Editorial: The Old Rock 20.05.11

When Tavish Scott and Alistair Car­michael reported the council to Audit Scotland almost two years ago, after the then chief executive David Clark deleted the post of his assistant chief executive, it precipitated the Accounts Commission inquiry and the appointment of Alistair Buchan as interim chief executive to clean up the mess.

The mess, of course, dated back to the Nick Reiter affair. Councillors last week agreed to put in place a series of new regulations and protocols that, if properly adhered to, should prevent a recurrence of the Reiter tragedy and the Clark farce.

Thus, they implicitly accepted the correctness of their parliamentary peers’ action. Yet, as they consider Mr Scott’s suggestion this week of improving relations following his re-election as Shetland’s MSP and his party’s disastrous election performance, it is doubtful that many councillors will view the situation that way.

Someone other than colleagues who grasped how bad things were had to point it out; Mr Scott and Mr Carmichael paid a price, and may continue to pay, for choosing to do so. And yet the arrogant disdain, which is usually in inverse proportion to ability, of some members, remains on display.

Until this attitude gives way to humility, or indeed until the ‘we know best’ mindset is cast aside at the ballot box, it looks as though the politics is going to lag behind the procedures. The Olympic Torch isn’t the only thing that keeps on burning.


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