The mandate for ditching gardens

Fast forward to 2014. In the Scottish Independence referendum the majority of people vote “no”.

In the subsequent election, the SNP (still with independence as their central policy) win enough seats to form a government.

When the Scottish Parliament convenes, Alex Salmond says he disagrees with the decision of the people in the referendum and announces that he will try to overturn the decision in parliament.

Labour and City Garden vote comparison

Several months later the vote takes place and the parliament votes for independence. The First Minister flies to London to tell the Prime Minister that he Scotland is declaring independence.

OK, it is a rather more momentous decision, but the logic is the same as that employed by Aberdeen’s Labour group.

I have lost count of the number of times that opponents of the City Garden Project have said “oh, but Labour had a mandate to stop the City Garden Project” – in tones that suggest they had no option.

They had an option! They could have accepted the decision of the people. Labour politicians must clearly have known that standing on a promise to kill the City Garden Project would put them in a position of defying the expressed will of the people.

The message from Aberdeen’s Labour Group, their Independent supporters and a couple of Liberal Democrat rebels is that If you don’t like the decision of the people, feel free to go over their heads and overturn it.

Far from ending the matter and “building bridges”, the anger and frustration is still smouldering and threatens to be more divisive than the divide that Labour talked about as justifying their move to overturn the decision in the first place.

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