Friday, 11 July 2008

Lib Dems join coalition

Highland Council has a new ruling administration, following agreement between the Independents, the Lib Dems and the Labour party to form a new coalition.

I have to say I have some mixed feelings about this. I'm glad that the Lib Dems now have the opportunity to put their ideas into effect on the council and I'm delighted that we are at least making noises about decentralising the way the council operates. It was overly centralised when I was on the council and things have got far worse since then.

However, I do wonder about how exactly the coalition will work in progress. The problem about the Indies being a disorganised rabble, which was central to the difficulties the previous Ind/SNP administration experienced, is not going to go away. I'm also not sure about how having a separate convener and political leader of the council is going to operate - it seems a recipe for future confusion if you ask me.

There's also the role of the opposition SNP group to consider. I suspect they're quite relieved not to have to take some of the difficult budgetary decisions which will be coming up over the next few years, but that's not going to stop them stirring up trouble. And an SNP councillor of my acquaintance admitted to me recently that they're looking forward to spending most of their time campaigning against Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander over the next couple of years.

So, I wish my Lib Dem colleagues on the council well, but don't imagine that things are going to be easy.

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