DOUGLAS SHEPHERD on the shake-up at Scottish Borders Council
Apparently there was more horse trading than you'd witness at the Doncaster Bloodstock Sales, but less than four days after the last local government result was announced in the counting hall at Kelso we have a brand new multi-coloured administration ready to take over the reins at Scottish Borders Council.
There seems to be fewer shades than last time when every political faction bar the Tory blue had a hand in running the multi-million pound budget which is supposed to deliver efficient, high quality local services. In fact the Conservatives did have strength in numbers after the 2013 polls but failed to seize power.
This time round their 15-strong group may have fallen short of an overall majority on the 34-member authority yet again. But the Independent Group - surely an oxymoron if ever there was one - has come riding to the rescue, ensuring decisions can be carried in the council chamber. More about the Independents later.
It must have come as a shock to many when it was announced that "rookie" councillor Shona Haslam (Con. East Tweeddale) would succeed David Parker (Ind. Melrose & District) as leader, Mr Parker had been at the helm for fourteen years, and after his re-election on Friday he made it pretty clear he was 'interested' in carrying on as SBC's top banana.
Instead, Councillor Parker is set to serve as Convener which commands a £25,000 salary and involves representing the authority at events and ceremonials. He will also be responsible for Health, according to a council statement.
Ms Haslam has succeeded to the leader's job - complete with £33,450 salary - even before dipping her toe into local government waters.
But the former national director of Asthma Scotland obviously has the support and confidence of her Conservative colleagues and those who prefer not to divulge their politics. She is certainly not afraid to speak her mind and express forthright views.