Lollipop patrols on the A82. They were shifted from Cosslet to Garshake AFTER yet another accident there.
NOTEBOOK by BILL HEANEY
No wonder West Dunbartonshire Council won’t recognise my credentials as a journalist. If I were them, I too would want as little publicity as possible.
And that is how they operate. One cover-up after another, secret meetings, exclusion of press and public.
Turn down the sound system in the Burgh Hall so that it’s difficult to hear and make sense of what’s going on. Make no provision for the press. Not as much as a desk for reporters to lean their notebooks on.
Refuse them as much as a drink of water from the same jug as the councillors and have them thrown out by your white-collared heavy team whom you would think would have more gainful things to do for their £100,000 a year.
And most certainly not allow any of them to stand near the door of the room where a meeting is taking place – and from which they have been refused entry and locked out – in case they get as much as a sniff of what’s going on.
Free speech? Freedom of the Press? They have never heard of it in SNP-run West Dunbartonshire Council.
It’s more like Belarus than Bonhill in the Burgh Hall these days. Welcome to 21st century Dumbarton, where the councillors and officials hope the Lockdown will last forever if it keeps The Democrat off their back.
I note that Labour councillor David McBride is claiming the credit for having successfully lobbied for a pedestrian crossing for six months at a notoriously dangerous blackspot on the A82 boulevard at the foot of Argyll Avenue at Crosslet.
I wouldn’t want to steal his thunder, although we hear little more than a whisper from the Labour benches these days, but have Cllr McBride and his Rip Van Winkle colleagues just woken up?
They should have been on this case long before six months ago, which is how long he claims he has spent lobbying for action to have this crossing installed after lollipop wardens were removed from the foot of Argyll Avenue.
Staff at Crosslet House there have been complaining that it’s a serious accident waiting to happen every time they take a group of residents from that care home across the road there.
But they have been ignored in the manner of three wise monkeys – hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil – by their Council bosses and elected representatives.
The decision to withdraw the lollipop patrol was made in February after 15-year-old Rachel Hardie was struck by a car while crossing with a lollipop warden – with council roads bosses later deeming it was too unsafe to cross there.
Isn’t that West Dunbartonshire Council for you? Someone gets knocked down and they decide to remove the safety measures when anyone with a modicum of common sense would have set out to improve them.
The Dumbarton councillor says he has been lobbying Transport Scotland for months, saying an urgent solution is needed, but he says nobody seems to know about the latest meeting and has been calling for action.
In case he doesn’t read the Lennox Herald, which I doubt, I have been urging the Council to do something about that blackspot for years.
Its existence was one of the reasons why a new care home should never have been built at Crosslet since visitors and staff would be taking their life in their hands every time they crossed that road.
Can I just slip in here that I also complained that it was foolish to build the care home at Crosslet and to close the care homes in the community and replace them with a single unit accommodating more than 70 residents?
That was a recipe for disaster. A disaster that happened during the corona virus pandemic.
But the details of that will all come out in the wash when we have a public inquiry into that scandal which caused so many old folk to die needlessly.
And for others, who survived it, to be alarmed unnecessarily by the fact that, without them or members of their families being informed, a “do not resuscitate” note was places on their care file. Just let them die.
Let’s make sure that this important inquiry does not turn out to be a whitewash, like so many others, and that the SNP government and council don’t redact half of it as has been their modus operandum in the recent past.
It look innocuous enough, this media release from the health board. But do its contents have the potential to make even bigger trouble for the SNP government than did the school exams debacle?
It states: Our Test and Protect team is carrying out COVID-19 contact tracing around the following schools in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area:
St Ninian’s Primary, Glasgow
Glasgow Academy, Glasgow
“Within each of the schools, Public Health teams have systematically established a list of close contacts. Test and Protect staff are contacting those identified as contacts. These close contacts are being advised to self-isolate and being given appropriate advice and support.”
Glasgow Academy? Surely precedence is not being given to a private school over the many local authority schools, where people are still waiting for tests and where, more and more reports are coming in of pupils who have been found to have the virus?
The government discriminated unfairly against pupils from poorer families and areas of deprivation when they handed out the exam results.
Well, are private schools such as Glasgow Academy receiving preferential treatment by getting Covid tests before local secondaries, and should they be told to get to the back of queue?