Edinburgh Council: Angry SNP and Greens need to knuckle down and do their best for the city after Labour's 'coup' – Steve Cardownie
Hats off to Cammy. There are minority administrations and there are minority administrations but with only 13 councillors out of a grand total of 63, this must be a local government record.
Despite a last-gasp effort by the SNP to buy off the Liberal Democrats, by offering their support to Councillor Robert Aldridge in his bid to become Lord Provost, the deal put forward by Labour secured the required majority.
I wrote last week that “the SNP’s proposal to nominate Robert Aldridge to the post of Lord Provost will be seen as either a cute political move or an act of desperation. With at least three potential contenders for the position within the SNP group itself giving it over to the opposition is no more than an attempt to head the Labour group off at the pass”.
Unfortunately for the SNP, it was too little, too late and Cammy and his happy band of followers rode right through.
By all accounts, it seems that the proposition of an SNP/Green alliance was too much to stomach for the other parties as they decided that they did not want another five years of the same style of leadership and opted for a change.
The Tories were offered two non-political junior positions to secure their support – a move which left Labour open to the accusation that they were in league with the Tories and one which I believe was unnecessary.
Faced with the choice of an SNP/Green administration or a Labour/Lib Dem one, I would have called the Tories bluff, confident that they would have voted for the latter without any inducements to do so.
This is now all ‘water under the bridge’ and the hard work should have already started. Cross-party working is now the order of the day and it remains to be seen whether the different groups will grasp the opportunity to work together or whether internal battle-lines be drawn, leading to inertia and potential chaos.
If the party leaders are to be believed, it would appear that the former has a chance of success, but a lot will depend on the SNP and the Greens.
When they emerge from licking their wounds, will they knuckle down and accept that their bid for power failed and get on with doing their best for the city? Only time will tell, but I’m sure that they will respond positively and get to work, as to do anything otherwise would be a dereliction of their duty as elected members of the council.
There will, of course, be a whole host of issues that will find favour with all the political groups on the council but those that are more contentious will need to come in for some finessing and compromise which, with the right approach, should allow the council to properly function – the Edinburgh public deserves no less and parties that confine themselves to political point scoring will do so at their own peril.