Editorial: New Year beckons but do not hold your breath on changed attitudes

Sunday Supplement
The editor voices his views on Moray‚Äôs most topical events of the past week…..

Chamber of horrors?

A new year brings with it new hope – alas, it seems that some things are not going to change if the comments made by the newly appointed Convener of Moray Council are anything to go by.

I find myself in the unusual position for this first editorial in 2015 of not commenting on insideMoray stories, but rather one that appeared in the Press and Journal.

Councillor Allan Wright – perhaps unsurprisingly – chose that newspaper to pen a review of his achievements in the grand role of Leader of the Council, one that was created for his benefit at the start of the current administration.

That his term of office in that particular post ended in acrimony after two and a half years was blamed by Cllr Wright firmly on the SNP opposition.

The member for Heldon & Laich conveniently left out the fact that his plans for rural schools in Moray were actually dumped not just by the SNP but by several independent members of his own administration – and, crucially, two members of his own Scottish Conservative party.

My own concerns and that of many, many people in Moray have not been so much about the work of Councillor Wright, but in his absolute refusal to listen to reason.

While he brushed over the Library cuts as being part of his success, he ignored the furious reaction to the fact that what he was attempting to do was not so much against the will of the public but against the advice of his own legal officers.

The arrogance displayed at that time was quite breathtaking – in effect, the Council Leader was prepared to call what he fully believed was a bluff when people were so angered that they were prepared to take Moray Council to the Court of Session.

In the end he had to back down – he could have done so gracefully, but instead he continued to insist that he was right and everyone else was wrong – but he would do the minimum to avoid an expensive legal wrangle.

What he still does not seem to appreciate is that yes, as highlighted in his P&J article, he did lead Moray Council into some very solid and sensible decision making.

Alas, he completely undermined much of that by treating opposition members of the council and the general public with utter disdain, and that is something few are likely to forget. One can only hope that in 2015 the new Convener resolves to listen as much as he speaks.

Yellow Saviour

As I pen this editorial there is every chance that crews from RAF Lossiemouth’s SAR detachment are preparing to once again fly over the North Sea in search of missing souls.

Time and again people in Moray have looked up as the Sea King flew overhead, a sight as familiar to them as once was the Nimrod.

Nimrod has gone forever and we know that the Sea King is now on borrowed time as it will cease to fly from the end of March. All things come to an end of course and we have to accept the simple fact that these wonderful aircraft have done their job.

The Sea King will be replaced by a new civilian-based service operating from Inverness Airport, and by all measures these new, modern aircraft flown for the most part by experienced ex-military crews will do every bit as fine a job.

It is heartening that like the Nimrod before it there are those in Moray who simply refuse to let our heritage slip away. The Morayvia group fought tooth and nail to obtain the last Nimrod – now they are set to do the same for the Sea King.

They are already working on a site in Kinloss where Moray’s fantastic military heritage can be placed on permanent display. I wish them every success in their bid to obtain a Sea King to add to their collection and look forward to enjoying the odd visit to these knights of the sky.

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