Thursday May 17Th. 20 12 to Renfrewshire Council for the first session of the new labour Administration which kicked off at 09:00 AM. I found myself back at my desk in the Labour rooms at 10.30 AM something which I suspect will not happen again for the duration of the administration. The conduct of the meeting was absolutely fine and for that I have to congratulate Cllr. B Lawson the SNP leader who led polite applause by his councillors as senior positions like Provost and Council Leader were taken up by labour's Ann Hall for the former post and Labour's Mark Macmillan for the latter. This was a significant change from other first council meetings where Labour had been successful; some of the behaviour at these events was quite outrageous; particularly by the SNP. Thankfully the main culprits responsible are no longer SNP councillors, some through retirement and others sadly through having passed away. Perhaps Cllr. Lawson intends to run a disciplined group let's hope so. Better behaviour would apart from anything else save the council tax payers a lot of money. Years ago I investigated the cost of running a full council meeting and was told that a ball park figure would be approx. £600 an hour that was about 10 years ago. We regularly had meetings which went on for hours longer than they had to because of disruptions and spurious motions inspired by the SNP and one or two other malcontents. We must now be diligent and try to avoid this in future; we don't want to go back to incurring unnecessary costs which ran in to tens of thousands of pounds (paid for by you and me) because of the behaviour of some councillors. This is a task for Cllr. B Lawson to attend to.
The chamber was full and the meeting as I said went quickly and mainly amicably, except for a bad tempered intervention by the remaining Libdem councillor the only one left in fact out of all 40 members, the one and only Cllr. Eileen McCartin. I am forced to admit, painful as it is that this woman does not like me, I suspect that this puts me in a very big group indeed; something I will just have to live with. Having been appointed as Convener of the Planning and Economic policy board she moved that I "be not appointed" to this position until I had apologised to her and her 3 former Libdem colleagues in the last council for insults supposedly made about them by me. I will not bore you with the details but I can say that I received a quite incomprehensible email demanding apologies from her former Libdem colleague Susan McDonald (on behalf of all 4 she claims?) who retired at the last election. Along with 3 other Libdems she 'helped' to run the council after her party won 4 out of 40 seats at the last election with the lowest share of the votes cast. One of our new Councillors seconded McCartin's motion as a friendly "nice to meet you" gesture and then on hearing her try to speak to the motion abstained on the vote, the vote? the motion was supported by one councillor out of 40 Cllr. McCartin. I think that most folk would expect a period of reflection and even silence from someone who had suffered such a humiliation at the hands of the voters but; her legendary hubris which she wears like a suit of armour appears to be still in place. She wears her Christianity/Catholicism like a cloak despite being the worst example I have ever come across of what a Christian/Catholic should be. Perhaps she will someday reflect on how she has acted over the years and book a week or two in the confessional, despite these obstacles like a good catholic boy I continue to pray for her.
Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to discover perhaps in a couple of years hence that the members of the Libdems who served with the SNP on Renfrewshire Council over the last 5 wretched years have come to terms with this dark part of their lives. They are all just ordinary people after all who were led astray, well at least 3 of them were.
Lot's to be done in the coming years at Renfrewshire Council and it will take strong hearts and strong minds to do it. Our reasons for being in politics and being in the Labour Party and believing in the Socialist cause will sustain us through the coming struggle as it has in the past, as it does now and as it always will – LET'S GO COMRADES – HEIDS DOON AN BOOTS SWINGIN!