Evening Telegraph (First Edition)
Steve Finan Open up on Olympia fiasco
WHEN an opinion column is published online there’s an opportunity for readers to comment. This is valuable, whether readers agree or think you’re a glaik.
And I mean that. All responses, even no responses, are useful. If a columnist churns out bland pap, no one cares or comments. If everyone disagrees, they’ve misjudged the mood of the people and learn from that.
Politicians should take note – listening to people is a good thing.
There is another type of comment: the new idea.
Last week, after I suggested Dundee city councillors are taking voters for granted with their strange silence over the Olympia Centre debacle, an online comment piqued my interest.
A respondent, “George”, suggested a mass meeting in the Caird Hall, with councillors and council officers, to take questions on the Olympia.
George said: “We might get to the real truth of what’s going on.”
What a brilliant idea. I’m sure Dundee folk and city councillors alike will see the merits.
And so now I call upon the city council’s mysterious public relations department to set this up (I say “mysterious” because I can never work out what purpose they serve to earn their wages).
This would be a great way to demonstrate accountability.
The benefit for voters is that they’d get to know the truth. We could ask those in power what went wrong? Whose fault it was? What legal advice was given? What is our £6 million being spent on? When problems were identified, and when they were acted upon?
For councillors, they could show they are properly representing voters.
It would be especially good to see the SNP group robustly interrogating their leaders to really drill into the problem
and have all their constituents’ questions about the continued closure of the Olympia leisure centre answered.
It would be an opportunity for them to show they aren’t nodding dogs who go along with whatever they are told.
They could prove it truly is
the city they represent, not their party, not themselves.
Each could stand up in turn and demonstrate they can think for themselves and are not afraid to ruffle feathers in their party hierarchy if it’s for the good of the city.
They’d love it.
And it could be videoed so everyone could see the democratic process taking place.
Everyone’s a winner. I can’t think of a single reason this could be argued with.
So come on city council PR dept, put down your chai lattes and get it set up.