In the election for the powerfull COSLA President Tory, Liberal and Independent Councillors almost unanimously backed the Labour nomination, David O’Neil, against the SNP’sRob Murrayby by 85 votes to 44.
Labour, Tory, Liberals and Independents then backed the Independent Councillor, Michael Cook against Rob Murraydefeating the SNP man by 86 votes to 44, an almost identical vote as that for the post of President.
There was controversy before a vote was cast with the majority of Labour controlled councils refusing to recognise the principal of proportionality. Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Falkirk, West Dumbartonshire, Renfrewshire,Glasgow and North Lanarkshire all under allocation places to the SNP. Had proportionality been observed by Labour the SNP delegates numbers would have risen from 43 to 55 with Labour and the Tories both falling back, Labour from 52 to 44, the Tories from 18 to 15.
Falkirk’s sole SNP delegate, David Alexander, the Tories were given the SNP’s second slot as a reward for accepting the Labour whip in Falkirk, said,
“The policy lines between Labour and the Tories have been blurring for several years but what is becoming obvious is that they are almost merging into one party in terms of outlook.
In the last term of office COSLA acted in a responsible manner seeking to work with the SNP Government for the greater good, something that clearly rankled with the Labour leadership at the time. Now by gerrymandering the vote for President and placing a tame Independent in as Vice President a statement of intent is being made and that is bad news for local government.”
In 2000 the SNP within Falkirk Council withdrew from COSLA and instructed officers to re-direct the circa £100,000 savings on affiliation fees towards frontline services for the elderly inFalkirk. At the time the SNP were concerned that the organisation was being high jacked and being sued for party political purposes.