The first meeting of Falkirk Council’s unrepresentative Executive Committee dubbed the “Polit Bureau” went ahead on Tuesday 7th May without the token 2 SNP members permitted to participate by New Labour and their Tory partners.
The SNP are particularly unhappy that this committee has been given full delegated powers to decide on around 95% of the councils business.
Further a Scrutiny Committee is to be established but , once again not only has it been stripped of any decision making powers but is to be controlled by the administration who have grabbed 6 out of the 10 places available.
The SNP are angry that the structure excludes the majority of opposition councillors who will not sit on either the Executive or Scrutiny Committee and who are also having their right to raise motions with in the full council meeting severely restricted.
At the last election the SNP secured the highest percentage of first preference votes in the Falkirk Council area, 40%, to Labours 37% but won only 13 of the councils 32 seats, Labour winning 14.
A pact between Labour and, the Conservative Party’s’ 2 Councillors along with maverick independent, Billy Buchannan, secured the rainbow Administration by 17 votes to 15.
Quote from SNP Group Leader Councillor Meiklejohn.
“The SNP has no difficulty with the Labour Tory administrations right to use their majority to implement the manifesto’s of both Labour and the Tory Parties, there is very little difference between the two anyway.
We also accept their right to a majority on the Executive Committee providing there is a counter balance of the ability to call in proposals to the full council, the supreme decision making body and the only truly representative forum.
What we can not accept is the gerrymandering of decision making processes to effectively tear up the 2012 election result, put in place an anti-democratic structure that effectively makes redundant the majority of SNP elected Councillors..
What we demand is the ability for all Councillors to participate in the political decision making of the council and the right of the opposition to hold the Labour / Tory coalition to account.
After much soul searching and deliberation the SNP within Falkirk Council has decided that it would not be appropriate for us to send the two members we have been asked to send to the inaugural meeting of the Polit Bureau to be held on Tuesday 7th.
We did not take this decision lightly but believe that it is the only way we can highlight the inherent unfairness in these proposals and force change to what is an attack on democracy itself.
Administrations that seek to marginalise the political opposition thus avoiding real scrutiny rarely deliver quality services.
Our hope is therefore, that bodies such as Audit Scotland recognise that there is a crisis within Falkirk Council that will ultimately result in poorer service delivery locally and intervene accordingly.”