Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Creeping Invercentralism despite promises?

We were told recently that we would get a new deal from Highland Council. At the informal talks round the tables at the cuts consultation recently, Drew Hendry the leader of the Council, indicated to this observer that he was aware of the bad relationship between Nairn and Glenurquhart Road and he wished to change that. If not a new dawn, then at least a more sensible relationship with some real power coming back to communities was promised. Well Drew perhaps you'd better go and have another look under the bonnet of the Invercentric Glenurquhart Road Juggernaut because it is still firing on all cylinders. One of our regular readers sends us the text of an Highland Council e-mail that is going the rounds:

"The planning applications received for the Nairn Area will now be included with the Inverness planning applications and we will produce one Inverness and Nairn Planning List every Friday."

Proof, if any were needed, that we are simply seen as part of Inverness. Our correspondent suggests: 
"This is yet another example of the Highland Council's creeping process of absorbing the administration of everything to do with Nairn under the Inverness umbrella. A decision notified by a clerical official as a fait accompli (no consultation exercise on this!)
The local Nairn planning office was closed down some years ago (and we were told we could refer to documents and applications at the service point - ha!). They still have local planning offices in Wick, Golspie, Dingwall, Portree and Kingussie (I think some planning oversight of the Nairn area is now exercised by HC officials based in Kingussie). Not long ago I saw a report that those in Nairn seeking planning information and advice would have to ring a Highland Council call-centre in Dingwall. Now they are merging the Nairn weekly planning list with the Inverness one."

One wonders now if the Glenurquhart Road machine will deliver the coup de grâce to Nairn when Louise Clark retires from the Courthouse next year, despite what our councillors or the administration leaders might want, is the process that has been ongoing for over twenty years now so ingrained in the Highland Council beast that it cannot be stopped by mere human endaevour?  Will we one day soon see our Courthouse boarded up and for sale à la Kinross Town Hall or will Drew Hendry turn out to be Nairn's "Equaliser" aided by Liz and Colin as a team of "Invercentric Busters"? 

Liz and Colin have a delicate balancing act in representing a rainbow coalition and also the aspirations and concerns of their constituents. It will be interesting to see if they can reverse this decision. Nairn is a separate entity and we deserve to be treated as such. We need our own planning list thank you, we are not part of Inverness. Our corespondent raises a question that might give Liz and Colin, and Michael and Laurie some food for thought: "Are our elected Councillors paying any attention to this - or is their silence being regarded as acquiescence by the officials in Glenurquhart Road?

UPDATE 13.50 - Liz and Colin moved fast to turn this decision round and the Nairn list will stay just that and will not be consumed by the Inverness weekly list. A small victory but highly symbolic and encouraging. 


The first cut... said...

What we are now faced with is creeping cuts across all services, so I for one would not be the least bit surprised if we see even more of the council's work being shifted toward Inverness. At least this will be the reason given and it's pretty hard to refute much as many of us would like to see Nairn return and even regain local services. There's just no money, or to put it more bluntly there's even less money year by year.
We're being hung by the infamous Barnett Formula and unless we see a positive outcome in 2014 Scotland's councils and services will continue to shrink till they're all but gone

Spurtle said...

" and unless we see a positive outcome in 2014 Scotland's councils and services will continue to shrink till they're all but gone"

And what sort of cloud cuckoo universe do you think we will be living in, post 2014, that will see the Scottish people suddenly lifted from this current global financial myre?

Please do tell the world, as I'm sure the rest of mankind will be hanging on Mr Salmond's words of economic panacea...

rearrange the following words....land, cloud & cuckoo

Anonymous said...

2014 gives me hope that we can try to make a change, make a difference rather than live forever under the ding dong government of Labour/Tory Westminster, oh sorry mustn't forget the brief appearance of the Lib Dems. Or we can listen to the likes of Spurtle, too feart to do anything other than maintain the status quo and knuckle down to those who know best in London
It's time to hold our heads up above the clouds, be proud of our land, and watch the cuckoos who for too long have knocked us out of our nest

Spurtle said...

The dangerous assumption and associated leap of you make is that the politcians in Edinburgh know better than politicians elsewhere.

Obviously you have faith and I couldn't be more pleased for you but I would ask - If it's simply the 'Scottishness'( ie Geographic not political) of an independent Edinburgh government that attracts, how come the same 'Scottishness' that applies on the Highland & other regional councils sees so many policies that meet with universal derision?

Or are we expected to believe that, in 2014, we will awake to a whole new social, economic and political concept, perhaps along the philosophies of Benny Hill (Where the customers are angels and ferocious dogs are banned,
And the milkman's life is full of fun in that fairy, dairy land.)

The big fella at Holyrood is a grand orator for sure but I think about 66½ % of the folks in this grand country will see a circle that can't be squared & will vote to voice those concerns.


Aye said...


I want change. If the majority vote no we'll never break free in my lifetime. A no means no change, carry on as you were, no thanks. Just for once grab the chance. I don't pretend that Edinburgh politicians are much more savvy than those in other parts of the world, but surely we as a nation have had long enough of our thumbs in the screws of Westminster. A no means tighten the cap to your head and keep your head down for the next few generations or more.

This is unashamedly lifted from the National Collective

"If we vote Yes we can remove ourselves from the shackles of the Union, with its Barnett formula and hints (but never promises) of extra powers for the Scottish Parliament. Most importantly, it would break us free from the cycle of dependency and hopelessness; of poverty and anguish; of joblessness and isolation – this is the real Union dividend and the reason why the status quo is simply not good enough.

The desire to change things for the better is fundamental in making any society grow and improve. Without a desire for change then nothing happens. If Scots desire true change then we as a nation have to be brave and choose to stand on our own two feet. We have a way to make change happen and it is up to us to exercise our democratic right to create a better, fairer and more equal society. Yes, it will take time, effort and imagination – all things that are lacking in the current Westminster Government. But Scotland’s Referendum provides us with a once in a life time opportunity to change Scotland’s future for the better. Please, don’t let this rare opportunity pass us by."

Anonymous said...

"If the majority vote no we'll never break free in my lifetime"

I think that's called democracy