Friday, October 26, 2007

Climate of denial

Well, it was indeed a long meeting - just after 7pm before the close of business :-(

I do have to reflect whether there are possibly too many motions (look at that agenda again - item 10 has 17 motions!) being laid directly at the main Council Meeting - absolutely acknowledge that one of them was put there by me. It will probably settle down over the coming months, but a lot of yesterday was taken up by those motions.

Main, strategic item of business was the Edinburgh Tram Final Business Case - report here - which was passed with four-Party support (Libs/Labs/Tories/Greens) with the Nats opposing ... at least being consistent, if not - for me - rational.

I do applaud the Tories ongoing support for the Edinburgh Tram ... it's an open secret that several of their number have concerns, and I think they faced up to those yesterday with several good contributions from the Chamber floor. They didn't go for the easy option of sitting on the fence, and I really hope their focus on the long-term benefits of the project for Edinburgh will continue over the coming months.

Apart from trams, other items of interest were several debates (surprise, surprise) about finances ... there does still seem to be a denial amongst the ruling Coalition that they've yet taken any decisions to reduce services? What can I say ... do have another look at these reports from June and September's Full Council meeting were well over £5million and £10million of service reductions were approved by the Lib-Nat Coalition.

And having praised the Tories for their stance on trams, for the sake of balance, I was pretty aghast at their stance on the Al Gore film, "An Inconvenient Truth" - see item 10.17 on the agenda. It did really all smack of an attempt to continue to pour doubt on the climate change debate - I'm glad that 'no action' was the decision of the Council on this item.

... but, the Tories' balance-sheet has to be a positive 2-1 for Cllr. Whyte's verbal question to the Council Leader during the debate on her Leader's Report ... I'm paraphrasing here, but it was along the lines of "apart from changing the Committee Structure, can you name one other major initiative that you've commenced/completed since May" - answer: 10-minutes of dialogue about all the letters that have been sent by the ruling-Coalition to the Scottish Government.

A definite, direct hit :-)

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