Some politicians have a really brass neck. They are incorrigible when it comes to publicity. When it’s good publicity, they cannot get enough of it, but when it’s bad they become angry and start lashing out with considerable venom. Power goes to their heads.
That’s why, when they are publicly exposed and found out bang to rights and there is no one else to blame but themselves – since they themselves are entirely to blame – they blame the media.
They claim to have been quoted out of context or misquoted.
Or they shoot the messenger or whistleblower, who is usually someone like me.
“It wisnae me,” they cry when things go wrong for them, which in West Dunbartonshire can be summed up in one short word. Often.
It was the SNP who started the ball rolling when they went after me for complaining too much about being unable to hear what was being said in what passes for a chamber at the not fit for purpose £16 million Burgh Hall.
The officers of the council hereabouts are every bit as bad as their bosses, the councillors we were daft enough to turn out to the polling stations and ballot boxes to elect.
They say you get the politicians you deserve.
Well, you certainly do in Dumbarton.
If only the people standing for election had told us the truth about Nicola Sturgeon and Sir Keir Starmer, most of us would never have put an X anywhere close to either of their names.
You all know about Sturgeon and not before time. The number of folk who voted for her consistently over the past 15 years would not now fit into the back of a mobile home.
As for Starmer. Being Labour minded, I view him as something of a blancmange – or a snowflake, I believe that is the current term for wafflers like Sir Keir.
The man he was called after would be birling in his grave if he knew about Sir Keir’s position on the children’s allowance and the two-child  limit on that.
Thank God Dame Jackie Baillie is not taking a lead from him. There are still some people with a conscience.
Robbie Burns, the Scottish poet, had Sir Keir and his lawyer friends down to a T when he called them “the hounds who prowl in the kennels of justice”.
We have one of them as the Provost in West Dunbartonshire at present who is standing for Labour at the next General Election, hoping to oust the present SNP occupant of the green benches at Westminster.
I asked the Provost once to help me get into a council meeting in Clydebank. He declined. Democracy has gone out the window in Dumbarton.
We are all in this together was the catchphrase for the former PM David Cameron when he was making a fool of himself and his family at Number Ten Downing Street.
If he was hoping to include the electorate in that then Cameron was wide of the mark.
Politicians are all in “it” together and it’s not a pretty place to be.
Currently, they are swimming around in a cesspit of sleaze of their own making.
And now to go back to where I began after reading the torrent of sewage that comes out daily from Holyrood, penned by the Scottish Government’s extremely expensive spin doctors. They are known as having come from the dark side, which sums them up perfectly. The SNP has just made one of them their chief executive.
People across Scotland are being asked to suggest ways of increasing local control over decision-making.
The SNP/Green government are launching the second phase of the Democracy Matters national conversation which “will give people the opportunity to come together in their communities to imagine how new and inclusive democratic processes can best help their town, village or neighbourhood”.
Novel this is, especially when  we haven’t heard a thing about the first phase and high profile democracy is a downright lie in Scotland in general and West Dunbartonshire in particular.
Freedom of the Press is one thing which would assist them in receiving far more good publicity than they do at present, which is not a lot.
They are telling us that community groups can guide local discussions by using their consultation document which covers a variety of themes including powers, representation, accountability and participation. People previously said it was crucial to get these things right. Funding is available to help with the costs of hosting events. A bribe, perhaps?
To mark the start of the second phase, Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur and Local Government Empowerment Minister Joe FitzPatrick visited one community trust, something similar to that trust in the Vale which operates out of Mitchell Way in Alexandria. I keep calling the place dystopian because that is what it is, the exact opposite of Utopian.
Mitchell Way in Alexandria must be the worst town centre in Scotland.
Mr Arthur’s title is a joke, but it’s not funny.  He must know we’re all skint and that the cost of living crisis has brought nothing but poverty, hunger and despair to thousands of people.
He  said: ““The Scottish Government is encouraging people across the country to come together and talk about local involvement in our democratic processes. We believe more decisions should be taken locally to better reflect the aspirations of our diverse communities.
“More than 4,000 people took part in the first phase of Democracy Matters. By providing financial support, we hope to make local conversations during the second phase as welcoming as possible. We want to hear even more voices as we work together to improve the way democracy works for our local communities.”
And the band played Believe it if You Like.
These will not be the voices of people like me or anyone else who is in the category of the “one word from me and they’ll do what they like” brigade. Councillors here have a habit of doing the exact opposite of what we ask them. Their policy in regard to cutting the grass in public places and civic spaces is a good example of this.
COSLA (the local government national body) President Shona Morrison said:  “COSLA welcomes the launch of the second phase of Democracy Matters; it marks a renewed resolve to put local people and communities at the centre of local decision-making. By drawing on the experiences gained by local communities during and since the Covid-19 pandemic we hope to secure a clear, updated understanding of how new models of local democracy can transform the lives of people in communities across Scotland.
“I would encourage everyone to contribute to the conversations which will be taking place across Scotland during the next few months as we ask what models of democratic framework would work best for them.”
A word of warning to those of you who might be swithering about turning up for one of these sessions. It will most probably be held somewhere you can’t hear what’s going on. You won’t be provided with a place to take notes and there is a very real danger that you will be thrown out and banned sine die from ever attending another public meeting.
The upside is that you will be paid for turning up. Better than a free ticket for the pictures or a snail up your nose.
Electoral Reform Society Scotland Director Willie Sullivan said: “Communities are made and good places to live are created when people work with each other to run their city, island, town or village. Scotland is the sum of these places, and our democracy depends on how well we run them together.
“In that light, it’s very important to restart Democracy Matters to ask local communities what sort of local democratic framework might make this possible.”
Oor Willie Sullivan gets extremely well paid to say things like that as local council officers and councillors do too for getting us into the state we are currently in and having little or no plans to get us out of it.
The new walkway along the quayside between the town centre and the football stadium. The council think so much of their very expensive  handiwork that they keep it like a tip. Well, would you sit on this bench with the grass growing down your collar?

One comment

  1. To say that Alexandria’s Mitchell Way must be the worst towwn centre in Scotland is no exaggeration.

    The place is a dump and not out of place in the old dilapidated slums that were so prevalent in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism.

    But it’s not just Alexandria. Look at Dumbarton town centre High Street. It’s another dump.

    But why is are these areas such dumps. Is it really the politicians and the councillors who are to blame, or are they just a reflection of the wider community.

    Why why why is our area so run down.

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