I like to think that my style is far more about proposing solutions to problems rather than simply pointing to problems and criticising people or organisations. Tonight, I fear, I will break with tradition!
We have all heard the phrase "the lunatics are running the asylum" or a variation of it, but very rarely do you get tangible examples of it to report. So, if your target is to find examples of lunatics running something you should thank your lucky stars for East Renfrewshire Council.
Only East Renfrewshire Council believe the Land Reform Act, and Right to Roam legislation in particular, should take precedence over action to tackle anti-social behaviour. Now if this was simply an error in interpretation it might be forgivable but in this instance the Scottish Parliament has written to the Council of several occasions telling them to support local residents blighted by youth disorder and not to use "right to roam" as an excuse for doing nothing and yet East Renfrewshire Council continue to stick to their own flawed interpretation of a law they did not create.
And then there is East Renfrewshire Council's prioritisation of spending that does not mirror the priorities of the Council Tax payer. I am inundated by people complaining about the new landscaping and hanging baskets at Eastwood Toll when the money would be better spent on improving local roads or putting more police onto local streets when we need them most. Worse still they wasted a huge amount of money on some cobbles outside shops through Giffnock when local shopkeepers believe they could have spent it better and in a way that increased the number of people actually shopping locally. Possibly the best example of money wasting came recently when during a downpour Council workers were out watering plants in hanging baskets in front of shopkeepers who looked on incredulous to the very public waste of money none of their businesses would dare sustain.
I have numerous other examples of how lunatics are running the East Renfrewshire asylum at Eastwood Park and know people out there have many, many more examples to share. Thankfully, I believe there is a group of people capable of running the asylum sensibly, prudently and with a vision as to how East Renfrewshire Council could better serve local people. That is why I will be doing everything I can to support Councillor Jim Swift and his Conservative Group as they seek to build on their numbers and take control of East Renfrewshire's administration.
When any government body forgets who it serves there is surely cause for concern, but when the same body forgets time and time again it is surely time for, top down, route and branch reform.
Empower local people and they will get on with things and deliver fantastic results for their family, their neighbours and their local communities. Treat them with a lack of respect and they will do nothing for you. It is time for us all to stand up and be counted in the battle for common sense in the running of East Renfrewshire. I have great confidence in the ability of local people to win this fight and deliver a brighter future for us all.