Edinburgh Council not keen on questions but very quick to want answers – John McLellan

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The last time anyone checked, the primary role of councillors is to subject decisions taken by their officers to scrutiny on behalf of the general public. So at committees, officers present reports and councillors ask them questions. But maybe that’s naïve.

At last week’s housing committee when, after I asked if the council would need additional Scottish Government resources to meet its full affordable housing target (answer, yes), the committee convener, SNP councillor Kate Campbell, said we weren’t to ask too many questions because it was a very long committee.

The committee actually has one of the thinner agendas so why would a convener actively try to stop councillors asking questions? Would it be anything to do with the target of 20,000 new affordable housing homes by 2027, a key administration promise, disappearing over the horizon?

Meanwhile, like a Spanish executioner behind the garrote, the council continues to turn the screw on Marketing Edinburgh with only eight more months of funding to go. Having forced out chief executive John Donnelly, the council now expects unpaid chairman Gordon Robertson to produce a masterplan to save the arms-length agency in his spare time from running Edinburgh Airport’s communications.

No new chief executive will be appointed until a plan is agreed, but that’s unnecessary. No-one would be daft enough to apply.

Geographically lost

Following her reaction to Nazi graffiti in Edinburgh, SNP Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, vice convener for Culture and Communities, remembers the great events of the Second World War...

“75 years ago this month, GIs caught their first glimpse of Dunkirk as the landing craft runways fell, only to be raked by a withering hail of machine gun fire. By the end of the day, thousands would have...

“Sorry? I thought it was Dunkirk. Isn’t that in Normandy? Oh riiiight, Dunkirk was when the Brits got beat up by the Germans? Oh yeah, Harry Styles was in the movie. So Tom Hanks wasn’t at Dunkirk? Got it. Yeah, those Limey Colonialists sure were glad when the Doughboys came back over to sort it out.

“Can we take that again? Ahem... where was I...?

“75 years ago this month, GIs caught their first glimpse of Normandy...”

Just a Labour laugh

I have to hand it to Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray, who said the Conservatives couldn’t be trusted to defend the Union because Andrea Leadsom said she would “never say never” to a second independence referendum if she became Prime Minister.

It’s a bit rich coming from a party which under Jeremy Corbyn thinks defence is something Mrs Brown sits on, but in the full knowledge Labour is falling apart I can almost hear Mr Murray saying to himself, “What the hell, I might as well say this for a laugh anyway and wind up the Tories”.

Recycle road closure

There were predictable problems at the Seafield Recycling Centre with the closure of the Fillyside Road entrance to the public, so predictable that Craigentinny residents have been warning for months about the difficulties it was likely to cause.

I raised it in September last year, and as expected the exit on to Seafield Road which forces people to go on a round-trip though Leith Links caused a jam as drivers heading in the opposite direction ignored the ban on right-hand turns.

At least the few residents at the end of Fillyside Road might notice a reduction in traffic.