By Bill Heaney
Nothing much goes right in Dumbarton under the SNP, so don’t expect too much from the news that West Dunbartonshire has qualified to enter the competition for a UK government grant which could see the Council embark soon on a long overdue refurbishment of the Artizan Centre.
Administration leader Jonathan McColl and his “team”, split down the middle on the question of whether dyke jumper Cllr Caroline McAllister should be repirieved and brought back into the fold, are fighting like cats in a sack. Cllr McAllister’s crime was to join Alex Salmond’s ALBA Party.
What that effectively means is that the SNP no longer have a majority and require the assistance of Bailie Denis Agnew, God help them, someone else with a poor track record for party loyalty, to vote their policies through. The only party he’s not been in are the Tories. So far anyway.
No one will relish that more than Bailie Agnew who is so full of his own importance that he believes he is actually entitled to wear the gold chain of office – and the £20,000 that goes with it – after some political horse trading that would make folk like Matt Hancock throw up.
Bailieships are so last century, as are the gold and ermine adornments that go with them.
Caroline McAllister was the women’s champion in the SNP ranks, all for women’s rights and a leader in the fight against against domestic abuse, a woman of courage.
It seems, however, that her SNP colleagues are not on the same page.
Despite the fact that Caroline would like to weedle her way back into the SNP group, word has come down the line from party headquarters in Edinburgh that they must not do that.
It seems the same folk who put the skids under her when she wanted to be the SNP challenger to Jackie Baillie in Dumbarton at last month’s Scottish Parliament election are against her.
The SNP’s dirty tricks department – and it’s a large and very nasty one – are at it again.
Caroline, if she wants to stand in local government elections next May, is going to have to represent the Alba party one more time. The parachutes are being liberally passed around at the moment.
She needn’t worry about being lonely however since a considerable number of SNP activists in Dumbarton will be joining her.
One who won’t however is Cllr Marie McNair, sister of the obnoxious former Labour leader Andy White, who won the Clydebank parliamentary seat vacated in May by her SNP colleague, the long-serving Gil Paterson.
Cllr McNair, pictured right, I am told, believes she can ride two horses at one time – one as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament and the other on Zoom as convener of the council’s basket case Health and Social Care Committee. What a shambles that lot are.
They are the ones that made such a hash of running our council care homes during this pandemic. When people say they know where the bodies are buried on that one, they do, not just metaphorically deither, but literally.
If you have been foolish enough to put yourself through the excruciating boredom of listening to a few council meetings recently and you intend to continue doing so then keep your ears open for an upcoming motion which, if carried of course, will not let that happen. Quite right too.
I am told that all the SNP councillors who won parliamentary seats acros Scotland have been told to hang on to their local government seats in the likelyhood they will be in grave danger of losing them.
Which takes us to election night, when everyone was given a front row seat which confirmed the fact that West Dunbartonshire Council could not run a piss up in a brewery.
There’s a lot goes on behind the scenes at election counts – and the choreography is usually worked out beforehand. You will have seen it a million times on TV.
It gives the likes of TV pundits Bernard Ponsonby and Brian Taylor something to talk about while the nation sits on the edge of its sofa awaiting the result.
The returning officer, who in this case was none other than Joyce White, the Council CEO, pictured left, agrees the times when the count will start and lets the candidates or their agents know approximately when they will finish.
Needless to say, however, her forecasts were as accurate as my pick to win the Euro 2020 tournament is likely to be.
It seems also that the initial cursory counts which reveal an indication of the way things are going were wildly inaccurate.
And that people kept sending messages back to the SNP’s Toni Guigliano, already celebrating victory in a Balloch drinking establishment, that he had won.
Jackie Baillie also got messages that she had lost and was forced to put a Braveheart face on it while she waited and Toni and his pals sang Flower of Scotland.
It seems Toni arrived in Clydebank to cheers from his duped supporters while Jackie Baillie entered the hall in a quiet, dignified manner …
Until she got the message that she had won and her tellers, such as Labour’s Cllr David McBride, exploded into a cheer louder than anything you’ll hear at the Euros – even if Scotland win.
Toni is believed to have left the constituency which he claimed was his home and gone back to Edinburgh where it has been proved in the past that he is not very good at elections, having lost every one he has stood in.
Shades of Lloyd Quinan there. Who remembers the TV weather man then?