March 27 Th. 08 full council going through business quitely when suddenly, a huge row breaks out over an item which should have been non contentious.
On Sept. 2Nd. 19 18 Hugh McIvor died in France at the age of 28, a casualty of the 'war to end wars' - if only.
He came from Linwood and he was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in action, a hero in other words.
Renfrewshire decided to mark the 90Th. anniversary of this man's death by attending the memorial service in France and this is where this business started to go wrong, for reasons best known to themselves it was decided that Renfrewshire would be represented by the Chief Executive, The Provost and the Council Leader.
A suggestion to include the opposition leader was turned down and argument followed, my own opinion with no disrespect to anyone is that 3 representatives was 2 too many, the Provost alone would have been appropriate.
It then descended into the mire when Cllr. Hall (Labour) expressed concern and informed the meeting that relatives of Hugh McIvor would be attending, Cllr. Hall said that she was worried that this could be construed as a 'junket' by some people when they observed that 2 Councillors and a council official would be going all expenses paid while the V.C. holder's family would be obliged to pay their own way.
This led to outrageous accusations from the SNP who immediately started to accuse Cllr. Hall of calling it a 'junket' which she did not do, the most vociferous of the accusers predictably was Cllr. McFee (SNP) a man with a reputation of never being able to see a belt without trying to hit below it, his opportunism was a sickening sight, some present were reminded of how he turned a valedictory speech for the late Brian Oldrey into an attack on the Labour Party, which, left some of his SNP colleagues at the time staring at the floor in embarrassment.
The dust has settled and I can only hope that the family concerned are not hurt by this row, hopefully they will remain unaware of it.
I hope that their trip to France brings great comfort to them and I hope that Renfrewshire Council learn from this.
The solution ? easy, Provost Lawson and 2 family members should have made up the visiting party, Cllrs. and officials should have been kept to a minimum, I sincerely hope that lessons have been learned by everyone through this fiasco.