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Isn’t what you are describing here “Simon” democracy? …

Comment posted Council candidates, election battlegrounds and serious choices to be made by Dr Douglas McKenzie.

Isn’t what you are describing here “Simon” democracy? As Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”, Certainly sounds better than the alternative of a few people trying to impose service reductions in the face of the will of the majority.

I presume you are not in favour of democracy in local government?

Dr Douglas McKenzie also commented

  • Now you are just badgering. Anne has now provided an answer regarding a “veto” several times and it is clear to us what she means.

    Since it is Easter and there has already been an outbreak of biblical quotes can I suggest that “Simon” is attempting the same ploy as the Pharisees in John 8:3-5 and Anne would be as well to follow Jesus’s response in John 8:6.

  • Unless I have missed it, nowhere does Anne use the word “veto”. I have to be careful about saying what ARSN’s position is but at the risk of being contradicted by one of my colleagues here is what I think our position is:

    1: ARSN does not oppose the closing of empty schools where there is no realistic hope of population recovery in the short term.
    2: ARSN does not oppose the closure of schools where the parents and community are in favour of closure (obvious really but worth stating)
    3: Where the majority of parents oppose a closure then ARSN will support their campaign to retain the school and the school should not be closed against the wishes of the majority of parents unless there are compelling safety reasons to do so.

    You call this a veto and perhaps it is: why should parents and the local community just allow their school to be closed on the whim of Council officials who may have never visited it and on the bought votes of councillors who do not represent the area and who were not voted for by the local citizens?

    This latter point highlights the democratic deficit in councils where control is exercised by so called independents. In councils where control is by party related councillors then citizens can be pretty sure of what they are going to get in terms of policies and action and that this will be uniform across the county. Where independents control the council there is no uniform policy and the voters are faced with the proverbial pig in a poke. Worse, they can enthusiastically vote in local candidates who will act in their local interests but these councillors can be out voted by councillors from other areas who are immune to the (voter) consequences of their actions. This is a democratic deficit and is a microcosm of what happens in the UK where the Scots can vote in Labour until they are red in the face but still end up with a Tory government in Westminster (and other such anomalies). Where you have a party as opposed to an independent standing you can give them your vote knowing that their fellow party councillors from other areas will support the same policies: in this case an opposition to enforced closure of rural primary schools.

    Back to how the Council should act: the key to managing the school estate is to persuade parents and communities that the Council’s plans for schooling in their areas does deliver educational benefit to their children and thus have them agree to closures where this is necessary to achieve these ends. The fundamental problem in ABC was the intention to simply bulldoze closure proposals through in blatant disregard to either the wishes of parents and communities or indeed with any regard to the actual needs of these communities and the wider educational infrastructure of Argyll.

    And don’t start bleating about how we cannot afford rural schools: the current Administration found it easy enough to propose spending millions on swimming pools in Helensburgh and school building projects in their own backyards when an election looms.

    The public are indeed not thick and I hope the elections next month see us elect a Council that is fair, democratic and wise; a Council which will work for all the citizens of Argyll, wherever they are, young and old, rural or town.

    It’s a dream but one that merely takes some numbers on a bit of paper to make a reality.

Recent comments by Dr Douglas McKenzie

  • Rustle with Russell
    More utter rubbish from Lynda Henderson. Have you actually spoken to Bob Allen? Whoever told you the story sold you a pup and in your arrogance you cannot admit to be wrong so you make up this story that he was persuaded not to resign.

    Your position is completely untenable.

  • Russell back in the bathtub, now trying to sink Keith Brown’s boat
    I’m afraid you condemn yourself by your own words. I don’t think that anyone reading what you have written here and the language you have used would conclude anything other than that you have a deep dislike for Mr Russell and that dislike is leading you to basically lose all sense of either proportion or impartiality. It doesn’t matter how well (or otherwise) you know Mr Russell you are clearly exercised by your interpretation of his actions and it is leading you well beyond the pale in what I would consider fair comment.

    This vendetta against Mr Russell and the SNP is destroying FA’s credibility and I have to confess that I’m seriously considering whether or not to continue reading FA (which will cheer Malcolm up if nothing else). I for one am becoming increasingly disenchanted by the constant negativity and sheer nastiness that has crept into this blog. I say that with a lot more sorrow than anger because I think that FA could have been great and indeed still could but there has to be a degree of balance, civility and indeed humour. All we are getting here is bile and it is causing me heartburn.

  • Russell back in the bathtub, now trying to sink Keith Brown’s boat
    To be honest, this post clearly shows that you are speaking from your personal dislike of Mr Russell rather than an unbiased analysis of the man. Phrases such as “publicity hungry coward” are well beyond what is reasonable comment.
  • Russell back in the bathtub, now trying to sink Keith Brown’s boat
    You don’t seem to understand the separation of a MSP’s duty to his or her constituency and their responsibilities as a Government Minister.

    Yet again, this is another instance where a member of the Government can do no right: speak up and be condemned as “desperate” or stay silent and be accused of not serving your constituents’ interests.

    It is just as well that Mr Russell has broad shoulders!

  • Atlantic Islands Centre for Luing: biggest investment in island’s history
    Well done Luing – an inspiration to all of Argyll’s communities.

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