There were a number of examples this week of the Labour and Tory Administration’s determination to vote down anything proposed by the SNP, no matter how sensible,
First of all was the rejection by the Falkirk Coalition Administration’s rejection of an alternative structure that would have delivered real scrutiny of council services as well as holding the council leaders to account by allowing the opposition a say in setting council agendas.
Instead the coalition rejected any change and stuck with the system that allows policy portfolio holders to hide from opposition shadow spokespersons, retains control of the Executive and the body set up to scrutinise that body while denying any say what so ever for the majority of SNP members.
Earlier both the Labour Group Leader, Craig Martin, and Falkirk Provost, Pat Reid failed to honour a commitment to change following a series of meetings with SNP leaders instigated by the SNP Group Leader, Cecil Meiklejohn. Both Labour members voted against changing the decision making structures to re-introduce a measure of democracy and fairness after promising to support change.
Later in the week the Administration rejected a proposal described by one Labour member as “first class” to hold a schools competition to record and broadcast council meetings with £5,000 for the winning school. Instead Labour and their Tory partners did not rule out approaching Private Sector companies to carry out the task.
Finally, the SNP sought to rectify a shameful abuse of power by offering 1 of the 5 places the party is entitled to n the 12 person Planning Committee to the Non Aligned Independent, Brian McCabe, thus giving every group in the council representation on Planning.
The Non Aligned Group have twice the members as the council’s other Independent, Billy Buchanan an also have the same membership of the 2 person Tory Group who have Malcolm Nicol, a close fiend of Buchanan on the committee. Labour used their numbers to exclude the Non Aligned Independents in favour of a Tory and the maverick Buchanan.
This has led to an acrimonious relationship between the Labour and Tory members and Brian McCabe that could have been changed thanks to the sacrifice being made by the SNP.
However, rather than accept what could have been regarded as a gift horse from the SNP Labour sought to impose conditions on McCabe that included Labour insisting Councillor McCabe take up a position on another committee, a place reserved for an “opposition member” that could be filled by an SNP member.
Shamefully Labour and Tory Councillors as well as Billy Buchanan voted by 16 votes to 15 to block the nomination of Brian McCabe with the rapidly politicising Provost, Pat Reid at it’s heart.