The mouse that roared


COSLA, it seems, has finally found its voice with a belated intervention in the Scottish election campaign.  But is it a case of too little too late because COSLA has been losing credibility for years.  (See post dated 16 April 2011: ‘COSLA isn’t working anymore’.)

The Convention’s chief executive, Rory Mair, has spoken out with a ‘plague on all your houses blast’ at Scotland’s main political parties.

COSLA says their election manifestos are ‘unambitious, largely irrelevant and financially unsound’.

And in a nice Rolf Harris touch Rory Mair received the backing of no less an authority than own his brother, Colin Mair, who happens to the the chief executive of the Improvement Service, another publicly funded body which supports the work of Scottish local government.

Now all of this is fine and dandy, but lashing out at the last minute and in all directions is not going to win COSLA any friends, or influence the policy debate.

Where have the political leaders of COSLA been all this time?

For years they’ve been happy to go along with the council tax freeze – because it’s widely popular with the voters.

Not one council has defied the Scottish government over the past four years over the policy, but now COSLA tells us they’re fighting mad.

Aye right.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

Significantly there’s not a word from any elected council leader.  In the media coverage it’s the highly paid ‘professional’ staff who are speaking out.

If I were still in the trade unions business what I’d be asking is: how come the Scottish government is able to give a no redundancy pledge while making 10% cuts in its spending budgets – yet Scottish councils can’t match that pledge while making only 3% cuts in their budgets?’

Now if we started getting a straight answer to that question, then we’d have a real debate