Comment posted ARSN submission to Rural Education Commission by Tim McIntyre.
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.
Tim McIntyre also commented
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Recent comments by Tim McIntyre
- New land reform proposals could intervene in inheritance of family home
Richard, I appreciate the point about property rights, the importance of which I am not trying to diminish, but why should these extend to total control of land & buildings from beyond the grave? Surely the concept of property rights should apply also to those left living, who have a reasonable expectation of a fair share in their parents’ inheritance.
It is a very long-established principle in Scots Law that a will which does not fairly distribute property amongst offspring is contestable in court, and all this current proposal says is that land & buildings should not be exempted from this requirement. Again, I can’t see what the problem is with that.
- New land reform proposals could intervene in inheritance of family home
The proposal is to remove the distinction between ‘moveable’ (possessions) and ‘heritable’ (land & buildings) property for the purposes of succession – something which the Law Society have long called for. This distinction is no more than a wildly anachronistic relic from the feudal era, does not exist in other European countries, and has no defensible place in 21st century Scotland.
In practice the change would mean that the children & spouse/partner of the deceased would be given the legal right to claim a proportion of ALL of the estate, and not just the moveable part (as at present).
So it’s not really the state ‘intervening’ as characterised here, but rather the transfer of some rights from the dead to the living, and the legally-mandated fair sharing out of property of all types. Not quite clear why anyone would object to it, really.
- Swinney revaluation of business rates puts Lorn Arc TIF project at risk
As you make clear with your ‘wet finger in the wind’ metaphor, the margin of error in any prediction of incremental increases in NDR resulting from TIF investments must surely be so large as to make a change of 5% insignificant, at least as far as the predictions are concerned?
I can’t see how you can square a description of the process as an ‘almighty punt’ (which it clearly is) with use of words like ‘calibration’ and quibbles over a few percentage points of income.
It’s also quite possible (conventional economic wisdom would suggest) that a that reduction of 5% in the business rates burden could encourage MORE businesses to set up within the TIF zones, and thereby create more income rather than less…
- Baillie scores off a penalty as Swinney wisely back tracks on stamp duty
“When needs she must, yet faintly then she praises,
Somewhat the deed, much more the means she raises:
So marreth what she makes, and praising most, dispraises.”
- (with apologies to) Phineas Fletcher
Of course it’s all moot, because the entire weight of the article rests on the premise contained in the first sentence, which is, er, entirely false. Ouch.
The Scottish Government’s Land & Buildings Transaction Tax received Royal Assent in July 2013, due for introduction in April 2015. John Swinney announced the rates and bands in October 2014 following several rounds of public consultation.
Chancellor George Osborne announced two months LATER, in his autumn statement, that he was reforming Stamp Duty, without any prior notice or consultation, to a fairly close imitation of LBTT – which as Swinney himself notes is the ‘sincerest form of flattery’.
I’m afraid Jackie Baillie’s smirking ‘penalty shot’ went about 6 yards over the top of the bar…
- Local MSP claims Argyll landowners ‘blight community progress’ and inflict ‘anti-democratic abuse’
Huh? It’s not 2 million for the Stonehenge tunnel, it’s 2 Billion, which makes dualling the A9 look like exceptional value for money… probably save rather more lives in the long run, too.
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