Thursday, November 18, 2010

Full Council report ...

Hard to know where to start, with what turned out to be the most farcical Council Meeting I think I've attended in my 11-years on the Local Authority :-(

First of all, the rumours were true and the local Administration changed their minds and decided to vote to keep Blindcraft open - I welcome that.

What I cannot welcome is the appalling way this has been handled over recent weeks ... with the report being published; the clear recommendation being closure; staff being formally briefed on this likely outcome; and the press being allowed to believe that closure was indeed going to happen.

To reverse all of this at the last minute is, yes, welcome, but cruel indeed in the way it's been managed --- or I should say mismanaged. The Evening News seemed to know of the deal - they go to print before 10am remember! - before the Council Meeting even started ... it really is no way to treat some of the most vulnerable people in Edinburgh :-(

Anyhow, well done to all the campaigners who made sure their voice was heard on this issue - I'm entirely convinced that without their input the factory would have been closed today.

So --- on to bus/tram appointments (report here) and, as mostly expected, there wasn't really any great difference of view on the actual appointments, but to help the Nats avoid voting for the Chair of tie the Lord Provost made a complete dogs breakfast of handling the issue ...

... have a look at the Council's Standing Orders here - check out paragraph 32 in particular, which reads:


32. After the Head of Legal and Administrative Services has started to take the vote, no member will be allowed to offer an opinion, ask a question or interrupt the proceedings until the result of the vote has been announced."

Well - the Lord Provost had started taking a roll call vote on the appointments within the report, and Councillor Ewan Aitken had actually even verbally voted, when the Provost summarily stopped the meeting for a 5-minute recess??

When we returned he tried to suspend Standing Orders (having realised his mistake I assume - or someone having told him!) but didn't have the required 2/3rds of Council ... and Labour/Tories/Greens left the Chamber in protest at the blatant abuse of Standing Orders.

Frankly, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh cannot start a Council vote and then suddenly decide to stop the vote because he'd spotted possible difficulties with the outcome!

It was a truly outrageous abuse of Council Standing Orders and the fact that all 29 Labour, Conservative and Green Councillors left the Chamber in protest underlines the seriousness of this abuse of local democracy.

  • good day for Blindcraft
  • bad day for consultation/communication
  • very bad day for adherence to basic local democratic standards

Things can only get worse as we approach next May :-((


David Fagan said...

Excellent blog though Andrew!

Andrew said...

David - you just don't know how lucky you are living in North Lanarkshire :-)

Edward Harkins said...

Ah well... in Glasgow they once had a (Tory)cooncillor who made known his presence at a committee meeting in the City Chambers where things got a bit rowdy.

Then, during some comings and goings, he hid in the unused big lum in the committee room, leaving the convenor under the impression he had left the meeting. Then the Tory cooncilor jumped out to vote at the crucial moment!

It was the first time in years that the dominant political party lost a vote on this committee.

In fact, immediately after the vote, The Labour convenor demanded a clean sweep ... OK, I made that last bit up ;-)

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment - funny enough, someone else was telling me about that Glasgow chimney (in the City Chambers) just earlier this afternoon ... I kid you not!