SNP councillors should stop holding a grudge and play their part in running Edinburgh – Steve Cardownie

It seems that the SNP group’s refusal to accept council leader Cammy Day’s invitation to take part in cross-party talks in order to determine the future direction of the city and policies that should be adopted by the council is still attracting criticism from some quarters.

Once members of a coalition, Labour's Cammy Day ousted Adam McVey as leader after the recent council election
Once members of a coalition, Labour's Cammy Day ousted Adam McVey as leader after the recent council election

Given the make-up of the council, where the Labour administration only holds 13 of the 63 councillor positions, Cammy has sensibly set out his stall, stating that he intends to be an inclusive leader where all parties will be able to contribute to policy discussions.

To this end, he invited group leaders to meet over the summer recess to take matters forward, only to be immediately rebuffed by the SNP group.

Having failed to form an administration, despite being the largest group on the council, the SNP retired to lick their wounds but, in doing so, have adopted a seemingly isolationist attitude when it comes to collaborating with the other political groups that form the council.

This led the leader of the Lib Dem group, Councillor Kevin Lang, to take to the pages of this paper on Monday to vent his frustration at the current situation.

Accepting Cammy’s invitation, he writes: “It is important to be constructive, especially with the most politically fragmented council in Edinburgh’s history. The new arithmetic thrown up by the recent election requires political parties to work together and find consensus where it exists to get things done.”

He goes on to say: “Unfortunately it looks like SNP councillors will boycott these discussions after being voted out of power in the Capital, continuing what is fast becoming the longest sulk in Scottish politics.”

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So, for whatever reason, the SNP group has poured scorn on the proposed attempt to facilitate a cross-party approach, thereby potentially turning down the opportunity to influence some very important policy decisions.

Perhaps we should not be surprised by their recent statements – after all, the SNP group denied council committee positions to councillors who formed the Edinburgh Party of Independent Councillors group because it was made up of defectors from the SNP. So, it certainly appears that it does not need any lessons in how to hold a grudge.

The Edinburgh electorate returned 19 SNP councillors out of a total of 63 in the expectation that some of their political strategy for taking our Capital forward would be adopted and it must have come as a bit of a surprise to them that the very same candidates that they voted for have, apparently, so far, voluntarily decided not to participate in cross-party discussions where that could be achieved.

Undaunted, council leader Cammy Day still intends to invite all parties to these discussions. Political landscapes constantly change according to the circumstances prevalent at the time, so the SNP group might reflect and decide to accept the invitation.

While some of the SNP group’s previous policies proved to be somewhat controversial to say the least, surely the Edinburgh electorate deserves to see their fullest participation in the decision-making processes of the council? Edinburgh would be a better place for it!