FM should sack council leader McColl
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was talking nonsense when she said there was no need for the austerity measures imposed in this year’s budget by West Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP administration.
Councillor Jonathan McColl didn’t use those exact words at a public meeting about proposals to cut £130,000 of council financial support from community centres on Monday night.
Asked by Labour’s prospective Westminster parliamentary candidate Jean Anne Mitchell if The First Minister was wrong to send a letter to a constituent in West Dunbartonshire stating that there was no requirement at this time for her SNP colleagues to impose their swingeing cuts across the board here – not just the cuts on community centres, but all the cuts – Councillor McColl didn’t use the W word, but said: “She is not correct.”
This was not the first time this letter had reared its ugly head in West Dunbartonshire.
Labour councillor David McBride had brought it to a previous meeting and been savagely attacked by Cllr McColl who questioned its authenticity and called him a liar.
This was an outburst he was later forced to retract and apologise publicly for to Cllr McBride and the council Labour Group.
It was an embarrassment to the SNP both locally and nationally and puts Cllr McColl in what many would consider to be an untenable position as council leader.
No wonder then that he and his colleagues are engaged in an ongoing cover-up by denying access to The Democrat to ask legitimate questions about what is going on in the name of diligence and democracy in the Council offices.
The public are allowed to see what is happening in their name in the committee rooms and council chamber, but they are denied any opportunity to listen to the cack-handed blustering and read out “speeches” because the audio equipment is not fit for purpose – and some councillors refuse to use it.
So, what is going on? And why can’t we ask them to confirm or deny it, rebut it or expand on it and explain it?
I know of no edict imposed by the First Minister and her colleagues at Holyrood not to allow the democratic process not to take its usual course in West Dunbartonshire.
We have heard no instruction from Nicola Sturgeon not to communicate with us and to send us round to the back door via a twisting garden path to ask questions.
But then maybe we should have known better; we should have realised that Jonathan McColl was about to declare an SNP version of UDI (unilateral declaration of independence) here.
Because Jonathan obviously knows best, or he thinks he does, when it comes to public affairs and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t a Scooby.
When it comes to budgets and the allocation of money to everything from education to provision of care for the elderly, Jonathan knows best.
McColl is always correct, Sturgeon is wrong. He stood up and said so at a public meeting in Alexandria and he was recorded and filmed while he did so.
Jonathan McColl may be many things, but a politician is not one of them. He should hand in his resignation forthwith.