Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Election Hustings

Was delighted to step in as a substitute last night for our indisposed City Centre by-election candidate Karen Doran (nursing a broken ankle) at the Unison sponsored election hustings in the City Chambers. Not far to travel, my office is on the floor below the main chamber ! Well attended (approx 100?) so I expect the organisers will be pleased. Not for me to comment on the performance of the other speakers but anyone present must have felt that the SNP and Lib Dem reps made a complete hash of trying to justify the Alternative Business Model programme (privatisation of in house services to you and me) which could shortly see £1bn worth of council services and 4,000 council workers transferred to the private sector under contracts that could last between 7 and 12 years in duration. Don't go looking for any reference to this in SNP or Lib Dem local manifestos because its not there. Surely the only honest thing to do is suspend the process now and have a public debate in the next 8 months or so ahead of the May 2012 Council elections and let the people decide if they want this to happen. ABM aside, the ubiquitous trams questions were raised and we again had to deal with the ridiculous myth that the SNP are anti-tram when in fact all 12 SNP Councillors voted to sign up to the original contract in May 2008. To the best of my knowledge they have now supported, opposed and called for a referendum on the project. A contortionist would struggle to hold that many positions !

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