On Edinburgh Council and across UK, it’s hard to see where the Tories end, and Labour begin – Adam McVey

Labour's Keir Starmer echoes the same right-wing rhetoric as the Tories on immigration (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Labour's Keir Starmer echoes the same right-wing rhetoric as the Tories on immigration (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Labour's Keir Starmer echoes the same right-wing rhetoric as the Tories on immigration (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
This week Edinburgh Council will discuss a new business plan. The last council business plan set out a five-year roadmap to tackle the biggest issues facing the city: housing, poverty, climate change and core service improvements. These proposals are very different.

We’ve been told these plans could change every six months and are “flexible” to cope with any change in national or local circumstance. In other words, the council’s central plan is little more than a plastic bag floating in the wind. How on Earth are we to make real progress on becoming net-zero and delivering social justice if there’s nothing solid to hold politicians and council officers to? The detail within the document is desperately weak on equalities and vital front-line services like community centres.

SNP councillors will work with other progressive parties to amend and improve the business plan, up against the Tory, Labour, Lib Dem administration. Our focus will be taking action to improve people’s lives and ensure we can face the challenge of tackling the sources of climate change and its impacts.

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It's clear officers have had no meaningful input from the council “leadership”. A familiar theme of this administration over the last six months, with people in senior roles completely ignoring their responsibilities. The council leader has already had to formally apologise twice for breaching council decisions on Edinburgh’s Christmas and on the Green Freeport bid, on top of having to apologise for abusing supermarket staff.

One consistent theme of the last six months has been the closeness of Labour and the Tories, with Labour even refusing an SNP request to remove the Tories from their administration. But it isn't just on key votes when Labour, Tories and Lib Dems rally round to support each other, Labour's approach and conduct has morphed into the Tories at an alarming rate.

After Tory's told a cock-and-bull story last council, falsely claiming the SNP and Greens asked Tories to join our administration, Labour (not to be outdone) made their own false claims that Labour had asked the SNP and Greens to join their coalition. Both were lies. The SNP has never offered the Tories any administration positions and it’s simply ridiculous and dishonest to suggest so.

Labour also never offered the SNP administration positions and were banned from doing so by their central branch office. Dishonesty appears to be the glue that’s holding the Labour/Tory alliance together.

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All of this, of course, replicates Labour’s national transition to adopting Tory policies, approach and language. On immigration, Labour now spews the same right-wing rhetoric, with Keir Starmer even attacking the amazing people who come to the UK to work in our NHS. On austerity, Labour are only a slight shade of grey away from their Tory “opponents”, failing to offer the shift needed to support Scotland’s public services. On Brexit too, with all three unionist parties having now abandoned efforts to re-join the EU. And on independence, the unionist parties are all tucking into Gordon Brown’s reheated constitutional plans that are about as exciting as an unsalted rice cake.

Locally and nationally, for voters in Scotland, there is no difference between the Tories and Labour. If we want to escape Tory Governments, whether blue or red, we need to pursue our independence.

Adam McVey is Edinburgh Council’s SNP group leader

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