Argyll and Bute Liberal candidate joins Inverclyde administration

Tarbert man, George While, a former Liberal Democrat who is now the Liberal Party’s candidate for Argyll and Bute in the Scottish Election 2011 and its only Scottish councillor – represents Gourock on Inverclyde Council.

He has just agreed to join the ruling Labour-led administration at Inverclyde Council and has supported its budget, seeing it gain majority approval.

Inverclyde is the council troubled by the multiimillion pound failure of a major and expensive project – the Future Operating Model (FOM) which was supposed to save it millions.

This catastrophe has caused severe internal disruption, with the suspension of four senior officers and the subsequent resignation of Council Leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe, now replaced by Councillor Iain McKenzie, new Leader of the Labour group.

Mr White, a councillor for Gourock, was a former  Liberal Democrat who recently joined the Liberal Party and is its only Scottish councillor.

He resignation from the LIberal Democrats was the result of what he says the party describes as a muddle, which prevented him from challenging Councillor Alison Hay in the contest for the nomination as the party’s candidate for the Argyll and Bute seat.

His resignation saw the 20-strong Inverclyde council with eight Labour, five SNP, three Liberal Democrats, one Conservative, one Liberal and two independent councillors.

In the matter of his resignation from the LIibDems, Mr White said he had notified that party’s officials of his wish to stand in Argyll and Bute because of his strong family connections with Argyll. Then he discovered that internal nominations for the seat had closed – he was told that this had happened because of a mix-up.

As he saw it:  ‘I had to walk’. That produced an offer to stand as LibDem candidate for Dundee West – which he declined – leaving the party, joining the Liberals and standing as Liberal candidate for Argyll and Bute.

Of his decision to join the ruling coalition at Inverclyde, Mr white says: ‘This is an opportunity for me to play a more effective role in the decision-making process. Inverclyde has so much potential for business, leisure and families and I am pleased that I will be able to play a more proactive part’.

This moves means that Argyll’s five candidates are two sitting MSP’s (McGrigor and Russell) – one (Russell) currently a Cabinet Secretary; two with current senior roles at ocal government level (Hay and White) – one (Hay) a former Argyll and Bute Council Leader; and one (Rice) a former senior councillor in Birmingham, the UK’s second city.

An area with a local authority as incompetent and as mired in negligence and manipulation as Argyll and Bute – and whose Leader has brought it serious and avoidable financial loss – needs this sort of first class choice for its representative at national level to enable some sort of hope for the future.

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