We live in interesting times. It’s perfectly OK for the Prince of Wales to call South African rugby players “buggers” in front of an audience of millions, but it’s not OK for me to tell a PR person hassling me in the Council chambers to “bugger off”.

Bill Heaney

All you strident ME2 women and women’s libbers will be vexed to know that there are still some people around who consider the word “bugger” to be swearing and too shocking for your ears.

Women are tougher than that, much tougher.

It’s a bit of an insult to pin a “shrinking violet” badge on equality-seeking women.

Especially coming from the Chief Executive of West Dunbartonshire Council, who considers journalists such bad people (well me, anyway) that she wouldn’t allow me to have a drink of water during a break in a long council meeting.

Not out of a jug in the council chamber anyway.

This is what passes for manners in Dumbarton in the 21st century.

Joyce White doesn’t believe either that I should be entitled to ask questions of the Council.

After nearly 60 years in this job, she thinks I am unfit to be trusted to cover the council honestly.

Or sit beside other journalists in the council chamber because I have failed to join a regulatory organisation, IPSO. The usual protocols do not apply in my case.

And who made this anti-democratic decision for which she has no written remit? Well, Joyce White, of course, who else?

There has been nothing officially recorded in the Council minutes about this puerile dispute despite the fact that there should be.

The decision by the Chief Executive is unilateral and anti-democratic. Who needs councillors? Who worries about ancient traditions of local government and Freedom of the Press?

She should be ashamed of herself.

The ME2 women will be relieved to find out that the other “important” person thumbing their nose at Freedom of the Press is a man, the Council’s SNP leader, Cllr Jonathan McColl.

He has accused me publicly in an e mail of assaulting two women by stabbing my finger in their chests and shouting at them. I didn’t. He is lying.

But he is not the only politician in the frame for being economical with the truth.

It is a disease that appears to have spread throughout the land and beyond.

It is widely accepted in this country that our relatively new Prime Minister is a liar.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said of him as recently at Wednesday in the House of Commons: “[Boris Johnston] has been fired twice for lying, found unlawful by the courts, the Prime Minister has sold Scotland out time and again. Parliament and Scotland cannot trust this Prime Minister.”

Republican reptile Donald Trump gets called a liar every day (every hour?) of the week.

At one of the first meetings of WDC I attended after founding The Dumbarton Democrat, Cllr McColl called the Labour councillor David McBride a liar and had to withdraw his remark and apologise soon after.

Cllr Jonathan (U-Turn) McColl has shown himself to be a hopeless leader.

We should be told what he thinks about the witch hunt which appears aimed to stitch up Cllr Jim Bollan, of the Community Party,  and deprive the electorate in his Vale of Leven ward of legitimate representation at council meetings.

Councillors of other parties and none, two Tories and an Independent, are doing the electorate no favours by keeping him in power in this hung council of ours.

As the departure of Brexit from the political agenda looms at last, it is predicted that there will be a General Election in the next three months or so.

Hopefully, here in West Dunbartonshire, it will be fought on performance and policies.

Who would vote for the SNP here?  They appeared to have relished imposing cuts and making stupid decisions and equally stupid remarks to support them.

It is an understatement and then some to say Labour haven’t covered themselves in glory, either over Brexit or local issues.

They have been faced with one open goal after another but have failed miserably when it came to putting the ball in the net over the procurement management code of conduct and champagne and Chateaubriand matters in the council.

The truth is that Cllr McColl and Co have made a laughing stock of the SNP here in West Dunbartonshire.

Let’s prepare then, for a General Election where tempers will fray and discussions will become heated.

Where the SNP candidate will have strong backing from the highly politicised LGBT supporting community.

And the Labour candidate and will draw substantial votes from the Christian, church-going anti-abortion/gay marriage electorate.

Let’s hope it does not come down to these things, or indeed to a substitute referendum on Scottish independence. Or those old Billy and Dan matters of sectarianism which still blight our communities.

But to important health and welfare services and education and employment, low pay and zero hours contracts.

Not just for young people but those who have been left on the jobs shelf in middle-age and beyond that.

We also have to examine where the country is going on nuclear weapons and other contentious matters which have seen so many people take to the streets to protest.

At last, we are about to discover that our politicians are not zombies after all.

Or will we have to brace ourselves for more of the same old, same old behaviour that has let us down so badly in the past?

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