SUSAN Aitken wrote in these pages last week that “the closure of services is not on our agenda, politically or operationally”.

Tell that to people in Maryhill being offered a “pop-up” library instead of the resplendent baroque building gifted to them by the Scottish-American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie in 1905.

Tell that to the dozens of communities across Glasgow being denied access to their local sports facilities or community centres.

The suggestion of some unspecified future re-opening of these facilities under “community control” was an oxymoron like the “living dead” or a “true myth”.

Control and responsibility are in the hands of Glasgow City Council (GCC).

Councillor Aitken’s claim that no venues would remain closed was reminiscent of the Monty Python dead parrot sketch. Those community venues aren’t closed they’re only resting. Pining for the Fjords they are.

The absurdity of GCC’s position is breath-taking.

Many SNP elected members spent last week castigating Glasgow Labour politicians for a “disinformation campaign” and “circulating false lists” of venues to remain closed.

To be fair, Glasgow Life had published different lists of varying lengths over the months - as the original plan was for far more venues to remain closed across the city.

But this is just background noise. Defending the indefensible is bad enough. For me there is a much deeper malaise at the heart of the leadership of our city on these issues.

We have a leadership that doesn’t appear to understand or value the importance of local community facilities.

What it means to children and adults to have a library on their doorstep. A cornucopia of knowledge, adventure and wisdom on hand for free, or access to local events, clubs and services from the comfort on your own library.

What it means to be able to play golf, football, tennis or bowls on your own doorstep without the fear of it being beyond your reach because your family doesn’t have much money.

How can this be difficult to understand? How can anyone be so out of touch they don’t get this?

Our venues should never be regarded as a problem to be managed and off-loaded to someone else.

Councillor Aitken and her administration are but transitory custodians of our city administration. Politicians come and go. The city outlives us all.

Closing our venues is an abrogation of public duty in my opinion.

As we start to think about the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic where is the vision for our local venues? Where is the inspired plan of not just re-opening them, but adding and extending to the vital roles that they play in people’s lives?

Why can’t GCC appreciate these facilities will be essential in helping people get back on their feet after being locked-down in their homes for the best part of a year?

If people make Glasgow why has GCC neglected the People’s Palace? It closed in December 2018 and was absent from the Glasgow Life dead parrot list.

The People’s Palace museum is a wonderful source of celebration for the heritage and culture of Glaswegians. It tells the remarkable story of the city and its people from 1750 to the present day.

Last Thursday its former curator, Dr Elspeth King, warned that the People’s Palace may never re-open – and if so the social history of the city would be “chopped off” for want of investment.

The following day, Glasgow Life announced the People’s Palace would re-open later this summer. There are no plans to re-open its Winter Gardens – because there is no intention to spend money on glass repairs.

Why are we having to extract information from Glasgow Life like a dentist pulls out a rotten tooth?

The sorry state of affairs that we find ourselves in is no accident. The heritage and lifeblood of a city is too important to delegate to a charity and arm’s length external organisation (ALEO) like Glasgow Life.

Glasgow Life hasn’t been able to lever in big charitable funds. Which leads us to a more ethical question: why should the survival of our heritage and community venues be subject to the caprice of a charity?

Not only should they be brought back under direct GCC control – which would mean greater public transparency and accountability – but there should be a robust financial plan to safeguard their future.

That will involve calls on the Scottish Government for additional funding. The continual salami slicing of council funding by the Scottish Government has to be challenged.

The Scottish Government has a responsibility to ensure there is proper funding for GCC. And GCC has to take full responsibility for the financial management of our venues. The gradual fall and decline of our community venues has been an abrogation of public duty that must end.