Deadlocked councillors must cast aside general election

George Alexander

AN INDEPENDENT COUNCILLOR has hit out at the refusal of the two main political groups in the newly elected Moray Council to talk to each other.

Councillor George Alexander was a plain-speaking member of the last Independent and Conservative administration.

However, he has been a central figure this week in talks with both the SNP and Conservative groups – and says he will not link with either unless they “stop being childish”.

Mr Alexander is one of eight Independent councillors elected last week – one has since resigned, while two others have said they will remain ‘fully independent’. The nine-strong SNP group and eight-strong Conservative group have been trying to woo the remaining five as well as Labour councillor John Divers.

Councillor Alexander said: “I have been doing my best to get the SNP and Tory groups to speak to each other – but understand that both are instructed against that by higher-ups. It is a disgrace that people outside Moray Council are deciding how elected members behave.

“We are stuck in a position where neither of them can create a majority group, and that’s what annoys me about party politics.

“I can’t speak for my colleagues, but I won’t be joining any group who behave so immaturely – both groups are terrified of speaking to each other, they are acting like fearties who are scared of angering their masters.”

While talks continue in the hope of creating a workable administration group before Councillors are due to appoint their leadership at the first meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday, it is understood that meeting may be postponed with councillors having until Friday, May 26 to agree a way forward.

Editor Comments

They can stand together – but can they work together?

Nobody should be surprised in the slightest that the SNP and Conservative groups will not speak to each other – after all, their parties are currently head-to-head in the General Election battle, with few now willing to predict who will win that fight.

How can the SNP and Conservative members work together – even for just a month – while slinging large dollops of mud on the streets of Moray as they canvas in support of either Angus Robertson or Douglas Ross?

There may be five candidates in the General Election in Moray, but nobody is being fooled that this is anything other than a two-horse race.

George Alexander appears to hold the key to Moray Council with his four Independent colleagues – given his past statements, however, you have to appreciate his willingness to work with both political groups.

Only a week ago he said on his own Facebook page: “I am convinced that many voters watch the news and vote on the basis of which national party leader they like the best – at the moment, Ruth Davidson and Theresa May are clearly the ones with the X-Factor.

“Otherwise how do you explain the fact that all eight Tory candidates in the eight wards in Moray came from nowhere to be elected at the first stage in every case. I look forward to June 8th when a number of SNP MP’s will realise how shoogly their pegs are!”

Words that perhaps underline the very reason why the SNP and Conservative groups are in a near-impossible position.

The answer, perhaps, is for every one of them to grow up – separate the council from national party politics, treat their support of Robertson and Ross as entirely separate issues for their private lives to deal with – then get around a table and bloody talk for the good of Moray, not their own misdirected party political pride.