Thursday Dec. 11Th. 08 - Meeting of Renfrewshire Council. The orchestrated applause for SNP speakers was not enough, the prearranged false laughter when labour speakers made a point was somehow more false than ever, the rehearsed abuse by the SNP, the now traditional nationalist heckling of opposition speakers, yet again did not work, once again it served to show up the SNP administration on Renfrewshire Council for what they are, not a political party but a mob. What Marx described as the “Lumpen Proletariat” their behaviour this time created a different atmosphere, where in the past they had usually created one of nastiness and thuggery; met with withering contempt from us in the labour seats, this time we had an audience, the public gaze made them “bottle it” their excesses were being witnessed and they couldn’t handle it, they didn’t know how to behave properly because they haven’t done so for so long.
Another victory for the South School Parents, yes folks they were the audience, this time the SNP had to perform their pathetic circus under the disbelieving gaze of the angry parents, you just can’t put these parents off, they are indefatigable, a great bunch of people galvanised by having right on their side; much to the anger and embarrassment of the SNP. This time there was no hiding place for the SNP/Lib Dem Cllrs. who want to shut their school. Large demonstrations, Candlelit vigils, emails, letters, public meetings, street stalls and many more activities have turned SNP/Lib. Dem. Councillors into a collection of cowardly escape artists and vanishing shadows; they have hidden from these parents and have shown contempt for them by refusing to engage with them. The visitors to the council chamber; freshly betrayed by Alex(the spiv)Salmond were able to see for themselves what these political non persons look like as they cowered from their gaze, comment after comment and point after point was made by Labour Councillors attacking the administration's intention to close South Primary and they never answered any of them.
The fear and loathing of the administration for the parents was evident when one of their councillors instructed a council officer to threaten to expel them from the chamber because they had cheered and applauded some anti closure statements, maybe someone can inform me which councillor this was, I’m sure some people will know. Despite the topical nature of the South School situation and the continuous references to it as well as the Labour motion on the school plus the presence of the parents; incredibly the SNP administration’s convener of education Cllr. Cameron did not say a word about the whole affair. She sat silently throughout the whole meeting, is she on board with the SNP policy? Is she about to rebel? I can only say that it was not difficult to spot the difference between Cllr. Cameron and a ray of sunshine here as Cllr. Mackay humiliatingly removed her from her brief.
I have speculated in the past about whether this consultation was meaningful, well at this meeting we heard the hapless and completely befuddled Cllr. McCartin refer to “when the school closes” followed by the hugely inexperienced and incompetent council leader Cllr. Mackay who; while arguing against moving the final decision to a full council; talked about such a delay causing confusion and interfering with the move and the placing of the children for the new term, i.e. after closure, “Freudian slips” letting them down I fear. Labour’s motion to move the decision on South School from the Education Committee to the full Council was defeated by the SNP/Lib. Dem. Administration, a decision borne of fear. The full council would have allowed every councillor to have their say, especially the councillors for the ward which the school is in; only one of the councillors on the education board represents the ward the school is in; Cllr. McGurk Lib. Dem. She will not be able to hide unless she throws a “sickie” the rest of the SNP/Lib. Dem. Cllrs. will be delighted to keep their heads below the parapet; their relief at the vote was palpable.
This council meeting also gave me the chance to skewer the SNP and Cllr. Brian Lawson over the hypocrisy of the SNP relating to housing transfer. Cllr. Lawson has been protesting more and more desperately about a campaign by his former colleagues in the Scottish Socialist Party; they have accused him and the SNP of giving away council houses to private companies. This is being fought out in the letters page of the PDE “I repeat again; we are not giving away houses to private companies” (Cllr. B Lawson SNP). I asked the meeting where we had heard this before and reminded him and the SNP that we had heard it before when Cllr. Lawson and the Scottish Socialist Party accused the Labour Administration of exactly that when the issue of housing transfer was voted on about two years ago. Now the SNP are quite happy to let the remaining council houses in Ferguslie Park be transferred to the Ferguslie Park Housing Association depending on a yes result in a ballot of tenants, exactly what labour were doing while he and his disingenuous Party were accusing us of giving them away.
This is a 100 % case of double standards from the SNP, there is no other way to describe it, I invited Cllr. Lawson SNP to comment and let the meeting know if he and the SNP had been disingenuous then or if they were being disingenuous now, he did comment on Labour’s motion describing the last 18 months of the SNP/Lib. Dem. Administration as a disaster for the people of Renfrewshire but he remained strangely silent about the housing transfer question, perhaps he forgot, what do you think?
Just for the record the SNP are not giving away council houses to the private sector and neither were we in the Labour Party, the difference between us of course was the usual one.
We (Labour) told the truth, they; the (SNP) lied.