WITH a love of heavy metal, road trips and craft beer, he could be Scotland’s most rock and roll council leader.
However, the new head of West Dunbartonshire Council says his head is firmly in the day job as he targets two of the area’s biggest issues — poverty and education.
Jonathan McColl’s ascent to the top of the local authority comes ten years after he was first elected to the area’s Leven Ward.
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It also sees him take on a role once held by his father Ronnie McColl, under whom he served as deputy leader.
Aged just 34, the SNP councillor has shrugged off comparisons with his dad, who is no longer in local politics.
He told The National: “When we were in administration last time, and my father became leader, the group unanimously elected me as the depute because they knew I disagreed with him so much and they knew I would provide robust analysis and counter arguments.
“This is certainly not a case of following blindly. I’m my own man and will continue to be.”
With a ten member group, McColl’s team will work with independent Dennis Agnew to lead the local authority, which has changed hands between the SNP and Labour several times at recent elections.
The Labour group, which lost control at the last vote, makes up the official opposition, with two Tories and one member of the West Dunbartonshire Community Party also returned.
The area, which runs from Clydebank to Loch Lomondside, has seen huge investment in recent years, with the building of more homes, upgrades for road infrastructure and new leisure developments.
A major project to transform a disused shipyard is also under way.
However, the latest Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation shows some communities are amongst the country’s worst-off, with poverty said to be increasing.
McColl said: “I want to see us moving up that list. It’s about everything from education to health, social care and employability services.
“Everything has to be working together.
“There was a view that education and health were the two things you did to get people out of poverty. It doesn’t work like that. We need stronger partnership working to close the attainment gap, get young people into more positive destinations and improve people’s lives.”
McColl has vowed to empower locals to drive decision making and consult with frontline staff to inform change and improve services.
He said: “Our biggest assets are our staff. They know what needs to be changed and we need them to know that they are appreciated.
“At the end of the next five years, I want attainment to have been raised and for our community to feel they have been part of making the improvements.”
The music fan, who cites German metal act Rammstein as amongst his favourites, says he has been too busy since the election to “sit down for tea” with his mum, also missing out on the recent Iron Maiden date in Glasgow.
The promotion has also seen him resign from his part-time role in the office of West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes.
On managing his work-life balance, he said: “This job will be challenging, but I’m not going to change. I’m a computer geek, a proper nerd and I love having fun with my friends.”
However, the cross-continent road trips he has undertaken in previous summers are now out as he turns his attention to council duties.
He said: “I’m driving my gran, grandad and mum to Argyll for a week’s holiday, but that’ll be it.”