‘SNP held Glasgow’ was trumpeted after the local council count by a Scottish media with very little to work with from a pretty non eventful election.
The ‘hold’ was true but the ‘grip’ is fragile. The previous shockwave win of SNP from the long incumbent Labour stronghold in 2017 was seen by many as a seismic democratic change for Scotland’s largest city. The reality though from pals from my home City and visits to friends and family is that not much changed and many of the changes are not largely positive.
This is disappointing as Scotland’s ‘Dear Green Place’ has so much going for it in both its architecture, green spaces, vibrant culture and of course it’s indomitable people.
The fragility of last week’s results is that a slim majority leaves open the very real possibility of losing control from by-elections, where those is power tend to be at a disadvantage when constituents are angry. The machinations of forming administrations is not always straightforward but it can be telling as to who is willing to work with who and why!
A fragile majority on any administration puts pressure on those who were elected to demonstrably deliver! Given the need for serious work from our local authorities at anytime never mind a cost of living crisis, stability and focus is key.
The last Glasgow SNP administration was beset with early bad press from the Lady Provosts’s spending, leading to her stepping down from role, to a series of resignations from SNP councillors, claiming issues with group leader and overall discipline within the group.
One week on from the election we saw front page of Glasgow Evening times with a splash story on a recently re-elected SNP councillor who they have now ‘fact checked’ statements he made at recent election hustings as evidently ‘untrue’. This relates to excuses he made when attempting to explain his 84th of 85 position on council meeting attendance – not ideal when seeking re-election. He was re-elected, so, where does that leave his voters?
It’s interesting this story broke a week after his constituents cast their votes so it’s a moot point as to whether it would have made any impact if voters had been made aware before the vote but it does raise a wider, serious issue.
How do voters know what’s true? I’ll explore this in next part of this blog: How do voters know what’s true?