Politicians playing up to the press, uttering soundbites or taking a stance on something that does not affect them, is nothing new.
So it was interesting last week to see Fife councillors squabbling over US president Donald Trump’s forthcoming visit to the UK and specifically, his administration’s actions in separating migrant parents from children at the Mexican border.
A motion by administration co-leader David Ross called on the council to condemn Trump, stressing the so-called Leader of the Free World’s policy would have consequences elsewhere. It called for The Donald’s visit to be shelved.
Some Conservatives – though not all – accused fellow elected members of “grandstanding”, claiming Fife’s interjection into international affairs would make little difference and was merely deflecting attention from core council activities. It is a salient point.
Do local authorities achieve anything with these sorts of motions? We’ve had them in the past in Fife on issues ranging from war and climate change to international trade agreements.
Those arguing that such platitudes make no difference pointed to a report released the previous day about missing children in Fife, saying the council would be better served concentrating on such matters within its control.
They also highlighted the US’ special relationship with the UK and the importance of America’s tourists and trade with Scotland.
Some of the Tory number asserted Trump should be allowed to come and get the “metaphorical kicking” he deserves, although they too suggested the Fife Council Chamber was neither the time nor the place to discuss the matter.
It is an intriguing issue but in the modern world where no-one can escape the impact of global politics, why Fife’s elected representatives be barred from putting on record their dismay at the abhorrent state of affairs across the pond?
It feels like a drop in the ocean but sometimes small gestures lead to bigger actions.
Fife has more than played its part in housing refugees and migrants, more so in recent years, so it’s a topic which deserves coverage at a local authority level – even by 70-odd people in a room in the top floor of a building in Glenrothes.
As was highlighted during last week’s council meeting, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. Adding those 70 voices to a growing clamour is no bad thing.