Time for change
Sir – At last, an injection of community campus sanity into the otherwise febrile twaddle of the last few weeks (and in the case of DG One, the last few years).
John Holroyd’s letter in your issue of October 5 identifies purely facts in looking back and, in the last few paragraphs, states a well-justified, apolitical and rational view of the short-term future. Concise and accurate... well done Mr Holroyd.
There is, however, more on so-called competitive tendering that is not well known and that shocks most who find it out.
Much of my time in elected politics, particularly during the 1980s, was spent trying to mitigate the effects of Thatcher’s blunt, anti-democratic attacks on councils and, through these, on the public they serve.
In trying to save the jobs of in-house dedicated tradesmen and women, I, and others, would have been prepared to accept a slightly higher tender (in the compulsory process) to retain democratic control of a loyal workforce with secure jobs, reasonable conditions and local spending power.
The small print of the law, however, made clear that any councillor not deliberately voting for the lowest tender would be personally surcharged for his/her share of the difference and any associated court costs. Furthermore, these same councillors would be removed and disqualified from holding public office again.
I’m not so close to these issues now and there may have been changes to the competitive tendering legislation, but that experience may help your readers to understand the Hobson’s Choice that decision-making councillors often face.
It is always easy to dress up measures such as CCT to make them appear to be something they are not. They were, and I suspect still are, instruments to limit meaningful local democracy while boosting the profits of private companies.
Where the workforces of big businesses are bussed in and out of the area, for the duration of the contract, few of these profits and wages are ever spent in our local economy. Things need to change.
Peter Rennie Terregles Road Dumfries