I recently went to my first full Argyll and Bute council meeting for work and it was definitely a bit of an eye opener.
It was due to be a big one since one of the main things being discussed was whether or not to put out to consultation proposals for cuts or ‘service choices’ as they were euphemistically dubbed. Among a whole raft of proposals was one in particular which had caught the public’s attention, a 40 per cent cut to additional support needs for school children.
This, understandably, generated protests and many parents with their children, were outside Kilmory before the meeting trying to make their point that the effect these cuts could have on children with additional needs and the education of all the children in Argyll and Bute was serious and lifelong.
During the meeting there was much finger pointing apportioning blame to the council, who should have used their money more wisely, The Scottish government, who should have given them more money as they had an uderspend, the UK government, who began this ridiculous and ineffectual austerity project, and even the bankers who caused the 2008 crash that led to the austerity.
There was also much wringing of hands ‘we didn’t ask for this’ they said ‘but this is the position we’re in.’ Eventually, after a good two or more hours of this, the motion passed and the consultation will happen. looking at party lines you could have said who would vote for what before the meeting began.
I was definitely reminded of the saying that some things are too important for politicians.
when it comes to issues such as this people don’t care if it was the SNP, Tories, Lib Dem or Labour that got us into this mess, they care about how their child is going to get through each day of school. Politicians then need to grow up, put the politicking and point scoring behind them and work together. A solution has to be found so these kids aren’t left behind and so that every single one can go on to achieve their potential.
Later that evening I got home to find out the Westminster had passed EVEL doing pretty much the opposite of working together.
Instead the 59 Scottish MPs, along with MPs from Wales and Northern Ireland, find themselves second class MPs excluded from a level of voting on things that may not on the surface appear to affect their area but will have a knock on effect.
It was pointed out that consequences could mean there could never be a Scottish Prime Minister, surely you can’t have a prime minister who can’t vote on every vote? It also suggests any Scottish member of the House of Lords, including newly enobled Lady Moane of Mayfair, has more of a say than 59 elected MPs.
Make no mistake this is done to create bitterness and division in the parliament.
Westminster succeeded in making politics at Kilmory look positively grown up.