Docherty Hughes Martin MP
West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes. Taking his line from Boris Johnston by keeping his mouth shut?
By Bill Heaney
Today, in response to an invitation to the Save Loch Lomond public meeting on Monday 24 June, MP Martin Docherty-Hughes SNP has confirmed his opposition to the Flamingo Land planning application.

An excerpt taken from Mr Docherty-Hughes’ e-mail to the meeting organisers states : “I do hope that you will convey to the meeting my continued opposition to the application that sits with the National Park as the local planning authority; I would also appreciate any feedback from the meeting.”

But Martin won’t be coming along to the meeting. He will be doing a Boris Johnston on it and keeping schtum while others will be making the case for and against. This is a democracy after all. Or it was until the SNP gained a foothold in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute.

This is the area where the SNP refuse to talk to people who wish to question them closely about their decisions and positions on contentious matters at local government, Holyrood and Westminster level.

The Flamingo Land saga is one of these. Come on then Martin. Tell us why you oppose this planning application, tell the electorate. It’s of especial interest since we are told that your pals on the Council believe turning Loch Lomondside into a theme park is a good idea. Go on, go on.

Or do you really believe that you can thumb your nose at democracy and, like Boris Johnston, refuse to comment on matters when it suits you and ignore custom and practice in regard to your relations with the press and public? I think The Democrat should be told.

The other SNP back sliders on matters in relation to the Loch Lomond Park Authority are Brendan O’Hara MP, who represents Helensburgh and Lomond in Westminster, and West Dunbartonshire Council leader, Cllr Jonathan McColl, who is supposed to represent Balloch, but stands up for the residents only when he is embarrassed into it., as happened with the recent roadworks scandal in the village.

It’s apparent that the SNP in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute have no respect for democracy and neither do they have the courage to pull the officials into line for the ban and boycott of The Democrat, which has never been formally approved by elected members of the administration.

But then I suppose we should expect that. The other Balloch councillor who failed to cover herself in glory over the roadworks scandal is Sally Page and, like Boris Johnston, she is a Tory.

It’s difficult for council watchers to distinguish between the Tories and the SNP, but either or both of them might be able to remedy this public perception were they to start telling the media what their position is on important matters. At least before they decide to do another U-turn.

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