Most of you will know by now that the LibDem-SNP administration have voted to delay the decision on the first round of privatisation proposals until the next Council meeting on November 24th. You can read more on Andrew Burns’ blog and elsewhere, but I would like to add a few background details.
This has been a secretive and undemocratic process from the get go, and this continued at the October 27th Council meeting. The gallery in the Council is tiny and uncomfortable, and it is very difficult to follow what is going on. Sadly many of us could not get into even this limited space to observe what is being done in our name. Edinburgh Toon’s City Chambers had more security going down, and more pat down body searches than a Labour Party conference when Tony Blair was in his pomp.
Why? Well thereon hangs a tale…
Alasdair Slessor, Operations Director of Enterprise (the heavily indebted Lancashire based company awarded favoured bidder status over the in house option for Environmental Services) was in the gallery, and it was turned into his own private opera box. Labour Group Councillors observed journos being herded upstairs, away from their usual seats on the Council floor; they also noticed an unusual number of Council staff in the gallery. Campaigners with valid passes – who have been challenging the ABM process for months were denied access – despite what appeared to be empty spaces. I observe Council meetings, and there is generally a relaxed atmosphere, where people come and go, and share some craik, across the parties and divides. It can be more entertaining and illuminating than what goes on down below, quite frankly. Anyhow, not last Thursday >:-(((
I spoke for Greater Leith Against the Cuts with my good friend George Lamb, passing on to the Council what people had told us at our meetings and on the streets. It felt like I was talking into a crypt. When one of the Meadowbank team, Fiona Menzies spoke, she drew attention to what was going on upstairs, and asked what was going on. For her pains, she was jeered and heckled by administration Councillors. Ugly.
There was other stuff as well including the confiscation of people’s spurtles! Meantime, the SNP are beginning to realise how toxic and damaging the LibDem privatisation schemes are. But we all need to show that we are determined to kill the so called Alternative Business Model once and for all, and that the more of us who hear about it, the more of us there are who don’t want it.
The next big opportunity will be the City wide consultation next Thursday November 10th. We believe the Council Officer to contact can be reached at email@example.com. Meantime there are a series of Neighbourhood Partnership consultations over the next couple of weeks. The Leith/Leith Walk/City Centre meeting is to be held, Tuesday November 22nd, 6.30pm at Mcdonald Rd Library. This is an open public forum for any resident in the area to participate in.