SNP silence tells its own story and puts Midlothian in play

SNP silence tells its own story and puts Midlothian in play

by Peter de Vink
article from Thursday 20, April, 2017

WHEN I WROTE my End of Term Report I had not expected readers to email me with their views. As such I was rather surprised that I received a great number of responses.  Most of them came by email but quite a few letters both handwritten and typed were also received.

They were solidly complimentary, not a single one gave me any criticism.  What struck me was that so many writers expressed incredulity by what they had read but then admitted that they were not surprised. Others would state that they had no idea what really went on in Midlothian Council and were rather mortified by what they learned.

Some stated that it made grim reading.  Others could not believe that the wage bill was 65 per cent of total turnover and that wages were some 30 per cent above the national average and that 41 days holiday were given when the private sector gives 29 days. It is clear there is total disbelief that this could possibly be the case and all of that with Final Salary Pension entitlement; “such largesse” was the regular quote.

All the writers were well versed.  There were several legal and professional correspondents who all had given a great deal of thought to what they had read.  More amusingly a fellow Councillor told me that he recently attended a family reunion where a ban was imposed on any political discussion, however my Report had been read by all of those attending and they mentioned it to him with approval.

My granddaughter was concerned that I had been too rude and could be in trouble. However the only negative response I received was from Cllr Parry and her hapless Agent Owen Thompson MP who were very upset with the fact that I had I made a false statement of fact about the personal character of an election candidate which to them was a criminal offence under the Representation of the People Act 1983. They reported me to Police Scotland and the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life.  

So far no visit from a constable has taken place and I will have retired by the time the Standards Commissioner will follow this up!  Unfortunately it will take Police Scotland well past the 4th May before they are likely to tell me that there is no case to answer.  In the meantime the SNP hides behind this legal fact and has not responded at all.

It really is disappointing that no response was received from the SNP on the many points made.  They tried hard to ignore the Report as all the facts were simply unassailable.  Where I was not certain I had put a question mark at the payment of Cllr Parry. She claimed with much bravura that she had three jobs.  Two jobs had a fixed fee the third I had to guess. Why did they not simply tell us subsequently how much she earned?  The reason of course was that it would be an enormous embarrassment so they kept it quiet!

Sadly, my claims about not repeating the No Compulsory Redundancy Policy, favouring 3,500 Council Employees over 80,000 citizens, an utterly reckless financial policy, dismissing HM the Queen and several other important facts all went unchallenged. 

The SNP is a party that is ruled with a rod of iron and no one is allowed an opinion that is different to the party line.  This is so unhealthy, as a party that does not tolerate debate is doomed. That is why in Holyrood and in Westminster the SNP MSPs and MPs are all like nodding donkeys and looked upon by the population as a pathetic joke.  

The SNP Central Office where the husband of the First Minister is in total charge will decide the most minute of details.  It was the SNP Head Office who instructed the local SNP Group to dismiss me as I certainly had a voice that was not to their liking.  They even drafted the four line letter for the leader to hand to me; it is all too pitiful for words.  In Government they talk all the time about Good Governance and Due Process and yet they allow the husband of the First Minister to be the CEO of the SNP.  Imagine if Phil May would also be the CEO of the Conservative Party it would have caused the most horrendous outcry – and rightly so.

This week we learned that the PM has called a General Election and the First Minister is claiming that the SNP will return another 56 MPs to Westminster.  The usual nonsense of the Tory austerity is repeated ad nauseam. What is the truth?  As I explained in my Report, Westminster allocated 1.5 per cent increase to the Scottish Government Grant over the previous year.  All the same the Scottish Government cut the Scottish Local Authorities initially by £350M but then they needed to do a deal with the Greens who insisted that this would need to be cut back by £160M.  That cut of £200M had such a detrimental effect on Midlothian’s finances and forced us to dig deep into our dwindling reserves.

In just over two weeks’ time we hope that the good folk of Midlothian will use their brains and send the new intake of SNP councillors packing.  The Conservative, Independent and Labour canvassing has given results that make me believe that there could easily be a Coalition of Conservative, Independent and Labour Councillors and leaving the SNP out of office, a development that would give me intense pleasure.

My best estimate for Midlothian is that the Conservatives could achieve 4 Councillors, The Independents may also get 4, Labour could get 5 and the SNP may get 5. The Green will not be returned as he sucked up too much to the SNP. If that happened I would be happier than I have been in the last five frustrating years! The SNP group is on record that they will return 12 Councillors, we will learn who is closest to the truth on Friday the 5th May – and I live in hope!

Peter de Vink is a retiring Independent Councillor on Midlothian Council. 

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