I’ve not been on much as my family is currently looking after a beloved member. However, I thought before tomorrow’s council election (if you would permit me) I’d like to encourage you all to get out and vote.
Someone said to me the other day “no one really bothers about the council elections do they?” While we stand in the shadow of a general election don’t be kidded into thinking these elections don’t matter. The councils are at the front line of most things you do in life. The road outside your house has a pothole? Council. You’re worried about the number of teachers in your kids school? Council. Your friends new business is waiting on a licence. Council. Your elderly relative needs home care? Council. You want to have a discussion about bins? Council. The lists could go on.
Growing up in North Lanarkshire people often spoke of corruption and made jokes about the Labour “Councillors free holidays”. It was almost accepted that it was all part of the job, but no more. People across Scotland have had a political awakening and we now know that these councillors are answerable to the public. They are servants of the people and guardians of public money. No longer will it be a passive job while officers do all the work.
The Labour Party constantly ride the hobby horse of “Govanhill” because it’s in the constituency of the First Minister; what they fail to say is that Govanhills resources when it comes to cleanliness, environment and community are tied up in a budget controlled by a labour council. The don’t even seem to realise how utterly shameful and hypocritical they’re being when criticising the FM for their catalogue of errors.
GCC, NLC, SLC, all of which are around me and my life, in one way or another. Never have I understood, since becoming a councillor, how ineffective these local governments have been in looking after those who put them there. Point scoring, personal gain, positions of power – that’s been the order of the day for these guys. I tried to start a uniform bank in NLC. Shut down. We tried to save the One Stop Shop for Autism. Shut down. The Citizens advice bureau. Money cut while Councillors received lobbying letters from other firms, signed by the deputy leaders partner. Reports on sackings. Neatly stowed away from the opposition group. Questions asked. Never answered. Education department executives fired. Claims that the convenor, now the leader knew of the “fiddling”. Kicked into the long grass. I served on that Council for less than two years and this is only some of the scandalous behaviour that members of the public and some officers brought to my attention. I can only imagine what went on in the years before. It’s all “accusations” but it seems to me the new councillors will have a lot of digging around to do before they can start either a clean slate.
So why is change so important? Because our communities will be crippled if we stay under the same leadership. It’s time to be rid of alleged corruption, of incompetence and of the jobs for the boys. Get out and vote. Vote. Vote. Vote.
SNP 1 2 and maybe even 3!