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.

A little known SNP councillor, Chris Pollock, said I hold no credentials.
Then Labour’s David McBride stated that I was not banned from council meetings, that anyone can go but I am not afforded press facilities.
Two further reasons were given. One was that I am not associated with any “official newspaper”, whatever that is apart from Pravda or a Chinese propaganda sheet, of course.
Both councillors agreed that the digital news platform that is The Democrat is  “just a blog” and that  councillors will not engage with me because I am too one sided against them.
Someone should tell them that journalists are not here to make friends and influence people.
Which just means of course that neither of these councillors is a democrat in the true sense of the word. The fact that the Telegraph is a Conservative-backing newspaper, the Record backs Labour and The National supports the SNP doesn’t count with them.
Because The Democrat leans towards the Left and the Labour Party, we are to be bullied. Well, stuff that, I say.
West Dunbartonshire Council has form for bullying – I have reported on two cases in recent months involving a GP whose practice was illegally removed from him and a disabled person who was bullied out the door, both of whom won their cases against the council at employment tribunals.
Their lives had been made Hell by people promoted beyond their abilities.
Thankfully the Chief Executive of that time has now gone, rewarded with a golden parachute pension for her failure.
The recently established Health and Social Care Committee, which has unelected members on it, and some of the most senior officials of the council, were involved in both instances.
It couldn’t be that they are furious at that and the fact that both cases were fully reported in The Democrat, which often has more readers than the two local newspapers put together, or could it?
It couldn’t be that it is the Council which does not have fully qualified staff to carry out the work they are overpaid to do, or could it?
Or maybe it’s just the old story that ignorance can be cured by education and information and that stupid is forever.
The Health Board, which has recently been caught out for spying on patients whose relatives remarks they didn’t like in the media about infections caused by a dirty hospital, is connected to the Council through the Health and Social Care Committee.
That is in turn connected to the full Council, which is in turn again connected to the Scottish Government, which again in turn has connections with the Westminster Government.

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.

One comment

  1. Truly it is of utter ignorant arrogance when a little known councillor says that Bill Heaney is not qualified as a journalist.

    The councillor oversteps his very limited ability when he comes out with trash like that. He obviously should have stuck to making tea and coffee or putting leaflets through doors rather than spouting absolute tosh like that.

    Now Mr Heaney may not be the Council or the Councillor’s cup of tea. We get that. This is a council that doesn’t like criticism, likes to keep secrets and spends a huge amount of money on what would best be described as corporate spin. Money that by the way could be spent supporting local journalism. But they don’t do that, and so they ban him, or say he’s not a journalist, which is utter nonsense.

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