Council bosses surround themselves with supporters and ignore others outside their circle – and it’s the same usual suspects who decide on the SAY awards, writes Kevin Buckle
It was disheartening to see city centre councillor Jo Mowat’s comment on Twitter after Thursday’s full council meeting.
“Bitterly disappointed my motion asking for review to include consultation with residents and traders on streets affected by summertime streets, on street advertising, hot food trading and concerts in the gardens was voted down by Green, SNP and Labour groups on council.”
Any outsider does get the impression that even in these more enlightened times important decisions are still made along party lines rather than being based on the facts of the matter. It also seems odd that the Greens would not be happy to see a review.
There is no doubt city centre residents have some valid issues but it is also true that there are a small number of activists who do not represent the views of the average resident. On the other hand, Old Town businesses in particular have no such active involvement and a review that included their opinions would have been useful.
I was surprised when I asked to see the results of the consultation with businesses about the Open Streets experiment to hear that the results would not be made public until reported to the council next month. There is no doubt that not only do businesses draw the short straw when there are plans for the city centre but also that often things go further with these very same businesses being told that the plans will help them based on nothing but supposition. On the back of the recent accusation from the council leader that those genuinely concerned about pot holes and rubbish collection were social media trolls it really doesn’t reflect well on the council and their plans and it does feel that those in charge simply surround themselves with supporters while ignoring valid arguments from those outside their circle.
It was my second disappointment of the week on Twitter as earlier I had seen a comment from Ian Rankin of “No @twilightsad though . . .” and realised I had missed the announcement of the shortlist for this year’s SAY awards.
Given I had considered The Twilight Sad to be hot favourites to win this year I was as surprised as Ian Rankin at their absence from the shortlist. When I did see those who had made it what did not surprise me was that several were the usual friends of the Scottish music industry mafia whose popularity with the public is minimal.
There is more than a touch of irony that those who would rightfully decry Boris Johnson and his Eton chums’ nepotism actually behave in exactly the same way when it comes to their own friends and their advancement.
Lost up the Amazon
I was amused to see that the Amazon experiment at Waverley Mall to give online sellers a chance of seeing what it is like to sell on the high street didn’t quite go to plan. Organisers Enterprise Nation were given a great space by the mall for the ten businesses, many of whom I have to say were not particularly suited to bricks and mortar selling.
The reality of standing around all day with few sales meant half the stalls went unmanned within a matter of days and by Sunday one lone woman seemed to be looking after everything.