SNP councllors in West Dunbartonshire; the Council offices in Dumbarton, and the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.

This week,  The Dumbarton Democrat published an appeal from the local health board to members of the public to stop ordering medicines they do not need. We also, since the coronavirus crisis began,  have published nearly ever public pronouncement from politicians and officials about this. The more we reported, however, the more we became convinced we were being lied to. And even those reports we compiled, based often in what appeared in Hansard, the official record of the Scottish Parliament, made us think that the information we were receiving was far from the truth. It wasn’t even verisimilitude (something that looked like the truth but wasn’t). The SNP, the party of government here, both local and national, have banned and boycotted The Democrat and believe we are bitterly biased against the SNP Council, which we have regularly referred to as a basket case, which has unquestionably been proven by their incompetence.  Their leader, Jonathan McColl,  a person who has proclaimed in an article that he is mentally ill but carried on with the job, has publicly defamed our editor on a number of occasions. So, what is the truth of what is happening in West Dunbartonshire and Scotland as a whole? Were we really prepared for this pandemic?  Are we even yet prepared for this pandemic? Have our public bodies and politicians handled it as competently as they should have done? Are our old people safe? Are our care homes stocked and staffed as they should be?

Our editor has stepped aside from the editorial chair today and handed over to one of our readers, who has written the following which cannot be dismissed as politically biased or a rant. We believe the author to be a member of the SNP in which there are lots of good, caring, responsible people, but which we believe here in Dumbarton to be badly led and misled by their party officials and politicians:


“But they are facing an unnecessary strain because individuals are requesting and filling prescriptions when they do not need …

The years of austerity and the relentless shift towards the corporate denizens who extract every last penny on behalf of the elites is now being exposed. And for that we will all suffer, and die.

By way of example on the 6th of February 2020 HM Government published full page public health adverts in the Scottish press to say that it and the NHS were well prepared for the virus – and to say that the public could help by sneezing into a tissue, disposing of same and by washing hands.

With the adverts being run again a week later it is absolutely outrageous how things have changed in a matter of weeks. So what were these adverts about. Either they were examples of sheer and utter incompetence or were example of adverts deliberately designed to deceive, to mislead the public. I prefer the latter.

The NHS is not well prepared. It is short on face masks type 2 and 3, short on PPE, short on ventilators, short on testing kits. The NHS in England is short of 10,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses with levels way below for example Germany. ( think Vale out of hours GP closures and you get a similar but lesser picture here)

Viral outbreaks are, even with new or novel viruses relatively well understood. Epidemiology is a science, as is statistics, as is virology itself, as is public health strategies. With all of the data from China, then from Italy and in fact from previous viral outbreaks covering MERS, SARS, Ebola, the Zika virus, and of course the holocaust of the 1918 so called Spanish flu where between 50 and 100 million died, it is incredible to think that we are as unprepared as we are.

So why were we told we were prepared when we are so shy of resources and equipment. Why did we, and America disregard the World Health Organisation advice to test, test test, trace trace trace and contain.

Well I think we will find the answer in the comment attributed to Dominic Cummings where at a UK safety group meeting at Downing Street it was reported that ….

“… this is all about herd immunity, protect the economy, and if a few pensioners die to bad “

Not dissimilar to President Trump declaring that the virus was a hoax it now becomes clear that to protect the economy, our Westminster Government actually wanted the virus to spread in the flawed thinking that they could quickly develop herd immunity. But the greedy incompetent money men’s thinking started to unravel on the 15th March 2020 when wiser scientific counsel prevailed with modelling that showed that the UK under the herd immunity policy was on a trajectory for over half a million deaths in a very short space of time.

And now, too little too late, and under prepared and under resourced UK waits it’s grizzly fate. The mega city of London is now the epicentre of the epidemic. Just beginning the triage rules are already that anyone over the age of sixty will only receive palliative care – as meanwhile they frantically build 2,000 capacity temporary morgues.

And will we in Scotland be any better. Maybe slightly better due to our being behind London in the outbreak and because we are now belatedly socially distancing.

The horror has just begun and it will hit hard in areas like Dumbarton with its level of poor health, high levels of unemployment and deprivation generally. Unlike Prince Charles free to flee to Scotland with his wife and entourage of over seventy assistants, secretaries and minders, we will not be at the head of the NHS priority queue for testing and treatment.

And, in a note to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, he added:

The question I have in all of this is why Nicola Surgeon has followed the Boris Johnson policy on the virus.

Not one word of dissent about the unpreparedness in terms of face mask, ppe, testing kit, ventilators.

Not one word of dissent about the Westminster policy to allow the virus to spread through the community to develop herd immunity, protect the economy and if a few pensioners die then too bad – a policy that was only changed after wiser scientific counsel prevailed with models that showed the policy was set to deliver over half a million deaths in a very short space of time.

Indeed quite the contrary Nicola Sturgeon in Hollyrood only last week paid tribute to the hard work of the Westminster Government. Soft on independence, failed on Brexit an isolated In terms of sharing medical supplies our First Minister actually praises Westminster.

And meanwhile Prince Charles, his wife and his seventy strong entourage flee north disregarding the advice to travel to go straight to the head of the queue for personal NHS treatment. But again not a word from the First Minister about that.

And lastly, as the crisis unfolds we now expect the economic dross, or at least the Tories view of economic dross, to do their duty. The folks earning less than £26,500 per year who are the essential delivery drivers, the bin men, the food workers, the crop pickers, some of the nurses, most certainly all the carers who are now to stand strong as the glue to hold our community together.

Not for them the luxury of being able to flee to one’s rural retreat, not for them the option to isolate out of the way in a bunker with, should it be needed, the finest medical resources on hand. Yet that is what the elites are doing.

But as I have opined before, let us stick together, help each other out, do what we can. But when it is all over we should hunt down the men and women who so wilfully let us down for private profit and greed.

I hope you are listening Nicola Sturgeon.

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