Steerpike

Britain’s worst council leader given gong

Britain's worst council leader given gong
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For months now, Mr S has chronicled the tribulations of Susan Aitken, who is the first SNP leader of Glasgow City Council and appears determined to be the last, too. She has presided over a waste crisis in which refuse-strewn streets have become a familiar sight even in the city's leafier suburbs and which threatened to embarrass locals on the world stage ahead of COP26. 

Challenged on this, Aitken insisted Glasgow needed only 'a spruce up’. When that didn't work, she trained her fire on her critics, detecting in the concerns of the GMB union ‘a real echo of the language that some far-right organisations have used’ and telling Sir Keir Starmer he was ‘on pretty shaky ground as a London MP, coming up and telling Glasgow that we’re filthy’. Thereafter, she went on to blame the waste row on everyone from ‘a wee ned [non-educated delinquent] with a spray can’ to Margaret Thatcher.

As such, Mr S was tickled to see Aitken named Leader of the Year at Wednesday’s ‘Cllr Awards’, organised by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU). Introducing the shortlist, LGIU chief executive Jonathan Carr-West said: 

The leader of the council is the public face of the council. They carry a huge weight on their shoulders. This year more than any other year, perhaps, they've had to be prepared to answer difficult questions as we move into recovery. They've had to ensure that they are accountable and the shortlist for Leader of the Year is a testament to the power of effective leadership and the ability of council leaders to stand up for their communities.

Almost as glitzy as the Cllr Awards is The Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year bash, which was also held yesterday. An oversight meant that one winner was not announced and Mr S would like to rectify that. 

For his black humour and keen sense of the absurd, for the deft irony with which wields locutions such as 'prepared to answer difficult questions’ and ‘the power of effective leadership’, Satirist of the Year goes to Jonathan Carr-West.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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