Scotland on Sunday’s Kenny Farquharson noticed something interesting today:
It’s not the brightest thing for their South of Scotland MSP Chic Brodie to slate Labour going into coalition with the Tories at Council level when the SNP has done much the same thing, not just where Kenny mentioned, in Dumfries and Galloway, but also in Perth and Kinross.
Brodie slammed Labour for betraying voters.
“For Labour voters across the country the growing number of Tory-Labour pacts in councils across Scotland are a real betrayal of what they voted for. Scotland’s councils need progressive partnerships to protect people from the Westminster imposed cuts not these deals that defy the Labour rhetoric.
“The decision to go into partnership with the party who are cutting disability benefits and refusing to invest in jobs and growth across the country is a kick in the teeth to those people suffering the effects of those Tory cuts and makes a mockery of Labour’s claims to stand against the coalition’s cuts agenda.
“Voters in Scotland clearly rejected the coalition parties yet Labour is giving them a lifeline when they only won 9% of the councillors in Scotland.
“Labour voters didn’t expect their votes would be used to let the Tories in the back door to form council administrations with Labour.
“Labour agree with the Tories on blocking new powers for Scotland as well increasingly converging with them on the economy and spending cuts at Westminster.
“With a few notable exceptions it is becoming clearer that Labour is more keen on protecting Westminster power and control than protecting people from Tory led Westminster cuts.
“What Scotland needs are progressive partnerships focussed on jobs, growth and local communities – not dodgy deals with the Tories.”
And of course, the minority SNP administration between 2007 and 2011 relied on Tory support to get its budgets passed.
The truth is, though, that you have to deal with the hand the electorate deals you. At UK level, the Liberal Democrats really had no choice but to go into Coalition with the Tories in the national interest. A deal with Labour, Greens and Nationalists would have been fragile and unstable – even if Labour had been interested, which they clearly weren’t. Local coalitions similarly depend on all sorts of factors, local issues, local policies and the respective numbers of councillors. I think that the SNP have been monumentally stupid not to ensure that the Liberal Democrats are not in their administration in Perth – Peter Barrett has done wonders to transform housing in the area and his experience and vision in this field is a huge loss.
Chic Brodie should have checked what his own party was doing before firing off.