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Council's contempt for citizens' rights

We read Glasgow City Council's latest statements in regard to their plan to close down three day centres for people with learning disabilities ("Council modifies proposals for care changes", The Herald, February 22).

These appear meaningless rhetoric but are worse than that. A comment such as GCC has "looked at the consultation responses very carefully ..." fails to conceal the contempt our politicians have for citizens' rights.

There has been little or no consultation with the individuals and their families. Only with those who purport to "represent" them: the elected members, the professionals and so-called specialists from the voluntary sector, service users and carers organisations.

The olive branch the council is now offering families is the opportunity to state their case. After the closures have taken place. What else are they offering? Another opportunity to state their case: this time at some hazy point in the future when they can consult with the businesses that will be fighting to sell them services. This is humbug. It is shameful. The Labour council is doing precisely what we witnessed from its predecessors: stomping its own citizens into the ground.

The questionnaire put out by the council as a sop to the families was condemned by three knowledgeable academics in a letter to this newspaper. Its simplistic tenor reminds one of the ludicrous referendum the Labour council tried to foist on the people of Glasgow 20 years ago so they could rush through the sale of one-third of Glasgow Green. Yes, one-third of Glasgow Green to private developers. It turned that Labour council into a national laughing stock.

The issues around the personalisation process are complicated. But let GCC come clean. There are certain basic features we can all share. Personalisation is not a philosophy: it is the name of a process designed to end the so-called welfare state. This part of the plan pretends to empower people with learning disabilities whereas in reality it will rob them of their quality of life.

Glasgow has a tradition of struggle and our politicians have been part of that. Councillors have allowed their political office to degenerate from civic representation into the role of economic managers. It is the hypocrisy and the humbug we find so difficult to take.

James Kelman, with Alasdair Gray and Tom Leonard,

80 The Strand,

London.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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