The previous administration’s cuts consultation in June 2010 was an ill-tempered business with the town’s antipathy towards Highland Council being displayed by many citizens who heckled the top table. Looking back on it this observer is tempted to subscribes to the school of thought that the idea that the swimming pool might close was nothing but a red herring.
No smoke and mirrors this time round though. Last night was a very calm affair compared with 2010. Everything up front with Liz, Dave Fallows and the Leader of the Council Drew Hendry. A few pictures of the consultation here.
Those present got a chance for one to ones with the high heid yins and they were in genuine listening mode. Drew Hendry particularly seemed cognisant of the ill-feeling between the community here and the Highland Council in the past and he genuinely wants to offer us and other communities a better deal. It’s all to the backdrop of cuts however, how do we get the best from a diminishing pot? Will the new area comprising Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey deliver us a better deal than being in the clutches of Inverness? Let’s hope so.
There’s also the Scottish Government’s agenda of localism looming on the horizon as we’ve heard recently from Alistair Noble, who was at the consultation last night and threw that into the Q&A session at the end.
Also present the Nairn Youth Forum, the only youth forum to turn up at a consultation so far according to Drew Hendry. There was a willingness to listen and a respect shown from those present that simply wasn’t there back in June 2010 when a cuts consultation roadshow last hit town. And cuts there will be, about £30 million’s worth to find and it could continue for many years like this. It is sobering to be faced with a form asking you where you would like to see cuts made. Which finger do you cut off? Where will the damage done by the collective decision go? Are there ways of doing this by hitting further the management layers at
Glenurquhart Road and not front line services? If genuinely moving to give power to
the periphery again why do you need such a big centre?
A thought provoking meeting and although there will be cuts, this observer came away feeling less nervous about it all, it seemed a lot more competent than the debacle of 2010.
If you wish to take part in the consultation, you can do so here on line.