Like my colleague Iain Dale (the Lib Dem one), I was dismayed to read over the weekend that there was a move afoot to try and expel Cllr Martin Ford from the Lib Dem group on Aberdeenshire Council.
Thankfully, if this BBC report is accurate, the move seems likely to fail, but it is despicable that the attempt was made at all.
I have blogged before about the disgraceful way in which Martin was removed as convener of Aberdeenshire's planning committee as a result of his (entirely legitimate) casting vote to refuse planning permission for Donald Trump's golf and housing development on the Menie Estate. I highlighted then that I thought the lack of support he had from some of his party colleagues was dreadful.
Since then, I have had a chance to hear Martin explain the background to the Trump development at a public meeting at the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Aviemore a few weeks ago. He highlighted that there were legitimate grounds for either supporting or opposing the application and noted that the debate had been of exceptionally high quality.
I think anyone who heard Martin at that meeting would have been impressed by the calmness, rationality and integrity with which he put his case. He went out of his way to avoid any personal criticism of fellow councillors, and indeed of Donald Trump himself.
Following that meeting, I was even more convinced that Aberdeenshire had made a mistake in removing him as the planning convener, but I think even Martin accepted that that was now all in the past. However, for him to be still under attack from some of his party colleagues is despicable. I think those who are persisting with this witch-hunt are in serious danger of bringing the party into disrepute.
If there are any of my Lib Dem colleagues in Aberdeenshire reading this, I urge you all to just show some common sense, move on from this whole unfortunate episode and concentrate on the job of running Aberdeenshire. If you don't, you will surely pay the price at the next elections.
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