Monday, 22 December 2008

At Last Labour has a Plan

Only it's not theirs!!!

The Sunday Herald broke the news of an alleged planning scandal at West Lothian Council and, although I'm not sure his comparison to the Trump fiasco is relevant, Stephen reports further today.

On the face of it, it seems that the Action to Save St John's Councillor, Gordon Beurskens, is sailing pretty close to the wind. My reading of the situation is that he is probably OK by the letter of the law but there are serious moral questions to be asked about his actions.

GB - funny how these initials keep cropping up when there are allegations of skullduggery around - is therefore a legitimate target. He should be fully investigated and Labour are quite right to pursue him.

As usual, of course, Labour's real motivation is nothing to do with morality and righteousness but everything to do with trying to discredit the SNP and this is betrayed by their hysterical pursuit of the SNP Leader of the Council, Peter Johnston, on this matter.

They claim that Johnston is complicit because he did nothing to stop GB after he was copied on some emails sent by GB, in his capacity as a consultant to the planning applicant, to planning officials.

There are several problems with that. Firstly, Johnston would have no locus to formally do anything to prevent a priviate individual from making representations to planning officials. Secondly, who is to say that Johnston did not informally take GB aside and point out that his action was not appropriate? And, thirdly, it seems that the Chief Executive of the council has reported GB to the police. Do we really believe that this would have been done without the agreement of the Council Leader? I seriously doubt it.

West Lothian Council is fascinating. It has long been a Labour / SNP battleground and it is currently a microcosm of Scotland. Like Holyrood, the SNP are in minority control. Like Holyrood, Labour is united only by their passionate hatred of the SNP leader.

Unlike Holyrood, Labour is the biggest party in West Lothian. But it couldn't retain control of the council because the previous Holyrood adminstration's compliance in the gradual donwgrading of St John's Hospital resulted in 3 single issue councillors being elected. That hurt them then and it still hurts now.

With a Hat Tip to Holyrood Patter, where I first read there was a whiff of a scandal on Saturday night, my moles have been out and about trying to find out what is going on.

It seems that ever since the new council administration was formed, Labour have been continuously dangling carrots in front of the Hospital councillors to induce them to switch their allegiance. Now, as many in West Lothian will know, these Hospital councillors are 'unique' in their approach to politics. However, I'm sure even they realise that they could not credibly be seen to be doing anything to help Labour after slagging them off over St John's for the last few years.

Labour has now given up on this approach and is now trying to force resignations in the hope they can win the resultant by-elections and force a change in administration. There has been a succession of local press articles on one of GB's colleagues, Ellen Glass, but in the meantime a whole pile of FOI requests have been made in a bid to dredge up stuff to concoct scandals from.

This story might turn out to be the first of many allegations but Labour's previous record in West Lothian on the corruption front is not good. And those who live by the sword tend to die by the sword...

Interesting times ahead.

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