IN the 1962 film starring Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey there was a character named Senator John Yerkes Iselin played by well-known character actor James Gregory. The senator is portrayed as a weak politician who is dominated by his powerful and manipulative wife played by Angela Lansbury, but as usual I digress.

Senator Iselin claims to have the names of an ever changing number of "communists" employed in the White House and at one point is seen pleading with his wife "can I just not have one simple number that doesn't change, I look like an idiot".

This is very reminiscent of the situation locally where in 2011 a strategic advisory board was formed to drive forward improvement in West Dunbartonshire.

The figure of 5,000 new homes must have seemed like an attractive goal and a good headline at the time and was adopted as the perhaps more aspirations than practical target.

The figure was used in a press release by this administration in May of this year, what they did not of course qualify is the fact that most of these homes would have to be delivered by strategic partners which is a euphemism for NOT BY US. And these people would not deliver unless there were a profit in for them and, unlike the council, have no responsibility to provide houses.Anyway to the point. When I commented on this figure and the apparent failure to even approach this level of provision I was pounced on by the local version of this confused politician and given a list of homes that we are to build over five years, which comes to 540 homes. By the law of simple averages for simple people, this equates to 108 houses a year this also would appear to be well short of the forecast of 500 houses a year.

But I hear the protests already from the "leader" he is going to make up the shortfall of 392 hooses each year by compelling private builders to provide them.

That would be comparable with anything Penn and Teller ever did in the world of illusion smoke and mirrors. The facts are these: This administration has pledged to deliver yet another promise that it cannot keep and no amount of spin will disguise that fact. We have 5,000 people on the waiting list and the demolition programme which merely reduces the number of void houses that we have on the books does not provide additional homes for families and individuals, who desperately need to be housed it will only show a cosmetically improved rate of voids which they will point to with pride and say "we improved the void figures".

They did it before by using the same subterfuge knocking down houses does not create new stock you have to build hooses to do that and you have to accelerate the programme to make a real difference to the waiting list.

So come on Johnny, sorry Martin, what is the real figure how many hooses can you guarantee to build?