Who will run Town House show af­ter next May?

Leader has hard task ahead Hop­ing staff strikes don’t take flight

Evening Express (Extra Edition) - - FRANK GILFEATHER -

CAL­LUM McCaig has 10 dif­fi­cult months ahead to es­tab­lish him­self as the leader of Aberdeen City Coun­cil. For, in May next year the elec­torate of the Gran­ite City will go to the polls – those of them who can be both­ered – to de­cide whether the SNP, with the 26-year-old in charge, should con­tinue to run the Town House show. There are, un­der­stand­ably, mis­giv­ings about Coun­cil­lor McCaig's ex­pe­ri­ence, or lack of it, to shoul­der such re­spon­si­bil­ity, con­ferred on him this week af­ter two suc­ces­sive by-elec­tion wins for the na­tion­al­ists. But, per­haps a more im­por­tant is­sue, cer­tainly for many out­with the strange world of pol­i­tics, is that this is a man who can­not claim to have had a “real” job, though he pre­sum­ably did some­thing rea­son­ably use­ful with his time dur­ing breaks from Edinburgh Univer­sity. Of course, pol­i­tics is brim­ming over with MPs, MSPs and coun­cil­lors un­ac­quainted with the world most of us in­habit. You have to look only at some of the puz­zling de­ci­sions they make to un­der­stand such a claim. Coun­cil­lor McCaig has been swept along with the SNP wave and has been thrust into a job which even he may con­sider has come too soon for him. From school in Aberdeen to a univer­sity de­gree fol­lowed by work for an MSP and then, in his early twen­ties, a coun­cil seat, this is a young man some will point to as be­ing co­cooned in the am­bi­tious world of pol­i­tics. He now has to turn his at­ten­tion to sort­ing out the fi­nan­cial mess in which the city coun­cil finds it­self, where tens of mil­lions of pounds worth of sav­ings have to be found. The jury has just gone out on Cal­lum McCaig. They will de­liver their ver­dict in May 2012. I WRITE this on the eve of my re­turn to Bri­tain, con­cerned that I may have to wait in long, strength-sap­ping queues at Heathrow and Aberdeen air­ports. I have had scary thoughts of man­age­ment fum­bling their way through mil­lions of pass­ports and not quite know­ing what to do should the pub­lic ser­vice work­ers’ strike go ahead. I hope my fears are un­founded.

NEW BOY: Cal­lum McCaig is one of the youngest coun­cil lead­ers in Bri­tain.

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