Special measures would see our Council all wrapped up for Christmas
BILL HEANEY’S NOTEBOOK COLUMN
These are mug shots of the Gruesome Twosome, which I thought would be needed dress up our general election coverage in The Democrat.
However, Cllr Jonathan McColl doesn’t require any help in that quarter since he has already sponsored his SNP colleague, Martin [the Meerkat] Docherty Hughes, and won’t be standing.
And Joyce White doesn’t need assistance in that direction either since she is a law unto herself, a self-appointed maker of rules and regulations which require no formal endorsement from people who have had to go through the tedious process of an election.
It’s called democracy, but we don’t do democracy in Dumbarton. Not under Ms White and Cllr McColl’s SNP we don’t.
No knocking on doors on cold, wet and windy December nights for our Joyce then.
As for Cllr McColl, he usually communicates by e-mail, making scurrilous accusations against people he doesn’t like.
Elections, however, may be welcome at the White house [with a small H despite their misconceptions] since they bring with them a nice fat fee for taking on the role of Returning Officer.
It’s a nice little earner to go with the £130,000 a year she pulls down as the Chief Executive of West Dunbartonshire’s basket case council.
Ms White this week stepped up her war against Freedom of the Press by withdrawing the service of sending media releases to The Democrat.
That didn’t matter in the end, and we were still able to supply our readers with a better than usual service of coverage and comment from Church Street.
We were delighted to be able to brief our readers about the Christmas lights switch on, even if we weren’t allowed to ask media officers for the details.
Das ist verboten.
For a woman of her position and stature, Ms White is preposterously small-minded.
She doesn’t think the media should have a bench to report Council meetings from, or that we should be allowed to ask for the sound system to be adjusted in order that we can hear what is going on.
Nor should we be able to see what is going on in order to identify the councillors and officials who are making contributions to committee and full council meetings.
For having spoken unkindly to a media office, who was one of four persons who moved in to throw me out of a meeting when I asked if the above defects could be sorted, I have been banned from the council chamber which is not fit for purpose.
That is a chamber which cost nearly £17 million and was £2 million over budget where they would be discussing such as the £5 million overspend on the Queens Quay communal heating system; the £6 million they are gambling on the clean-up at Exxon Mobil’s polluted tank farm at Bowling; the £9 million plus of contracts which went to a builder who had not followed the proper procurement procedure; the official who suddenly disappeared out the door with a golden parachute commutation payment and pension …
Need I go on? Do we have to beg on our knees for these things?
We had last week Jeanne Freeman, the SNP Health Secretary, putting the Health Board into special measures for the cack-handed way it has been going about its business.
It cannot be long before we see the footprints in the snow here of Kevin Stewart, the SNP’s Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, arriving with unwanted Christmas gifts for Ms White and her management team.
It is our earnest wish that the special measures he imposes here are very special measures and that we can achieve open, transparent local government in Dumbarton.
And an administration without preconceived ideas that they will be misreported and hard done by.
The number of complaints they have brought against us for misdemeanours is none, yet the Council has not withdrawn its demand that The Democrat joins IPSO, a regulatory body, which is more than we can afford and which would put us out of business.
Which would no doubt suit the Scottish National Party locally and the SNP-run council.