.

The meeting itself today didn't really tackle any of the key strategic projects for the city, that all appear to be in a permanent state of suspension at the moment: Schools, Zoo, Tynecastle, Meadowbank, Sighthill, Commonwealth Pool, Old Town developments ... to mention but the obvious :-(

Someone will need to take a decision on some of these issues soon - surely??

So, highlights of the day had to be:
  • the Depute-Convener (Provost) taking the chair of the meeting; having to use his casting vote twice; and chastising one of his Administration colleagues for using un-Parliamentary (un-Chamberly doesn't sound right?) language in one of the debates. I won't embarrass the Liberal-Democrat member for Southside/Newington by naming him :-)) ... although, joking aside, all-credit to him for immediately withdrawing the phrase used!
  • the Convener of Education accusing previous Labour Administrations of "building schools for electoral advantage" ... yes, she really said it? I'd love to know which schools this highly-scientific accusation was referring to??
  • the Council Leader pointedly NOT taking part in yet another debate about finance that was generated with the sole purpose of having yet another go at the previous Administration for leaving Edinburgh on the verge of destitution and ruin ... why anybody is still living and working here I don't know? I think the Council Leader's lack of contribution to that debate was very telling - it's a great shame she doesn't have the majority of her colleagues on her side :-(

December's meeting can only be worse :-((


asmith9983 said...

Instead of being a
"troublesome Opposition politician",
why not for a change, do something completely out of character and do something positive and useful for the city?

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment - I suspect, from the tone, we may not agree here ... but it is now our job to hold the new Coalition Administration to account, and that includes asking awkward questions that they won't like.

As for being 'positive and useful' ... what can I say - please do reflect on how Edinburgh has changed over the last 20-years? Not everything perfect, I accept, but many positive changes for the better have happened and the local authority should be given due credit for the role it's played in that transformation.

As of yet, I see no clarity about just where the city is going in the next 20-years ... all I sense is indecision.

I really hope that changes soon - regardless of who's in charge. I'd be the first to applaud a clear sense of direction, but I don't think it's present at the moment.

Thanks again for taking the time to comment.


Anonymous said...

You state:


Hardly. Dreary, protracted antagonistic, self important clapshot perhaps, but 'brief' they are not.
Moreover, your blog purports to be 'really bad'. Let's face it, it's not is it? Your blog is merely the same as every other blog by a local councillor, boring, toe-ing the party line and providing unwelcome snippets of your mundane personal life. As if we really care.

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment.

Sounds like we may not agree on much ... no matter what I say.

Anyhow, thanks for reading a bit of the blog - don't forget: it's not compulsory.