By a Newsnet reporter
The number of pacts between Labour local authority groups and their Tory counterparts has prompted fears that the views of local voters are being ignored in favour of deals aimed at locking out the SNP.
With the number of alliances between Labour and Tory increasing across Scotland’s local authorities, there are fears that Conservative influence may be exaggerated despite the party suffering a drop in voter support.

The SNP has described Tory/Labour pacts as a “betrayal” of local voters and are pointing out that despite the Tory vote falling by 2% compared with the 2007 elections, the party has seen their influence grow.  Thanks to deals with Labour, Ruth Davidson’s local authority councillors feature in more ruling administrations than five years ago.

The SNP ended up with the largest share of the national vote after the election on May 3rd and have accumulated more councillors than any other party.  However, despite that, Labour have shown a growing reluctance to enter into any agreements with local SNP groups.

To date Labour has agreed a deal with only two local SNP groups, in Edinburgh and Highland Council, which is less than one third of the councils where Labour has agreed deals with the Tories.

Newsnet Scotland understands that in one council the Labour group refused an alliance with the nationalists, claiming they could not work with some SNP councillors – they formed a pact with the Tories instead.

In East Dunbartonshire, Labour has formed an alliance with the Tory and Lib Dem groups to form an administration.  In Falkirk, Labour has joined up with the Tories and Independents.  In Stirling Labour and the Tories joined forces to keep out the much larger SNP group.

Leader of the Labour group in Falkirk, Craig Martin, called the deal “great news”: "This is great news for Falkirk and great news for Scottish Labour.

"No party won an overall majority here but as the leading group, Labour has secured agreement of other members to lead the council and implement our manifesto.” He said.

In East Lothian a Labour / Tory pact has been agreed, in Aberdeen Labour spurned a partnership with the left of centre SNP and again opted for the Tories. 

Labour has also formed the administration in Inverclyde with support of Conservative Councillor David Wilson, who is to be installed as Depute Lord Provost.  Labour also look set to strike a deal with the Conservatives in South Lanarkshire, despite the Tories losing four seats at the elections and in Fife Labour and the Tories have agreed another deal that allows Labour to form a minority administration.

The SNP group on East Dunbartonshire Council slammed the Labour group for entering into a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and the Tories to form the new council administration.

Both Labour and the SNP ended on eight councillors apiece after May 3rd and hopes were high that Tory influence would be ended with an agreement between the SNP and Labour.

SNP Group leader Ian Mackay said: “This was our chance to put the people of East Dunbartonshire first, to work together for a stable, strong council.  The voters returned an equal verdict for both parties, therefore it would have made good sense for us to put petty politics behind us and get on with the job.

“However, the Labour Group have proved, as they did five years ago when they colluded with the Tories to form an administration, that power means everything to them, regardless of the consequences.

“These three parties have different political priorities, yet they think it is a good idea to form an administration. The whole scenario reeks of self-seeking hypocrisy.

“The SNP will continue to represent the wishes of the residents of East Dunbartonshire without petty squabbling and power play.”


# aiberdeen sheep 2012-05-12 10:52
The more Liebour/Tory alliances the better as far as i am concerned.

The electorate will see that all the unionists are one and the same and if you vote for one lot you get the other mob as well.

They are signing their own death warrants and making Independence more of a reality with every day that passes.

I personally want the labour party destroyed and we need to start this by withdrawing the huge subsidies that labour voting areas receive.

Whilst west/central Scotland is dependant on the state it will continue to vote labour in significant numbers as was evident in the recent local elections.
# Dyke Louper 2012-05-12 10:54
"...that power means everything to them, regardless of the consequences..." That phrase sums it all up.

Power without responsibility, power without regard to accountability, just power for power's sake.

I like to think that I'm watching political dinosaurs going through their death throes and that eventually things will get better.

Here's to a better future.
# Mark MacLachlan 2012-05-12 11:07
O/T but something you might want to pick up on....

A cheesey response


to this turgid piece in the Spectator

It's coming to something when Aesop's fables are being dragged into the Independence Referendum.
# Arbroath1320 2012-05-12 12:09
What is they say,"If you can't attack the policies attack the person!"

Hmm! Is it just me or is this "article?" in the Spectactor yet another example of unionist diatribe. Just another example of unionist inability to accept the TRUTH!
# cirsium 2012-05-12 18:45
thanks for the link Mark. A very interesting cheesey response.
"If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion" epitaph for the British Empire courtesy of Tacitus.
# tartanfever 2012-05-12 19:15
Great reply Mark, well said.
# Macart 2012-05-13 07:11
Don't know if it'll make it past their MODs Mark, I merely wrote one word - Racist.
# Sleekit 2012-05-13 08:53
Quoting Mark MacLachlan:
It's coming to something when Aesop's fables are being dragged into the Independence Referendum.

Yeah, thats probably my fault about the Aesop references as I wrote an article on divide and conquer in WoS a couple of weeks ago.

# snowthistle 2012-05-12 11:11
Wonder what this will mean in terms of representation on COSLA
# balgayboy 2012-05-12 11:34
Mr Salmond, in fact, looks more and more like a wannabe leader of those useless Caledonian tribes that Romans decided were not worth the effort of flattening, largely because they had nothing Rome wanted. Hence the various northern walls Rome experimented with, to keep them out of their hair. Every time legionary numbers fell, the tribes would attack, only to scurry back to their bogs and dens when the legions returned, having achieved nothing. It never occurred to any of them that since the Romans had no interest in Scotland, it might have been worth seeing what advantages an agreement with them might offer.
Have not heard of this nonentity albeit he is a "Doctor" of what leaves it to one's own imagination? Good material to further the cause for an Independent Scotland I reckon. Would like to see and hear him preform with AS in an head to head debate and watch him sink and retreat just like the roman legions did. Roll on 2014
# Soixante-neuf 2012-05-12 18:12
According to "The Universality of Cheese" he's a well-known and well-respected classicist.

Who seems to have gone completely off his rocker.
# Jim1320 2012-05-12 11:39
After the neo-conservative Blair years who can be in the least surprised? Vote Labour get Tory.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-12 11:51
Labour in Scotland-----Power and Patronage BEFORE the people viz. all the scandals in the past 20 years-----jobs for the boys(wink,wink, nudge,nudge.)
We got wise to them in Dundee,they couldn't wriggle this year's result,----the people spoke----Why? because in Dundee word gets around pretty fast.
The SNP nibbled away at the Labour beast,election after election----took years to do it decisevely,but we've done it.
We pray they NEVER come back.
Good riddance and all that-----.
Perhaps Dundee's just the right size,150,000 population where the nibbling over the years finally takes the Labour patronage system down.
# balgayboy 2012-05-12 11:56
Quoting Dundonian West:
Labour in Scotland-----Power and Patronage BEFORE the people viz. all the scandals in the past 20 years-----jobs for the boys(wink,wink, nudge,nudge.)
We got wise to them in Dundee,they couldn't wriggle this year's result,----the people spoke----Why? because in Dundee word gets around pretty fast.
The SNP nibbled away at the Labour beast,election after election----took years to do it decisevely,but we've done it.
We pray they NEVER come back.
Good riddance and all that-----.
Perhaps Dundee's just the right size,150,000 population where the nibbling over the years finally takes the system down.

Yup, your spot on, lived through these Dundee Labour years and always wondered what the people were thinking electing these charlatans. Good sense at last. Roll on 2014
# GraemeB 2012-05-12 21:52
Aye it took a bloody long time but we got there in the end. Next step is to see Jim McGovern punted but if 2014 goes right for us that'll be a moot point anyway. Happy days!
# hiorta 2012-05-12 11:53
The convenient 'local arrangements' to over-ride Democracy is an affront to any Third World country, even those who dont grow bananas.
Unionist desperation grows with each passing day - Democracy being wonderful so long as they controlled it.

But once the peoples' choice didn't suit, we see immediate Unionist anarchy.
# Nautilus 2012-05-12 12:08
They tried this in the last Scottish parliament and look where it got them in the following Holyrood elections. Everyone recognises a wrecker of democracy. Labour is this vandal.

Where do they think it will get them when an SNP goverment holds the purse strings?
# Suomi 2012-05-12 12:10
These pacts make the labour election slogan about keeping the Torie out,seem rather hollow.
# proudscot 2012-05-12 13:34
Quoting Suomi:
These pacts make the labour election slogan about keeping the Torie out,seem rather hollow.

Well said Suomi, and it also makes Lamont's claim that these elections were all about "local" issues, as opposed to "national" politics, just as hollow.

This disgraceful behaviour by Lamont's London Labour Detachment, proves the SNP claim, "Vote Labour, Get Tories!" and should be repeated and hammered home at every opportunity in future political debates, especially on BBC programmes.
# ianbeag 2012-05-12 14:15
A phrase springs to mind, "These are my principles - if you don't like them I have plenty more" Here is a link that represents the situation in Stirling.

Is it any wonder that the turnout at elections continues to decline when voter preference is now being treated by the main Unionist parties with utter contempt.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-12 12:12
Dyke Louper."I like to think that I'm watching political dinosaurs going through their death throes and that eventually things will get better".
I pray SO much that this big self seeking Labour beast in Scotland,is democratically ousted from positions of patronage all over Scotland.
We've had them for about 70 years,give or take a few years.
Even the Corner Shop would have them off the shelves by now.
# daveniz 2012-05-12 12:14
in north ayrshire thankfully the SNP with its 12 councillors are in control with a coalition with the 4 independent councillors making the majority of 16 of a 30 seat council! the thing is labour shot themselves in the foot on this one after the SNP said they would run with a minority only for labour to do a deal with the tories hoping that the independents would side with them to oust the SNP who had the majority seats it backfired thankfully! but its shows how power hungry the labour party are that they couldn't accept a minority administration who would work with every party to try and power grab through the back door with the Tories!
# Dundonian West 2012-05-12 12:27
Exactly-----they're a bunch of rogues seeking power for power's sake.
The Scottish electorate can SO easily bring this monolithic Scottish Labour party system DOWN,painlessly and swiftly.
It's crying out to be done.
# Leswil 2012-05-12 12:41
What I have a problem with is why the SNP did not see this coming even hypothetically.The strategy for such an event should have been in place and allegiances made PRIOR to the election with possible allies, hedging their bets, so to speak.
Now that they are in, they will be falling over themselves to woo the population, knowing that they will eventually fall.
They won't care about that if it just gets to 2014. They fight dirty, so should we. SNP needs to stop trying to be the good guys all the time and get a bit more streetwise, and now.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-12 12:51
The Herald's take on these anti-SNP antics by the Red/Blue Tories.
Chief Political Correspondent.Balanced for once,----now the horsetrading's done and dusted.
# Marga B 2012-05-12 16:24
This quote from the minority Labour leader in Falkirk is positively sinister: "We will work in partnership with the Scottish Government where possible, but we will not be beholden to them."

Now it's one thing to seize victory from defeat by siding with oppopnents to take power (perfectly legal), it speaks ill of a group if they boast of foisting their ideology on the locals as if they had legitimacy to do so. They do not.

The same could be said of the Tories in Westminster.
# balgayboy 2012-05-12 12:56
Leswil: Your are correct, we are inclined to pursue ideology rather than the bare and brutal facts of how these unionist party's will operate and cooperate to stymie the Independence referendum. Would really like to see the SNP start flexing some muscle and testing the establishment especially the BBC, good viewing or listening for the general public I reckon.
# admiral 2012-05-12 13:10
Why is this news? Labour obviously support Tories always and everywhere before the SNP. Rather a Tory government at Westminster (remember they avoided a Rainbow Coalition) - buggins turn is the game. Your turn at Westminster, my turn in a few years time
,your turn, my turn, your turn, my turn
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-05-12 13:38
Your turn at Westminster, my turn in a few years time ,your turn, my turn, your turn, my turn

Its why a lot of people don't bother voting. Whats the point ? In England all the partys are basically Tory but up here we have a chance of getting something different. The people need to know.
# Dancemaster 2012-05-12 14:23
I have never read so much rot. Do we live in a democracy or not? The rules are being followed.

Labour/Conservative pacts are perfectly legitimate and anyone bleating about it just looks stupid.
# Old Smokey 2012-05-12 14:34
You seem to be missing the point
Yes we do live in a democracy
But when people vote for 1 party with views that are suppossed to be a reflection of their own, they dont expect the same party to colaborate with another that is diametrically apposed!
We all favour colabiration and cooperation, but at least with political parties that have at leas a similar persuation.
Labour/Tory pacts may be legitimate, but for those that didnt not want them in power at any cost, its a kick in the nuts!
# Dancemaster 2012-05-12 14:39
So the same goes for the Labour/SNP pact in Edinburgh then?
# weegie38 2012-05-12 15:17
Quoting Dancemaster:
So the same goes for the Labour/SNP pact in Edinburgh then?

The point you're Dancing around is that on policy, Labour tell us they are on the left, and the Conservatives say they are on the Right. The SNP are also on the left: therefore, when it comes to coalitions, Labour/SNP ones should be far more common than Labour/Conservative or Conservative/SNP ones. They should simply be a better fit. This is especially true in local government, since the major issue dividing the SNP and Labour has little relevance at local level.

The SNP/Labour coalition in Edinburgh is entirely consistent with manifesto commitments, None of these Lab/Con coalitions are.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-12 17:00
Labour politicians hate the SNP.
Labour voters are not sure about the SNP but having been warming to them.

Labour politicians are supposed to hate the Tories.
Labour voters do hate the Tories

It is supposed to look like this:
Left = Labour
Centre (a tad left) = SNP (originally the Liberals too)
Right = Tories

And that is how traditional Labour voters see it and why they are not sure about the SNP; Scottish Labour is a different animal from UK Labour in the eyes of its voters. However, they did not Like New Labour (big shift to the right, leaving the SNP very left by comparison even though they are just left of centre) at all and are increasingly leaving Scottish Labour as they admit that the latter are following orders from right-wing HQ in London, with SNP closer to their views.

Left+centre, left+centre+rig ht, centre+right. All these coalitions are typical/ok as appropriate to the apparent will of the electorate. Left+right, cutting out the centre is an unusual alliance and will not go down well with voters.
# Dancemaster 2012-05-13 08:18
The local election leaflets that came through my door featured Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon.

The Edinburgh SNP leaflets were about Scot Gov policies.

So how local was the election?
# snowthistle 2012-05-13 08:57
If we are being fair there was fault on all sides on that matter. I received a leaflet from our tory candidate which mentioned the SNP more than it did the tories and mentioned the Independence referendum four times in one leaflet.
I was also given a labour leaflet in Bishopbriggs which featured Joanne Lamont attacking the SNP and didn't mention the local candidates or any local issues at all.
No party should be doing this, and that includes the SNP. There is no need to even mention another party on your leaflet.
Fault is on all sides
# Dancemaster 2012-05-13 14:31
Good points.
# Dancemaster 2012-05-13 08:30
Alison Hunter's presumptuous remark that Glasgow was "a stepping stone to independence" certainly must have made the voters wonder whether the election was local or not.
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 17:29
Absolutely agree dancemaster, The tone of the article seems to be colalitions involving th SNP are good, but ones excluding them are bad. Somewhat contradictory, or partisan.
# truth 2012-05-12 17:40
Utter garbage. There is popular support for the snp and labour, and virtually none for the Tories. That is all that needs said.
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 20:03
Well, about 9% for the tories
# truth 2012-05-12 17:37
We don't live in a democracy, we live in a constitutional monarchy.

I personally can't think of a single democracy anywhere. US is a republic, not a democracy, same goes for everywhere.

Agree wholeheartedly with the rest of your comment.
# Marga B 2012-05-12 16:29
Perfectly legitimate, I agree, but turning the local constituency into a party political and ideological battle ground when you do not have a remit from the people is a bit questionable.

Were the population voting on the referendum for independence during the last elections or were they voting for people to administer their area?

I think your democratic (or maybe undemocratic) slip is showing, Dancemaster.
# mudfries 2012-05-12 14:40
The only difference between these two partys anyway is the colour of their ties! One of them is led by a millionaire public schoolboy who's never had a real job, and the other one is led by a millionaire public......, We'll, you know the rest.
# pete_w 2012-05-12 14:57
Is it not the case that the largest party has the right to attempt to form an administration, with that right passing to the next-largest party only if the largest fails, and so on? I think that would be a reasonable solution.
# snowthistle 2012-05-12 19:17
I would agree with that pete, the first two should try to come to an arrangement and whichever party cannot should step aside.
Should not be for the parties to decide it should be the voters who decide.
# Legerwood 2012-05-12 20:13
pete w

I think that was the position Gordon Brown took after the 2010 election i.e. the Tories had first dibs at trying to form a coalition since they had the most seats. Then if they did not succeed he would have tried to form a coalition.

Pity the current Labour people did not have the same approach and respect for the electorate.
# Suomi 2012-05-12 15:53
Dancemaster,the Labour/SNP coalition in Edinburgh is acceptable because their combined votes and elected councillors represent the will of the electorate.I think that in a democracy we do accept that the majority view of the electorate should prevail.A lot of the Labour/Conservative coalitions are not democratic because they ignore the will of the electorate.In those councils the SNP were either the largest party,had equal councillors to Labour,or had more votes than the largest party.We can try to spin the labour/Conservative coalitions as democratic,but I do believe that they have ignored the will of a majority of voters who voted Labour and SNP.Since the policies of Labour and SNP are so similar and since their combined vote was greater than a declining Conservative vote,I would expect a lot of labour and SNP voters to be angry.

It will be interesting to see what happens when by-elections come along.The history during 2007-2012 demonstrated that voters used byelections to change the control of their local councils.The Stirling Lab/Con coalition does look fragile and it will be interesting if a byelection occurs there.I believe that labour,who rely on frightening voters about the tory bogyman,have handed a gift to the SNP.Their is an article in Scottish Times today entitled:Vote Labour,get Tory.I think that labours tribal hatred of the SNP,has caused them to surrender one of their most potent election winning slogans.Since it is also the case that when you win power,the chiockens come home to roost,the SNP must be very happy about what is going on.

Finally,I would say that I am very comfortable about the Labour/SNP coalition in Edinburgh.I think that there are many pro-independence voters in labours ranks and I welcome the opportunity for labour and SNP to work together.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-05-12 16:00
In Aberdeenshire we have a coalition led by the Tories who got precisely half the number of council seats as the SNP.

The Tories are being supported by the LibDems who lost half their councillors and a bunch of Independents.

The SNP got the largest number of seats.
# westie7 2012-05-12 17:57
I have written personally to the independent who has publically stated the independent group is supporting the MAJORITY.

Independent group!! That's a contradiction in terms
# edinburgh quine 2012-05-12 16:07
Well, it's a good slogan for any future by-election, between now and 2014.

"Vote Labour, get Tory"

I'd like to know who thought multi-representative wards were a good idea? I think it serves to confuse, and the quicker we get back to single representation in each ward the better.
# Marga B 2012-05-12 16:34
The SNP are in a position to do so due to their majority in parliament, aren't they?
# Legerwood 2012-05-12 20:10
edinburgh quine,
I think it was the Liberal Democrats who were responsible for getting the Single Transferrable vote introduced. Their fetish for PR has resulted in this mess.
# Big Eye 2012-05-12 16:14
Totally agree with the comment above
# scottish_skier 2012-05-12 16:41
This will very likely come back to bite Labour on the behind.

They are surviving on their traditional voters - those who have always voted Labour and still believe them to be a left-wing party. They only did not too bad as they took a few extra votes from the Tories and the Liberals - keeping them treading water. So, most Labour voters either hate the Tories with a vengance (tranditional voters and Lib dem voters who have gone Labour due to the coalition) or are none too happy with them (any Tory voters who shifted). So what does Labour do? Form lots of alliances with the Tories.

Those Lab, Lib and Tory councillors who have decided to join up against the SNP must be seeing this as a way to damage the SNP and particularly independence. That is a ridiculous idea if it is the case and their voters won't even be thinking about it. All they will see is vote Labour get Tory....

The ironic thing is that their tactic will likely be a boost for independence whereas SNP-Labour coalitions would probably not particularly as they would not generate a voter backlash.
# Soloman 2012-05-12 17:28
Tories merge with New Labour! Next up Rangers merge with Celtic!
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 17:39
Many unionist do not trust the SNP. I was fairly impressed by the minority administration they ran at Holyrood, but am concerned now they have a majority. I suspect that the reluctance to hold a referendum any sooner than 2014 is because Salmond knows he would lose if it was held now. Therefore we will have as much to promote and entice us into independence over the next 2 years as possible, meaning that decisions will be made with that specific goal in mind rather than the greater good of country. This would be reflected in SNP led council areas.

Unionist parties focused on local issues and managing them by concensus is a good thing in my book.
# Keep UTG 2012-05-12 17:46
I don`t get this at all,what policies have they brought in that you disagree with?
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 17:54

I am against the freeze in council tax as I am I like local services and the real terms cutting of local budgets is not something i support, but I appreciate that was introduced in the last parliament.

But generally it is a concern rather than evidence, but why else delay something that is so important to get decided if it is not to allow them to land some populist policies?
# westie7 2012-05-12 18:20
The continual increases in council tax did nothing more than pad the unionist led councils, e.g. When labour ripped the sh1t outa Aberdeen.

Don't kid yourself that if the council tax was increased it would go to services, nah it would go to the new corrupt unionist coalitions we now have
# Holebender 2012-05-13 00:28
Why "delay" the referendum? Oh... I don't know... How about so that we can all have a chance to consider the issues and make an informed decision? Why rush the most important decision any of us will ever make about the place we all call home? I'd sooner people made the right decision in 2014 than a hasty decision now without knowing the facts on which such a decision depends.
# Marga B 2012-05-12 17:59
gfaetheblock - I think if it's gut feeling and not hard facts we're talking about, you could also express concern that it's parties with headquarters in London that are runnnng local communities in Scotland.
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 18:23
It is and i agree, I suspect all parties are basing decisions with the referendum in mind, which is why I think we should have it sooner rather than later.
# tartanfever 2012-05-12 18:03
gfaetheblock - What a daft argument. So your concern is that the SNP government are neglecting Scotland because all they are concentrating on is independence. what exactly are all the unionist parties doing just now ? Possibly spending all their time mounting personal attacks on Alex Salmond and the SNP without contributing one positive to Scotland.

Tell me this, since Lamont became leader of Labour 6 months ago, how many policy announcements have you heard from her ? I'll tell you, not one. Not one single speech that contains a hard policy to be introduced by labour in Scotland, just empty rhetoric of being fairer to families and creating more jobs. We can only presume then that as Lamont has not voiced one single policy that she would then follow all policy arrangements from Westminster, so you can expect:

higher council tax
end of free prescriptions
end of free care for the elderly
university tuition fees of up to £6k
privatisation of the NHS
privatisation of the Police force
the end of the minimum wage
the renewal of trident at a cost of £10's of billions.

If you're happy with that then vote Labour.

As for your claim about the SNP, then how do you explain the countless foreign trips abroad to drum up business and win investments, of which we are doing rather better than the rest of the UK ?

What about the work on the new CoE ?
What about the configuration and work going into the new nationwide police force, or the fire brigade.

I'd be interested to hear your reply about what the unionists have actually done in Scotland, apart from slagging of the government ?
# westie7 2012-05-12 18:22
Don't forget Scottish water :p
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 18:30
Is it labour policy to end the minimum wage? Must of missed that one.

I support no party, so I am not going to defend their policies. However it is hard for them to effect change from opposition in Holyrood. I am not saying that the SNP are not doing their job, but the amount of time and energies that are being spent by all parties talking about a referendum are energies that could be doing something more constructive if we had the referendum sooner. So why wait?
# tartanfever 2012-05-12 18:36
It may well be, but in reality it is now Labour policy to end cross board public sector pay and put these salaries out to bid. With the ongoing privatisation of the public sector, we will see public sector pay some areas plummet and it will be out to tender. This will see an end to the minimum wage, as well as any chance of a half decent pension.

Add to this labour's recent parliamentary decision not to vote in the house of commons in support of the public sector disputes over pensions - it clearly sends a signal to public sector workers across the land that labour will no longer fight for them.
# tartanfever 2012-05-12 18:53
However it is hard for them to effect change from opposition in Holyrood

All I'm asking is to hear one Scottish labour policy ! Just one, thats all.

I mean will they renew trident? Mmm - don't know, Lamont previously said no but when asked a few months ago by Scottish CND, she refused to answer.

Will they raise council tax ? - yes, then it get's near to election time and it's changed to no. I can guarantee you within months it will be back to yes, they've done this before.

University fees,, (election time again), now in today's Telegraph it's yes again. It's like a bloody yo-yo !

'We'll support an anti-sectarian legislation' they not.

Minimum pricing for alcohol - 'No Way' say Labour in Scotland. Now everyone in England is for it, including Labour down south, so what do our lot do up her, 'we'll we can't agree with the SNP' says Lamont to her fellow labourites, 'I know, we'll just make up our own policy.'

Everything they do is reactive, it depends on popularity and what their masters in Westminster do. If it proves to be unpopular in Scotland (Trident) then they just ignore the question. It's an absolute travesty of a political party, and I just don't see how you can make those claims about the SNP when Labour are easily far worse offenders.
# Marga B 2012-05-12 20:19
Don't know why that's the SNPs fault. They have their time-line, had it before the elections in fact and got voted in.

Why don't Cameron, Moore, the opposition parties just publish their alternative? Even they don't want the status quo. Cameron refuses to make any positive statement about Scottish powers until after the referendum. Instead he's blackmailing the Scottish people.

Who are making all the noise? In all honesty it's the Unionists who're shouting, let's see something positive. Then you can talk about energies being wasted.
# proudscot 2012-05-12 21:34
Quoting gfaetheblock:
Is it labour policy to end the minimum wage? Must of missed that one.

I support no party, so I am not going to defend their policies. However it is hard for them to effect change from opposition in Holyrood. I am not saying that the SNP are not doing their job, but the amount of time and energies that are being spent by all parties talking about a referendum are energies that could be doing something more constructive if we had the referendum sooner. So why wait?

Why wait, you ask? To educate the electorate about the benefits of raising and spending your own country's revenue, without reference to a Westminster government whose priorities are London and the rich, over-populated South East of England. Also to educate the same electorate about the scaremongering from the same Westminster politicians about terrorist attacks on Scotland the moment we become independent and the threat that Scotland would be liable for grossly inflated fantasy amounts of debt, with no reference to the share of the UK assets we'd also be entitled to ... etc. etc.
# Macart 2012-05-13 07:25
Spot on proudscot. We are selfishly delaying the referendum in order to inform and educate the electorate. Or as FFFFFoulkes would say. They're doing it deliberately. :)

It takes a wee while to get round 300+ years of brainwashing and there's a lot of information to get out there. In fact isn't it the case that the unionist parties have demanded detail on every facet of independence? I'd have thought two years wouldn't be enough to cover detail on every facet of government policy for independence.

I think we're being deliberately generous. :)
# snowthistle 2012-05-13 09:02
Waiting also gives the unionists an opportunity to outline their vision for the future of Scotland. If we are going to choose between two options we must know the full details of both options before we decide.
I'm a political anorak and I'm not sure of the unionist policies, they need time to formulate them. If they are already in place, they need time to get them out there
# Suomi 2012-05-12 17:54
Gfetheblock,I also wonder what SNP policies that you are concerned about,after being fairly impressed with the 2007-2012 adninistration.Whatever,indepe ndence that involves the creation of a socially just nation that is international and outward looking,is far more important than narow party political politics.I think we are moving beyond that and I look forward to seeing a broad based Yes Campaign that includes all political views and all sections of Scottish society.
# tartanfever 2012-05-12 18:12
My one concern about this story is that it presumes that Labour have wilfully ignored any approaches by the SNP to form coalitions in council.

How do we know that it is not us, the SNP, that have snubbed Labour during any negotiations ?

Before I get a hard time, I'm just putting that thought out here for us to consider, as without knowing what discussions (if any) actually took place, it's all a little presumptuous.

I'd like to know more facts about the actual negotiations.
# sneckedagain 2012-05-12 18:17
The poor contributions of the unionists on this issue and all the others is a very accurate reflection of the pathetic naure of their position on Scotland's future.
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 18:22
The traditional 'insult the unionist' approach. Expect to win many people over with this tactic?
# Glasgow 2012-05-12 18:28
Ah, the mockraged unionist approach. Don't think you'll win many converts to London's cause that way, do you?
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 18:36
Amused rather than outraged!
# jafurn 2012-05-12 19:22
To reiterate Tartanfevers question

All I'm asking is to hear one Scottish labour policy ! Just one, thats all.

I would also like to hear of a policy coming from Labour that would entice me to even consider voting for them.
Do you have one?
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 20:37
I am not a labour party supporter, so I don' t think you are asking the right person. I would imagine that they are a party licking their wounds after a terrible Holyrood campaign. They should be thinking up a new narrative to take to the Scottish people, as they have managed to do at the UK level.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-12 21:17
I have not seen any polling evidence that Labour have managed to do this. They have no clear manifesto and Ed Milliband is scoring very badly in party leader polls just as Dave and Nick are. Labour are just doing ok in VI polls because what alternative do people have to the disaster that the coalition is turning into?

Are Labour still New Labour? Have they moved back to the left or are they still centre-right? Have they become less authoritarian and more Liberal as they used to be? Until Ed and co come up with a clear manifesto and start making out how different they are / what alternative vision they have, then they will only be doing well in VI polls because they are the 'least worst' in people's opinion. ~32.4% turnout in the LE's south of the border is very telling. Makes Scotland's ~39% look very good.

Also, the poor showings for the Tories in UK polls is masking things. UKIP have been polling quite significantly. Add the two together and you are looking at 40% odd full on right wing polling south of the border - scary as the UKIP shift means even more right wing than in the past?

How are Labour going to attract a good part of that right-wing vote to ensure they get into power again? They'll need to keep some Blairite policies....
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 21:40
Good work SS, I do like that you talk to data rather than emotion, sets you apart.

I do think that milliband II is getting a bit more traction, although the amount of open goals that the PM is giving him, it would be hard not to.
# jafurn 2012-05-12 23:37
[quote name="gfaetheblock"]I am not a labour party supporter, so I don' t think you are asking the right person.

Fair comment and apologies for thinking otherwise.

However since you are a unionist could you then give me a good positive reason for Scotland remaining dependent on the Westminster government.
Another question I would like to ask is...

Who do you think is best equipped to further the economic interests of the people of Scotland?

D. Cameron
G. Osborne

E. Milliband
E. Balls

A. Salmond
J. Swinney

This is a serious question which I have asked on numerous occasions and I am usually surprised by the response I get.
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-14 21:40
Balls and Milliband, just.
# jafurn 2012-05-14 23:48
Quoting gfaetheblock:
Balls and Milliband, just.

Interesting coming as it does from a non labour supporter.
# jafurn 2012-05-15 00:02
Quoting jafurn:
Quoting gfaetheblock:
Balls and Milliband, just.

Interesting coming as it does from a non labour supporter.

I have to say I am a bit surprised at your choice given that the person who Balls and Milliband have entrusted as
deputy Shadow Scottish Secretary to Margaret Curran. is quoted as saying this....

Council elections 2012: a clash of style and personalities in Glasgow
3 May 2012 3:28PM

Dorice said:

"I don't think NOC would be too bad - unless Labour manages to con a minor party into doing the Westminster thing. But it could be bad for Glasgow too. At Holyrood Labour refuse to get involved in the decision-making and discussions - as one senior Labour guy said (I WISH I could remember his name !) 'our job is to oppose the SNP, no matter what the subject is.' That's exactly what Labour does, and if they do that in an NOC Council, the whole thing could grind to a halt (and they'll blame the SNP). It was sickening for me, an ex Labour Party member (in the 90's), to watch Labour oppose it's own principles and policies at Holyrood simply because it was the SNP who was continuing those same Labour policies !"

The "senior" Labour guy is Willie Bain, M.P. for Glasgow North East.

" There is a long-standing PLP convention that we do not support SNP motions".

It's actually amusing that he is "senior" at all, as he was only first elected in 2009 (replacing the infamous Michael Martin) but all of a sudden he is deputy Shadow Scottish Secretary to Margaret Curran.

So given that they will not even engage with the current scottish Government I fail to see how they can be better equipped to look after the economic interests of that country. That I think would apply in any similar scenario although I think it would be hard to find that situation anywhere else in the world.
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-15 20:48
If I said Gideon, would that have made me a Tory?

Think the Torries have prolonged the revisions and I think that Scotland is best served in the union, so it's a reluctant answer of Balls
# proudscot 2012-05-12 21:38
Quoting gfaetheblock:
The traditional 'insult the unionist' approach. Expect to win many people over with this tactic?

That shouldn't bother you, gfaetheblock, after all you keep repeating that you are of no particular political persuasion. So why would you feel insulted as a unionist - which of course you aren't, being apolitical apparently?
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-12 22:25
I have political views, generally centrist to left, but I am not a supporter of any political party and have voted for many, usually on a tactical basis.

I am a unionist.

Insults on a forum don't really bother me. I think the anger that some nationalist aim towards anyone who has a different perspective to them is funny, and politically counter-productive.

Hope this clarifies, I enjoy this site as I enjoy the debate.
# Jim Johnston 2012-05-13 05:18
You have honestly stated your position as a unionist.
Don't you think the unionists need to answer the main question "Who is best for Scotland", and spell out the benefits of the union. Jam tomorrow, perhaps, just won't do my friend.
# macgilleleabhar 2012-05-12 18:26
I am quite relaxed about the Unionists forming coalitions to run councils. They are from past experience inordinately gifted with incompetence especially in Aberdeen and in keeping with the established local procedure a Legal Challenge will soon appear as regards the UTG.
As for these Union Terrace Gardens in my, possibly Philistine( I live in Inverurie) outlook, I see the present gardens as a railway cutting with a derelict church spire in the background surrounded by the unsightly back of tenement buildings all much in need of renovation or a demolition ball.
# peter,aberdeenshire 2012-05-12 18:56
Quoting macgilleleabhar :
I am quite relaxed about the Unionists forming coalitions to run councils. They are from past experience inordinately gifted with incompetence especially in Aberdeen and in keeping with the established local procedure a Legal Challenge will soon appear as regards the UTG.
As for these Union Terrace Gardens in my, possibly Philistine( I live in Inverurie) outlook, I see the present gardens as a railway cutting with a derelict church spire in the background surrounded by the unsightly back of tenement buildings all much in need of renovation or a demolition ball.

I totally agree, took the train to town a couple of weeks ago and saw a handful of people in the garden whereas in the St Nicholas graveyard there were far more people including families enjoying the peace and the tranquility.
Union Terrace gardens used to be popular but I personally have not been in them since my days at the Techie many moons ago.
# ScottyC1314 2012-05-12 23:32
Exactly my perception. In all my years in Aberdeen I have never went down there. You can smell drugs being smoked when you walk down union terrace and at the other end there is a dual carriageway and railway line. Serenity in the city indeed. The gardens were undoubtedly fit for purpose in a by gone age but something radical and different is sorely needed now.

I also cannot understand the anti wood mentality. Local man done it a jealousy thing? He always comes across well anytime I have seen him (RGU) and for a near billionaire who is not used to failure, I can't see him tarnishing his reputation on something that cannot be delivered and is not in City's interest.
# fittie 2012-05-13 15:02
As for these Union Terrace Gardens in my, possibly Philistine( I live in Inverurie) outlook, I see the present gardens as a railway cutting with a derelict church spire in the background surrounded by the unsightly back of tenement buildings all much in need of renovation or a demolition ball.,

Rubbish man ,--Its the depth of the view that makes it an outstanding townscape .you must indeed be a philistine if you a street of 18th c buildings should be demolished ,
The railway and road can be covered without losing the view of the back of Belmont st
# Diamond Des 2012-05-12 18:42
More dirty tricks from the Labour party. Just what are these folks up to?
# Marga B 2012-05-12 20:23
Good one, Des, especially this:

"The Labour Party in Scotland faces serious credibility questions after the party made a "puerile" admission that it had submitted a series of responses to the Scottish Government’s referendum consultation in the name of Disney characters including Mickey Mouse and Daffy Duck – while not having submitted any formal response in the name of Scottish Labour."
# scottish_skier 2012-05-12 20:50
That is just purile if it is the case.

And if the Labour party have not actually submitted a formal response to the SG consulation then they have made a very grave error.

70% of Scots want almost complete autonomy from London (only ~5% want the old days of a unitary state). That's 40% odd ready to vote for full independence and 30% liking the idea but nervous to varying degrees about going the whole hog. Labour seem to completely ignore what is staring them in the face. The large majority of that 30% will be unable to help themselves on the day - their hearts will rule if the head can't give them an answer. That is what happens historically for obvious reasons.

I guess it is because many in the Labour party truly love the union and can't understand why people might not. Well, they are in for a shock come referendum day.
# hadrianswall 2012-05-12 19:34
This is just part of the realignment of Scottish politics in advance of the referendum. Unionists v Nationalists. Labour voters will increasingly see that a vote for labour is a vote for the tories. We must hammer home this message between now and 2014. We should start with a leaflet drop in those areas where labour have colluded with the tories. The message need only be simple " did you vote Labour? Well your Labour councillors have agreed with the Tories to run the council together. They have let the Tories in. Vote Labour get Tory.".
# fittie 2012-05-13 14:50
good point
# Barontorc 2012-05-12 20:22
When I toddle down to my polling station and put my "x" in the box of my choice - that means I want "A" to represent me.

When "A" finds that he needs to have a majority position to govern on my behalf he then seeks out a partner who is aligned to his views and he carries my wishes by my vote.

For "A" to seek coalition with a partner to whom I am totally averse in furtherance of an ideological issue is perhaps convenient for "A", but may be intensely infuriating for me.

I will not give "A" the opportunity to so do again!
# Mr Rational 2012-05-12 20:43
Is that Falkirk now a tory/lab council?

This is getting beyond a joke now, not that it every actually was a funny one....
# David Alexander 2012-05-12 23:10
Yes, Falkirk can nw be added to the roll of shame, not that I am surprised as you cant get a fag paper between them politically.
# Angus 2012-05-12 23:57
Been watching Labour Hame, they are a basket case, have been for a while.
But they have London's media punching the Scottish people day in day out about the usual too stupid etc.
# Early Ball 2012-05-13 07:25
I think it is all London Labour party strategy. The Willie Bain credo still applies. Edinburgh is the exception that proves the rule. The trams will be a nightmare so having the SNP involved means the blame can be redirected.
They can also claim they have formed alliances with all the parties and claim the "moral" high ground.
# amfraeembro 2012-05-13 09:32
Labours extreme reluctance to work with the SNP is perhaps due to their worry over the many pro-independence voters in their own ranks. Working with the SNP will serve to normalise the position of these Labour voting independists and even contaminate the Labour leadership at least at local level.
# fittie 2012-05-13 14:48
Deals with the tories ,Deals with the Orange order what next will labour do to protect their gravy train
# Marga B 2012-05-13 20:59
Interesting article in the Herald for once:

It sounds like Labour are being led from everywhere but the top or even from everywhere but Labour, and we are seeing the clever instrumentalisi ng and repoliticising of local government.

"Stephen McCabe, Labour leader of Inverclyde and tipped as a future Cosla president, told the Sunday Herald it was time to rebalance the relationship between local and central government: "We may be able to stand up to the Scottish Government a wee bit more. It's shaping up to be a different Cosla."
# Caadfael 2012-05-14 06:43
Surely if we concentrate on three main principles we can drag the rest along with us.
Practicality, not vanity.
Best pracitse, not foot-dragging,eg, VFM.
Common sense, unlike this little lot!
# sid 2012-05-14 21:10
OMG a breakthrough right now on the only thing you can comment on on bbc Scotland website someone has posted a link to this page on this site and got away with it.
I never thought I would live to see the day.
labours Dr Simpson says he's a socialist by the way Kay with an E coped with his confession quite well i felt. still laughing personally.
# Dcanmore 2012-05-15 13:04
We've now got a an SNP/Tory coalition council in Dumfries and Galloway, which has kept the largest party, Labour, out of power. Is this a rather awkward moment?
# scottish_skier 2012-05-15 13:26
No. Why should it be? The SNP are the centre (modest left) on the global scale. The Tories are right. Labour claims to be the left - a socialist party.

Left-centre coalition = normal
centre-right coalition = normal
left-right coalition = highly unsual

Of course UK New Labour are not the left, but a slightly milder than the Tories centre-right....

The SNP were the third largest group in D&G; it was up to Labour to persuade them to form a coalition; something they failed to do.

SNP voters are also pragmatic; they understand that the SNP will work to get consensus with all the other parties, be that with the Libs, Labour or Tories. That is what the centre is supposed to do. The Tories helped the SNP pass a lot of legislation post 2007 - did not harm the SNP one bit.

Labour in coalition with the Tories is another matter - they are supposed to be diametric opposities. Core traditional labour voters are socialists and hate the Tories. That is the mistake Labour are making which does not apply to the SNP.
# Sir_James_Douglas 2012-05-15 14:16
Scottish Skier;

That argument won't wash with voters!

The SNP probably shouldnt bang on about evil coalitions in our councils now that they have one of their own.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-15 19:11
Throughout the last term of the parliament the minority SNP relied on the Tories regularly to get legislation through. That did not seem to hurt them did it?

So long as the SNP are the majority, wielding the most power, then its ok with the electorate. If the Tories were the biggest party and a small group of SNP members propped them up to give the Tories a majority, then that would not go down well with the electorate... Think Westminster and the Lib Dems.

It's not really my argument as such, just what happens. I'm ok with SNP + Tories if it suits well the electorate of that area. I would not support Tories + SNP and neither would the SNP. The role of the centre is to keep balance as best possible.

I may or may not be right about Lab-Tory coalitions and that the core Labour old left vote will not be happy at all with that. We shall see.

Note that 50% of Scots used to vote Scottish unionist. Where are they? Well, they were not rampant capitalist 'me me me' people, more just slightly right of centre liberals or economically centrist social (e.g. religious) conservatives. They went to the SNP and the Lib Dems (closer to the centre) in the main when the Scottish Unionists merged with the increasingly right-wing English Conservatives.

Does this mean the SNP are the Tartan Tories? Not at all, they are the centre - something the scots electorate on balance has stuck stubbornly too all the way back to universal suffrage.

By comparison with New Labour and the Tories though, the SNP are the far left!

Scotland compares best in voting patterns with the scandinavian social democracies. Something we should be very pleased with.

BTW. I'm a big fan of Sir James Douglas.
# tartanpigsy 2012-05-15 19:28
My thoughts, exactly, and a big daft mistake from the SNP, doesn't matter even if they tried Labour first, should have stayed in opposition and kept the moral high ground.Let the voters see who does what, now they have no leg to stand on when it comes to bleating about COSLA etc, Top level of the Party should have no-no'd this move.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-15 20:12
There are a lot of people in that area that vote conservative. They will vote in the coming referendum and you may be surprised how many vote yes. They are Scots and have a right to have their views represented even though many of us may not agree with their ideology.

The biggest problem in politics is not listening to the other side. The left and the right agree on many things, yet unfortunately waste most of their time fighting about the things they don't.
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-15 20:41
Coalitions are a nessesary part of STV elections. Hopefully we can see that all parties are playing the same game by the same rules here. I see SS's logic, but SNP/Tory seems as odd bedfellows as Lab/Tory to me.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-15 21:00
Surely SNP/Tory should seem more odd? As New Labour are centre-right, then they should make the better bedfellows with the Tories? But then what are Scottish Labour really? They do their best to insist they are socialist, but are they? If left to their own devices without London calling the shots, they might just be; a lot of their traditional voters are. In that case, the SNP would be their obvious choice for coalition, the SNP being just a little left of centre. However, I suspect that UK Labour HQ is very much still pulling the strings; hence the widespread Tory-Labour centre-right pacts. I'm predicting this will not go down well with traditional Labour voters, even though it may suit the ends of the party in the current constitutional debate.
# HighlandBark 2012-05-17 06:50
From the P&J to-day.

The new Labour-led Aberdeen Council has just awarded itself an immediate 5% pay rise.

Also, the new council leader, Barney Crockett, will be moving into the former chief executive's office at the Town House.

Opposition SNP group leader said the move had' all the hallmarks of a massive power trip'.

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