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Simon – I wasn’t thinking solely about the …

Comment posted Opposition evaluations of three year council budget by Scruff.

Simon – I wasn’t thinking solely about the schools episode but I think you are probably right. A large proportion of the population, on a day-to-day basis, don’t give a monkey’s if a rural school in a place they’ve only vaguely heard of closes or not. If you live in Helensburgh, Dunoon etc., you would have your own concerns relating to your own area.
However, what I think everyone was interested in was the way the Council handled the whole situation. I can honestly say I haven’t spoken to a single person who said the Council dealt with it competently, and that includes people who were in favour of school closures.
The idea of closing one third of all primary schools at the same time was such a ridiculous idea that I’m surprised it was even suggested, but to then take it to the stage they did was plain stupidity. If for no other reason than it demonstrated to everyone that the administration had a very cavalier approach towards rural education and was evidently out of touch with a large proportion of its electorate. People of all political persuasions sit-up and take notice of that and it was a gifted goal to the opposition.
And what were the Liberal Democrats thinking about? Once again, personal motives driving political decisions, not clever and definitely not what I would look for in one of my local Councillors.
The most telling thing for me though is the apparent mentality of this administration. They got absolutely stuffed in the first round of closures and withdrew them, fair enough and good thinking. But they then came back with almost exactly the same material and appeared to genuinely expect people to accept it the second time round. How bizarre is that?
You think the opposition are clown’s, they appear to be mere apprentices compared to the clowns currently running the circus.

Scruff also commented

  • Simon – ““details of the budget are kept under lock and key to a ridiculously late hour” – this happens at UK Govt level, Scottish Govt level…” – quite right, but that’s then followed by several days/weeks of debate on the proposed budget before it’s finally agreed. According to Councillor Philand’s tweet the opposition were given 30 minutes to debate it, not quite the same.
    Initially, I felt the opposition should have voted against it but in reality, given the current restraints on time, no one could seriously argue with the increased investment in the roads etc. A good move by Councillor Walsh politically, plus the figure looks good in print.
    But was it done in the best interests of Argyll and Bute or was it done for his own political and personal gain? In reality it probably won’t make a vast difference to the overall road network as it’s in such a terrible state already through lack of investment by… Councillor Walsh!
    The part of the budget that made me chortle was the trumpeting of the investment in education. This coming from the person who said it was absolutely imperative the Council made £millions in savings from the education budget. Remember how it was essential changes were made to primary education in Argyll & Bute. And of course, the only way that this could possibly have happened was by closing one third of all the schools!!!
    What was that all about? How can he possibly say one minute ‘we’re all doomed’ by not closing primary schools and the next minute ‘magic up’ £squillions even although the schools haven’t closed. As you say, a bit ‘Tricky’ but certainly not admirable or honourable.
    Where I do agree is, apart from one or two exceptions, the opposition Councillors do not appear to be putting up as much of a fight on all the other issue’s as they possibly should be. The current administration has put the ‘noose’ around its own neck (on several occasions), but for some reason the opposition appears reluctant to pull the lever. Hopefully they are just waiting for the right moment and not relying on others to do it for them!
    So ‘Simon’ what do you think, will the people of Argyll and Bute continue to fall for his ‘Tricky’ handling of finances? I suppose we’ll find out in May!
  • Simon – you appear to have a somewhat outdated view of politics and the role of the opposition.
    I was personally disappointed by the response that most opposition Councillors offered as I felt, as a matter of principal, they should of voted against it due to the lack of time they had to scrutinise the budget. But why are you making such a big thing about how different members voted within their own groups, I actually found that very refreshing.
    Especially when you currently have a group of so called ‘independent’ councillors that aren’t allowed to have a voice of their own because they are ‘whipped’ by Dick Walsh. This is much more damning to the local political system than anything the opposition are doing.
    Independent Councillors should be exactly that, independent, not some tinpot group of individuals led by a dictator and his henchmen/women.
    We currently have an administration that is overseeing a Council in complete disarray. The only objective that appears to be driving them is the quest for complete centralisation/urbanisation of all services. The outcome of which, if they are allowed to succeed, is the decimation of rural Argyll. You may agree with this, I most certainly do not.
  • All a bit disappointing. It’s clearly a headline grabbing budget with little substance behind it and the opposition have let it pass without much challenge.
    Councillor Robb appears to be the only one that has seen it for what it is, but it would of been better had he been more direct.

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