by Colin Campbell
INVERNESS is to spend £3,500 in a “competition” to have a Lord Provost, instead of just a mere Provost.
That promises to be a riveting contest, which no doubt will be watched by the public with bated breath.
For some reason this nail-biter will form some miniscule part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
And it is viewed by some councillors and officials as a very necessary initiative.
Apparently it would “raise the city’s profile”, they claim.
I think it’s just as likely to raise the city’s hackles, that is, among the few people who would be remotely interested.
It is said that having a first citizen as Lord Provost would put Inverness on a par with other cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Well we’re not on a par with Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Inverness is much smaller.
The argument for retaining the title of Provost is that it has been an adequately worthy title for those elected to the post down the generations.
The argument against having a Lord Provost is that it smacks too much of the kind of titled grandiosity that inflates egos and puts a councillor elected on a few hundred votes on a pedestal some distance above where they deserve to be.
Would Provost Helen Carmichael have made less of a pig’s ear of her involvement in the Gathering Place if she had been a Lord Provost?
Or would it made her even more convinced of the infallibility of her stance on the debacle?
Either way, there is little public support these days for any elevation in titles related to the council in any shape or form.
If the chief executive became the chief clerk it would gain a round of applause.
And as for the range of job titles held by senior officials just beneath her, they are so wordily obscure it’s very difficult to know what some of them mean or what their occupants actually do.
Claims that conferring the title of Lord Provost on the first citizen of Inverness would raise the city’s profile are one of those throwaway assertions that don’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny.
And victory in this “competition” would also no doubt see some hitherto obscure local councillor, as Lord Provost no less, riding around much more frequently in a chauffeured, new Daimler car looking like Santa Claus in a new set of robes under the weight of clanking new chains minted, no expense spared, to match his lordly status.
There are enough puffed-up politicians lordliness around already.