News broke last week of up to 500 jobs being cut from Glasgow Life – the body that runs our city’s museums, leisure facilities, community centres and libraries.
This devastating news comes only a few months after the Glasgow Times reported that up to 59 venues may never reopen their doors after the pandemic.
Our city’s cultural and leisure facilities are under real threat and it is time for the SNP Government to step in and give Glasgow the funding we need to keep these venues open. We also must demand why the city’s SNP politicians aren’t knocking on the door of their SNP colleagues in Holyrood demanding the support our city needs?
I’ve been critical previously of the way in which SNP politicians in Glasgow would rather submit to their bosses in Edinburgh than stand up for our city but the hypocrisy of the nationalists over the last few days has been astounding even by their standards.
On Thursday morning, the leader of the council, Susan Aitken, tweeted her thanks to The Herald for “joining” her in making the case for additional resources for Glasgow’s cultural and leisure treasures.
You might be forgiven for wondering why it takes a newspaper campaign to convince the SNP head of Glasgow City Council to lobby the SNP Government at Holyrood, and the SNP First Minister (who is also a Glasgow MSP), for the resources we need to preserve our world class facilities. Because only a few hours later the job losses were reported and suddenly Cllr Aitken was bunkering down again and was all too quiet.
Rather than coming out fighting to save these posts, she sent out her deputy, Glasgow Life Chair David McDonald, to do what the nationalists do best – pivot, deflect, and attack.
Councillor McDonald isn’t sticking around to be held accountable by the electorate, of course, next year but unfortunately for the rest of us we will be forced to live with his mismanagement of city’s cultural and leisure services.
Perhaps it is because he knows that he is soon to depart that Cllr McDonald feels liberated from whatever minor constraints he felt on civility in the conduct of public duties to wilfully disseminate false information about members of my group in a nakedly desperate attempt to deflect attention from his own multiple and manifest failings.
In a social media post on Friday, he tried to claim that Glasgow Conservative councillors were somehow complicit in cutting 500 jobs. The topic of discussion he is referring to was a vote on the council’s general voluntary redundancy policy. It says a lot about the competence of Cllr McDonald and his colleagues that they can’t tell the difference between a general council HR policy and their proactive attempt to cut 500 posts.
We all know that the financial forecast is tough, especially in light of the pandemic, but real leadership is taking responsibility for the decision you take rather than trying to blame them entirely on others.