Steve Cardownie: Council coalition at risk if Labour start playing politics
As the council coalition administration embarks upon another budget consultation exercise, there are some within the Labour Group who will no doubt redouble their efforts to abandon their SNP partners as they will not want to be associated with the difficult and unpopular decisions that will have to be made.
The problem that they face, however, is that it is extremely difficult to rail against an administration of which you are part.
Although there have been a few detractors within the Labour Group from the very outset, they will be hoping that their number will increase as the cuts bite and members come under ever-increasing pressure to cut their ties with the SNP.
If the coalition splits it will pose the inevitable question of what now? This is hardly likely to cause the protagonists to lose any sleep as they will have achieved their ultimate goal of securing the coalition’s dissolution and will believe that the consequences pose a more welcome prospect than the status quo.
The future of the coalition will come into even sharper focus if a snap general election is called as the party hierarchy may well determine that their electoral chances would be better served if ties to the SNP were cut.
Councillor Gordon Munro, the Labour candidate for Edinburgh. North and Leith, will be worth watching as he assesses his strategy in his quest to overturn the SNP’s Deidre Brock’s majority of 1625 recorded at the last general election.
This will take some doing as Deidre is working extremely hard in the constituency and will be hard to budge. He might well take the view that his chances would be better served if he was not part of an administration that was associated with tough budget decisions and would therefore seek to recruit allies within the group in an effort to secure a majority in favour of breaking up the coalition. Pressure indeed for the two coalition group leaders but Cammy Day, Labour Group leader, may be handed down an instruction from on high which will ultimately seal the coalition’s fate and, if so, the city’s administration could descend into complete chaos, with serious ramifications for all concerned.
Photos bring back Leith memories
A recent Evening News feature titled Unknown Photographer Captured Life in Capital, comprising images of people and places around the city, reminded me of my upbringing in Leith.
Born in a flat in Burlington Street before moving to Cannon Street at the age of four until I was 15, I have many fond memories of the area and its people.
I well remember that my first run-in with the law was when we were caught by the local polis playing football in Keddie Gardens, which was prohibited. As he was taking our names I could see my life unfold before my very eyes as he sternly said “spell it” when I told him my surname – and I have been spelling it ever since.
If my ma ever offered me an apple she would have been met with a disdainful look but “chorying yaps” was one of our favourite pursuits. Such was our enthusiasm that the “yaps” were sometimes no larger than grapes and soor but as these gains were ill-gotten they would nonetheless be consumed on the spot with the resulting stomach pains and toilet visits being entirely predictable.
Playing fitba’ with a burst ba’ was the order of the day on returning from school (that is if I got out of detention when it was still light) and a telephone was something that was encased in a red box where you might find some forgotten change if you were lucky.
Speaking of change, there was always the prospect of standing outside North Leith Parish Church waiting for a wedding to end so that we would get a “poor oot!” Cinnamon sticks and sugar-ally water here we come!
Sting in the tale
I was recently engaged in a conversation with a friend regarding the highs and lows of football and rugby. As he was droning on I asked him if London Wasps had a B team – to which he replied that he didn’t know but assumed so. When somebody alerted him again to the question, this time with appropriate emphasis his reply was unprintable but suffice to say that it was connected to sex and travel!