Falkirk Council Now Officially A One Party Dictatorship

Tuesday 19 March 2013 will be recognised as the night democracy died within Falkirk Council thanks to the greatest misuse of power ever seen within the local authority.

In an act of shameful contempt for the principle of openness and transparency within local government Labour, who secured only 37% o the first preference votes in last years elections compared to the SNP’s 40%, have grabbed total control in what was described as a “Soviet style power grab.”

At present policy decisions are taken by committees made up of Councillors on a proportional basis with the ability to refer areas of division to the full council where all Councillors have a say in the issue.

However, decisions will now be taken by an Executive Committee of 12 Councillors with a skewed political balance of 9 Labour, 2 SNP and 1 Non Aligned Independent. The Executive Committee will also have absolute power with no right of opposition members to call contentious items into full council.

A Scrutiny Committee is proposed as a counter balance to hold the Executive to account with the normal practice of the Scrutiny Committee being controlled by the opposition and having a measure of power but not in Falkirk. The body set up to hold the Executive Committee to account will have a 6 – 4 majority in favour of the Executive party. In other words Labour will scrutinise Labour.

This means 10 elected Councillors, 8 of whom are SNP will not be part of either the Executive or Scrutiny Committees and therefore have no role within the council.

The meeting began with SNP leader, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, pointing out that the proposal was not only in breach of the 1989 Act of Parliament that guaranteed proportionality and therefore a breach of Falkirk Council’s own Standing Orders, the rules in which the council operate.

Bizarrely Falkirk Council Chief Executive, Mary Pitcaithly, ruled that the report indicates an intention to change the Standing Orders at the April meeting it is therefore OK to ignore the current rules. A ruling which brings into question the role of senior officers in the process of change.

Speaking after the meeting which ended at 11pm, Councillor Meiklejohn said,

This is a bad day for democracy within Falkirk with the local authority being run by a Polit Bureau that scrutinises itself and excludes the democratically elected opposition.

 Absolute power corrupts absolutely and Labour and their Tory partners desire to control all has corrupted the political process within the council the detriment of democracy,”

 The SNP Group will meet early next week to decide whether or not to take this matter to third party authorities such as Audit Scotland or directly to the Scottish Government.

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13 Responses to Falkirk Council Now Officially A One Party Dictatorship

  1. brenda sneddon says:

    that sounds just about right for labour check the word (labour as in work ) they would not know the meaning mind thy self that’s the motto for them f you jack i’m ok glad i’m snp I don’t need to lie like they scum answering a question with a question never a straight answer

    • cllr David Turner says:

      What they aere doing is copying the systen that Labour use in Glasgow a system that was introduced by stephen Purcell

  2. The SNP must raise this issue with Audit Scotland as a matter of urgency. Things are bad enough with the shameful propaganda and scaremongering regard the independence referendum without this type of politics adding to the disgrace that is Scottish Labour.

  3. Les Sharp says:

    What a shameful state of affairs, the whole Labour Party and officers should be hauled in front of Audit Scotland

    • Karene Grant says:

      Absolutly shocking !!!!
      This matter should be brought to the voting public’s attention!!!
      This is NOT democracy,,, more like a dictatorship!

  4. elgoldave says:

    The morality of this, far less the legality, has be challenged. Undemocratic. Please do Appeal to Sco. Gov or whomever.

  5. Colin Anderson says:

    Old, old Labour at its very best (for best read worst)! They need to remember that once elected they are supposed to represent the whole community, not just their own partisan sordid interests! And they wonder why people are so disengaged with the political system? Shame on them all.

  6. Cecil Meiklejohn says:

    It shows how insecure the administration is as they feel they need to have absolute power because their decisions and policies won’t stand up to scrutiny from the opposition.

  7. Joe Bruce says:

    If there was any sense of democracy in this executive committee it would consist of 7 Bitter Together 5 SNP and 1 Independent councillors. Given the make-up of the administration, where are the Tories and Billy Buchanan placed in all of this? Silent and inactive I Presume.

  8. David Alexander says:

    The Executive Committee can only work i there is, first of all, a counter balance and that is the opposition controlling the scrutiny process as happens in 90% of those councils with an Executive Committee.

    There also has to be the ability to call into the full council otherwise we dont have an Executive Committee but a Polit Bureau and that is what Falkirk Council has appointed.

    Joe raises a good point about Buchanan and the Tories. It does not look as though they will be within the inner circle so they will be nothing but voting fodder for Labour at full council.

    Watch out for them becoming Bailies as a pay off, they do like baubles.

    • Councillor Brian McCabe says:

      Any pretence that the Labour/Con/Buchanan administration actually knows what’s going on in the council was blown out of the water on Tuesday night. It was clearly obvious that they have no control over our scrutiny (and they know it!) which only exposes them as inept & moribund at every turn. They can’t afford to be made to look idiots as often as they are and are therefore having to resort to the dictatorial, undemocratic and feral behaviour of the bully, ie: strength in numbers.
      As you know I used to tease them with a referral to my election leaflet on which I had the acronym ‘HIT’. Honesty; Integrity; Transparency. I used to think they remained quiet because of my dazzling debating skills. More fool I! It’s only just dawned on me – they don’t understand what it means!
      Honesty – When Craig Martin stood up and said he had a leaflet of mine in which I was quoted as saying “My best pal Alex”. I challenged him to produce it and he apologised & admitted it didn’t exist! Well there goes yer honesty.
      Integrity – NAIG pushed for a Petitions Committee where the electorate could ask Falkirk Council to seek Eric Joyce’s de-selection as MP, and Dennis immediately jumps to his feet to defend his erstwhile colleague. Integrity? Leave it out!
      Transparency – No ‘Call-ins’; Policy Panels being held in secret; in-built administration majority to the Cabinet AND Scrutiny! ie: NO scrutiny. I see (sic) no transparency here either.

      Unfortunately we have a party of apologists in administration I’m afraid. Pat Reid is desperately trying to salve his own conscience by suggesting, not for the first time, that I fell asleep at the Local Development Plan agenda item. This after me forwarding EVERY councillor an 8 page document filled with questions; This after me SPECIFICALLY asking at the start of the debate, “Will we be discussing the LDP in 2 separate parts?”; This after him SPECIFICALLY answering, “Yes.”
      Instead Cllr Buchanan suggests lunch and we’re outta there faster than a Bonnybridge Village Boundary change!
      I thought democracy took a pasting that day; little did I know it was only the dry run for Tuesday’s disgrace.
      The voting fodder of Buchanan and the Tories will only fill 3 of the 4 baillie positions, who will be the final Baillie? Oh, that it were ‘The Old’.
      Baubles. Bangles. Bright shiny Baillies.
      They make a disgrace of “Ane for Aw” … as long as it’s me!

  9. Iain Wilkie says:

    I am not an SNP member but am a supporter although in the past I have voted for Pat Reid as I thought h was a good man. I am surprised he supported such an obviously bad set up as our council has just aproved and he has gone down in my estimation. Last year I voted for Provost Reid, Cecil Meiklejohn and David Alexander as they all work hard for our community but next time round it will be SNP 1 and 2 with no 3rd vote for any candidate who clearly has no respect for democracy.

  10. Lorraine says:

    I hope they are still happy with their new system when the SNP wipes the board with them at the next council election!

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