Ex-Labour stalwart hails SNP regime at council as ‘revelation’
A former Labour stalwart says the party “made a mess” of its eight-year reign in charge of Scotland’s smallest council and hailed the SNP regime which replaced it as a “revelation”.
Councillor Eddie Carrick, now an independent, insists it would be a “crying shame” if Clackmannanshire Council is recaptured by his former party when voters go to the polls in the local government elections on 3 May. The governing Labour group fell in January when Councillor Carrick quit in a bitter fallout with his former party after being de-selected as a candidate.
But Labour have played down his departure and believe it can seize power again next month.
Councillor Carrick, who is standing again as an independent, insisted he left the Labour party after 36 years as a “matter of principle”.
He added: “I’ve worked hard for the last 10 years for the people of Menstrie and its well documented.
“It’s up to the people – if the people believe I can continue to do that then they will vote for me. If they think I’m not doing the job they expect, then they won’t.
“I think it would be a crying shame if Labour got back in because they made a mess of it in the years they were there. There was hardly a house built.
“I think the SNP since they came in, they have been a revelation and they’ve put their policies forward and put them out there and the people can vote on them.”
Labour deputy group leader Bobby McGill said his former colleagues de-selection was “unfortunate”.
But he added: “That’s just how it goes. Any of us could be told that we’ve not got the vote.”
He insists the 18-seat council, the smallest on Scotland’s mainland, will be a close battle where unemployment and housing are expected to dominate.
Councillor McGill added: “We’re very upbeat about it – we think we can take the council back. We know there will only be one seat in it. Either they will get nine or we’ll get nine. That’s how close it is. We’re confident we’ll get as many as we did last time and maybe take one more.”
But Labour are only standing nine candidates this time around, while the SNP are putting up 12, a move seen by many as a statement of intent by the Nationalists.
Gary Womersley, the new SNP council leader said he inherited debts of £180 million from Labour – the third highest in Scotland. The last administration was also forced to write off £10 million of debt, he said, accusing it of “financial mis-management” during its period in power.
“I think we’ve brought a degree of rigour to the council’s finances that it has never seen before,” he said.
“There’s certainly an appetite for maintaining the momentum of us seizing control earlier on in the year.
“We’ve delivered more in a short period in administration than the previous Labour regime did in the past four-and-a-half years.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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