In light of the progress that we have seen internationally on the debate on parental leave for politicians, most notably in New Zealand, and having already had what I thought was an exhaustive debate in Edinburgh, I was sorry to see that Daniel Johnson MSP and Ian Murray MP missed the memo.
In this, the last week of Cllr McVey’s widely reported adoption leave, the pair have actively chosen to drag him back into the glare of frontline politics.
Cllr McVey would be the first to accept his role in this council’s budget setting process and has demonstrated this previously through his repeated representations to the Finance Minister as Council Leader. Indeed, every member of this council should be making the case for Edinburgh to our colleagues in Holyrood to ensure the best funding deal for our city. However, this orchestrated effort by Labour’s two remaining Edinburgh parliamentarians threatens to cut across the collegiate approach central to this SNP-Labour coalition.
Our constructive relationship with the Scottish Government has secured wins over additional powers to local authorities around Tourist Tax, Workplace Parking Levy and the ongoing close working on short-term lets regulation.
This week, Edinburgh has also been heralded as the best place in the UK to be a kid, a testament to council initiatives like Playing Out and the importance of free access to our museums and galleries, that allow our children and young people to explore and enjoy Edinburgh’s cultural offering.
Scoring political points
As young people’s champion, I am heartened at this glowing recommendation of our city, and although we will never stop in our attempts to improve the lives of our citizens, it sends a clear message that we are doing everything in our power to get it right for every child in Edinburgh.
We must not allow our city to be talked down, but instead champion the unique achievements we’ve had through working with our partners, both in local and national government.
Cllr McLellan has similarly taken his opportunity to try and uncover divide where none exists, maybe as he’s more familiar with the rifts of the Conservative and Unionist Party and unused to the pressures of that come with power. During my time leading the council alongside Cllr Day, we have done nothing but work together to drive the fast-paced progress of this coalition.
Whilst others who seem to have the time can run themselves ragged trying to score political points and seeing who can shout the loudest, this SNP-Labour coalition will continue to work collegiately and get on with the day job of delivering for the people of Edinburgh. I’m sure Cllr McVey will hit the ground running when he returns but in the meantime, Daniel and Ian – if you’re looking for the leader, you know where to find me.
Cllr Eleanor Bird, Leader of the SNP Group and Councillor for Forth Ward