I attended last week’s Scottish Borders Council meeting, in a personal capacity, to see the setting of the budget.
I watched as members tried to justify the tapestry spend, while Councillors Marshall, McAteer and Turnbull were among the few voices of reason, saying the Tweedbank project’s business case did not stack up – and having looked at it myself, I agree.
I watched in amazement while Councillor Paterson tried to justify his support for the tapestry. He failed to mention his own comments made prior to the last vote in the full council where he told the Hawick News he would not back the tapestry, saying “the business case did not stack up”. This was in December 2014.
He is also quoted as saying: “The Scottish Executive are all for this, but I would like to see them coming up with the money, not the hard-pressed council tax payers of the Scottish Borders.”
So what changed? The business case didn’t change, the funding for it didn’t change and Scottish Borders Council are still going to have a capital debt passed on to generations of council tax payers.
Councillor Paterson used his rambling speech at last week’s meeting as an opportunity to attack Councillors Marshall and McAteer for not supporting the tapestry.
Borders voters get an opportunity to have their say on the tapestry plan, both this May and next May.
This year the electorate can send a message via the ballot box on what they think of the Scottish Government which supports the tapestry plan. And in 2017, they will vote on who will represent them at Newtown St Boswells.