THIS week saw Kelso’s Tom Weatherston cross the floor of the house – not quite Westminster, but at Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.
The former independent Kelso & District member is now a feature of the Conservative ranks, as he feels being part of a larger grouping will let him achieve more for his constituents.
Asked if it would not be fairer to those same constituents to resign and allow an election for his seat, Tory Tom said he felt this would be an unnecessary expense and voters could judge him at the next local authority elections in 18 months’ time.
However, if a week is a long time in politics as political pundits often say, then 18 months is a Jurassic period of a wait before those who voted for Councillor Weatherston – precisely because he was not a member of a political party – will get to have their say on whether they are happy with his jump to the Tory band at council HQ.
Councillor Weatherston is right that an election would cost money, but no-one ever said democracy is cheap.
The residents of Councillor Weatherston’s ward may well be perfectly happy with his efforts. From TheSouthern’s own experience, Councillor Weatherston seems a diligent and hard-working representative for the people of Kelso.
But that is not the point.
Welcoming Councillor Weatherston to her collection of councillors, Conservative leader, Councillor Carolyn Riddell-Carre, could not resist a small dig at opponents, saying her band of ‘true blues’ was the “hardest working group” on the council.
But surely that is exactly the sort of petty political point-scoring that Councillor Weatherston became an independent to avoid?