SNP will keep working cross-party but we won't sign up to Tory policies – Adam McVey
The SNP won the recent elections on a bold, ambitious manifesto. We’re extremely grateful for the trust residents gave us. It’s a trust we carry carefully.
It’s therefore a little surprising that, having done a deal explicitly to exclude the SNP, they’re now pretending they’re desperate for the SNP to shape council policies. It’s a smokescreen to hide from accountability and try to mislead residents.
Our position is clear. We won’t sign up to anything delivering power to the Tories. Labour and the Lib Dems have decided to put Conservative councillors into paid administration roles.
This is their choice. However if the council is to retain principles of good governance, these parties need to start being honest about their deal.
The Lib Dems are terrified of people realising they’ve put the Tories into office, again. This is understandable given they lost 14 council seats when Lib Dem MPs helped David Cameron kickstart austerity.
Far from “sulking”, we’re already working cross-party on issues like preventing drug deaths, the workplace parking levy, and have delivered £1.2m in extra support for families struggling with the Tory cost-of-living crisis.
We’ll keep on working to deliver what we can for our city. We will also set out plans for a progressive future for Edinburgh and scrutinise and challenge the administration’s failures, which are mounting up. However we won’t be a fig leaf for the administration to hide behind.
I received some unexpected praise from ex-Tory councillor Nick Cook, who, despite our differences, acknowledged that when I was leader, I took the responsibility of office seriously.
As leader, the buck stops with you. So if you can’t defend a policy or practice, it’s your job to change it.
It’s now obvious this administration ducks for cover as soon as there’s anything to defend and don’t appear to have the strength to deliver change even if they wanted to.
Instead they’re simply running on the fumes of the previous council term, showing up for photo calls for projects delivered by SNP leadership. The watch words are “council spokesperson said”. Each time you see this, it’s another example of politicians not in control and hiding from voters.
We saw at the last council the tactics of Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems to survive their partnership: silence opposition and attack the SNP government. As well as trying to force the opposition to sign up to their business plan (which they haven’t written), they went so far as to shield the UK Government from any criticism about UK decisions which are fatally undermining our council’s budget. They need to stop the politicking and put the city first.
It’s ridiculous of Labour to talk about “standing up for Edinburgh”. The SNP and Labour spent the first two weeks after the elections in discussions on forming a new administration, only for Jackie Baillie’s internal Labour party committee to refuse permission. How can Labour councillors stand up for Edinburgh when they can’t even stand up to the MSP for Dumbarton?
Adam McVey is SNP group leader