DCSIMG

Councillor in one-finger salute to protesters

A SENIOR city councillor has landed himself in hot water by making an obscene one-fingered gesture to carol-singing protesters.

Councillor Trevor Davies stunned the group of parents and children as he was heading into a champagne reception hosted by developers in the Old Town.

Save Our Old Town (SOOT) campaigners were singing cheekily adapted carols and songs to voice their objections to the 200 million Caltongate development.

But when they greeted him with a personalised ditty he snapped and made his frustration with them abundantly clear.

The city's planning convener was stung by a song to the tune of Weel May the Keel Row: "Trevor is a planner/But he's not got a banner/He's selling off the Old Toon/To build a big hotel."

One of the protesters, Sally Richardson, secretary of the Canongate Community Forum, said she was holding her two-year-old daughter Lily at the time.

"Luckily Lily does not know what that means, but we got a clear message from him," she said.

"Are we to look forward to being rudely gesticulated at by Trevor if he does not agree with us in the future?"

Cllr Davies now faces an official reprimand after a formal complaint was made against him.

The incident took place on Tuesday night outside the Fruitmarket Gallery on Market Street.

Protester Catriona Grant, chairwoman of the Old Town Community Council, said: "We obviously rattled Trevor Davies, but his reaction was aggressive and we were all taken aback.

"He is the convener of the planning committee and we need to be able to approach him and debate with him but. With such an attitude, that might not be possible."

Mrs Richardson added: "It was a light-hearted song and definitely wasn't abusive but he was clearly angry and stuck up his middle finger to us. The fact there were teenagers and small children in the audience just made it worse. What kind of an example does that set to young people when they see it from someone in a position of authority?"

Other protesters accused Cllr Davies of being "rude and intimidating" towards a peaceful, family protest. Council sources say he has had to explain his behaviour to city leader Ewan Aitken.

In a statement, Cllr Davies said: "I was going to a Christmas party, and, unusually, my wife, who has nothing to do with politics, came with me.

"As we approached the venue, in the dark, I heard various quite personal remarks. I find that unacceptable and it made me angry. As a politician, however, I understand I should not have reacted publicly in any way and I apologise if anyone was offended."

The city's Tory leader, Councillor Iain Whyte, said: "Cllr Davies is a big boy and should know better than to react to things like this - regardless of what was said by the protesters.

"Perhaps he needs to behave in a more adult manner in future."

A council spokeswoman said councillors were expected to adhere to rules of "appropriate conduct". She said: "The complaint will be looked at closely by council officials who will decide whether to take any action."

It is understood any action taken by the authority against Cllr Davies is likely to be limited to some form of reprimand.

NOT-SO-CLEVER TREVOR

FORMER television producer Trevor Davies has rarely been far from controversy since joining the city council.

The man behind the hit series Hamish Macbeth has offended New Town lawyers, city retailers and 4X4 drivers in recent years.

• Four-wheel drive owners were offended when he compared their vehicles to the "ugly" wheelie bins protesters were fighting against.

• He upset retailers during the road tolls debate by suggesting they do more to attract shoppers rather than moan about tolls scaring away motorists.

• His bravado backfired when he challenged a public meeting of New Town residents, including several lawyers, to "take us to court if you don't like our wheelie bin plans". They did.

• John Lewis bosses were not amused when he publicly described their flagship London store as "tatty", after they raised concerns about the impact of road tolls.

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page