Falkirk SNP Councillors, David Alexander and Stephen Bird, joined a protest outside the local government umbrella group, COSLA, to protest at the exclusion of SNP members from the delegates appointed by five mainly Labour controlled authorities and under representation on a score of others., including Falkirk.
North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire and the Western Isles Councils have all excluded the SNP from their delegations creating a false Labour majority within the organisation.
COSLA advice to local authorities is to seek proportionality where possible but appoint a minimum of one opposition member from each authority where the overall delegate entitlement is to small to give exact proportionality.
In Falkirk’s case the council’s Chief Governance Officer advised council that the 4 places offered to Falkirk Council should be allocated 2 to Labour and 2 to the SNP given the almost parity of the numbers in Falkirk.
True to form Labour ignored the advice of their on officers and allocated one of the SNP places to COSLA to their Tory allies meaning that the Tories with 2 seats on the council were given the same voice as the SNP with 13 in the twisted world of Labour Party democracy.
Councillor Alexander said,
“Clearly Labour are seeking to re-write last year’s local election results to get back to the days when they controlled outright Scottish Local Government.
They simply haven’t come to terms with the fact that in votes cast and Councillors elected in 2012 they came second to the SNP.
While desperate acts by a desperate party living in the past is not unique to COSLA that body must rise above the quasi sectarian antics of Labour towards the SNP at the moment and uphold the principle of democracy, something it is singularly failing to do.”
A parallel between the Labour abuse of COSLA and the anti democratic actions of the Labour / Tory coalition that runs Falkirk Council where the Administration with a majority of 2 in the 32 seat council has awarded itself a majority of 6 on the 12 person Executive Committee that takes 95% of the decisions within the council.
Councillor Bird echoed the criticism of COSLA and its failure to set a positive example by upholding and implementing its own rules and advice. He said;
“In 1989 the then UK Government introduced legislation that ensured proportionality of representation on all council committees in England and Wales.
The legislation was never enacted in Scotland mainly because COSLA gave an undertaking that Scottish local authorities would self police.
Clearly they haven’t which I why gerrymandering a false Labour majority within COSLA is so important to them and another reason why the SNP should review its relationship with such an out of touch body.”