The SNP group on West Dunbartonshire Council. campaigning for their hopeless leader Cllr Jonathan McColl whose policies have caused £ millions of service cuts and look set to cost £7 million more.

Notebook by Bill Heaney

That was the year that was. The 12 months of 2021 were yet another local government disaster in West Dunbartonshire.

As we look forward to the bells ringing in 2022 tonight,  we have little or nothing to look forward to in our wasteland of  poverty and deprivation.

An SNP cutlass is poised to fall on our necks with more than £7 million of service cuts planned by the council to add to the miseries of our beleaguered citizens.

And that is not including the inevitable increase in council tax which will follow if the SNP are returned at the polls in the local government elections in May.

Les Miserables doesn’t have look in.  Opposition councillors have labelled the SNP  budget a “disaster” for this area. It is unquestionably that and more.

The local authority is facing a massive shortfall in funding, with forecasts showing the Scottish Government’s settlement for 2022/23 is much lower than anticipated.

Manning the barricades is not an option for the electorate here, but going to the polls is if we want to rid ourselves of the self-serving shambles that is the local SNP.

One member said public services across the area are at “deep risk” of failing unless council funding is increased.

Some would say services such as health and social care have already failed and that the public have been badly let down. The number of Covid-related deaths in care homes is just one example of SNP local and national government incompetence.

Harried at last by the powder puff Labour Group and the gruesome twosome on the Conservative benches, SNP leader Jonathan McColl claims he is seeking an urgent meeting with the government finance secretary Kate Forbes in the New Year.

Inarticulate as ever, he is reported as having told a meeting: “Myself and finance convener Ian Dickson have had a number of meetings with various cabinet secretaries in the run up to the Scottish Government budget announcement.

“This is not a good budget for local government and it is not a good budget for West Dunbartonshire.  We need to try and get more money for our core settlement.  We will be pushing hard for that.”

Let’s hope McColl fares better with Kate Forbes than he did with Derek Mackay with whom he was instructed to plead West Dunbartonshire’s case with the Scottish Government.

He thought it might be appropriate to raise it with the disgraced Finance Secretary over a pint at a party in a Stirling hotel.

Mackay was the eejit who harassed a wee boy and when he was found out disappeared the night before he was due to announce the Scottish budget to the nation.

And who had to be substituted by Nicola Sturgeon with Kate Forbes, a right wee yappy Scots terrier from the islands who will brook no argument to the SNP’s basket case policies. Don’t waste your time writing to her. The hubristic Forbes doesn’t reply.

McColl, pictured left, who dresses like a navvy and has the cheek to insist that our school students look smart in uniforms,  got little or no sympathy when he told councillors: ““We had an emergency COSLA meeting last night. We approved unanimously a very robust motion outlining our extreme concern with the funding settlement we’ve had and trying to progress with a number of key points.”

Robust my tonsils. It was his usual grovelling, forelock touching self who complained to the toothless Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

Opposition Labour leader Martin Rooney said the calculations showed that the council’s funding gap was originally anticipated to be £5.6m but had increased to £7.035m as a result of the Scottish Government budget which was delivered by Kate Forbes earlier this month.

What Katie does looks good on a spread sheet, but fails to stand up to scrutiny. It’s merely spam she attempts to pass off as sirloin.

Council Labour leader Martin Rooney is said to have “fumed” at the prospect of yet more SNP cuts in West Dunbartonshire.

He is reported as having said: “This is a disaster for West Dunbartonshire. A disaster in the way the Scottish Government has handled the process in not giving us the information early enough and a disaster in holding back funding which should come to councils like West Dunbartonshire.  It’s a huge gap for us to deal with.  Hopefully COSLA leaders can campaign to get a fairer deal for West Dunbartonshire.”

Chief finance officer Stephen West, who spent much of the past 12 months and beyond  dealing with bullying and harassment matters of which the council was found guilty at an employment tribunal, explained that the council was expecting the UK Government’s increase in national insurance employer contributions to form part of the settlement – which they haven’t.

Labour councillor David McBride, often an island of sanity in a sea of chaos and incompetence,  urged the council leader to fight for extra funding. And to do it himself.

He said: there were to be no more meetings such as the one held with Derek Mackay, who was the person behind nationalising the shipyard across the Clyde in Port Glasgow and the MacBrayne ferries contract which has cost the country £ millions and counting.

McBride is reported to have said:  “It’s time that we heard more fighting talk from the leader of the council because each year the leader tells us he is going to set up meetings and he’s going to use his political influence to get money.

“When we get to a funding gap of £7m, the time for nice cosy chats with the cabinet secretary are over.  We need action to get additional funding to this council after many years of cuts or the services we provide are at deep risk.”

Political influence and Jonathan McColl is an oxymoron.

Education committee convener Cllr Karen Conaghan defended the the indefensible Cllr McColl, telling elected members and staff: “You’ve heard from the leader of the council about the steps he’s taking to pursue that and get every penny we can for West Dunbartonshire.”

And the band played Believe it if You Like.

If we are waiting for Cllr McColl and his SNP cronies to sort out West Dunbartonshire and indeed Scotland’s finances then it will be like Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot.


  1. This council has plenty of money. Don’t let anyone kid you otherwise.

    It’s just what they spend it on,and who they spend it with that gets in the road of service delivery.

    The Councilors run nothing, the officers do. Glove puppets of nonentity that is why you see joke pictures of the Council Leader dressed as a navvy leaning on a shovel.

    The image tells you all.

  2. This is all fake news on all sides. China’s won. The West is done. It’s all happening at the geopolitical level. Local interests are squabbling over bird seed. WD and the likes aren’t even at the races. It’s all amateur night, theatre and soap operas here. The SNP Judas Brits in Kilts, Labour RIP, the TU sheepdogs for Labour RIP….they’re all running on fumes. They are actually gifting hope and votes to the Tories. That shows you how bad things really are. They are all “socialists” now…even the bosses. Nobody is going to talk there way out of this. Just as the ruling class ran the banks into the ground, they are running the West into the ground and looking to emerging markets to save their own bacon. Nobody is going to be surprised by an outbreak of Civil War in the US. And nobody is going to be surprised if the US ruling class trigger WW3 against Russia and China to avoid a Civil War on their home turf. The EU? That’s part of the American Empire. But the communists have won. It’s just going to take time to resign all of the capitalists to the dustbin of history.

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