Thursday, 15 March 2012
A momentous event occurred in Glasgow yesterday - the ruling Labour Group which has run the City Council since nineteen umpteen has lost its overall majority.
Well maybe the nineteen umpteen business is a bit of an exaggeration - strictly speaking it's more like four decades.
But you know what I mean - this is an earthquake in political terms - and a terrible omen for Labour with the local council elections just around the corner in May.
Labour councillor - Shaukat Butt - who is facing charges that he assaulted his wife has finally decided to resign his membership of the ruling Labour group - having been suspended since last year.
The continuing suspension combined with the fact that Councillor Butt's case will not be dealt with before polling day on May 3rd 2012 - means that Councillor Butt cannot stand for election.
So he seems to have jumped before he was pushed - and the scene is now set for a 'battle royale' with the SNP over the next six weeks - for control of Scotland's largest council.
I don't know Councillor Butt personally - but he doesn't strike me as the brightest button in the box - having told the newspapers that he recently voted to support Labour Group's budget in Glasgow 'by accident' - because he pressed the wrong button.
Which is as daft as it sounds - and makes the Labour party in Glasgow look completely mad and desperate - like a local government version of the Keystone Cops.
Now it has to be said that Labour in Glasgow has alienated a lot of people - especially thousands of low paid women workers - who were very badly treated by the council over equal pay.
Action 4 Equality Scotland is currently pursuing over 5,000 claims against Glasgow City Council at the Employment Tribunals - which the council leadership is still resisting and has refused to settle.
I can't imagine many of these people - most of whom will live as well as work in Glasgow - will be well disposed towards the Labour Group which has run the city all this time - in fact ever since equal pay became a big issue back in 2005.
The 'tame' trade unions in Glasgow - GMB, Unison and Unite - have lost all credibility with their own members for the craven way that they behaved over equal pay - lining up behind the council employer - instead of standing up for low paid women workers.
The big unions are all signed up Labour supporters - but I suspect that's a big liability these days rather than something to be proud of - so maybe it's payback time.
Maybe Labour in Glasgow is about to reap what it has sown - when it comes to equal pay and the treatment of its lowest paid workers.
North Lanarkshire Council is now the only council in Scotland where Labour has an overall majority - though it has its own problems over equal pay as regular readers know.
So does South Lanarkshire which is technically a 'hung council' - but Labour is effectively in power having been propped up by a deal done with the Conservative Party - back in 2007.
Yes, you guessed - Labour is perfectly happy to get into bed with the Tories when it suits them - probably even in Glasgow if they were to get the chance.
But it has to be said - the omens don't look good.