28 September 2017 – Call for Live Broadcasting Overturned By Council Administration

 

Statement follows from the SNP Argyll and Bute Council Group regarding the motion to give more transparency to our local government workings and decision making processes.

Argyll & Bute Council SNP Group. 

SNP Call for Live Broadcasting Unanimously Overturned by Argyll and Bute Council Administration

The ruling group on Argyll and Bute Council; a coalition of Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Independent councillors has voted unanimously to overturn a well publicised motion from the SNP Group. The motion asked that a piece of work be taken forward which would have seen the implementation of live broadcasting of council and committee meetings from the chamber at Kilmory. The necessary IT infrastructure is already in place in the council chamber and was installed by the previous council at considerable expense, therefore minimal financial outlay would have been required in order to progress the proposal.

Broadcasting of meetings has long been commitment of the SNP council group on Argyll and Bute Council and this motion was brought forward as an election pledge. There has also been mass support from the general public and elected members to this proposal in the form of an online petition, which to date has attracted 1146 signatures.

Whilst the Liberal Democrat 2017 manifesto for Council promised to “investigate how to make the workings of the council more transparent – for example, broadcasting council meetings” and many independent councillors actively campaigned on platforms across Argyll and Bute in support of this proposal; Unbelievably today, propped up by the Tories, they chose to quash any chance of this initiative being taken forward by putting forward an amendment with no plan or timeframe.

Commenting Cllr Julie McKenzie said;

“The SNP motion presented Argyll and Bute Councillors with a real opportunity to take forward a piece of work that would have enhanced the transparency and democratic scrutiny of the council’s decision making process, by making it much more accessible to many more of our residents”

I find it absolutely incomprehensible that instead of grasping the opportunity to work together to take forward something that our constituents clearly want to see, the ruling group chose instead to raise an amendment which effectively took any power away from the motion in order to kick the proposal to live broadcast into touch for an indefinite period of time.

Shame on the Councillors who recently campaigned on this pledge but then voted against it today. At the end of the day this is an absolute affront to local democracy and these councillors clearly now owe an explanation of this inexplicable U-turn to their constituents. ”

Also commenting Cllr Gordon Blair who seconded the motion said:

“It’s quite clear judging by the behaviour of the administration members in the chamber today that they have total disregard for the wishes of the petitioners and also displayed a complete rejection for collegiate working for the betterment of all Argyll and Bute’s citizens.

There was absolutely no need to present an amendment as the motion. The opportunity for live broadcasting from the chamber has been possible since 2013! With a revamp of our council website currently underway, this was the perfect opportunity to add to the public’s online engagement experience.

Following the behaviour we witnessed today in the Chamber from Administration councillors it’s quite clear as to why they are so desperate to prohibit live cameras. The concerted bleating about budgetary restraints ensures this issue will disappear without trace.

The people of Argyll and Bute should be bracing themselves for another five years of Tory/LibDem/Independent administration austerity.

Disappointingly many of the newly elected independent councillors fell for it all hook, line and sinker when in fact today they had the chance to honour their election promises made at local hustings some five months ago when they spoke so convincingly of striving for an open transparent council.”

Ends.

Notes for Editors

Motion
Cllr Sandy Taylor
Cllr Richard Trail
Cllr Julie McKenzie
Cllr Gordon Blair
Cllr Lorna Douglas
Cllr John Armour
Cllr Audrey Forrest
Cllr Jim Lynch
Cllr Jim Findlay
Cllr Ian Shonny Paterson
Cllr Jean Moffat

Amendment
Cllr Aileen Morton
Cllr Gary Mulvaney
Cllr Len Scouller
Cllr Roddy McCuish
Cllr Kieron Green
Cllr Robin Currie
Cllr Donnie MacMillan
Cllr Graham Hardie
Cllr Barbara Morgan
Cllr Alan Reid
Cllr Andrew Vennard
Cllr Yvonne McNeilly
Cllr Bobby Good
Cllr Jim Anderson
Cllr Mary Jean Devon
Cllr Ellen Morton
Cllr David Kinniburgh
Cllr Sir Jamie McGrigor