Pimpernel comes out of hiding to denounce MSP
Jonathan McColl, Crosslet House and Jackie Baillie MSP.
BILL HEANEY’S NOTEBOOK COLUMN
Cllr Jonathan McColl has come out from hiding under the bed or wherever he has been self-isolating during the past month of the coronavirus crisis.
The Tartan Pimpernel should be checked out immediately – and not just for coronavirus.
The bumbling leader of the SNP group on West Dunbartonshire Council has accused Jackie Baillie, the MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, of spreading “misinformation”.
Let’s not mince words here. He says she is a liar, which is rich coming for him, a bigger liar than Cut the Bag.
We know that First Minister is busy at the moment, never busier than at any other time in her life.
But she really should do herself and the SNP a huge favour and get rid of Jonathan McColl, who is a plonker of the first order, both literally and metaphorically.
The biggest political pain in the tail on the West Dunbartonshire Council, where there are plenty of them competing for that title.
What he had to say about Jackie Baillie was unforgivable, unreasonable, disrespectful and totally lacking in manners.
This was it: “The Depute Leader of the Scottish Labour Party should know better than to spread misinformation, scaring vulnerable elderly people and their families to score political points.
“The HSCP [Health and Social Care Partnership] and Council are following Scottish Government guidance and instruction to the letter, and on the advice of Public Health Scotland the Care Home [Crosslet House] was closed to new admissions on 4th April.
“Staff and residents who are showing symptoms have and are being tested, and councillors are being properly briefed with all of the information we need to do our job of scrutiny and providing public reassurance.
“At no point has anyone claimed the Care Home was ‘Covid free’; families are being kept fully informed and our residents are receiving the highest possible standard of care, with appropriate isolation and social distancing protocols being followed.
“It’s bad enough that Jackie Baillie has chosen to use COVID-19 to raise her personal profile, but to do so by deliberately spreading inaccurate information is irresponsible and shows a total disregard for the feelings of the deceased’s families, as well as insulting our committed and dedicated staff.
“How dare she use this pandemic and the pain of those involved to score cheap political points?
“She must apologise to our staff and the public and immediately resign from the Scottish Parliament. Nothing less is acceptable.”
Cllr McColl is delusional. That lengthy period under the bed appears to have done his mental health, which he foolishly talked so expansively about in a two-page spread in the Lennox Herald during Mental Health Week, to promote himself as a caring politician, no good at all.
Readers will find in today’s The Democrat a lengthy article quoting extensively the shocking truth about the bullying and deprivation at the care home where 21 people are now believed to have died.
Crosslet House staff and residents were being deprived of basic toileting materials, towels and other equipment to help them keep the home and patients clean long before PPE entered the vocabulary.
Jackie Baillie is obviously dismayed at McColl’s unjustifiable and untruthful attack on her.
She said this evening: “I always have and always will use my position as an MSP to stand up for all of my constituents.
“When several Crosslet House staff and family members came to me with their experiences – distraught at the loss of so many residents and seeking help, I wasn’t going to sit on the side-lines and say nothing.
“At no point has there been any misinformation from me – there has been no testing of residents for COVID-19 before the start of this week and families and staff have all told me that the information they were given is that the home was COVID-19 free’.
“The fact that the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman, called the situation at Crosslet House ‘utterly shameful’ shows how far this is from Party politics.
“The least I would expect of a Council Leader being presented with such a devastating number of deaths would be to instruct an urgent investigation. I will never apologise for standing up for my constituents and fighting for answers for the loved ones who have sadly lost their lives.”
Ms Freeman is a senior member of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Government Cabinet. Let’s hope she speaks to her tonight and advises the First Minister to get rid of Councillor McColl.
He is an embarrassment that the public of West Dunbartonshire would be grateful to see the back of.
And, of course, the SNP will have no chance in next year’s local government elections with McColl leading the party into them.
If they do I’ll eat my underpants. I couldn’t manage Jonathan’s of course.