The 2012-2017 term at Argyll and Bute Council must count as one afflicted by the greatest number of upheavals of so many kinds – some tragic, some fully comic, some definitely headed for the Idiots Guide to Local Government – an entire volume of which could profitably be devoted to this unforgettable period.
The latest episode is the resignation of Councillor Iain Angus Macdonald, creating this by-election.
Councillor Macdonald could be said to have tried most of the potential variations available to him in the experience of being a councillor.
- He was elected as an independent.
- He joined the SNP-led coalition administrations – they changed with bewildering rapidity in 2012 to 2013 – and in the heady early days of that he was characteristically enthused by the possibility of engineering a radical change in the way elected members engaged in their responsibilities.
- Then, when the SNP finally gave in to their party’s pressure to get out of power to protect the indy vote in September 2014 – in case their eager and well meaning reformist boots were a tad heavy on the political ground – he joined the Lazarus administration led by former Council Leader, Dick Walsh.
- Then he resigned from that and flew solo.
- Then he joined the SNP group.
- Now he has resigned from the council, reportedly out of dissatisfaction with its operations – and, rumour has it, dissatisfied with the SNP, feeling that his membership was a mistake.
Forgive us if we got some of the former Councillor’s evolutions out of order- or if we missed a couple.
He may well be chimaerical [he could not deny it] but Iain Angus Macdonald is an honest and interesting man motivated by ideas – and there is a dearth of both in local government.
So – Oban North and Lorn can gird up for yet another by election.
This is less about the winner – who is virtually bound to be an SNP placeperson – than it is about identifying the individual and/or the party capable of standing resolutely and effectively against the SNP in what is becoming, to all intents and purposes, a one party state.
We have established that the independent, Kieron Green, will definitely be standing again; and are inquiring if Andrew Vennard will be doing the same.
Both are now well known and trusted in the area – and both have markedly improving electoral performances to their credit.