​Don’t expect any SNP group member to risk their futures - Steve Cardownie

When reflecting on the political make-up of the City of Edinburgh Council, some commentators did not hold out much hope for the longevity of the minority Labour administration.
Edinburgh Council's SNP group leader Adam Nols-McVeyEdinburgh Council's SNP group leader Adam Nols-McVey
Edinburgh Council's SNP group leader Adam Nols-McVey

​ With 12 councillors out of a total of 63, many predicted that it would prove to be too difficult a task to maintain its position in the City Chambers.

With 18 councillors, making it the largest political group on the council, the SNP was understandably aggrieved when its assertion that it should form the administration was rebuffed by all the other groups, (apart from the Greens) and Councillor Cammy Day, the Labour group leader, was handed the reins of power.

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Two years on and that position does not look like changing. Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are implacably opposed to the SNP Government in Holyrood, so are unlikely to offer any help to its political siblings up in the High Street.

Indeed, one need look no further than the article by Councillor Kevin Lang, the Liberal Democrat group leader, when he wrote in this paper on Monday that while some other SNP councillors throughout the country have been critical of the budget set by the Scottish Government, the SNP group up the road at City Chambers have kept their own counsel.

Kevin writes, “So, when SNP figures across the country are speaking out, where have Edinburgh’s SNP councillors been?

"Well, it seems the SNP Group in Edinburgh still think it’s the build up to Christmas and are enjoying one sustained rendition of ‘silent night.’ [Not the greatest sound bite ever coined – in fact, not even close! - SC] Not a peep from the SNP group leader.”

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The Liberal Democrats have taken the opportunity to heap more criticism on the SNP group with Kevin Lang imploring them to “try one New Year’s resolution - put your city before your party.“

But even he must realise that Edinburgh SNP group members who harbour aspirations of furthering their careers in Holyrood - and some do - are extremely unlikely to blot their copy book by having a go at their political masters.

So don’t expect any Edinburgh SNP group member to stick their heads above the parapet anytime soon.

This is one of the reasons why Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives on the council will be determined to do everything they can to ensure that the current administration runs its course and that the SNP group on the council remains on the outside looking in.

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The council must set its budget for the following year next month and this will afford groups the opportunity to highlight the strengths of their strategy and expose the weaknesses of others and no doubt the SNP group will grasp this and will seek to gain any advantage that they can.

Alas, this might just be contained to a few favourable column inches in the press and has no chance of leading to bigger and better things, such as forming a new administration.

No, 2024 looks very much like a repetition of 2023 in the corridors of power in the City Chambers, much to the relief of Cammy Day.

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