Thursday, August 29, 2013

Michael Green: "How do we get local democracy? More of a voice here? How do we influence things? "

Michael Green was the only Highland Councillor that spoke at the meeting on Tuesday night although Colin MacAulay was also present.  You can see a video of the meeting on this thread here complete with a timeline of who spoke when if you want to get a flavour of the event yourself. Anyway, below is what Michael, one of Nairnshire's four Highland Councillors had to say Michael made reference to the days when  Nairnshire had its own District Counci before everything was centralised in Invernessl:

“I don’t wish to cop out but I don’t wish to say to much. I certainly don’t want to prejudice my ability to talk on the 18th. But what I can do is reiterate what I said, which is a matter of public record: how much I absolutely agree with everybody and for very good reasons. We know the reasons why we don’t want this development in Nairn at this stage. At the end of the day we need the bypass.

Brian (Stewart) hit the nail on the head. We are ill served at the moment for local democracy. I would suggest that if it had gone back to the District Council they would have refused this application. Possibly, that’s just speculation but I think that that is what would have happened. But when it is on a Highland wide basis – south part, north part, we are in a minority. It’s very, very difficult. I don’t really want to say much more other than I’ve always had the feeling, I did say at the time, you can see on the webcast: it was a joint Community Council objection to the process.

 I would actually stand up for Highland Council and that the submission, it was an act of omission rather then commission but it is not really the main point. What I’m trying to get across is how do we get local democracy? More of a voice here? How do we influence things? That is where the trick is. We know what we wish to achieve, it’s just how do we actually achieve it?”


APTSec said...


According to this bright poster here...

...councillors have to...

"...decide what is in the public interest amidst a range of conflicting issues and views."

It is the individual Councillors themselves who make the decisions; that is how I understand local democracy works. But how do they come to their decisions? What could influence them?

Potentially, there are lots of people trying to get the Councillors attention, trying to influence Councilllors; some influences may be overt others subtle, imperceptible.

It would be reasonable to assume that as far as the complex processes of planning are concerned, the officers who explain policy would have a great deal of influence; then of course the Councillors Code of Conduct must be adhered to. And these are important influences when it comes to the consideration of a planning application. Of course this is all set within a legal framework devised at the behest of whoever is in Government. However, Councillors do have more freedom when it comes to the setting of policy; the policy on which decisions regarding planning applications is based.

And this is where, I would contend, we need to think about the culture of the organisation; the culture of the Council itself.

How does a Council set about ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to influence the plans to any area?

Continues on APT blog

Hear no speak no said...

“I don’t wish to cop out but I don’t wish to say to much"

Surely by taking such a stance Michael you are copping out. Are any of our councillors willing to speak out on behalf of the community that voted them in. Only Michael and Colin attended this meeting, Colin didn't speak

If our four councillors can't or won't support their community it's time they publicly said so and resigned their positions

Graisg said...

@hear no speak no: Laurie was there I saw it on the webcast with my own eyes.

It is weird and absurd but if a Councillor says too much about an application before the decision meeting he/she may be unable to speak at the meeting and be deemed to have prejudiced themselves or whatever the term is. That is why if you have a Councillor round to see you about an application next door you don't want they will be unable to tell you their opinion - it will have to wait until the meeting.
Stupid rules, one consequence of that is that councillors can seem to be evasive.