Council TV is sure to be one big turn-off

CHARGE up the laptop, get out the cocoa and settle down for three hours of entertainment - or perhaps not.

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Glasgow councillors have decided the public is desperate to see them in action and to marvel at the wit and wisdom falling from their lips.

As a result, they are to spend thousands of pounds each year making sure their devoted electorate can join them at work.

From April, it will be possible to tune into each meeting of the full council which is presided over by the Lord Provost and attended by all 79 councillors.

If they can be bothered to turn up.

Cameras have been fitted in the glorious council chamber, taking care to avoid any damage to the A-listed City Chambers.

The cameras will automatically pan to the speaker when their microphone is switched on, ensuring councillors who barrack their opponents will be kept off screen.

The decision to screen council meetings was included in Labour's last manifesto.

However both the SNP and the sole Tory claim they came up with the idea first.

In year one, the scheme will cost almost £23,000, with recurring costs of more than £18,000 in each of the following four years.

Although the cameras are ready to go, councillors are nervous about going live without a dress rehearsal.

Because of that, the council meeting in February will not go live, in case there are any awkward glitches.

If there are, these will be ironed out and the pubic will be able to watch the men and women who run our great city live on screen at the meeting on April 3.

Council deputy leader Archie Graham quipped at a recent meeting: "Members will no doubt want to wash behind their ears when we do the webcast."

SNP councillor David McDonald said his group warmly welcomed the decision to broadcast council meetings.

But he wanted to take it even further and suggested other council meetings be broadcast as well.

And Mr McDonald was keen to skip a rehearsal and suggested screening the next council meeting in February, which is the annual budget meeting.

That is when each political group puts forward its own spending proposals for the year ahead.

It is also when virtually every one of the 79 councillors is desperate to have their say.

It may sound exciting but, trust me, it isn't.

Subjecting viewers to hours of debate on the minutiae of individual spending plans would ensure one thing - they would switch off never to return.

Local government

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