Thursday Dec. 18 th. 08. To the council for the education meeting, yes that meeting, the decision on South Primary School. A novelty was immediately apparent, for many parents this was their first glimpse of the SNP/Lib.Dem. Cllrs. who are laughingly called their representatives, there at last was Cllr. Adam, a big talker but, alas, not a doer, the famous comic singer and self publicist Cllr. Mitchell, a man who would turn up for the opening of an envelope remained in self imposed purdah, while Cllr. McGurk at last showed up, parents were asking who they were, her included, she is the only local councillor on the education board which made her disappearance all the more cowardly and all the harder to take for her bitter constituents, maybe some had made the mistake of voting for her.
Cllr. Cameron the convener sat in the chair like a female version of “Weir of Hermiston” her expression and body language like someone who has just stood in something nasty, she opened with an outrageous and unsubstantiated slur by suggesting that some people? said that the officers took delight in closing schools, which people ? She did not elaborate, did she mean the parents, the teachers, other councillors? just a typical SNP slur, still she knows how to win friends and influence people eh ?
Labour’s Jim Harte moved an amendment to the SNP/Lib. Dem. Closure motion and proceeded to dismantle the council case, bit by embarrassing bit but, this was talking to the deaf, in a devastating passage he stunned the chamber by reminding everyone that throughout this whole sorry farce neither the SNP/Lib.Dem. councillors nor the education officers had at any time mentioned what; if anything in all of this was best for the children. All they had talked about from the start to the end was money, not education, not children’s progress, not parent’s feelings, just money, a damning comment on the council, Labour’s plea to give the children of South Primary an early Christmas present fell on deaf ears, this was these parent’s first time seeing their councillors do their job and they were appalled by the SNP.
Such was their determination to close the school 'come what may' that the following points and hammer blows were absorbed by the council who sat there praying for the final bell.
Labour – “the method of using ‘capacity’ to determine the school usage was bogus, it’s been discarded by Glasgow City Council and professionals find it misleading” Renfrewshire Council, “No comment”
Labour – “there are 4 schools in Renfrewshire which are more expensive to educate children than South Primary, why then is South Primary closing” Renfrewshire Council, “No comment”
Labour - reminded the SNP of their promises “to lower class sizes” while now raising them by closing South Primary, Renfrewshire Council, “No comment”
Cllr, B Lawson managed to lower the tone by questioning the honesty of the parents when he referred to letters and emails which had been sent in “the guise of children” an arrogant callous insult from an uncaring bean counter who knows nothing about children’s education and cares even less. The parents found it hard to remain calm at this malicious insult by Cllr. Lawson SNP, a nasty piece of work indeed.
Neil Bibbie (Labour) in a devastating intervention reminded the meeting that the sum being saved by closure £191,000 was less than the SNP/Lib.Dems. gave to their senior council officers as a pay rise, this is SNP priorities. In a final act of humiliation for the education convener she moved to the vote rather than speaking to her own closure motion, a complete humbling for her and her party. Mark McMillan (Labour) invited Convener Cameron to apologise to the people of Renfrewshire for her mishandling of the education brief; he was met predictably by her most truculent sneer.
Following the vote to close the school the parents walked out of the meeting shocked, in a near by anti room I found anger and many tears, they had fought a magnificent campaign, they had demolished the council case, they had got the public on their side, how could anyone deny that they had won the argument, how could anyone vote to close the school? they made one mistake which, not being involved in politics they could not have foreseen, they allowed themselves to believe that the SNP were honest, that they (the SNP) would do the right thing, that they (the SNP) and the pathetic spineless Lib. Dems. who are always for sale, would do the decent thing. They have learned a painful lesson but they are not finished, they are now looking at ways of continuing the fight.
They deserve to win; they deserve the support of everyone who cares about the future of Renfrewshire’s children.
MORE POWER TO THEM, THE FAT LADY IS CLEARING HER THROAT BUT SHE STILL HASN’T SUNG.