Friday, February 10, 2012
High drama in Glasgow as Glasgow Labour Council get their budget passed as Labour rebels resign and rainbow budget coalition emerges
When the Labour Party opted for their ‘night of the long butter knives’, deselecting 20 Labour Councillors of shame, they must have known they were taking a gamble.
For record, the process saw some people kicked out unfairly and others who should have been binned years ago.
So, we have an unhappy band of ex Labourites.
They wanted ‘payback’ and yesterday was budget, and it was apparent that Labour didn’t factor in unhappiness on their own backbenches.
So, the budget meeting ended up in a battle as opposition parties and ‘angry’ Labour joined to present opposition budget.
It was a bitter political battle to control Glasgow from start to finish and a wake up call that if Labour fails to get majority then opposition might go the way of rainbow coalition.
Heart of Labour’s fiefdom, ‘the Mordor’ of the West of Scotland is under threat.
The vote ended 40-38, a fight to the finish won on a knife-edge.
Amid angry exchanges and claims of backroom bullying, the ruling Labour group squeezed through its spending plans.
Sitting up in the rafts Tom McCabe, ex minister must have watched in horror as an easy win became something much more serious.
Labour has taken a gamble with its cull and newbies.
Historically they have held the city for decades, people haven’t known an alternative, they have their track record to fall back on which in part is good but other aspects are less so.
One of the Labour rebels, Anne Marie Millar, later was to claim the future of her own son’s apprenticeship was raised by one Labour councillor as he sought to convince her to back the budget.
Whoever that was, made a huge mistake, family in politics is off limits, civilians aren’t included in the fight.
Despite the quiet word, she continued to vote against the budget plans, but said that she had felt “intimidated and bullied”.
After the meeting Councillor Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson, the Labour leader of the council looked clearly rattled in front of the television cameras as he came out of fighting for his political life.
It was like looking at a man who has been clipped by a car and realising that it would have been much worse.
For the cameras it was a show of expressing delight last night.
But, Labour privately cannot be delighted; the alarms must surely be going off, long and loud.
At present we have a phoney war 12 weeks out with parties working low key campaigns at present, but sooner or later that will flare up into open warfare.
Expect a hugely nasty tough fight in the offing.
People who quit the Labour Group Pollok councillor Tommy Morrison, he said:
“it’s the start of the death throes” of the city council administration.
I wouldn’t analyse it as that, but it was significant event.
In total, seven former Labour councillors decided to oppose the budget yesterday. They are now ‘toast’ never to be selected again for public office. However they may stand as independents.
As I say yesterday was significant but other than scoring a moral victory for the opposition, not much else can be taken from it.
Down the Labour HQ, there will be a lot of soul searching and head scratching, and plenty of overtime into the wee small hours.
Glasgow is a gateway city; whoever controls Glasgow holds a lot of sway.
The city is under siege; the public has to work out between now and polling day, exactly who are ‘the allies’ in this scenario.
And who they can trust!
Will Labour Councillors after May be asking for 'chips' in the members canteen or 'freedom fries'?
I don't know, I am just asking the question!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University