Argyll and Bute a step closer to election poster ban

Argyll and Bute Council is seeking approval to ban election placards such as this one for Bute resident George Lyon, affixed to a Rothesay lamp-post during the 2014 European Parliament campaign, from council buildings and street furniture.
Argyll and Bute Council is seeking approval to ban election placards such as this one for Bute resident George Lyon, affixed to a Rothesay lamp-post during the 2014 European Parliament campaign, from council buildings and street furniture.

A proposal to ban election publicity from all council property in Argyll and Bute looks likely to be approved - but only after clearing its first hurdle by the narrowest of margins.

The idea was considered by members of the local authority’s environment, development and infrastructure committee on January 15 - but a motion to refer the plan to the full council for its approval was passed only on the casting vote of the committee’s chair, Liberal Democrat councillor and depute council leader Ellen Morton, after a 7-7 tie.

The issue is likely to be put before a meeting of the full council this Thursday, January 22.

The subject has attracted plenty of comment since it was first reported on The Buteman’s website on January 10: among those now weighing in against the proposal are the SNP’s Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell, the SNP’s Highlands and Islands regional MSP Mike MacKenzie, Cowal SNP councillor Gordon Blair and independent Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie, who was elected as an SNP ‘list’ member at Holyrood in 2011.

Mr Russell hit out at plans to ban what he called the “normal, properly regulated, time honoured public displays of election material”, while Mr Finnie has written to all 36 Argyll and Bute councillors urging them to reject the idea.

The committee vote on Thursday was split largely along ‘party’ lines, with all the motion’s supporters coming from the ruling coalition of independents, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives; those against comprised five SNP councillors and two independents who have resigned from the ruling group in recent months.