Thursday, June 12, 2014

Courthouse cuts consultation latest

Around the top table in the Courthouse tonight were David Alston (LibDem) assisted by powerpoint display, Michelle Morris (Depute Chief Executive), Liz (SNP) and Jimmy Gray (Labour). The tri-party alliance that runs the Council under the lead of the SNP all represented. 
David Alston cracked a reasonably good joke about a "give blood" sign at a consultation in Wick. He told the dozen or so folk who had bothered to turn out (two of them also councillors) that it was not about giving blood but about giving ideas. Also about "negotiations between us and the community" he emphasised. 

At that point the Gurnmeister was told by the Ward Manager that he could not record the meeting. Recording meetings does help very much in reporting accurately, saves time afterwards, and is also done at Council meetings by representatives of a weekly newspaper not a million miles from Leopold Street and other journalists too (even those with shorthand skills) can sometimes be seen to record meetings in the courthouse. 

The Gurnmeister decided to leave, the sudden revelation that there might be better craic around tables elsewhere in Nairn hit him like a thunderbolt. Liz Cowie did explain outside the meeting that something could have been arranged to allow a recording. That was fine but this observer was in exit mode - done and dusted. These consultations have come and gone before and it saved the need to ask the customary questions such as:

"Isn't this all about deciding which one of your fingers to chop off?"
"We elect councillors to represent us on the understanding that they are fit to deal with anything that crops up - didn't we chose them to make this kind of decision for us anyway?"
"Isn't it wrong for anyone to earn over a £100K at Highland Council?"

And maybe a mischievous one for Area Leader Liz: "Isn't this SNP lead administration simply preparing to implement cuts from Westminster (via Holyrood)? 

And so out into the evening air and onwards to see what the craic was like around another set of tables. 


Anonymous said...

What sort of democracy do we have when public meetings can't be recorded?

What would Liz Cowie have to arrange to permit a recording, have everyone wear Mickey Mouse masks so we couldn't identify them?

£100K, sorry I would but the limit much lower, how about £30K, any takers

The cuts will come, but I fully agree that the elected folk should be responsible for their actions and the cuts. If not step down now and we'll save your salary

Graisg said...

It was just an audio recording anon, no need to hide faces :-)

Anonymous said...

The Gurn's coverage of events such as these is usually excellent.

It's in the interests of us all that the Gurn is allowed to continue to record such meetings otherwise what's the point in having them?

Freedom of speech and recording said...

In light of the Gurn been banned from recording the meeting I would like to offer my account, here it is...

Graisg said...

@Freedom of Speech, to be fair it looked as though Liz Cowie was prepared to approach the politcians to sort it but I made my mind up to go anyway - thought Harley's would be a bit livelier lol.
Have to say have recorded two previous cuts meetings with no probs though.