As our council leaders, those elected and otherwise, prepare to lay waste to our education service, the one thing we should not be is surprised. When the Scalloway Junior High secondary department was allowed to close, the writing was on the wall. The then councillor Bill Manson declared there was no appetite for more school closures. He was not to be believed then and, quite interestingly, I note that he now is asking us to believe what he says about the accursed windfarm.
However, the new councillors that have been elected, to give them their due, made no pretence whatsoever in their election manifestos that they were going to oppose the cuts in our services. Indeed there were candidates, and councillor Allison Duncan comes to mind, who positively called for cuts.
We are now in the ludicrous position, though, of having two council leaders, one who has recently stood for parliament as a Tory candidate and the other who is scaremongering us into believing that a west of Scotland, totally unaccountable health quango will be treated in the same way as an elected democratic council. Perhaps councillor Malcolm Bell can point to the last time a local authority was hi-jacked and taken over. If this absurd premise is true, why hasn’t Edinburgh’s council been taken over?
We also now have a councillor in charge of education who actively supported school closures in her election manifesto. So really what else can we expect?
The waters are of course being muddied by the Shetland Charitable Trust pantomime and the extravagant, absurd claims of Viking Energy. Not content with laying waste to our education service, we are also going to lay waste to our environment.
The point I am trying to make is that we have voted for these people and we should expect nothing better. Once the schools go, all our other services are fair game, and will be treated in a similar manner. The only thing that can be hoped for is that some of our councillors, on reflection, following in the footsteps of Martin Niemoller – the poem he has been credited with has been cleverly used in this paper – will see that there are different ways, even at this late stage, of tackling our financial situation. It is never too late to change views, and, perhaps taking a leaf out of the good pastor Niemoller’s book, we might be able to halt this carnage.