I WANTED to become a local councillor to make a difference.

I’ve never been all that comfortable with the label “politician”, despite my position as a councillor fitting the definition. Politics plays a huge part in what councillors do, of course it does. But doing what’s right for the community is the driving force.

At a special meeting of the council’s corporate services committee on April 21, I had no hesitation in seconding the motion to award Golden Friendships the £20,000 they’d asked for to help install a Changing Places facility.

This will not only help bring Golden Friendships’ huge plans a step closer to fruition: it will also provide some much-needed dignity for those whose disabilities would otherwise mean they’d have to get changed on the floor. Moments like these are why I became a councillor.

MEANWHILE: that’s another election campaign over, and what a strange, almost surreal, campaign it was.

There were no hustings, so there was no opportunity for the voters to grill the candidates; there was no fanfare, and no large groups out leafleting.

On the upside, voters were quite happy to chat to those who were handing out leaflets. It was much more relaxed than some campaigns we’ve known in recent times, so, as they say, every cloud...

IT is good to see that restrictions are being lifted; we can now move around with much more freedom, businesses are beginning to open, you can get your hair done, buy a new telly or bed, but bizarrely, not sit in the pub and have a pint.

You can, of course, sit in a beer garden and have a pint – assuming, that is, that your local has enough space to make a beer garden viable, or even to have one at all. If you don’t mind sitting in the pouring rain, of course.

You can sit inside a pub and have a meal – always supposing your local does meals – but you can’t have a wine with your meal. That’s not a pub, it’s a cafe.

When the pandemic first started our pubs in West Dunbartonshire were as responsible in sticking to the guidelines as it was possible to be. Track and trace, one door in and one out, most taking temperature readings and imposing strict social distancing. They were very safe environments.

Compare your local to a major supermarket: bumping into people, masks not being worn over the nose, some people even carrying masks instead of wearing them, touching tins and packets that hundreds had touched before you. Not exactly a germ-free situation. But let’s shut the pubs because they are unsafe. It completely defies logic.

Our pubs should have opened with everything else. Stop destroying the local economy and putting jobs at risk. Open our locals.