Empowering communities is vital in ensuring their future - an engaged community is a healthy community.

The final public engagement events for the development of the council’s community empowerment strategy are in Alexandria Community Centre on August 26, Concord Community Centre on August 29, and Clydebank Town Hall on September 3. At all meetings, refreshments will be served from 6pm, before a 6.30pm start.

It’s vital the strategy reflects the diversity and needs of our communities, which is why we are keen for you all to engage in the process.

There’s also a lot of work going on behind the scenes to review the Community Alliance (CA) committee, led by people from our communities and third sector organisations.

The subject of empowering leads me onto a motion I brought to full council in June. The motion was following the request of the CA to change their make up, with a view to expanding membership from the wider community.

It would start with slightly increasing the number of councillors on the committee from three to four, and ensure a substitute turned up should the committee member be absent. They felt it was important that the convenor of housing and communities sit on the committee, which I agree is sensible and has purpose.

For this motion to be heard, standing orders (SO) had to be suspended. This requires two thirds of council to agree. To my horror, but, I have to admit, not surprise, Labour and the Tories blocked any debate by voting against suspending SO.

The only motion of the night which came directly from residents, freely giving of their time to improve West Dunbartonshire, Labour and the Tories wouldn’t agree to it being debated.

It seems all this talk of another referendum has rekindled old bonds.

I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve seen Labour talk a good game on many occasions, but I didn’t think they’d be stupid enough to throw their lot in with the Tories again.

I then remember who pulls their strings. And I have to accept that Labour really are a busted flush in Scotland. They bitterly oppose the people of Scotland deciding their own constitutional future and prefer to shackle us to a crumbling union heading to hell in a hand cart.

We now know without any doubt Labour does not trust the people of West Dunbartonshire with any level of democracy or decision making powers.

Has this political mentality been the reason WD has struggled for years to relieve its residents of the many ills we’ve faced and has the fact things are starting to improve, residents are actively welcomed to shape future policy, the reason Labour in alliance with their friends the Tories blocked residents wishes being heard in the chamber?

Deeds not words.