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Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard


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ARGYLL AND Bute Council - referred to in the chamber by deputy leader Gary Mulvaney as the ‘Glorious 32’ - has voted down a motion that sought to implement live streaming of council meetings by January 2018.



At last Thursday’s full council meeting at the authority’s Lochgilphead headquarters the motion, tabled by Cllr Julie McKenzie of Oban following a 1,000-strong online petition, was defeated 18-11 by an amendment tabled by Cllr Keiran Green.


The motion and amendment differ only on one point. The motion had timescales, the amendment does not.


Debating the point, several councillors said they felt that they had more pressing issues to tackle than making their processes more available to the public.


Council Leader Aileen Morton, who voted for the amendment, said: "I always saw myself as a star of stage and screen. I’m not against it but if it costs a lot of money, it’s not a priority." She added that she didn’t think it was a burning issue, and that she was concerned about how many people would watch.


She added that most of the serious work was done in committee, so broadcasting full council meetings wouldn’t offer the public much insight.


Cllr Green - who signed the petition for the motion but tabled and voted for the amendment - said that the motion failed to take into account the cost involved. The motion said: "The Council agrees to undertake the necessary costings and other work necessary to facilitate the broadcasting of all full Council meetings..."


Cllr Mulvaney said that he thought roads, bins and dog dirt were more of a priority for the public.


Cowal councillor Alan Reid said he would like to see it, but questioned the legitimacy of the online petition, suggesting that a large number of signatories were not from Argyll and Bute. He also said the cost would need to be investigated. He had said previously that the technology was not robust enough.


Cllr Roddy McCuish invoked the spirit of PM Theresa May, saying: "Now is not the time."


Cllr Yvonne McNeilly of Cowal said: "The perception that what we do here is top secret is ludicrous." She indicated that the press were present at the meeting. Full council meetings are always held on weekday mornings.


On the other side of the debate Cllr Blair, also representing the Cowal ward, said: "There is a perception of secrecy about what goes on here, more scrutiny of it is to everyone’s benefit; councillors and the public." Proposer of the motion, Councillor McKenzie, said the council had ‘kicked live streaming into the long grass’.


Prior to the live streaming motion, the administration tabled a motion which outlined its vision for the full term. SNP group leader Sandy Taylor asked for a 15 minute recess so the contents of the document could be digested, saying that this was the first sight they had of the document.


Provost, Councillor Len Scoullar, called Cllr Taylor ‘a liar’ as he dismissed calls for the recess. He altered his statement under advice from the council’s head of governance and law. The motion was carried 18 votes to 13.


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