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Alex Salmond attacks ‘insane’ and ‘kamikaze’ Aberdeen City Council

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August 7 2013

Alex Salmond attacks ‘insane’ and ‘kamikaze’ Aberdeen City Council
First Minister Alex Salmond has penned an unprecedented attack on a ‘kamikaze’ Aberdeen City Council as the growing schism between local and national government spilled over into the public domain.

The flare up erupted after Salmond penned a highly critical letter to the council’s chief executive, Valerie Watts, in which he wrote: “I have been First Minister for over six years. During that time I have dealt with all 32 local authorities, of all political persuasions and none. No other council behaves in the extreme manner of Aberdeen City Council over a range of issues.

“I would suggest that the majority group are now in danger of bringing the council into total disrepute with the knock on reputational risks that that has for the great city of Aberdeen and its fine people.”

The argument was precipitated by a letter sent to Salmond by Labour councilor Angela Taylor which called for the Scottish Government to withdraw funding for next year’s Scottish Open over gender inequality.

This provoked Salmond to retort: “Am I to understand that your call for the Government to effectively sabotage the event is really the policy of the ruling group of Aberdeen Council? Even by the standards of a council which is becoming known for refusing key investment in the city this would be a totally insane, indeed kamikaze, position.”

The spat follows a bout of soul searching in the north east city following a damning assessment of its failed Capital of Culture bid and a bungled bid to redevelop Union Terrace Gardens.


#1 Posted by scott on 7 Aug 2013 at 13:29 PM
Aberdeen should have a city mayor like London or Bristol. Have an accomplished architect run for the position and we will get a much better built realm as a result.
#2 Posted by Rambo on 7 Aug 2013 at 13:54 PM
Totally agree with Eck on this one! Aberdeen is a shambles. Despite its wealth it is falling far behind the much poorer Dundee in term of cultural appeal and physical attractiveness. The difference is that Dundee Council, to their credit, are pursuing an ambitious 30 year plan. This can certainly not be said of Aberdeen's disastrously myopic council.
#3 Posted by Steve on 7 Aug 2013 at 15:06 PM
I agree with eck and rambo. Aberdeen needs a long term plan. The council are not forward thinking and have no vision. They need to start to rebuild Aberdeen with a view to getting it back to being one of the UK's top cities. It is supposed to be the oil capital of Europe, maybe it is from an industry point of view but not as a city.
Don Diamante
#4 Posted by Don Diamante on 7 Aug 2013 at 15:13 PM
Despite despising SNP, I agree wholeheartedly with Salmond on this. The council is a complete shambles, and being led by immoral councillors with no goal other than self promotion is killing this city.

I agree with Scott's proposal of a mayor, someone with a cultural vision and not just vote seekers jumping on any bandwagon which suits the quickest route to power.

The council is an embarrassment, and should actually think twice about removing the incredibly appropriate graffiti daubed outside it's granite palace.
Gardener Wullie
#5 Posted by Gardener Wullie on 8 Aug 2013 at 09:19 AM
#6 Posted by Egbert on 8 Aug 2013 at 10:17 AM
The City Garden project was part of the problem and definitely not the solution - channelling millions of pounds of public money towards a contrived and arbitrary re-working of a small and modestly successful park (a private individual's vanity project) while ignoring the woefully-neglected public spaces and urban fabric of the rest of the city centre seems entirely in keeping with Aberdeen's skewed civic priorities.
#7 Posted by Scott on 8 Aug 2013 at 11:57 AM
The city garden project - as much of a disaster as it was - offered the chance to give the city a 'centre' which at the moment it lacks. There isn't a single location which could truly be considered as the 'heart of the city' because the focus is on shops which are spread between the two main shopping complexes and separated by busy roads.

Any new plan for the city should involve a single scheme to tie all these facets of the city centre area together, with a new development at its heart i.e union terrace gardens which would give the city a central focus point.

Then we can move on to the other areas of the city...
Ross King
#8 Posted by Ross King on 8 Aug 2013 at 13:39 PM
Agree with the comments above, Aberdeen needs somebody with vision at the helm. The decisions that have been made by the council over the years are diabolical. Treatment of the beach and the addition of Union Square are prime examples of this but just because the City Garden project had lavish visuals and cost lots of money doesn’t mean it was the miracle answer. The way Ian Wood went about the scheme was pretty disconcerting as well. I’m still not sure why the plans for Peacocks had to be abolished altogether? Surely if Ian Wood gave two hoots about the legacy of Aberdeen he would have embraced the well designed, approved and funded art centre as phase 1 and the redevelopment of the rest of the gardens (along with a big statue of himself) as phase 2?
I think if you really want a starting point to the realistic development of Aberdeen you couldn’t go wrong with the central spot that’s opening up where St.Nicholas house is being demolished. I think a public city garden space here could work well. It’s accessible for a start. It’s also sandwiched between the busier streets of Union Street, Broad Street and Schoolhill and surrounded by the most prominent buildings of the city, i.e. Marschial College, Courts, Provost Skene’s House etc. A public space here might also act as a constant visual reminder to the council as to whom they are supposed to be serving instead of the 10 storey bore that’s going to but Broad Street in shade and hide the Provost Skene’s house for another 50 years.

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