What a fine mess we have got you into – the Laurel and Hardy of local politics
Cllrs Jonathan McColl and Iain McLaren, the Laurel and Hardy of local politics?
By Bill Heaney
Rain, sleet, snow and ice. That is the weather forecast for Scotland today (Wednesday).
But what is West Dunbartonshire Council going to do about it?
Certainly not what council leader Jonathan McColl and his SNP colleague Cllr Iain McLaren (the Laurel and Hardy of local politics?) promised the electorate.
And that was to keep us all safe with their big yellow gritting lorries, shovels and mountains of road salt.
It didn’t work, of course. More than 100 people ended up in hospital with injuries sustained in falls on icy pavements.
The under resourced Minor Injuries Unit at Vale of Leven Hospital was forced to work to capacity – and well beyond. Stookies, broken bones and cuts and bruises were commonplace throughout the community.
Oh, what a fine mess Cllrs McColl, pictured, and McLaren (and Cllr Marie McNair, deputy convener of roads services) had got us all into.
Cllr McColl may have been advised to stay at home and clear his own path (If he wasn’t then he should have been) when, undeterred by the failure of the first warning, a second photocall and media release was being put together.
This second warning came from roads convener Cllr McLaren. He and the roads department chief official, Raymond Walsh, urged the electorate to look after themselves by gritting roads and pavements near their own homes.
The councillors were skating on thin ice. No mention was made of the casualties which followed the first cold and frosty morning of the winter. It was as if nothing untoward had happened previously.
The “urgent” memo which has gone round West Dunbartonshire’s schools about “severe weather implications”.
But now it’s the turn of the schools to be warned in similar fashion.
Parents and teachers have been told that the much trumpeted Winter Maintenance Schedule agreed by the Council does not include the gritting of car parks and playgrounds in schools.
The Council have just issued an “urgent” memo to warn all primary schools, secondary schools and special needs establishments to be on alert lest the Beast of the East returns again this year.
In typical West Dunbartonshire Council fashion though, there is no advice from the Council what to do about it.
The head teachers and others have been told to return their responses to the memo by January 21 which, if the Beast comes out of its lair today or tomorrow, that will be about a week after the event.
You couldn’t make it up – unless, of course, you are writing a new script for a film for Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.