The Dumbarton Democrat is set to open again in October, although we continue to operate for the moment on a reduced scale.  We announced the imminent closure of this popular digital platform, which had wide public support, at the beginning of summer, in June this year. This was at a time when, although successful in attracting many thousands of readers, it was decided we could no longer sustain the level of news coverage we had given up to that point. All our reports, news and sports coverage, comment and features, and even community-based advertising, were brought to readers FREE of charge. Curmudgeonly councillors and officials, apart from the relatively new Community Party, refused to openly support us in our in our quest to bring openness and transparency to the the affairs of important organisations in this community, including West Dunbartonshire Council, the local Health Board, the Scottish Parliament, Argyll and Bute Council, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park et al, all of which are funded with public money. £ millions are spent on press and public relations by these organisations, but none of it is spent with The Democrat because we get to the truth too often for some people’s liking. Nor are we prepared to bend the knee or touch the forelock to the establishment. We were – and still are  – hopeful that some other well-intentioned news organisation or philanthropic individual, will step into the breach, since both Vale of Leven and Dumbarton’s current local newspapers have closed their local offices and no longer accommodate editorial staff in the community here. They now sell only a very small percentage of the newspapers they sold in the past. It would appear from their attitude – and their actions – that the Council, whether it’s SNP or Labour – is content to watch this happen. It suits them that few people know what they are doing in our name. They do not welcome press or public scrutiny and intend to maintain the anti-democratic status quo in these matters. We are considered to be the awkward squad, the journalists who won’t be gagged. We wear this as a badge of honour. The public has a right to know. We intend to pursue that aggressive but fair attack when we fully re-open the platform in October when the SNP policy of obfuscation and cover-up looks as if it may be carried on by the Scottish Labour Party.  Labour failed to respond to our request that the SNP ban on  their £500,000 a year team of spin doctors answering questions of public interest from The Democrat directly should immediately be lifted. Nothing has happened over the sleepy summer months however. The right to Freedom of Speech has gone out the window Dunbartonshire. We will be back with coverage adjusted to meet our staffing and fiscal situation.  Meanwhile, we haven’t gone away, you know.

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