CENSORSHIP IS THE NAME OF THIS DIRTY GAME

Harry and Megs and Council leader Jonathan McColl.

BILL HEANEY’S ROYAL NOTEBOOK

Cllr Jonathan McColl, the Tartan Pimpernel who leads West Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP administration, will be delighted to learn today that he is right up there in the limelight with the UK’s most unpopular royal couple.

Meghan and Harry, who are not better known as the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton, the town which they do absolutely nothing to promote, despite the Queen having given them the title as a wedding present, have decided to ban and boycott the press.

It was a very sad case of thank you Granny, but no thanks. Ungrateful doesn’t cut it with these two.

Perhaps the controversial couple heard when they were invited to visit the rolling lawns and colourful flower beds of Levengrove Park that Cllr McColl had once again introduced austerity measures which meant the grass might not be cut nor the flowers of Scotland allowed to bloom there?

And that the media coverage for any such event would be patchy at best since the banned and boycotted Dumbarton Democrat would not be invited, or the Burgh Hall didn’t have WIFI.

A bit daft that really since on a good day our 21st century digital platform reaches more than 2,000 Sons and Daughters of the Rock (and the Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Loch Lomondside, of course).

It seems that Harry and Megs, who are now believed to be living in Los Angeles, are reported to have taken a leaf out of Jonathan’s book and decided to ban and boycott the press.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that Jonathan is hiding under the bed somewhere. 

Come on out big man, we won’t bite you.

The junior royals have now written to the editors of a number of tabloid papers confirming they will not cooperate with the titles nor permit their PR team to answer enquiries.

Surely they haven’t taken on Jonathan as a special adviser?

You know what they say: One’s as daft as the other, but who am I to cast nasturtiums?

And that this is the reason why the great Council leader appears to have has hung up his dirk and C U Jimmy hat. For the moment at least.

This is probably a scurrilous rumour, which has not been checked out by our investigative journalists, just like that other one that Harry and Megs are also proposing to have their own nationalist anthem.

And that they have made inquiries in Tin Pan Alley in London’s Soho to purchase the copyright to “You canny shove your Granny aff the bus.”

The Society of Editors has expressed regret over the announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Dumbarton that they will boycott several UK newspapers.

The couple are reported to have written to the editors of a number of tabloid papers confirming they will not cooperate with the titles nor permit their PR team to answer enquiries.

The titles are The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Mirror and The Express and their sister Sunday titles and associated websites.

Here at The Dumbarton Democrat we held our collective breath to see if we would be on the list, but no such luck. Or maybe my postie is in lockdown?

That kind of publicity in the likes of The Sun and The Mirror is worth oodles of money.

The letter states: “The Duke and Duchess [of Dumbarton] will not be engaging with your outlet. There will be no corroboration and zero engagement.

“This policy is not about avoiding criticism. It’s not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting.

“Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex [or Dumbarton, if you insist], good or bad.

“But it can’t be based on a lie [unlike the mendacious allegations made by Cllr Jonathan McColl that our editor is a misogynist who assaulted two women after a council meeting].

“They also want to be very clear: this is not [for us] in any way a blanket policy for all media.” Thank God for that. Ed

We were worried that they might not grace our pages ever again in future.

The statement, issued by the couple’s public relations team (bet they don’t cost £500,000 a year), added: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex [Dumbarton] are looking forward to working with journalists and media organisations all over the world, engaging with grassroots media, regional and local media, and young, up-and-coming journalists, to spotlight issues and causes that so desperately need acknowledging.”

Flamingoland is unlikely to be one of them.

Harry and Megs might not find that the media is all that keen on working with them though.

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said the junior royals’ statement was sadly a clear attempt to undermine certain sections of the UK media who often ask uncomfortable questions [The Democrat has an unfortunate habit of doing this, it seems].

“Although the Duke and Duchess [and Cllr McColl] say they support a free press and all it stands for there is no escaping their actions here amount to censorship and they are setting an unfortunate example,” said Murray.

“Although the couple may no longer style themselves as working royals, they continue to be high-profile public figures and indeed have made plain their intention to continue to do so.

“By appearing to dictate which media they will work with and which they will ignore they, no doubt unintentionally, give succour to the rich and powerful  everywhere to use their example as an excuse to attack the media when it suits them.

“The truth is that Harry and Megs [just like the SNP] have enjoyed and continue to enjoy a huge amount of positive coverage for themselves and their causes, much of it carried in the very titles they are now targeting.

“They may have been stung by some of the coverage they have not liked, they may disagree strongly with some elements of that coverage and can of course take action to answer any criticism they consider unfair or inaccurate through several channels.

“But the answer should never be to attempt to shun individual titles and their millions of readers.”

Murray added: “I feel certain the UK media, including those titles that are being singled out by the Sussexes [Dumbartons], will continue to cover the important causes they champion and their lives.”

The announcement comes ahead of a court hearing this week in a legal case the Duchess has brought against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday over the publication of a letter written by her estranged father.

We were thinking of taking Cllr McColl to court for defamation or to the Standards Commission for local government in Scotland, but journalists don’t sue. At least this one doesn’t.

  • Cllr McColl is acting like a poor man’s Boris Johnston (no surprise there then) who refused to let the Daily Mirror reporter on to his campaign bus during the election and then locked half the press corps out of the Tory press conferences at 10 Downing Street. I fear Boris has not had much sympathy, even in the Sunday Times and Torygraph, over the past few days. If you want to make God laugh then tell him what your plans are.

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