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A week of farce ends with lawyers banning councillors from voting


Dated: 17-09-2010






  • The Council solicitor is having more and more influence on the battle by residents to have their case heard fairly.


  • At a vital TIE meeting on Tuesday the solicitor has decided not to allow democracy to be done or seen to be done.



  • For good measure he has also stopped the city centre councillors from voting on it as well.


  • Who is the Council solicitor, when did we vote him or her, or them, in?




There is obviously a place for legal advice to provide a framework of informed support for debate on complex subjects----But where does ‘advice’ end and ‘democracy’ begin?

In recent weeks the council didn’t attend a meeting called by Lothian Health Board because of‘Legal reasons’


A motion put to the council by resident’s councillors was hacked to pieces at the last moment and all the main points removed ‘for Legal Reasons’.

The city’s air quality experts cannot speak because of‘Legal Reasons’


Now Residents are to be prevented from speaking about the issues again because of‘Legal reasons’; and their democratically elected councillors have their vote taken from them becauseof ‘Legal Reasons’


The last seems to be because in the past they have, as one put it, ‘expressed clear views on the TRO and thereby (unwittingly) debarred ourselves from taking part in the vote

But in a number of decision making meetings previously haven’t all members expressed clear views whether for or against both in debate and in the way they vote.


How can the simply expressing views on an issue in the City debar councillors from then voting?  How can any councillor ever express an honest view, or relay the views of constituents, under this kind of use of ‘Legal Reasons’


Of course there isn’t time for the residents to challenge what seems a bizarre reading of the ‘personal and prejudicial interests’ section of the code of conduct for councillors of the Standards Commission for Scotland


So as ordinary citizens concerned about a problem the council simply will not face up to, we are left to publicise it as widely as we can before, no doubt, we get threatened by‘Legal Reasons’


If we are wrong then why don’t they just prove us wrong and we’ll go away---But don’t destroy democracy by hiding behind‘Legal Reasons’ at every turn.

 There are 134,500 households in Edinburgh who the council know will face worse air pollution if the tram is ever rolled out than they would have without it.   This over 20% more than the number of people who will have improved air quality if it is rolled out.

Air pollution leading to more asthma especially in children who wouldn’t otherwise get it,  and more deaths before time, especially in older people, who wouldn’t otherwise die as soon, is the issue If the Council could find legal reasons to suppress this then they probably would---but unfortunately the above statistics are their own figures intheir own report*.

*STAG appraisal report by consultants Mott MacDonald  for tie section 7:12 pages 113-114