Social media has its limits: Angus Council Leader loses it in public following loss of Ewan Smith

What you are about to read below has been published, voluntarily, if too freely, by the Leader of Angus Council, Councillor Iain Gaul, on his Facebook page – as a councillor. [If you cannot believe this, you can check it on his site here.]

This bizarre and incoherent outburst – you tell us what it means – follows and refers to Councillor Gaul’s SNP group at Angus Council losing Councillor Ewan Smith, the respected schools campaigner elected to the council as an SNP member in May 2012. Councillor Smith resigned the SNP whip last week, after his group went back on election promises on the school estate made to voters in Angus in those elections.

Ewan Smith was elected as a man of obvious principle and his action last week showed that his fidelity remains to those who elected him to look after their interests.

However, for the party whose internal manoeuverings let him down as well as their electorate, Councillor Smith’s resignation from the party group lost them their 15-14 majority. Their continuation as an administration is now a hostage to Team Angus, a cross-faction intermediary initiative intended to ensure that the best decisions for Angus are the ones that get made.

Other dramatis personae in the Gaul script below can be decoded as follows:

  • ‘Bob Myles’ is the former leader of Angus Council, whose coalition of everything-but-the-SNP was deposed by Councillor Gaul’s SNP group in May 2012.
  • ‘Mark Salmond’ is a councillor and member of the former ‘Angus Alliance’ coalition administration led by Councillor Myles.
  • ‘David Fairweather’ is a fellow councillor and long time friend and supporter of former Councillor Peter Nield, the Education Convenor in Councllor Myles’s administration. Mr Nield’s personal vanity project of a daft new build primary school, fronting on the most dangerous road in Arbroath and which was to see the merger of Muirfield and Timmergreens schools, was defeated by the campaign led by Ewan Smith. Mr Nield himself then lost his seat to Ewan Smith.
  • ‘Hospitalfield’ was the site of the proposed merged school – a merger we understand is now on the agenda of the administration of the SNP group who had previously opposed it. The site has changed from the then proposed new build at Hospitalfield to a merger on the Muirfield school site – and, either way, 232 Timmergreens tinies will be crossing the dangerous Westway bypass to get to it. It is this volte face that has driven Councillor Smith to resign the SNP whip in Angus council.

We’ll have more tomorrow on this proof of bad faith that makes a nonsense of the campaign victory Ewan Smith helped to bring about in the school closures conflict in 2011. But this is enough background detail for now, to give you the same chance as we had of making sense of this stream of consciousness upheaval on Facebook, reproduced verbatim below, from – a council leader.

Councillor Iain Gaul’s Facebook entry published 14 hours ago

‘It has been some week. Cllr Smith resigns and then all sorts of things start coming out of left field. never attack when you have a point only when you think somebody is weakened
David Fairweather reckons team Angus is dead as does Bob Myles, strange that the team Angus critics are the ones that don’t want join in for the betterment of Angus.
Bob Myles also feels completely vindicated!!! If education committee and remeber SNP do not have a majority decide not to have a super school at Hospitalfield he is going to feel and look a right eejit.
Had the Courier on Mark Salmond wants to have a rotating provost and a non administration member as depute leader all in the interest of team Angus this from a guy who hardly ever turns up I suspect his idea is more to do with team Salmond! shame its no Alex’s team. Canny wait for mair sh*te to start this week’

And that’s it.

This is a council leader speaking to his public – and a council leader who sees nothing wrong with letting loose in this manner.

What on earth is one supposed to make of this?

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26 Responses to Social media has its limits: Angus Council Leader loses it in public following loss of Ewan Smith

  1. And this is the type of person who is leading the council making decisions about service provision for Angus? Services that significantly affect people’s lives and are supposed to protect the vulnerable?
    I know this may not be a popular suggestion, but sometimes I wonder if an IQ test and literacy skills assessment should be given to each councillor in order to provide appropriate support after an election. A sort of ‘classroom assistant’ idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Why is Newsroom spying on a council on the other side of the country?

    For Argyll? Or as part of a personal crusade/vendetta and FA to do with For Argyll?

    – W

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • This is indefensibly objectionable.
      This material is on a public Facebook page, published by its author, available for everyone to see – and which we saw 14 hours after it had been published. We engage in absolutely no ‘spying’ activities of any kind, nor would we ever do so.
      I resent the deliberate mischief of your trying to smear us and me personally, on the back of the unfortunate activities of a council employee a couple of years ago.
      Scotland is not so vast that we can afford to be relatively parochial – and Angus council, in its previous administration, was, with the then administration of Argyll and Bute, in the forefront of using knowingly inaccurate and doctored information to assist in its case to close and merge schools.
      We covered the campaigns in Angus and elsewhere – including Highland, Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, fairly extensively at that time, to enable common cause between campaigners in pooling information and revelations which shared a helpful awareness of the measures of the law.
      Parent Councils are bereft of resources where they have a good case to try to save their schools.
      Local authorities, on the other hand, have almost infinite resources paid for by all of us, including the parents whose children’s schools they wish to close, often needlesly and on a false premise.
      This was shown in Argyll and Bute where they spent two – failed – attempts at closing a welter of primary schools at a stroke.
      For Argyll became a hub where crucial issues like GAE [Grant Aided Expenditure], community impact assessments, educational benefits statements, school roll projections, school capacity measurements… were widely discussed and explained.
      This was a public information service and made the Argyll electorate well versed in such matters and therefore better armed to resist being rolled over on the largely duff closure cases that were put forward here.
      This was a resource that was brought together principally for Argyll and the Argyll Rural Schools Network – and to give a voice to their fellows and co-campaigners in other parts of Scotland.
      It was a powerful agent for right conduct and procedural integrity.
      We remain proud of it and of the links it forged for Argyll with folk in other parts of Scotland, many of whom came here then and have done since on holiday.
      Ewan Smith, the noted Angus campaigner fighting to save Muirfield school in Arbroath, became as well known to Argyll audiences as were local campaigners. As a man driven by probity, he is important to us and to many in Argyll who got to know him during that campaign.
      His integrity has just been proven with his resignation of his party’s whip in Angus Council because that party group was reneging on 2012 election promises on the school estate – promises on which he had himself campaigned and intends to keep.
      The nonsense we have highlighted above, self-broadcast on Facebook, is from the Council Leader of Angus and Mr Smith’s former party group leader.
      If you are interested only in your narrow locality, most of Argyll is confident and curious enough to look outward, as it must – but this is a particularly grubby and deliberate smear attempt on your part, for which I have profound contempt.
      Lynda

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Rather biased reporting there isn’t it? What do you actually know about any of the councillors in Angus that you can make such judgements? ‘Ewan Smith’s integrity has just been proven’? and ‘noted Angus campaigner’? What rot! He is a self serving nonentity who has thrown teddy out of the cot just to get himself more publicity.
        How can I say this? Because I live in Angus! You are only reporting a small part of the saga. Stick to reporting about Argyll.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

        • Smith’s ‘integrity’ would have been proved a great deal more had he actually resigned as a councillor and stood again at a by-election. He was voted in as an SNP councillor not as an Independent. Why doesn’t he? because he knows he won’t get back in! Councillors should not be allowed to change their colours at a whim….or in his case a tantrum.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

          • Irena, I assume that as Michael Breslin stood as an SNP candidate, and as he has resigned from the Administration and the Party, you will also be shouting for him to resign as a councillor to allow a by-election to be held?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • I too live in Angus. Not sure what you can find to stand up for people who have no idea of fairness, honesty and accountability. This is a Council that can uphold a formal grievance that senior education officials did not follow Angus Council policy to investigate the Council’s own failures to provide services to chilidren reported to be at risk of harm. The elected members did not then demand an investigation. I have been seeking an investigation of those complaints since 2008 – Stuart Hosie MP has been trying since 2011 – to obtain an explanation for this unacceptable situation. Guess what they keep avoiding the issue.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Don’t you know, Newsie operates a number of fake Facebook accounts in order to spy on other councils. It must be true because i got an anonymous e-mail to tell it was and what has poor old Gemma done to her. My friend at Fife Council Mad He Batty has been a victim of her spying, Newsie looked at his twitter account. I have no evidence to back this up, but never mind i will make up some more stuff to convince myself it’s correct. Erm i mean i will carry out some deep investigative journalism in true FA style. All i need now is a snappy name for it, Councilgate or NoseyBuggerGate.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. It’s hardly ‘spying’ when the guy’s gone public! I can see all sorts of relevant and related issues here, so perhaps you need to look a bit more closely rather than focusing on your constant criticism of FA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • We were actually getting more local stories for a while, even if most of them were selected for their ability to hurt the SNP faction in the council.

      However, far too many articles on this blog are no more than a personal vendetta prosecuted with ever increasing zeal.

      I have read Newsroom’s attempt to justify the article and am still at a loss as to see why it was selected when there is so much more going on in Argyll and nationwide.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. We all read this website by choice, Webcraft. You may find the BBC website more to your taste if you prefer nationwide news or you may like to stick to your own website for Seil, although I see that the hottest topic there appears to be one about independence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • As I’ve said before more than once, I thought ForArgyll was a great idea when it first started, with the potential to fill a big gap. It seems to have gone astray – or maybe I just expected too much.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Webcraft.
    Councillor Ewan Smith was posting comments on forargyll.com when Argyll & Bute Council were threatening to close local schools.
    Councillor Smith should do the honourable thing and resign as an Angus councillor. This would force a by-election and Councillor Smith could stand as an Independent. This would give his previous SNP voters the opportunity to vote in a new SNP councillor or vote for Ewan Smith as their Independent councillor.
    I cannot see that happening as Ewan Smith would not be prepared to run the risk of losing his councillor’s salary plus all the perks that go with the job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Treble T “Councillor Breslin should do the honourable thing and resign as an Argyll and Bute councillor. This would force a by-election and Councillor Breslin could stand as an Independent. This would give his previous SNP voters the opportunity to vote in a new SNP councillor or vote for Breslin as their Independent councillor.
    I cannot see that happening as Mike Breslin would not be prepared to run the risk of losing his councillor’s salary plus all the perks that go with the job”.

    There, fixed that for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Ah yes, you are of course correct, he has only resigned from the SNP.

      My apologies, I am sure you remain, as ever, on the ball.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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