Thursday, November 20, 2008

It was a long day!

Unfortunately, my prediction was correct and the Council meeting lasted until just after 8pm this evening :-(

And the school closures were indeed the main topic of debate - generating 7 deputations alone, none of which (sadly) led to any change in the recommendations that were before the Council despite some very powerful points being made by those who spoke.

One point of note - I think - is the fact that during the debates on the closure of Bonnington and Westburn Primary Schools, not one single elected Member of the Administration spoke other than the Convener and Vice-Convener of the Education Committee? No one, not even the relevant local Councillors, had the good grace to get onto their feet and explain their decision to the Council Chamber. At least during the Lismore Primary School debate that did happen.

And significantly, the Council Leader never uttered a word in any of the three debates. Now, I am all for a bit of devolution of responsibility, but not to speak when YOUR Administration is closing down three Primary Schools is - for me - just a gross error of judgement.

And just to make matters worse, one of the schools was only closed because the Lord Provost used his casting-vote to push the decision through :-(

7 comments:

John Wallace said...

Councillor,

You must take your mind back about 3 years when the Labour administration tried to close schools. When three of your labour colleagues voted against your administration proposals, they were suspended for three months and two of the three were not selected to run in May 2007.

Maybe the councillors were silent because they were reminiscing about what happened under the Labour administration and were worried for their soup and roll - although I do seem to remember that when the honesty box first became a problem the FibDem/Scottish Nose Picker administration were not in fact in the chambers that day but over at the Lothian Region chambers being given lectures by the senior officials - so, maybe I'm wrong.

Andrew said...

John

Thanks for the comment.

All I'm saying is there was a lack of consistency - removing the whip on one vote (Lismore - knowing they would win because of Tory support), and applying the whip on another vote (Westburn - knowing they would have lost otherwise).

And NOT to speak at all, in a debate when you're closing a school in your own Ward, does seem pretty strange to me ...

Andrew

John Wallace said...

Without doubt there was a lack of consistency. Us mere mortals are used to that lack of consistency from politicians of all persuasions - take the Labour majority voting for the closure of Lismore those 3 or years ago when the school roll was more than double what it is today and voting against closing the school yesterday when the school roll I believe is around 34 including nursery places.

You'll now maybe understand how us Hoi Polloi see politics and politicans. The Lismore Parents Action Group, from whom I now believe you take counsel, stated vociferously in their campaign they won that morning in the City Chambers three years ago, that the Labour-led council at the time had "run the school down over years so that they could close it".

Andrew said...

John

Thanks for the further comment.

Don't really want to repeat the whole debate we had in the Chambers yesterday ... but yes, you're right, I personally voted to close the school in 2004 but it was then combined with a very significant package of investment for the receiving school (Brunstane) and for the wider Bingham Community (the Centre etc.) whereas yesteray there was just straightforward closure with no investment on offer for anything.

Andrew

Suzy said...

Aha Andrew, I have found you via Ewan Aitken's blog :)

I am still busy with Farepak but have been looking at the whole school issue again surrounding South Morningside especially now that the Braids Church is now on the market!

Ewan is putting myself and Marion in touch with Ricky (education spokesperson) as we believe there really is a good business case to be put forward insofar as the Braids becoming a junior school for nursery, P1 and P2 thus freeing up some space at the main school which is grossly overcrowded.

I discovered (to my horror) only the other day that the kids are changing, in front of each other, in their classrooms for gym!?!?!?! This is surely not acceptable!

Other than that I hope you are well and shall add your blogs to my "follow" list :)

Anonymous said...

Jeez, that John and that Suzy dont half go on. People, it's the internet and it is s'posed to be fun. That pair are just dreary namedroppers brown nosing some low level parish councillor, may God spare us.

Andrew said...

Suzy

Thanks for your comment - good to hear from you.

There was a motion about 'The Braids Centre' at the last Full Council meeting ... if you e-mail me, I can send on all the details:

andrew.burns@edinburgh.gov.uk

Hope to hear from you further ...

Andrew