Editorial: ‘Buck Passing’ warning a bit rich coming from politician

Sunday Supplement
A very busy week at insideMoray so let’s take a look back via the Editor’s view on what was happening……

Surface water floods

Buck Passing? A bit rich… (www.jasperimage.co.uk)

As many will have gathered from editorials in the last few months, I’m no friend of Moray Council – not something that everyone notices mind, was actually accused of being in the employ of our local authority this week!

So I find myself in a pretty strange place in starting this week off by defending our local authority.

In a report on Saturday we related how our local MSP is warning the council against ‘buck passing’ over the surface water flooding that has blighted several of our communities for years.

Now, I’m the first to have a go at councillors and in particular council officials who at times seem well out of touch with the real world occupied by most of us.

But I found that a bit rich coming from a national politician – like they are not known for indulging in a bit of buck passing from time to time?

Quite apart from all else is the fact that Richard Lochhead’s meeting with Scottish Water came several days after the Leader of the Council and several officials had already met with the same chief executive of Scottish Water.

Rearrange these words into a common phrase – the, on, jumping, bandwagon.

(But those who think I’ve gone soft on Moray Council, read on…)

Coastal Tourism

One of my biggest bugbears as someone who has travelled to many of the world’s most wonderful holiday destinations is how little we have used the natural and stunning beauty we have right here on our doorstep.

So I was delighted when my friend Joan Megson suggested we lead our respective community councils in getting together to try to do something about that.

After a great deal of hard work from Joan, the first meeting of a group with representation from Burghead, Hopeman, Lossiemouth and a few places in between took place – and agreed to the formation of a joint approach to promote tourism and facilities along the Laich Coast.

This is a move I really do hope people buy into in a major way – it deserves support, similar attempts have been made in the past and failed at the first hurdles. Hopefully, this time…..

Hopeman Community Hub and Library

Great to note that the new Hopeman Community Hub and Library will receive a grant of just over £1000 – this wonderful community effort came about because of our Council’s utter disregard for the importance of reading (see, that did not last long did it).

Not so great is the fact that this fantastic initiative is struggling to grow because it lacks any real space in which to operate.

A small back room in a local hall is fine – but when a brand new state-of-the-art facility is empty just down the road – and indeed the older library it replaced just a few years ago is also sitting there, unused?

That is simply scandalous, crass or just plain stupid – take your pick.

Education, education, education

It is fantastic news that £17.2million is to be spent on four primary schools, but for me there is no escaping the thought that yet again our local authority has jumped on the cart before the horse.

I have not forgotten that the extent of the dismal financial future facing Moray being painted by Moray Council turned out as not nearly as bad as the picture they were painting.

After slashing services a couple of years ago because of predicted Armageddon like magic it was discovered that the predicted shortfall from the Scottish Government was nowhere near as bad as expected.

Fast forward…. and again the Sustainable Education Review is billed as absolutely necessary because of the repair bill facing our local authority.

But then out of the blue appears this £17.2million from the Scottish Government – and, by all accounts, a promise of an even bigger financial boost from the same quarter next month.

If this will have an affect on our councillors when they meet to decide the future of rural schools and Milne’s High School remains to be seen.

A very worrying thing is that the main opposition group at the Council, the SNP, are not making the kind of noises that would be encouraging to ‘save our schools’ campaigners.

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