John McLellan: Leader’s or leaders’? – council wrangling is punctuated by comedy

There was no Fringe number above the City Chambers last week, but there was obvious comedy in Labour councillors dutifully conceding that their leader needed help to keep the city coalition “on track” for the six weeks of council leader Adam McVey’s adoption leave, and in Lib Dems voting it through on the promise of a report they hadn’t seen.

Cammy Day says he'll answer questions on the next Leader's Report  - but should he? Picture: Ian Georgeson
Cammy Day says he'll answer questions on the next Leader's Report - but should he? Picture: Ian Georgeson

Having approved an arrangement to maintain “joined-up leadership”, Labour leader and deputy council leader Cammy Day, pictured, is now acting council leader, and so is SNP group chair Ellie Bird, apart from the next full council meeting when Councillor Day says he’ll answer questions about the monthly Leader’s Report.

For more grammatically fastidious readers, shouldn’t it actually be the Leaders’ Report? There are two leaders so presumably it will be co-authored, if they can agree what it says that is.

So it’s a plural and ‘s’ apostrophe. Ah, but according to the rules of procedure, it’s Leader’s Questions, apostrophe ‘s’, so only one leader. Maybe at the next meeting there should be a special unjoining ceremony devised by Provost Frank Ross, who isn’t the leader. Otherwise, what if a question is directed to Councillor Bird? She’s getting responsibility money after all. Or, as he’s entitled to do, Councillor Day asks Councillor Bird to answer a question he doesn’t fancy?

I am reminded of the quote from Lafayette, not the French soldier and politician from the American War of Independence, but the lugubrious bloodhound from Disney’s Aristocats: “Wait a minute, ah’m the leader. Ah’m the one who says go. Go….”

Vin pulls a fast one

Helmets off to Councillor Scott Arthur for his only-half-joking letter to Vin Diesel and the Fast & Furious crew to highlight road problems in his ward. We can all come up with locations for filming the crash bonanza in Edinburgh next month and the bend outside my house has been the scene of a few dramas over the years.

In my ward they will be skelping round Queen’s Drive and they could also jockey with Royal Mail drivers scooting to the Telferton depot or joust with bikers along Restalrig Avenue.

Obvious Edinburgh gag: for most drivers it’s more of the furious and less of the fast.

Pollution snub that left Tories fuming

Quick quiz – which of the following is within the City Council’s remit? One, the level of fumes from diesel trains in the Waverley Valley/Princes Street Gardens or, two, the military dictatorship in Sudan.

The answer is two, after a motion from the council leader was passed at last week’s full council instructing the council leader (yes, correct, instructing himself) to write to the UK Government to ask it to do all it can to aid peace talks in the troubled country.

The motion commended the efforts of Sudanese people in Edinburgh in raising awareness of their fight for democracy. Fair enough.

But, according to transport convener Lesley Macinnes, number one is nothing to do with her. So a motion calling on her to contact the Transport Minister and ScotRail about pollution was defeated. Anything to do with it coming from a Conservative?

Wrong number

Last Saturday, the Usher Hall witnessed a stunning performance by the Orchestre de Paris and the ever-brilliant Edinburgh Festival Chorus of Benjamin Britten’s achingly poignant War Requiem, which weaves the poetry of Wilfred Owen with the traditional Latin Mass.

“Let them sleep now…” brings the piece to a sublime close, followed by a long “Amen” which fades into silence as did the guns in 1918… and then someone’s phone rang. I hope it was a very important call…