Thursday, 15 January 2009

Come in Bearsden and Milngavie, your time is up!

Wonderful suggestion in the Herald in regards to the
re-organisation of Local Government in Scotland - most notably that Bearsden, Milngavie and the other 'burbs of Glasgow should be brought into the fold of a metropolitan council.

About blooming time I say!

If anyone wants proof that the citizens of these wealthy enclaves make full use of the services provided by Glasgow City Council without contributing to its running, you just have to check out the queues of 4x4s racing back to their countryside retreats at the end of another working week doing whatever it is one does in order to live in Milngavie. They tramp the streets and fill the litter bins that my council tax pays for, and then live in luxury unhindered by the common folk of The City (It always seems to be said in a dramatic voice).

Of course, the good folk of the burbs do not wish to be reunited with their urban brothers and sisters - in fact many of the urban crowd doesn't particularly want them back! This particularly goes for Labour Councillors who wouldn't get much benefit from some of the few remaining Liberal Democrats in Scotland suddenly appearing in George Square. Indeed, the inclusion of the 'burbs would actually lead to the Tories being more than a single entity in Glasgow, a distressing situation if ever there was one.

However, the chance to force these isolationists to actually pay for the services they use would help the City coffers, whilst restoring an element of fairness to life in Greater Glasgow. Such is to be welcomed.

Of course, this is actually all a very serious situation which deserves in-depth consideration and debate. Unfortunately that will have to wait for another day when I am not snowed under with work! So in the meantime, the campaign starts here to restore our comrades in Milngavie, Bearsden, Giffnock et al into the welcome embrace of the City of Glasgow, where they will pay for what they use. And in a spirit of niceness and welcoming, we will even allow them to still vote Lib Dem!


Mark Gallagher said...

i stayed in clarkston for years and thought it being outside glasgow was bizarre

the easiest way to get to other parts of east renfrewshire was to get a train into glasgow and back out again

now im in rutherglen and find it just about as weird that it isnt part of glasgow frankly

it does occur to me that whether a partuiclar merge will happne could depend on what its political balance is though, you arent going to get councils under one parties control bursting to bring in more opposition votes

Not a Village in Westminster said...

You are right Mark, the political mechanics will be a barrier to any immediate changes.

As a rough estimate combining current numbers of councillors, a metropolitan area covering Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire would see Labour just short of a majority, with 60 councillors from 123 total. This would require minority control, or a coalition with (I would guess) either the Lib Dems (9), Greens (5) or independents (4).

Interestingly, on current levels Labour would have a slim majority of councillors in an area which included either Glasgow and East Renfrewshire (54 from 99), or Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire (53 from 103). This demonstrates that a Glasgow metropolitan area would still be a strong electoral area for the Labour Party, with very real opportunities for retaining control.

Obviously any re-organisation would be more profound than what I've outlined above - it would likely include parts of South Lanarkshire for example and would therefore alter the basic number jigging that I've done. However, these changes could in fact benefit Labour, and certainly demonstrate that changes to local government should not automatically spell the end of Labour control of Glasgow.

The Bearsden Cat said...

Hmmm... It seems you have considerable angst against people priviliged enough to live in areas such as Milngavie and Bearsden.

It seems that the only real reason to incorporate these areas within the Glasgow City Council would be stamp out ill-conceived prejudices against "Thae posh folk fae Bearsden in ther' big hooses"

East Dunbartonshire SSP said...

Hey! we don't all disagree with you! As a blow-in to Bearsden, I would love it to be part of Glasgow!

Fact is, East Dunbartonshire is one of the richest areas of Scotland. What a brilliant way to share out the wealth! The large council taxes the rich here in the 'den and up the road in the 'gavie (sorry... that didn't quite work...) would be most welcomed by their neighbours, Drumchapel and Maryhill.

Bearsden is a lovely place to live (though have to say, when some of them queue up in shops here they are quite rude and would walk through you to get served first - wouldn't have happened in Stevenston...) and there are nice people. Some of the nicest are the retired ship-workers and coalminers who managed to save and get a nice wee house here.

And the Scottish Socialist Party have a particularly strong branch in the area (not reflected in it's voting figures... though each ward seems to return around 100 socialist voters... not bad for a very middle class place).