Councillor Michael Breslin has careered through the SNP Group of Councillors like the skipper of a hunter-killer submarine, surfacing for strategic kills – on his own fleet.
The objective was to destroy the group from within in fomenting the rejection of the doctrine of collective responsibility; and then in weakening it literally by reducing its number by double his worth – in resigning and in openly joining the other side.
The misprogrammed autopilot he had been given, however, saw him surface prematurely, miss a target, and be withdrawn from service in the internal guerrilla force through his resignation.
Nevertheless, ashore, he continued his sabotage by other means and has now seen his efforts contribute to the achievement of the tactical purpose.
The SNP are about to support Argyll and Bute for Change into the leading power position they were themselves given by the electorate in May 2012. They have agreed to put back into power and support, as a junior partner, the force whom they campaigned to replace on the grounds of maladministration.
Many of these recent renegades are of pensionable age with hard bitten local government careers behind – and now in front of them – but the local SNP MSP, who really knows, has assured some of his doubting charges that ‘they’ve changed’.
It’s all a matter of perception, you see. A couple of projections from the sides of the head can be represented as demonic one day and as funky little accessories the next. That’s politics.
Councillor Breslin has been a key agent of unrest and fissuring in the party group.
This has seen it forcibly divided against itself, with the majority visibly controlled from without by extraordinary interventions by the SNP Constituency Association and the party executive; and with a rump clinging like barnacles to the scuppered hulk, still trying to get some purchase on the rudder.
Councillor Breslin’s resignation gave hm a head start in getting to the intended destination before his erstwhile colleagues, now fast tracking in to join him.
He was a founding member of the Argyll and Bute for Change group – which is a bizarre mash-up of:
- the former Alliance of Independent Councillors – on the bridge;
- the Argyll First group, sadly wallowing in the bilges;
- another piece of driftwood from the SNP, fellow resignee, Councillor Fred Hall;
- a lone independent sailor picked up after losing his compass, Councillor Iain Angus Macdonald;
- and cargo transferred under the owner’s instructions from the torpedoed SNP barque to the galley now facing the challenge of synchronised rowing.
This transferred cargo are SNP councillors who have persistently, under their party’s instructions, voted against their own party group’s motions and leaders in the council chamber. They have been given extraordinary leave to do so in a sequence that has made a tattered sail of the party’s membership regulations.
They are Councillors Isobel Strong, Robert Macintyre and Gordon Blair.
It is no coincidence that, for their obedient service, all three are to be in receipt of extra rations – the senior councillor posts with augmented salaries which they crave.
But with the SNP having run up the white flag by a substantial majority vote and Captain Sandy Taylor already drawing up the instrument of surrender with the victor, Commander Duncan Macintyre, a dinghy with a single occupant comes across from the galley, with a following wind.
It is the bold Councillor Breslin, offered back to the party group to help steer it into a safe backwater, with powerful support from the Admiralty who wish to see his return accelerated in gratitude for a job well done.