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
- On nationalism
Malcolm – maybe you mis-read my comment. I said ‘developed’, not ‘developing’, though I’m not sure why you have lumped Los Angeles together with ‘murderous African dictatorships’?
I don’t object to private enterprise – I run one. Again you have mis-read my point. I (personally) think that there is a place for public ownership in the provision of some public services, and that it is one of the principles which underpins civil society.
“Your last paragraph condemns you” – do you mean if there is a ‘Yes’ vote, then I won’t be able to feel part of Britain any more, even though I’ll still be resident in the British Isles?
- On nationalism
Newsie, I happen to disagree with much of the content of your article, and so I posted my own views – isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? – without resorting to dismissing either you or your contributor as ‘arrogant’ or not ‘worthy of respect’ or lacking ‘independence of mind’. So by all means defend your arguments, but it’s a little rich of you to dismiss mine with such phrases, especially when you are so hair-trigger sensitive to the slightest hint of ‘bullying tactics’ from Yes supporters.
I daresay you may be right about the egg-thrower(s), but please don’t confuse a huge and entirely peaceful ‘Yes’ movement with a single incident involving a tiny handful of over-excited protestors confronting a shouty politician on a soap box.
I did not engage with the ‘Achilles heels of nationalism’ you describe because I have quite honestly not seen any significant elements of ‘chauvinism, utopianism and incipient racism’ in this campaign – the notion that these are defining aspects of ‘Yes’ is, to use your words, the ‘laugh of the campaign’. I’ve seen plenty of optimism, some of it no doubt misplaced, but not even the most ardent Indy supporters seriously imagine that an independent Scotland would be a land of milk & honey.
I’ve commented on here before, more than once, that a federal UK would have been a proposition I could have supported, so I agree with you there. Remind me again which political party is promoting that idea, and how much influence you expect them to have at Westminster in the forseeable future?
- On nationalism
I’m sure this rather rose-tinted expression of quintessential Britishness lies buried deep within the psyche of many people, including many ‘Yes’ supporters. Unfortunately the principles of political, economic and geographical solidarity which underpinned the feeling of a common British identity have been almost completely unwound by successive UK governments of both colours over the past 35 years or so.
The opening notion that “It enjoys a certain standard of living” is surely a joke? Isn’t the UK one of the most unequal of all developed nations in both wealth and income (and therefore ‘standard of living’) these days?
Then there’s the list of treasured public services, all of which have been, or are in the process of being, handed over from common ownership to the tender mercies of private enterprise.
The irony of this referendum is that for many Scots, a Yes vote is about trying to protect what is left of the values and institutions that many of us used to think of as being British, before they are finally and permanently dismantled and discarded by the UK state, for ideological reasons and the benefit of private equity.
Oh, and after a ‘Yes’ vote – we will all still be living in the British Isles. We will still share a cultural history, language, common travel area (No Borders!), monarchy and, if a small number of blinkered politicians come to their senses: currency. We don’t need to belong to a unitary state to share all these things and still regard ourselves as British.
- Thuggish Yes campaign benefits from media’s artificial ‘balance’ as Murphy forced to suspend campaign tour
Of course they won’t condemn it, JnrTick – it was just an ‘isolated incident’
Whereas the cowardly, heinous outrage perpetrated on the gentle, sensitive Jim Murphy can only possibly have been orchestrated through the evil cybernat web controlled by Aleggs Salmonella… etc. etc. etc.
- Cameron to address Scottish CBI as Tory MP quits for UKIP
Malcolm – ‘totally open in what he believes’… hmm, you mean like “A pound spent in Croydon is of far more value to the country than a pound spent in Strathclyde” ?
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