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One of my favourite pastimes is listening to the music of Scotland and reading of her fine heritage.
When listening to the music and the renditions of our great nation, one of my favourite singer-rhymers is the late, great Andy Stewart.
My favourite is The Rumour – a song about the story of, you guessed it, a rumour.
The rumour in question joined a CalMac ferry, travelled throughout the Western Isles, across moor and mountain, gathering detail on its way and eventually arrived back at the place of its birth – much more interesting than when it all started.
‘So,’ you are saying to yourself, ‘where is White Van Man going with this?’
It all started with the Great Bin Crisis brought to our homes by Argyll and Bute Council, an issue that had been highlighted by The Oban Times several times.
I have been very vocal on the matter and went along to a meeting of Argyll Community Housing Association and Argyll and Bute councillors which was also attended by several community representatives.
I was amazed to be told by the chairperson she had only heard of this issue a few days prior to the meeting, whereupon she had decided to call the meeting.
Now come on. Did all the articles in The Oban Times fail to draw any attention to the matter? Did conversation in the street and online messages fail to impress on our councillors the seriousness of the matter?
Do councillors not talk to each other? Some councillors seemed to know about the problem – but not others.
Did several heated meetings of Oban Community Council mean nothing or are some councillors still sleeping at meetings?
I was informed by the chairperson of said meeting that she and a fellow council colleague had visited Soroba that morning and all was well.
She said: ‘The bin lids were all closed.’
I asked: ‘Did you open the lids?’
Of course they hadn’t opened the lids.
For your information, the bin lids were closed because they were full and the community was trying to stop seagulls or rats from getting access to the bin contents.
Later in the meeting, the council admitted there wasn’t enough capacity in the bins at Soroba. A wee bit honesty goes a long way.
On another matter, it has become apparent over the past week or so that some councillors are becoming rattled over social media and its contents.
This is a bow with many strings. While social media can be a handy tool, a way of communicating, it is what is said on private sites that bothers me.
Having viewed comments by councillors, the only way I can relate to this is to give the following advice: ‘Sweep your own doorstep clean before trying to sweep someone else’s.’
And while all this interaction is going on, if there is word of a rumour rather than fact – don’t pass it on. Don’t add to it. A rumour can destroy a person, or family and no-one wants to be held responsible for that.
This is the year of Argyll and Bute Council elections. Is it ‘time for change’? Who knows?
I have a story for you.
Several months ago I spoke to a friend who has become a councillor. I said to this person I thought he had changed since he became an elected member.
He explained that when you become a councillor there are things you can say and there are things you cannot say.
My take on that is simple. If you are elected to the post of councillor, you are there to serve to the best of your ability. If what you say is true, you need never be afraid of making comment. I get the feeling political blackmail is alive and well. To be elected to speak for the people and then to be silenced is disgraceful.
That is why I will never stand for the council. I would not allow anyone to tell me what I can and cannot say.
In other words, you guessed it again, I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut!
Remember folks, leave your moan after the tone.