“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Questions for West Dunbartonshire Council.

with 2 comments

One of my readers, Penny, has some excellent questions for West Dunbartonshire Council:

“I haven’t time or space right now to pick up on every issue so I’ll just mention two statements that I found troubling and which I’ll post separately. I trust the councillor –should he read the posts – will see them as constructive criticism from one who has done the job herself.

In my opinion the following statement is very unfortunate:

“West Dunbartonshire Council remains committed to our boycott of Israeli goods and our resolve has only been strengthened by the torrent of vile abuse threats of violence against our families that has come from people who claim to be peace loving people.”

So, what has actually been said here?

There is no mention of Israel having exacerbated the situation that existed in 2009. Yet the council’s resolve has been strengthened. Why? According to Cllr McColl this is because the councillors have experienced a very negative reaction from some members of the public.

What a very bizarre way to approach policy!

Has the Councillor considered how this might be interpreted by residents in Dunbarton? Because what this position seems to be saying is that a) if the council votes on a contentious issue and that vote causes public protest, outrage and threats and b) this public reaction then results in councillors becoming hurt or otherwise emotionally distressed then c) those councillors will not only stick with their original decision but will strengthen their resolve to do so! This isn’t professional and it isn’t very democratic either.

A councillor is most unlikely to complete his/her term without some form of public disapproval. I certainly didn’t! But if a decision creates such outrage – and I daresay distress – then shouldn’t the councillors first course of action be to listen to the people, undertake a proper and professional review of the issue and do all that is necessary to maintain the good name of their council rather than viewing it only through a prism of self-defence and acting on that alone?

Reading the motion and listening to the video has not convinced me that there has been an honest and in-depth appraisal of the situation with further research undertaken. One would have thought that before strengthening resolve some consideration might have been given to Judge Goldstone’s retraction – which weakens the original case.

Given that this issue has been discussed on several blogs in the UK and has reached American sites, I would have thought that the best way forward would be to convene a meeting between the council and an organisation able to represent the Israeli perspectives. At least that way some academic information might surface and the council could be seen to be doing its best to understand both the issues and the outrage.

Furthermore, if councillors are receiving abuse/threats then such a move would go a long way to stopping that. Which is an awful lot better than going on the attack, sending out warnings and mentioning the police straight away. These types of actions are not the best way to shape the public’s view of a council and although the police take threats seriously, personally, I think it might be better to instigate other measures first in order to support police resources.” [My emphasis.]

2 Responses

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  1. @ Penny

    Your article is like a breath of fresh air.
    You have walked the walk, not just talked the talk.
    You might even be regarded by ‘conservatives’ (whatever that means) as left leaning. But you sound very level headed, approachable, and OPEN to discussion

    I fear that NONE of your positive characteristics could be ascribed to West Dunbartonshire Council.
    The loony left is unassailable by any form of logic or reason.

    They are emoticons, in the flesh.

    They are so imbued with antisemitism, projected as anti-zionism, that they can see no evil in the path that they follow, including supporting Israel’s enemies. So facts are immaterial.

    “…the torrent of vile abuse [and] threats of violence against our families…”
    Had they published samples of that ‘torrent’, and passed those ‘threats of violence’ to the police?

    I would like to link this thread to another ‘small’ but intense tradegy, namely that of the bestial torture and murder of the Syrian 13 year old boy – Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, at the hands of Bashar Assad’s government.
    Will WDC comment on that foreign affair item, or leave that to the Scottish Government, where it belongs. Or, will they, as the LL is wont to do, find some way to blame that on Israel?

    What iota of benefit do the people ‘served’ (?) by WDC derive from WDC’s dabbling in foreign affairs?
    Should this WDC not be censured for wasting council time and resources politicking when they should be taking care of streets and sanitation?

    But who will do that censuring?
    Maybe Penny’s article can kickstart that process.

    Tim Bus

    01/06/2011 at 21:26

  2. Thanks for your comment, Tim.

    The problem with what I have seen thus far regarding WDC is that I’m not altogether sure that the councillors know enough about the non-domestic issues that they’re voting on.

    It would seem that this vote has distressed many ordinary people – and it is the people that councillors should be concerned with. They shouldn’t lose sight of who elected them and why.

    They should go back to the start point, look again at all the issues and educated themselves. They’ll get a great deal more respect all round if they do.
    By ignoring the trouble and ‘strengthening resolve’ I would think they’re sending out the wrong message to their electorate.


    02/06/2011 at 15:11

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