chrismceleny's Blog

The age of collaborative working and a cooperative model for local politics 


THE recent general election was a bittersweet experience for SNP members, activists and supporters.
On a personal note, as a local government ‘Young Turk’, it was the second such feeling in the space of a month having been re-elected in Gourock but having failed to secure enough seats for the SNP to implement the type of changes we want for Inverclyde.
As the SNP’s Inverclyde Council group leader, I apologise to those that had hoped for a better result. To those that didn’t give us your vote, I will keep working hard to try and earn your trust in the future.
We respect the Labour party’s decision to form a minority run council, but we rightly express our disappointment that they have done so on the back of Tory support, appointing Tory councillor David Wilson as part of the deal.

At council leader Stephen McCabe’s request, I have provided the Labour party with a copy of the SNP’s manifesto ‘Ambitious for Inverclyde’.
I am hopeful that the Labour group on the council will take the summer holidays to reflect upon what we can achieve together and what the SNP want to deliver: free school meals for primary school children; investment in infrastructure; helping to build hundreds of affordable homes; protecting care of the elderly and ensuring that council tax stays fiscally responsible – but financially affordable – to you.
I hope they come to the conclusion that working in partnership together to deliver these policies will lead to a better Inverclyde than carrying on as a minority on the back of Tory support.
Support from a party responsible for many of the austerity policies that have caused real pain in Inverclyde. The reason that surely many of us put ourselves forward for our communities?
However the legacy of the snap general election of June 8 has naturally opened up discussion on ‘what next?’ Will there be another election because the result of this one has resulted in such utter chaos?
People keep telling me that they are sick to the back teeth of politics, and perhaps they are right. Who would have thought that not only would we be governed by a party the country didn’t vote for (Conservative) but on the back of a deal with the DUP of Northern Ireland, a party we can’t vote for.
I don’t have any confidence in a government that relies on a deal with the only political party that opposed the Good Friday Agreement. A deal that will see Scotland get nothing.

All politics is, of course, local. If Scotland received the Barnett formula increases that the SNP, the Labour party and even the Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland believe we are entitled to, this would work out at over £20 million a year of extra cash to Inverclyde.
Instead of the council having to consult on which area should be cut next we would be consulting on where best to invest next.
Politics is all about priorities, it is clear that holding onto power through a shady deal with the DUP is more important to the UK Government than delivering for Inverclyde and Scotland.

Finally, can I thank all of the area’s teaching and school staff and wish them a well-earned break. To parents, guardians and pupils I wish you a good summer holiday.
I know that this break can be a difficult time for some families, so please remember that the council will be running seven holiday lunch clubs through July.
These are designed for families, will have a range of activities and will provide a healthy lunch. 

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