NOTEBOOK by BILL HEANEY
So, West Dunbartonshire Council’s Labour Group and the SNP are at one, joined at the hip as they say.
Labour supporters must be dismayed at the way their politicians are behaving at present. They voted for change at last year’s local government election after all.
But what have we got? Look around you and weep for yourself and your children.
Look at Dumbarton Town Centre and Alexandria Town Centre. Look at the grass-cutting scandal.
If the councillors and officials don’t get their finger out, we are going to be looking at dirty old Dumbarton and the bourach that is the Vale’s Main Street and Mitchell Way for years to come.
Is this the legacy today’s citizens, as we are now known by these gaulieters, will be leaving to future generations?
We were awarded from Boris Johnston’s “levelling up” programme a £21 million tranche of money to give Dumbarton Town Centre a face-lift.
That sounded ideal until the Church Street mob, who had missed out on a excellent opportunity to provide us with a new town centre with a wonderful vista looking out to Dumbarton Castle, and the point where the Leven meets the Clyde, decided to water things down.
That £21 million was also for Glencairn House, they told us. To give us a new library, despite the fact that we already have a perfectly good one in Strathleven Place.
And a museum and yet another cafe where people could read in the peace and quiet of a space overlooking the outdoor beer garden of the Captain James Lang public house and Dumbarton Quay, where the winos meet.
The space looking out to the Castle is no longer available, of course. It’s a supermarket car park in an area full of supermarket car parks. We’ll have to put up with it, I suppose.
Then there is Alexandria Town Centre. Speak softly here for you tread on the dreams of Vale of Leven people who want desperately to see that slum razed to the ground.
There was supposed to be a deal in the pipeline with, once again, a supermarket involved, but that has not come off.
Mitchell Way and the famous landmark Fountain at the junction of Bank Street and Main Street are just a couple of miles down the road from Balloch where we hear the Council is going to give Flamingoland planning permission for yet another bourach.
Maybe the councillors are deaf to the wishes of the local public who have told them time and again that the last thing they want on the banks of Loch Lomond is Flamingoland.
Possibly the sound system in the council chamber really is so bad that the councillors themselves have no idea what’s happening at their meetings.
It certainly seems that way from where I am standing.
I am told that a recent meeting of Overtoun and Silverton Community Council a concerned member of the public asked why The Democrat was banned from council meetings.
We are not banned of course. They just don’t let us in sometimes. And they have even thrown us out on occasion.
Why? They would have you believe I am not qualified as a journalist.
I cannot wait to see the report from the public inquiry into the Covid pandemic which saw so many local residents lose their lives in care homes to which they were transferred without testing.
The Health Board issued the following statement last night: “We want to make absolutely clear that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has never used private investigators to spy on patients and their families.
“The practice we use, called social media listening, plays a key role in issues management for companies and organisations worldwide by offering access to publicly available online and social conversations through perfectly legitimate and internationally accepted software companies that are used by tens of thousands of private and public sector organisations every day, such as the Meltwater platform, which is used by more than 27,000 global customers including NHSGGC.
“In monitoring public conversations surrounding our organisation through social listening, we erroneously reviewed public individual posts shared by the relative of a patient. This was an isolated case for which we have since apologised to the individual, and we have ceased all such monitoring.”
I don’t believe them. I won’t be gagged by Dumbarton’s version of the Stasi. If they didn’t use private investigators then they must have trained in-house staff to do the spying.
A curse on all their houses. I intend to continue to publish The Democrat despite them.