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Council Elections - Wick - Graeme Smith - Independent

14th April 2012

Photograph of Council Elections - Wick - Graeme Smith - Independent

FIVE FRUSTRATING YEARS
WHY THE HIGHLANDS MUST HAVE A NON-POLITICAL COUNCIL

I have now served on 3 successive Highland Councils. I can safely say this that has been the worst. It has been the first "political" council and the connection is clear. The absurdly named "independent group" has worked with (i.e. UNDER) first the S.N.P. and then the Lib.Dem/Labour whip. I have never accepted such a "whip". Neither administration achieved much for the Highlands. Although I was a Lib. Dem party "hack" in the fist two councils I was always permitted to put my community before any national "policy" considerations. The current Lib. Dem. Leadership has, unfortunately, entered into the unholiest of matrimonies and I could not support them in this council. I saw the political machines at work from the inside. It was not a pretty sight. The priorities in these groups are clear: P.P.P. Power, Policy, People - in that order. Of course it should be the other way round!

The parties in Glenurquhart Road take their orders from their commanders in Edinburgh/Glasgow. The vote is decided the day before in rooms closely monitored by party officials more than elected councillors. Policy before People, national convenience before local communities. Top down governance. Big Government always degrade into Bad Government.

There is a wonderful passage in Sir Walter Scott's 'The Heart of Midlothian' where old Mrs. Howden is berating the Union (of parliaments in 1707):-
"I dinna ken muckle about the law.but I ken, when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stanes if they werena gude bairns - But naebody's nails can reach the length o'Lunnon".
These words are now set in stone at Hollyrood. What Edinburgh laments about "Lunnon" Highland laments about Hollyrood and Caithness laments about Glenurquhart Road in Inverness. Hollyrood and Inverness would do well to reflect on that simple truth.

Russell Johnston once surprised a Scottish Liberal Conference by saying that being a Liberal was not about following a set of policies, it was about having an "attitude of mind". Being a Highlander is much the same. Wickers, Caithnessians and Highlanders deserve better than government by centralising dictat. Only locally focussed independent minds will fight for local communities.

Only independent hands will "peeble" the bad bairns in Hollyrood and only independent fingers will scratch an Inversnecky itch. Don't let parties poison local politics. Vote for a truly independent candidate (preferably me!)

smith.graeme.m[AT]gmail.com 01955 605298

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