Cllrs Rooney, McBride, McNair and McColl.

By Bill Heaney

The gloves were off at this week’s meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council.

Labour picked themselves up off the canvas at last and had a real go at the weak as water SNP administration.

Cllr David McBride landed the first blow when SNP leader Cllr Jonathan McColl and his colleagues urged people to take part in the Council consultation for its next annual budget.

Jennings and Wood.jpg 2 unions
Union reps Margaret Wood and Valerie Jennings

The Council had just listened to a plea from Margaret Wood and Valerie Jennings, the UNITE and UNISON trade union reps to put a stop to the ongoing cuts being imposed by the SNP.

There had been a meeting of trade unions outside Clydebank Town Hall prior to the council meeting to protest against the cuts, but there was no room in the chamber for them to attend the meeting.

Cllr McColl told the women that no one had sought to be elected to the council to make cuts, but austerity was necessary to balance the books.

There was also the situation whereby “the country was going to Hell in a handcart” and the Brexit shambles was hanging over everything.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon must be delighted to hear this view of the situation from within her own party after 12 years of SNP government.

She may well hear it personally from Cllr McColl, although I doubt it, when he travels with the women trade unionists to a meeting win Edinburgh with Derek Mackay, the Cabinet Secretary.

Cllr Jim Bollan said: “Let’s hope this time the meeting is in a government building and not at an SNP Christmas party, which is supposed to have happened the last time.

“What we need here is a joint approach by all the parties involved, trade unions and politicians from all parties, to challenge these cruel Tory cuts.”

When Labour then called for a boycott of the Council consultation, which was described as yet another sham and a con, Cllr McColl refuted this and said Labour knew fine well there was a need for austerity.

When he pursued this line, Cllr McBride twice called out the SNP leader and said that Nicola Sturgeon herself had said there was no need for more cuts in West Dunbartonshire and asked him to produce evidence for the line he was pursuing.

Cllr McColl grinned, sat back in his chair and said he didn’t have any evidence for the accusations the Labour man was making.

Labour’s Cllr Martin Rooney wiped the floor with the SNP over a disastrous report submitted to the Council by the Health and Social Care Partnership which is arm’s length organisation made up of elected and lay members attached to the Council.

When he started asking questions about the report, Cllr Marie McNair, chair of the Partnership, told him to answer them himself since he already knew the answers.

Cllr McNair like most SNP councillors never seldom makes a speech but reads out tediously her contributions to the meetings.

Beth Culshaw
Beth Culshaw

She called in an official, Beth Culshaw, to answer Martin Rooney’s question for her.

When there was a suggestion from the SNP benches that Cllr Rooney didn’t know what he was talking about when he was pointing out deficiencies in the services being provided by the Social Work Department, Cllr McBride turned on them and pointed to his colleague’s long experience and achievements in Social Work matters.

Then Cllr Rooney held up the Partnership document which detailed a dire performance  over the past year and told the SNP that it was time they started reading the documents that came before the Council.

They obviously hadn’t done so and this was why they were struggling to answer to his questions.

Social Work was one of the most important services being provided by the Council and the SNP administration had a to protect them.

They should get their finger out, read the report and get on with the work.


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