Council leader Adam McVey digs himself a hole by ‘trolling’ capital’s citizens – John McLellan

During the 1997 devolution referendum, and ever since, ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair was castigated for comparing the proposed Scottish Parliament to a parish council.

Thursday, 8th August 2019, 6:00 am
Adam McVey compared some people who complain about missed bin collections and potholes with social media trolls. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Those who voted will remember there were two votes, one for or against a parliament and another on tax-raising powers, and when challenged on the second, Mr Blair famously commented: “Even a parish council has tax-raising powers.”

It was not an attack but the charge stuck. And so to this week’s spot of bother for city council leader Adam McVey who, despite protestations, actually did compare people who complain about missed bin collections and potholes with social media trolls.

In an Evening News article about the £22m Government grant for his administration’s City Centre Transformation project, Cllr McVey wrote: “There were some (mainly anonymous Twitter trolls) that were annoyed that we had something positive to say while the city still had some potholes and bins uncollected.”

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Whether you agree or not, it’s still legitimate to argue basic service improvements are more important than pedestrianising George Street but Cllr McVey chose to associate such views with those of deranged individuals posting abuse while cloaked by anonymity.

Digging a deeper hole, Cllr McVey further explained, ironically on Twitter, that “it’s not about looking for excuses to attack our city’s ambition”.

Knockabout with political opponents is one thing, but having a go at the voters, many of whom will be SNP supporters? As Sergeant Wilson would say “Sir, do you think that’s wise?”

Big problem at Lothian Buses

After last week’s article on the abortive Lothian Buses strike, a driver wrote to me to say his colleagues’ main complaint was being undervalued and management focus was not on staff wellbeing but “trivia”.

The offers of better shift patterns and wage progressions don’t address this claim so part of the revised offer being voted on tomorrow is the involvement of a council human resources officer and an external consultant who has previously worked with the union to examine the culture.

Rejecting the new deal would be a huge problem for the union’s credibility so the chances are it will be accepted, but for the already pressurised council HR department, overseeing management change without undermining the management while protecting the majority shareholder’s interests is, as they say on the worst football shows, a big ask. If I was a Lothian Buses manager, I’d already feel undermined.

Mystery why council is blocking housebuilding

Once again the Scottish Government has contradicted Edinburgh planners by granting an appeal by the Granton Marina developers to extend their planning permission for a project which could deliver 1,850 new homes.

The decision sets up two further appeals on the site, against rejection of detailed applications for a hotel and housing, and construction will begin in autumn if granted.

With time fast running out for the council to meet its target of delivering 10,000 new affordable homes by 2022, why the administration finds ways to slow up new developments is something of a mystery.

Extra cash from UK may be wasted by Scottish Government

The UK government’s announcement of £1.8 billion of new money for hospital improvements in England will have a knock-on boost for the Scottish NHS through the Barnett Formula, but with the remedial work to the botched new Sick Kids Hospital at Little France now set to cost £90 million, and the suggestion it might have to be demolished before a single patient has been treated, is the Scottish Government capable of making a positive impact with the extra cash it’s about to receive?