In the Highlands education chief Spear would have been out on her ear

by Colin Campbell
Rhiannon Spear.

HIGHLAND councillors say odd things and make peculiar decisions all too frequently. But I can’t think of a single one of them who would sink to a truly cretinous level for no apparent good reason.

In other words, none of them would behave like Glasgow councillor Rhiannon Spear, who expressed her feelings about the Eurovision Song Contest on Twitter where our entry was placed last.

“It’s ok Europe, we hate the United Kingdom too. Love Scotland.”

In the Eurovision glory days of Mary Hopkin, Dana and Cliff, this remark, by whatever medium it was expressed, would probably have been passed off as a joke and would have attracted little or no attention.

But in the current climate it was a provocative, incendiary, and yes, cretinous thing for an elected representative to do.

Spear, needless to say, is an SNP councillor. Substitute “the UK” for England or “the English” and it’s probably clearer what she was actually saying.

Even then, her folly might have been dismissed as the actions of a Saturday night idiot who blundered on to Twitter in the sprawl of greater Glasgow.

But Spear is not just another dopey nationalist who gained elected office because she was wearing an SNP rosette.

She is the “chair” – the chairwoman in normal language – of the city’s education committee.

There can be few positions of greater responsibility in Scotland’s largest city. And yet she acted with all the maturity of a 13-year-old schoolgirl lashing out on social media after a row with one her pals.

Even allowing for the “we all make mistakes” maxim, this should be a resignation issue for someone in her position, surely.

There’s an element of controversy over the SNP Scottish Government allegedly polluting the school curriculum with their own nationalist prejudices and biases. By expressing herself in the way she did, Spear gives these claims added credibility.

But the SNP group on Glasgow council brazenly said they had “no intention of removing her from her role”. No doubt a few of her colleagues broadly share her sentiments.

Spear is Glasgow’s problem and the anti-English feeling which runs right through the SNP is Scotland’s problem.

But I’m fairly certain that no Highland councillor would have been stupid enough to act like she did. And I’m even more certain that in these parts a head of education who did would have lost his or her job the very next morning.

It’s clear different political standards of behaviour apply here compared with what goes on in Glasgow.

And that although our elected representatives are often wide open to criticism, we can have faith that they are not prone to the publicly expressed bigotry and purblind folly of Glasgow’s education chairwoman and her despicably craven colleagues. If this had happened in the Highlands shamed Spear would have been out on her ear.

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