Wednesday, October 22 PAPA Macs in Johnstone was as good a place as any to catch up with Cllr Andy Doig. Needless to say matters involving the town centre were top of the agenda. The construction of the town hall looks to be well on course for a summer opening and there’s little doubt it will be a real asset to the town. All the more reason why every effort must be made to ensure the local economy gets a real bounce from a new civic building that looks destined to become a genuine source of pride. Other parts of the town are in need of significant investment, that’s for sure, and rest assured we’ll be turning the spotlight on some of the issues in the weeks and months ahead.

Thursday, October 23 A national newspaper picked up on our front page story in last week’s Barrhead News and followed suit by making it their ‘splash’, as we call it in the trade. The attention the story of sex offender Simeon Hope being housed in Barrhead attracted was quite extraordinary but perhaps not unexpected. If there is one thing that triggers strong feelings in any community it’s the fear that our children could be at risk. We make no apology for bringing the story to our readers’ notice but we recognise and respect the professional and committed approach made by Police Scotland and East Renfrewshire Council as well as the other agencies who are charged with the task of keeping our communities safe.

Friday, October 24 Local newspapers, above all else, must give a voice to people in our communities, particularly when those comments challenge something we have previously printed in the pages of our titles. One reader contacted us via Facebook to raise questions about a comment included in this very column. It concerned an observation about the trial of Oscar Pistorious which failed to name his victim Reeva Steenkamp (pictured). Our reader’s criticism is included in this week’s letters page and I was more than happy to take the point on board. The loss of Ms Steenkamp is, of course, at the heart of the tragedy and that should never be forgotten.

Saturday, October 25 In a former life, I spent some time in Arbroath where I developed an affection for the Angus town’s famous football club. Not a lot of people know this but they’ve just recorded their best ever start to a league campaign and are sitting pretty at the top of League Two. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, they walloped their most bitter rivals Montrose 5-1 today with the Arbroath keeper scoring a goal to boot. Comic book stuff.

Sunday, October 26 The Sunday newspapers made for another fascinating read as they poured over the fall-out from Johann Lamont’s decision to resign as leader of Scottish Labour. The narrative that’s unfolding in the wake of September 18 is in contrast to the actual result. The yes campaign lost but there seems to be a buoyancy about the SNP at the moment with Nicola Sturgeon preparing to take over the reins from Alex Salmond and the party’s membership rising. The Labour Party, who rallied behind the no campaign and who were ultimately victorious, seem to be doing some soul-searching. It will be interesting to see if indeed East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy steps forward and puts himself in contention for a prominent seat at Holyrood.

Monday, October 27 Monday started with a phone call from Cllr Kenny Hay who was keen to express his concerns about on online discussion on our Facebook page. The question posed related to speculation about East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy entering the race to become leader of the Scottish Labour Party in the wake of Johann Lamont’s resignation. Kenny was concerned at how quickly the discussion took a turn for the worse with several contributors choosing to take the opportunity to throw insults around rather than put forward sensible arguments and opinion. Kenny was 100 per cent correct to make his feelings known to us and we assured him that as soon as the thread got out of hand we deleted it from our Facebook page. We value everyone’s opinion and so it’s always with a heavy heart when we are forced to cut a discussion short when healthy debate turns sour.

Tuesday, October 28 I had a dream last night that deadline day was a relaxing affair. No such luck. Onward and upward, as they say.