Jackie Baillie MSP, Cllr Lorna Douglas and Cllr Jonathan McColl.

By Bill Heaney

News is just breaking that Councillor Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP group on West Dunbartonshire Council, has been all but rejected as a List candidate for the Dumbarton constituency, seat which is currently held by long-standing Labour MSP Jackie Baillie.

Because of the SNP’s secrecy policies, encapsulated in their Wheesht for Scotland campaign, the number of votes cast for each candidate is difficult to obtain.

However, we can tell you that Cllr McColl came second bottom of a panel of 12 which, according to an SNP insider, gives him nought but “a cat in hell’s chance” of progressing further than the ballot of May 6.

From the bare facts we have it is clear that McColl, a controversial figure in Dumbarton, received little or no support from colleagues in the SNP constituency party.

There are around 500 members in the local party, which was forced to stand aside and allow party bosses in Edinburgh to decide who the SNP’s main candidate in Dumbarton would be.

Toni Giugliano will be SNP’s main hope in the election pictured campaigning in one he lost previously with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and disappointed supporters.

Party veteran Mike Russell was parachuted in from Argyll to take charge of that election process which returned carpetbagger Toni Giugliano to stand against Jackie Baillie.

Local favourites for that post were women’s rights champion Caroline McAllister and council education convener Cllr Karen Conaghan, but they were badly let down by the new discrimination process which gives precedence to BAME, gay and disabled person.

It was put about that Caroline McAllister, like Harry Potter novelist JK Rowling, was not keen on transgender individuals using ladies’ toilets and other controversial things and she was quickly jettisoned by the SNP hierarchy.

And that Karen Conaghan’s stance on abortion on demand might not fit in with the SNP position on that controversial issue.

The Regional List, which will be made up of runners-up and others who receive most support from their colleagues. Candidates can choose to be on both Lists as a safety net to ensure that if they lose in the main poll they still have a chance of getting a seat via the LIst.

We can reveal that the West of Scotland SNP List will include Lorna Douglas, a councillor on Argyll and Bute Council, who finished ahead of McColl in the internal poll.

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