Sunday, June 07, 2015

Glenurquhart Road Politics – 8 days from coup to political car crash?

Eight days are a long time in politics. In an article entitled “A very Scottish coup as SNP lose Highland Council” the Scotsman focused on Highland politics on Saturday 30th May:

“The SNP has lost control of Highland Council after the Lib Dems walked away from their coalition partnership.

The Lib Dems are now in discussion with the Independent party at the local authority, claiming they had found it increasingly difficult to work with the Nationalists.”

It looked as though a new LibDem/Indy ruling group would see the light of day by the Monday morning with the possibility of the Labour group on Highland Council being involved too. Events dragged on though obviously with many comings and goings and even defections from the Independent Group. Again from the P&J:

"Inverness member Jim Crawford stormed out of a meeting with colleagues saying he could not do business with either Labour or the Lib Dems, who he described as “political prostitutes who will sleep with anyone at all for a share of power.” "

Eventually, surprise, surprise, however as the Independent Group are to go it alone in forming a minority administration but it looks as though there will be plenty of background discussions between the Indies and the SNP:

The Press and Journal stated yesterday: The SNP has pledged to “work constructively” with the new set-up.

The 21-strong nationalist group will form the largest group in opposition.

Recently elected SNP group leader Maxine Smith said: “We look forward to working with the new administration in order to do what is best for the Highlands.

Is it all over now or could there be a few more twists and turns in the Highland Council political pot? The LibDems and the Labour party councillors have tipped the SNP out of power but it was a three-party ruling coalition so they have also managed to evict themselves out of administration roles too without involving the electorate -  no mean feat perhaps that leaves the SNP out but with considerable influence for the remaining two years of this Council term? Events that have generated a few headlines but goings on that don’t seem to have occupied the minds of many people outside the Glenurquhart Road bubble.

Perhaps voters should pay some attention however as it seems a Council Tax rise could be on the way - more in this P&J article by Iain Ramage. Locally, here in Nairn, we still have a balance of 2 Indy councillors and 2 SNP and now with the Indies in the driving seat will we see action on Michael Green’s Nairnshire “fair share” concept? Michael told the Gurn that he would not be taking a major role in the new administration, he said:

“I have refused all post at this point in time as my main priority over the coming months will be to push for the new ‘Fair Share ‘ locality model for Nairn and that will require a lot of time and commitment.”

Interesting times ahead? Although does anyone really care as long as the bins are emptied and the streets swept?


Anonymous said...

With respect to the P&J and Mr Ramage and indeed to Councillor Davidson - it makes no sense to raise the Council Tax in Highland. The system is a Tory invention and only marginally less regressive than their previous Poll Tax imposition.
Scotland needs a new form of revenue raising for local Councils and that is why the current Scottish Government is working in partnership with COSLA to do just that. A cross-party Commission has already been set up - although I understand that the Tories are against it - so the majority of so-called "independent" Councillors will also probably be opposed.
However, for those who think that there are fairer ways to tax people - the Commission wants your views!

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered how 'independent' the Independents actually are. I suspect that many of them are Tories in disguise. But, we live in interesting times, and this latest development within the Highland Council will be very interesting indeed!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, as no supporter of any party but rather one who prefers consensus,the LibDems have not tipped themselves out of power. They are quite rightly distancing themselves from the SNP as their high water mark recedes and exposes their paucity of ideas.