After Edinburgh Council's own episode of Game of Thrones, councillors need to work together for the good of all – Susan Dalgety

Before the Edinburgh Council elections earlier this month, I had a conversation with a senior Labour councillor about the shape of the new administration.

Despite the recent outbreak of Game of Thrones at Edinburgh Council, councillors should avoid summoning a fire-breathing dragon (Picture: HBO Game of Thrones)
Despite the recent outbreak of Game of Thrones at Edinburgh Council, councillors should avoid summoning a fire-breathing dragon (Picture: HBO Game of Thrones)

“Most folk just want the parties to work together to improve the city,” he said, before rushing off to do some last-minute campaigning.

After last Thursday’s dramatic, if well-trailed, council meeting, Edinburgh’s residents are about to find out what it is like when at least three parties join forces to run the city.

A deal that is not a coalition, or even an agreement, means that there is now a Labour minority administration in charge of the council, but with only 13 councillors it will need support from the Lib Dems and the Tories, who between them won 21 seats, to be able to function.

The new Lord Provost, Robert Aldridge, will have to call on all his considerable experience to keep council meetings in order, particularly as SNP leader Adam McVey is still smarting after he was out-played in this real-life episode of Game of Thrones.

He thought he had a winning formula after agreeing a formal coalition with the city’s ten Green councillors, but it was not to be. Cammy Day held his nerve, and is now in the top job, with Adam glowering from the opposition benches.

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It’s not just the SNP who are disgruntled. Two new Labour councillors, Ross McKenzie and Katrina Faccenda, refused to support their party's move to take control of the city, abstaining on the crucial amendment.

Both are on the hard left of the party, and no doubt still mourning the loss of Jeremy Corbyn, but if I were Cammy Day, I would remove the whip from both of them immediately. They were elected on a Labour ticket, not on a personal vote, so their loyalty should be to the group, not themselves.

But a couple of malcontents is the least of Cammy’s worries, he now has to deliver on the manifesto he and his team published only a few weeks ago. That means getting started on a programme of building 25,000 new council-owned homes, using a directly employed team of council builders.

Labour also promised increased investment on roads and pavements, ending charges for bulk uplifts, and one of my personal favourites, more and better public toilets.

Quite how Councillor Day and his team are going to fulfil these promises without increased funding from the Scottish Government remains a mystery, but I look forward to seeing his plans unfold. At least he is willing to give it a shot, and for the moment, he has the backing of more than half the council.

When he proposed a rainbow coalition on the eve of the election earlier this month, inviting all the party leaders to talk about how they could work together “to create a better Edinburgh for all its citizens”, I admit I was a tad cynical.

But he is halfway there already, and when the SNP and Greens emerge from their huff – as they will – hopefully they too will see that Edinburgh’s future matters more than scoring a few political points. Leave that to the MSPs in Holyrood.