Prestonkirk | Local Government

In the period until 1975, East Linton Town Council may not have been overtly political in nature but politics pervaded some of its thinking. It would never again have a councillor to represent itself. Even though it was represented by a Labour councillor on the former district council in 1994, the per-capita expenditure the parish may have expected, based on agreed indicators of need, did not, and has yet to, appear.

The traditional policy and financial priority of the district council between 1975 and 1994 was directed to the part of the county to the west of a line between Gladsmuir and Longniddry. Policies and financial priorities were determined by councillors of the Labour group for both Lothian region and East Lothian district from 1975 and there has been little evidence of change in the new single-tier council from 1995.

Community councils were established under the Local Government Act of 1974 and East Linton became part of Dunpender ward, which included areas outwith the parish. Representation from the old burgh and landward areas has been maintained but there has been some dissatisfaction, partly arising from the issue of when to consult and how to reach informed views. The controversy over the proposed expressway was one example of that. While the East Lothian Council had its own policies of consultation and ideas of devolution of decision taking, the challenge of participation in government and the best place of strategic and operational management had yet to be met.

It is still too early to assess what the influence of the Scottish Parliament will be to that process and the role of the directly elected member for the geographical area and party members appointed under the system of proportional representation is still not fully understood. The further dimension of being part of a wider South of Scotland constituency for the Member of the European Parliament adds to a lack of awareness and a sense of irrelevance.