Openness and transparency.

Those are two words the present SNP administration on West Dunbartonshire Council promised during their election campaign in early 2017, and championed in their early days in power.

It’s just a pity they had no idea what the words meant – for since then, they have been a long way off being open and transparent with the residents of West Dunbartonshire. It’s been much more like doors bolted and curtains shut.

The most recent example of this has been the debacle that is their engagement sessions on the future of community centres.

For the first round of sessions, they somehow managed to arrange them during the summer, when most groups were off and most parents were on holiday. They apparently averaged 10 people a session.

We now have another round of sessions arranged and the venues and timings are a long way from being open and transparent. Afternoon sessions running from 3.30pm to 4.30pm – right at the time parents are picking the kids up from school. Evening sessions running from 4.30pm to 6pm – right when most people are trying to get home from work.

Anyone would think they don’t really want open and transparent consultations.

Add that to the fact there is only one engagement session in Clydebank and only three in Dumbarton and we begin to get a rather dodgy picture.

With the exception of one meeting in the Concord Centre in Dumbarton, the rest are scheduled for the two worst times of the day for parents and those at work.

Open and transparent? Not even close.

The SNP have always been the experts at the blame game. “It’s not our fault,” they say, “the big boy down the road did it.”

That has always been their fall back position, but what happens when you run out of people to blame? Well, according to our council leader, the answer is simple: you blame the First Minister.

The SNP administration made its political choice on austerity cuts. The office of the First Minister said there was no need for any cuts. The council leader says ‘no, the boss of my own party is wrong’. They’re taking the blame game to a whole different level: you couldn’t make this up could you?