Coun­cil­lor to stand down in Lochaber

The Oban Times - - LETTERS -

Sir, There’s an end point for ev­ery­one in pol­i­tics. Ev­ery­one, ir­re­spec­tive of their pol­i­tics, has a shelf-life.

Hav­ing been in­volved in pol­i­tics since my teens, I knew what was ahead when I was first elected. Hu­man na­ture is no dif­fer­ent in pol­i­tics than in the le­gal pro­fes­sion, busi­ness or in any or­gan­i­sa­tion which has win­ners and losers.

Hav­ing fought three elec­tions since 2003, I’ve de­cided it is time to leave rep­re­sen­ta­tion to a younger can­di­date in the May 2017 coun­cil elec­tion.

It has been a priv­i­lege work­ing as an elected mem­ber over the past 14 years and I am sure the new rep­re­sen­ta­tive in ward 12 will join other Lochaber coun­cil­lors in fight­ing Lochaber’s cor­ner.

Over the past three years, Lochaber coun­cil­lors have found com­mon pur­pose ir­re­spec­tive of party af­fil­i­a­tion and a rap­port I hope is car­ried for­ward into the next five years.

How­ever, I would ad­vise any can­di­date to re­mem­ber that with­out dif­fer­ences of opin­ion, there would be no democ­racy. It is only right to note that, ir­re­spec­tive of one’s views, there will al­ways be oth­ers who will dis­agree.

So, if you can’t stand the sight of your own blood, don’t run for po­lit­i­cal of­fice.

With four of the seven Lochaber coun­cil­lors stand­ing down, the op­por­tu­nity is open to any­one with strong po­lit­i­cal views to put them­selves for­ward for elec­tion.

The ac­tions of some politi­cians can take your breath away. It’s not un­like re­spectable peo­ple at­tend­ing a football match and say­ing and do­ing things that would be unthinkable in their every­day lives.

In pol­i­tics, sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions arise when some politi­cians over­step the mark. They nor­mally do so as a group and re­fer to it as be­ing ‘po­lit­i­cal’ be­liev­ing this should ex­on­er­ate their ac­tions. Blam­ing oth­ers and gain­ing be­liev­ers is in their eyes com­mend­able.

There is no doubt that many politi­cians ex­ag­ger­ate their claims to saint­hood while dish­ing out vit­riol to op­po­nents and at times to mem­bers within their own party. The blame game is rife in pol­i­tics.

You can’t ar­gue with some­one who has made up their mind. As Johnathan Swift said a few cen­turies ago: ‘ Party is the mad­ness of many for the gain of a few.’

Pol­i­tics is the science of who gets what, when and why. When it comes to sav­ing money, the most vul­ner­a­ble have al­ways been easy tar­gets. Any­one can make de­ci­sions to save money by mak­ing peo­ple re­dun­dant and cut­ting ser­vices.

An­other ex­am­ple of money- sav­ing mea­sures is to re­duce salaries through a job eval­u­a­tion process. Un­for­tu­nately, this has a ma­jor im­pact on lower-paid staff who can least af­ford any pay cut while those on higher salaries can well af­ford a cut which many would barely no­tice.

In the past, this process has been rec­om­mended by of­fi­cers in those high level posts.

Very soon, we ex­pect to face a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum. We can ei­ther vote for West­min­ster and Brexit, which makes us Union­ists, or we vote to make our own de­ci­sions in Scot­land.

At the next in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, we vote for an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land or for the sta­tus quo. There is no third choice on the ta­ble.

Coun­cil­lor Bill Clark, The Highland Coun­cil.

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