ROSES is reid,

Violets is blue

Rates cover ainly 14% o Glesga Cíty Cooncil’s spendin in a financial year.

It’s that time o year: the shoppie winnocks goupin fu o fairlies celebratin the season; colleagues sneakin unsigned infographics oan Land an Environmental Services spendin intae yir bag; couples birlin thir wey hame fir tae see yin anither – no tae spried the sheets, ken, but tae hae a gowk at the Glesga Cíty Cooncil spreidsheets an see hoo thir local government is tryin tae cope wi the effects o a decade o austerity an anither fundin shortfa o millions.

Ma mither thocht, dear reader, that ye’d prefer a nice, lichtie column oan Valentine’s Dey insteid o a collieshangi anent the shortfas o oor attitudes tae local government, but TOUGH LUCK, WEANS. It’s budgets yer gettin. An there’s nae Angel Delight fir efters, so dinnae gie me that petted lip.

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A’d like tae stert in the Cíty o Luve. But, as ye’ll can guess, it’s no the romance o the Left Bank A’m efter, unless ye mean the governance o the fift an saxt arrondissments. In 2014, Paris electit 163 cooncillors wha’ll hae pooer until 2020. The majority group, 91 seats, is made up o cooncillors frae fower dífferent pairties an a wheen o divers gauche, or miscellaneous left-wing cooncilors. Oan the opposítion is three richt/centrist pairties an some divers droite.

In the Unitit Kingdom (somehoo writin “Unitit” in Scots maks me see the ward fir whit it means an A laugh alood. Unitit? Are ye, aye?), thon arrangement wad be seen as a guddle. Minority government an coalition is seen as a destabalisin disaster in Westminster, an fir aw it’s bin the reality fir maist o the life o oor devolved government, we’re no muckle better at it in Holyrood. Consensus decision-makin is no the hairt o oor polítical system. Aftentimes, it disnae een feel like a skill políticians – or voters – admire.

Sae. The Glesga Cíty Cooncil budget. If it’s a guddle yer aifter, A’ll gie ye a wee case study.

Onie o youse that’s read an Evening Times o late will nae doot hae seen the stramash ower the leaked potential closure o Whitehill Pool in Glesga’s East End. Naebody kens wha leaked it, bit the community rallied roon tae try an sauve a valuable resource. The baths is no just a place whaur fowk come thegither an exercise, it’s got the ainly disabled swímmin club in the cíty – a lifeline fir disabled fowk an thir carers frae aw roon. It’s also got a wee learnin pool that cannae be seen bi the public, so mair Muslim parents can bring thir bairns.

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Whitehill baths became no just a rallyin pynt fir a community, but a fitbaw fir the twa dominant pairties in the cooncil – the SNP an Labour. Here’s whaur we differ frae Paris. By brandin the GCC budget an “SNP” budget, the war can begin. Labour stertit slaggin the SNP fir this hairtless cut tae a vibrant community. Public meetins were no just tense, but vocal an angry. Facts an nummers that seemed untennable tae fowk were simply rejectit. Een Jeremy Corbyn, great white howp/elephant pitched up at a meetin fir tae hae his photie taen haudin a sign aboot hoo fowk didnae want the baths shut.

Thon’s true. Fowk dinnae want it shut. But o coorse there’s anither budget shortfa this year, and there’s no money enuech tae gang roon. Fowk are no wantin baths shut, but naither are they wantin tae loss dyslexia support in schuils. They’re no wantin residential care cut, or Kelvingrove Perk privatised.

This myopic focus oan whit the public dinnae want is no jist an issue fir cooncil budget talks. Scrievin aboot the naitional budget, Andy Wightman, Scottish Green MSP, tweetit: “Scottish budget negotiations uncannily like Brexit. Plenty of noise from some quarters about what folk don’t want. Very little serious engagement in trying to secure what folk want that might be possible.”

Because the truth o it is this – Labour, SNP an the Greens agree on the maist o thir ideals. Gin they didnae hae tae constantly push yin anither ower fir tae staun in the line o sicht o the media an the public, they cuid wipe awa a puckle o the emotional and administrative effort fir electit representatives, an get doon tae wark. Ken wha the biggest pusher-ower o fellow public servants is? UKIP. An luik whaur thir unelectit pushin ontae airwaves an televised meetins got us: a richt clusterbourach.

And sae here’s a romantic dwam fir Valentine’s Dey. Whit if politícians didnae treat yin anither as enemies, but warked fir consensus? Whit if we wis able tae see an ally whan we had yin, an support an listen tae them that’s tryin tae halp, an no jist presume they’re self-servin lizards? Whit if we didnae search fir ae glorious leader tae solve it aw, but we realised it’s tae be an orgy o wark frae a big pile o cooncilors, MSPs, MPs and cítizens fir tae mak a kintra. An orgy fir Scotland.

Mibbe the cooncil budgets wad get mair air-time gin thon wis the strapline.