There is nothing wrong with exercising a good pair of lungs on behalf of other people; it’s at the heart of democracy and community. Any councillor worth their salt gets it tight on a regular basis, using the ear-drubbing to better represent their patch.
But last week, on the back of ELC’s budget allocating £1m to town centre regeneration for Musselburgh, Tranent gums were bumping misguidedly: “Despite being told we were going to be the second in line, it now appears we have been leapfrogged” was how TECC chair Raymond Strang put it. Labour’s Cllr Donald Grant argued that “a community planning group (was) working well in Fa’side before it was disbanded for political reasons.” Raymond and Donald both have my respect for long records of getting tore in, so it isn’t lightly that I take them on as being misguided.
The group Donald refers to predated 2007 and, when a non-Labour administration took over ELC, appeared to morph into a guerilla movement, dedicated to its overthrow. After two years of trying to work with them, ELC threw up its hands and recast its community planning to body-swerve such partisan politics. Otherwise, another of Labour’s aimless regenerations, which both Tranent and Dunbar High Streets have already had, would result. Over £3m was invested in both, to little economic benefit for either.
Yes, Tranent lost out for now—because some self-appointed “community leaders” can’t get past reactive, partisan posturing. For civics to work, everyone needs to engage positively, interactively and—heaven forfend—apolitically. If the completion of two new primary schools, 100+ new affordable homes at Muirpark, Balfour Square, etc., a new library, and a new civic centre don’t all demonstrate ELC’s good faith and commitment to invest fairly in Tranent, then someone is twisting the truth.