Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 19 June 2008

Highland Council coalition falls apart

What I predicted earlier this year has just happened.

The fact that there were twice as many (34) 'Independent' councillors, as against the 17 SNP members in the coalition was always irrelevant. 'Independents' (the clue is in the name!) are a diverse group of individuals with a wide range of viewpoints; expecting them to form a coherent and consistent voting bloc was always going to be well-nigh impossible. The 17-strong SNP does, on the other hand, have a coherent strategy and furthermore we now have a minority SNP Executive (aka 'Government') so that can't, in practice, have hindered their cause either, I would have thought! They were always going to try and dominate the coalition and so it has proved, the quote is from Black Isle councillor Mrs Isobel McCallum:

"I think the SNP just went one step too far. I’m sorry that we didn’t manage to work together. I think we could have, had the SNP been less controlling. The SNP needed to recognise themselves as the junior partners on the coalition and they failed to do that."

Naturally, outspoken councillor Roddy Balfour encapsulates the problem very neatly:

"This was inevitable. It’s been an unhappy alliance generally. Independents can’t go on being made subservient to a group with such a lust for power."

As expected, Convener councillor Sandy Park has an emollient, but utlimately mmeaningless comment (as usual):

"I’m disappointed because we did have a tremendous working relationship with our partners. We have to sit down, regroup, rethink and see where we’re going."

- it's a little like the headless-chicken antics of EC President Barroso and most other European Union member states' reactions to the Irish 'no' vote in their referendum on the Lisbon 'reform' Treaty!

It's not even as if the SNP are the largest single political grouping in Highland Council, as the LibDems have 21 councillors! I don't care for the LibDems much either, but I think it explains a lot about the thinking behind the 'Independent' grouping's decision to form a coalition with the number-two single political grouping if one recalls that at the same time a minority SNP administration was being formed at Holyrood. It was inevitable, in my view, that the SNP grouping in the coalition was always going to [try and] take over in such circumstances and it illustrates the poltitical naivete of at least some of the 'Independents' that they did not see this coming from the very beginning.

Here are some earlier posts I've written about Highland Council since the last elections in May 2007:

Highland Council Independent/SNP coalition - falling apart? (13FEB08)

A welcome rebuttal of parochialism in the Highlands of Scotland (7AUG07)

Highland Council's 'Independent'-led administration a little too independent for some tastes ... (28JUL07)

'Comrades' announce plans to increase Highland tractor production over coming four years ... (21JUN07)

Nairn councillor set to be Highland Council Convener (15MAY07)

So-called 'Independents' on Highland Council in coalition with SNP members (15MAY07)

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