Our city’s not for sale

If you live in the Newington/Southside ward, you’ll have seen in my election leaflet that I wrote:

Who, in their right mind, would vote along party lines to spend £4 million pounds of council taxpayers money for a study into something that they had no intention of seeing through? That biblical incompetence and chronic misguided party political driven wastefulness means that the entire population of Hallhead Road (where I grew up) will be paying their Council Tax for the next 60 years just to fund that particular piece of party political shenanigans – this is unacceptable.

I’d seen the arguments about privatisation reported in the Scotsman and local blogs, with councillors slanging each other along party lines.

Fundamentally, I believe that core Council services should simply be delivered “in house” by a good, motivated, loyal workforce, an appreciated workforce, delivering the basic services within the community.

I am fond of the principle of a workforce dedicated to public service and appreciated for their efforts. To abandon something that pretty well works and go through a quagmire of term contracts, outplacement service contracts and monitoring – it would have been a difficult path and I don’t believe it would have saved any money.

Handing out wholesale service delivery to companies driven by profit would most likely end in tears and it would be a mammoth task to reverse when the experiment failed. And what would have happened to the families of the workforce of the council?

Certain pockets of necessary specialist expertise will always require to be “bought in” but I would prefer that to be the exception rather than the rule.

That would have been my starting point if I’d been on the council when the idea of “Alternative Business Model” was brought up.

As for this kind of treatment of council employees – shameful is the only word for it.

“The management put a notice up for 12 days’ overtime, which we had the option to work on our days off, but after two days they took it down and we found out Enterprise were going to be brought in.

“We actually had to find out from an agency worker rather than the management.

“The council is always on about saving money but surely it would be cheaper to pay us.”

The worker added: “The guys are thinking too much work is being handed over and the morale has really dropped because it would have boosted their wages.”

And it seems to me the campaign Edinburgh Against Privatisation was a real example of local democracy in action. A councillor should represent Edinburgh and the people of the ward that elected them – that’s what local democracy is about.

Vote for Gordon Murdie