Split? In your dreams Simon. …

Comment posted ARSN submission to Rural Education Commission by Anne Baird.

Split? In your dreams Simon.

Anne Baird also commented

  • Were you expecting an unqualified response to a document that no-one had the opportunity to read prior to the vote?
  • Did you mean important or impotent?
  • Maybe he’s embarrassed? Or suspended in thought?
  • Neil, however tedious it might be, and however much we’d like common sense to prevail, all these things are governed by the law. The law is not working well and part of the Commission’s remit is to look at that and find remedies.

    Personally I dispute that schools need to go. What is it about rural dwellers that makes you think they should get nothing more than a crumbling road for their council tax?

Recent comments by Anne Baird

  • No nationalist politicisation of the Games?
    Richard, I totally take on board that there are two sides to that story and am no great fan of Hamas either, but you only have to look at the difference in the map between 1949 and now to see who’s under threat in Israel/Palestine. The horrible reality is that there are 250,000 kids in an area not quite the size of the Uists and they’re all under fire with nowhere to run. Many aren’t old enough even to know they’re Palestinian and they deserve protection regardless of what the adults around them are up to. I don’t see that as bias and, if it is, I share it with Amnesty International and have done for most of the thirty years I’ve been a member.
  • No nationalist politicisation of the Games?
    Our shorter life expectancy is a complex issue and unlikely to be addressed by the simple means of free prescriptions. The longer term issues can only be addressed if we have the powers to change them. Did you really expect any government, SNP or otherwise, to reverse a trend that’s often determined in childhood?
  • No nationalist politicisation of the Games?
    I’ve not been interested in complaining about the BBC. They’re doing exactly what I expected and my time is better used putting forward the positive case for independence and reassuring frightened pensioners. The timing of the protest however was nothing to do with the games.

    Of far more concern is the BBC’s failure to address the truly harrowing scenes from Gaza where human rights abuses are most certainly taking place, or indeed the protests of a 150,000 strong group of Jews in New York against Israel’s behaviour. Many other protests globally have also gone unreported. Jon Snow’s reports for channel 4 have been the only truly balanced reports.

    Nor did they report on any of the anti-austerity protests in London which attracted a similar number. I’m not sure why I thought it was ok for them to have a bias in our wee Scottish scenario, but I’m pretty appalled that they have a bias for the Tory/Lib Dem cuts and the Israeli government.

  • United Kingdom government invests £500M in £1.13BN scheme for Glasgow and hinterland
    Robert, I do take that point but the losses were savage and nothing much was done to help the redundant workers. It didn’t help that some of them, like British Steel, were relocated. In the fifties they built Possilpark to house the railway workers from Cowlairs and the Caledonian works at a time when 85% of the world’s total rolling stock was produced there. It closed completely in the seventies and the results are infamous. So you could see it all coming when the casualties started to pile up in the eighties. To add insult to injury the unemployed were treated like scroungers – men and women who had taken a pride in working and paying their NI and tax. Then the poll tax. By that time they were damned if their kids were going to pay for bad housing and a future of unemployment or the army and the inch thick electoral registers were replaced with thin ones. These disenfranchised people are now signing up in their thousands to vote and I doubt very much that will go Cameron’s way whatever bribes he brings.
  • United Kingdom government invests £500M in £1.13BN scheme for Glasgow and hinterland
    Good news for Glasgow. I suspect however that this particular bunch of flowers is thirty years too late for a city that was left in ruins by Cameron’s forebears. Glasgow left the relationship some time ago.

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32 Responses to Split? In your dreams Simon. …

  1. It is at this stage I suppose I should make a declaration of interest!

    Clearly I won’t pass comment on the article itself other than to thank Newsroom for taking the time and effort to thoroughly read what was a fairly lengthy submission.

    I am sure any one of the ARSN members on here would be happy to take any questions or challenges anyone might have.

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  2. Isnt it interesting that it is the person NOT paid by the community who takes as important the result of actions on the community. Unlike the servant paid by the community’s taxes who manages to ignore, indeed snivel at, the needs of the community and its children.

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  3. What no comments from the Peanut Gallery?

    Here we are laid wide open and no biting critisisms? no comprehensive dissection?

    Let’s get the debate started! Some feedback would be most appreciated.

    Simon, please don’t let me down! :(

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  4. It’s quite sad really that the one organisation that should be developing our rural way of life seem’s hell-bent on destroying it.
    Making schools the hub of any community is such a commonsense approach that even this Council should of been able to see that.
    Last time I voted for the SNP I was 18 years old, May will be my second along with Argyll First.

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    • A collaborative effort too – although my name is at the top of the submission, most of the clear thinking and hard work that went into this must be credited to ARSN individuals from every corner of Argyll.

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  5. Not long in from work, need to earn some money to pay the election expenses.My view is still the same as it was, why do you need a commission when it is blatantly obvious to anyone that the proposals put forward by the council and the so called education department were just lies.If the Education secretary had any backbone he would have destroyed them and any other council who came up with any garbage like this of his own back.We all appreciate how important the schools are in rural areas but you don,t need to be a genius to see what ones need to go if you work to proper guidelines.Bonawe is one case but sadly what happened to Achaleven is another ball game alltogether.
    So will the commission tell parents not to move their kids if the teaching is poor or if some parents dislike the headteacher.Surely that is what a top class education department is for and that should be our right and the right of every parent in the country.Local councillors were obviously not on the ball when the situation at Achaleven was left to fester and eventually close the school.So I disagree on the need of a commission when the evidence was so strong against what Sneedon and co. were trying to do, it should of been put to bed there and then by the Education Secratary instead of passing the buck.
    Sorry to keep the old pussy cat waiting but its nice to know someone was missing me.
    Power to the People.

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    • Neil, however tedious it might be, and however much we’d like common sense to prevail, all these things are governed by the law. The law is not working well and part of the Commission’s remit is to look at that and find remedies.

      Personally I dispute that schools need to go. What is it about rural dwellers that makes you think they should get nothing more than a crumbling road for their council tax?

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  6. “The law is not working well ” Doesn’t stop the SNP Mike Russell closing schools using the self-same law though does it Anne?
    Robslees, Hillhead, who is next ……
    Crazy – haven’t actually read the submission – far too many impotant things to be doing other than reading predicatble pap fromthe “usual suspects”* on here
    *Copywright by Mike Russell
    Anne – how did the SNP group vote on the Council budget (chortle, chortle) Didn’t support the ‘Son of Darkness’ Tricky Dicky did they???? Left their Leader floundering I hear :)

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  7. In my dreams Anne?? Well how come Big Robert and Isobel were deserted by the snp cannon-fodder when it came to the vote on the Council’s budget??
    The budget as Newsie would say is the most impoortant document (you blethered on a bit about its importance yourself Anne) So how come the SNP apart form the Robert and Isobel voted with their arch-nemisis Dick Walsh?
    Or didn’t you know?????? ;)

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  8. Simon – some fairly predictable pap from yourself there.

    Out for SNP blood today are we?

    If you do at some point get the time to read the ARSN submission, would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

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  9. Crazy – Now —- you be nice!

    OK I promise I shall read the submission and share my thoughts.

    As far as the SNP are concenred – these pages were full of articles pre-budget about how inmprotant it was and how unfair Tricky was behaving. Since then? Nothing……

    Not one article on why did the SNP group rebelled against their leader? (Do you know?) Why did First Argyll and Robb also vote for Trick Dicky??

    I’ve said before that FA behaves like little more than a SNP propagana machine – I think this proves it. The SNP group vote with Dick Walsh and its not reported on here???????

    ps What about SNP Mike Russell’s decison on Hillhead?? Disgraceful in my opinion.

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  10. For Anne.
    I class myself as an Argyll person and if you seriously think that Bonawe can survive your pal Russell might not be so gracious.What do you think of his latest bit of support for our education system.Please give us the reason the SNP. think this is the best thing for Hillhead.
    As for the silly remark about rural and town I like many others across Argyll have family who live out of town and I have grandchildren who attend a rural school so you can put that sad nonsense in the bin.

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    • Neil – Ardchattan School in Bonawe currently has three pupils, and no-one would deny that it is at a low ebb. Likewise, Barcaldine school had only seven pupils at one point (I was one of them, so it’s longer ago than I would care to admit). Now Barcaldine has twenty-two, and has been more-or-less full for the last decade or so.

      Why? Barcaldine has not undergone any major house-building programme, nor enjoyed any significant economic boost (the closure of the Alginate factory in the late 90s lost us our last major employer) since I was at school. There has simply been a kind of demographic renewal resulting in an increase in the school-age population.

      As long as a community like Bonawe has a school, it has a reasonable chance of undergoing such a renewal in due course, but that becomes much less likely if the school closes. Seen from that perspective, what appears to be a short-term spike in the ‘cost per pupil’ of educating Bonawe’s children close to home is in fact an investment in the long term sustainability of that community.

      Also, as is abundantly clear to anyone who has visited the school, it has close connections with the community and plays a very important part in the lives of everyone, from toddlers to the elderly – the more so because it is the only community facility they have. Allow it to survive now, and it will thrive again in the future.

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  11. Simon – I’m really looking forward to hearing your considered response to the ARSN submission. In the mean time, do you think you could lay off the SNP-bashing for just a little while? Even for those of us with no party allegiance, it’s really starting to get tedious and I’m sure the last thing you want is to be boring everyone ;-)

    The story also has nothing whatever to do with the SNP, nor even with the decision to close Hillhead school, which (I agree with you) looks pretty awful.

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  12. Hi Tim, “the decision to close Hillhead school, which (I agree with you) looks pretty awful” at least we agree on something.

    I have tried ploughing through your submission but got bored.

    However, a promise is a promise so as I said to Crazy – I will try again. :)

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  13. For Tim.
    I certainly know plenty about Bonawe school and the community , as I have said before I was the Mobile librarian for nearly twenty years.So I visited a good number of our rural schools regularly and have seen kids grow up and bring their own children to that same school.
    Bonawe will never be the same again sadly as parents with kids will want to stay nearer the main schools like lochnell,the journey to Bonawe even stops kids from the lochside going that way instead.It is never nice to see any school close but if the houses which are going up near bonawe have school age kids and the parents don,t back their local school what can you do.Plenty of children are transported out of their catchment area already for all kinds of reasons so unless parents want their school to survive what do you do.We have seen the negative side when the community of connel who not so long ago had a top class school were split for different reasons and the school suffered.Hopefully the talk of it being opened again will come true.I hope I am wrong with Bonawe but I would think the allocation of council houses to young families if they will take them when they become available will dictate the outcome.As for the money side I never mentioned anything about that.I took exception to the nonsense that because I live in the town I don,t care about the rural area.I think if you ask people who actually know me and why I loved my job working all over rural Argyll for twenty years you will get a truer picture.
    Power to the People.

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  14. Thanks Neil, and for what it’s worth I don’t doubt what you say about your understanding and empathy with rural areas. In fact I think we are lucky enough to live in a part of the world where splits of the type sometimes alluded to – between ‘urban’ and ‘rural’, or between young people & the elderly – are largely fictitious. None of the towns we have in Argyll are large enough to be described as ‘urban’ and many or most local families have strong connections between the town areas and the countryside.

    As for Bonawe, I fully agree with you that, as with any school, it relies on parental support to survive. I would argue that the fact that the school is still open suggests that some parents do strongly support it, since they have obviously had to weigh any concerns they may have over the small size of the pupil roll against the desire to see the school survive for the sake of the longer term future of the community. Having attended the pre-consultation meeting in Ardchattan last March, I can assure you that the wider community, including many people in the village who do not have children, but are involved with the day to day life of the school, are strongly supportive of it. Furthermore the housing association representative expressed the view that the school was a significant factor in the large number of people on their waiting list who have expressed a preference for a house in the village.

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  15. Great to see that the interest from people on the waiting lists is positive for Bonawe.Hopefully that could swing the case for the school to continue and grow.But I hope the cuts to the bus service and any other negatives can be fought successfully so that the transport or potentially lack of it wouldn,t put anyone against moving out.As sadly one the council,s planning officers great quotes at a appeals meeting in the corran halls was that people who would move into community houses would not be able to afford a car so no need to include them in a traffic survey.That was for Ganavan but if that is the core of their thinking surely the bus service is paramount for Bonawe.
    Power to the People.

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  16. Crazy – as promised I read it. I’m not really suprised at anything that has been mentioned in the submissiomn and given that is from a self-interested group it was fairly neutral in tone, fairly well-argued however, it really was going over similar ground that we’ve seen rehearsed on these pages ad nauseum.

    I’m not going to ooffer a point by point analysis or try to score points (though I did found some comments interesting – Councils should not be allowed to make financial savings – I though was simplistic and given the state of the economy pleading to be treated as a special case brings it own dangers – anyway I thought there were no savings to be made??)

    In general I ‘m not sure that the tactic of trying to by-pass the eudcation authority and have the HMIs’ role enhanced will help protect rural schools. I would suggest you should be careful what you wish for. HMIs are better placed than any individual local authority to bring counter-arguments and evidence from across Scotland/UK and purely because they have no investment or involvement or constituency in Argyll and Bute they are pretty much immune to the type of demo that I saw you folks put on at Kilmory.

    I know you want to hear this but I genuienly believe that if ARSN network put more of its efforts into meeting with and working the local authority rathe rthan trying to by-pass it – it would reap rewards.

    The real difficulty is that at a time when every service is under scrutiny, under-resourced and being cut (in real terms) the majority of the population (ie those non ARSN people) I think (and I could be wrong) are much more intersted in social care issues, roads, libraries etc.

    Finally, I’m not convinced that Mike Russell is the great saviour of rural schools that some think he is. Whilst he admitted the legislation was flawed and not working the way they wanted it didn’t stop him using the same legislation when he agreed to shut two schools. I know most of you welcomed him setting up the Commission – but don’t be surprised if he uses the opportunity afforded by the Commission to do to rural schools what he is doing presently to FE colleges.

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  17. Crazy, actually compared to some of the pontificating mogadon mush I’ve read on here from Newsie, “doc” and others – it was positively enthralling… :)

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