Once again, it would seem that the way to get things done in my neck of the woods is to make sure that you have a friend in high places. As these 'high places' are the dozen or so local authorities that cluster around Glasgow the 'friends' you need will be of the councillor variety and, to narrow it down, a Labour councillor.
Readers, it is my pleasure to present to you another in a long line of 'controversial' local politicians of the socialist variety. Councillor Jim Docherty of South Lanarkshire council.
Sunny Jim, ( he does have a cheery grin. I would too if my house was worth £320,000), appears to be very friendly with a local property developer chappie called James Kean. Councillor Docherty was most anxious to ensure that any planning applications submitted by Mr Kean's business connections sailed through unchallenged.
It is perhaps prudent to mention at this point that Councillor Docherty is a 'long standing and influential member of the planning committee' as well as chairman of the estates committee.
SNP councillors eventually complained about his behaviour at planning meetings. Some of the allegations against him are as follows -
3. The persons complaining (“the complainants”) alleged that, when a particular planning application came before the meeting of East Kilbride Area Committee on 30 January 2008 for consideration, the respondent tried to lobby support from other councillors and conducted himself in a manner that was aggressive, bullying and disrespectful to other councillors and to staff. The first and third complainants pointed out that the Labour Councillors on the Area Committee all voted as a block in support of the application and questioned whether the party whip had been used for this purpose.
4. The complainants’ specific allegations were that the respondent did not speak through the Chair that he interrupted and spoke over other councillors and that he behaved like a bully.
5. The complainants’ allegations were supported in some measure by Councillor Gordon Simpson who took an opposing view to the respondent and proposed the successful amendment to refuse the application. He stated that the respondent interrupted the discussion, failed to respect other councillors and acted in an aggressive manner, although he added that the respondent’s conduct was of no consequence to him (Councillor Simpson).
Councillor Docherty was cleared of any dodgy goings on by the Standards Commission Scotland.
There are now calls for him to resign. Personally I would think a police investigation is in order. There is numerous comparisons to what is happening in South Lanarkshire to what happened in Glasgow under Stephen Purcell's watch.