Edinburgh council: Why Labour should join SNP and Greens in coaliton, not Tories and Lib Dems - Cllr Kate Campbell
There will be two proposals in front of the Edinburgh City Council meeting this Thursday.
The SNP and Greens have been in detailed talks for over a week, working through a comprehensive coalition agreement. This received 97 per cent backing from Green branch members last night, and unanimous approval from the SNP council group.
It includes a policy programme of transformative and bold policies, from rent controls, cracking down on short-term lets, delivering a tourist tax, workplace parking levy and investment in housing and schools.
We’ve agreed governance and partnership arrangements, who will lead on different policy areas and how we will resolve any conflicts that arise, so we can put all our energy into working for the best outcomes for our city.
Stable, accountable and experienced.
But the counter-proposal – a Lib Dem-Labour-Tory coalition – is looking more and more likely. Confirmation came today that not just Lib Dems, but also Tory councillors, will take up paid administration positions.
As the SNP and Greens between them have 29 votes, and the Lib Dems and Labour only 25, they will need Tories to actively vote for them. This is presumably why Labour have backtracked and offered up key roles on licensing and planning to the Tories. Roles that will be instrumental in shaping policies on affordable housing and short-term lets regulation.
From the start Labour have been riven with infighting. Group leader, Cammy Day, reportedly faced a leadership challenge in the immediate aftermath of the election result. This rift, between the centrist leader and more traditional left-wing factions, only seems to be widening.
There are certainly some Labour councillors who have been so vocal about their political principals, even calling for trade union endorsement of any deal to run the city, that it’s almost impossible to imagine them voting Tories into positions with power over affordable housing policies in Edinburgh.
There’s huge disagreement on other key policies too. The Tories and Lib Dems prefer outsourcing and privatisation of public services alongside the removal of the current ‘no compulsory redundancy’ policy. But with Labour reliant on them for crucial votes, for example on the budget, it’s impossible to see how this leverage won’t be used to force concessions.
The traditionally strong relationship Labour have with the trade unions can only be weakened by this coalition.
But it’s not too late. The synergy between the SNP, Green and Labour manifestos is clear. And was overwhelmingly voted for by the people of Edinburgh.
Instead of forging a right-wing coalition, tenuously bound together along constitutional lines and with dubious legitimacy, Labour could join us. An SNP-Labour-Green coalition could deliver progressive, left-wing policies and build a brighter future for our city.
Cllr Kate Campbell, SNP Councillor, Portobello-Craigmillar