My column praises the hard work done by many councillors and council workers.  But I will not shy away from attacking councils that are failing their communities - like Dumfries and Galloway where learning support teachers and classroom assistants are being slashed by Labour, or West Dunbartonshire where the same party is slashing hot dinners for pupils. The SNP's new  Community Empowerment Bill will give real democratic control to communities, especially those who are not served well by local authorities. We are empowering the people - Labour want to empower their cooncil cronies.

As for the Lib Dems, they are so dozy they seem to think Alex Salmond still has "aides" - in fact he is no longer First Minister!  The Lib Dems are part of a Westminster government which is slashing public services to the levels of the 1930s, for local and central government, so they have a cheek to pose as champions of councils or anyone else. The Lib Dems time in office with Labour at Holyrood from 1999 to 2007 completely undermines their claim to be the party of decentralisation as they ring-fenced large parts of local authority spending. 

 Both Labour and the Lib Dems at Holyrood allowed council tax to rise by 47% - something local communities will not readily forgive. 

 Under the SNP our Holyrood Parliament has gained huge respect and trust by delivering free university tuition, free prescriptions, free school dinners for primary 1-3 and safe-guarding advances like bus passes and free personal care in the face of massive cuts to out budget from Westminster. The three unionist parties yesterday all voted for continued austerity at Westminster, with Labour agreeing to match those coalition cuts. No wonder the SNP are miles ahead in the polls!

Link to column


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