Spygate: Who was ‘John McKinnon’? Was Russell a victim of dirty tricks by a council false persona?

(Updated below) Just over a year ago, in very early January 2011, the incendiary schools closure issue in Argyll and Bute was coming to superheat.

At a critical point in the sequence of events at that time, a confidential email was leaked in circumstances which were always suspect.

Now, however, in the light of admitted online covert surveillance activities by a senior member of council staff – its Communications Manager Jo Smith, this incident clearly requires full and formal independent investigation. Much of it is alarmingly similar to Ms Smith’s preferred mode of covert operation, acting under a false identity.

The context

A Council meeting on 25th November had seen the SNP group walk out of power as the junior partner in the then ruling coalition headed by the Alliance of Independent Councillors. They did so because nothing they had been able to do had succeeded in making their senior partner see how destructive was the decision to close 26 schools – one third of the area’s primary school estate – in a single sweep.

The proposals, however – which had already been sent back to staff for correction and supplementation in a meeting at the end of October – appeared in little changed form at the November meeting – with the omission of a single school.

In a day of high drama, with the pork barrel rolled continuously across the council chamber for hours as deals were hammered out with the LibDems and the Tories to stitch up a new coalition, the eventual vote was 19-17 in favour of the – clearly – profoundly flawed proposals.

The newly formed Argyll Rural Schools Network, on its first public outing and with representatives of the Scottish Rural Schools Network with them in support of the countless school demonstrators outside, were not downcast by this outcome but furiously fuelled to carry on.

The Scottish Rural Schools Network prepared an analysis of the council closure proposals, demonstrating the range of serious flaws in evidence and equally serious failures to comply with the governing legislation. The SNP group requisitioned a special meeting of full council of 5th January 2011 specifically to receive the SRSN report, which was circulated to elected members in advance and presented on the day by its Chair, Sandy Longmuir.

It’s easy to see why the situation could be described as coming to superheat.

Enough had already been published on this website and in some other news media for the knowledge to be widespread of just how unsound the council’s proposals were. The administration, digging deeper by the day, were in serious trouble.

The leak

Then, the day before the special  meeting, on 4th January 2011, The Herald and The Scotsman both carried stories alleging that Education Secretary Michael Russell stood accused of ‘meddling’ in the affairs of the school estate in Argyll and Bute. He was then a prospective candidate to be the area’s constituency MSP at the Scottish Elections in May 2011.

The Scotsman headline made the source clear – a leaked email.

This was a private email from Mr Russell to local party colleague and local councillor, the late Councillor Donald Macdonald. It’s subject line was ‘School Closures – Urgent and in Confidence’.

As The Herald reported, in the email Mr Russell talks of speaking to SNP group leader,  Councillor Robert MacIntyre ‘as a matter of urgency to stress my view (as your PPC) that if the group supports the proposal next week we will have very severe problems which could be very destructive to our reputation and prospects’.

It also showed him saying that he was was ‘not arguing against all closures’ and that he had suggested to Councillor Isobel Strong, the SNP education spokesperson, ‘a list of eight or nine that could be taken through with minimum difficulty’.

The ministerial statement

The row was immediate and loud. On 12th January 2011 Mr Russell made a ten minute Ministerial statement on the matter to the Scottish parliament.

This was recognised to be a robust statement, making it clear that he had sought advice from the proper authorities and and created a cordon sanitaire between his position as Education Secretary and his role as a prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for Argyll and Bute.

  • He had handed over authority for Argyll school closure proposals to a ministerial colleague and this had been announced on the same day as the council announced its closure programme.
  •  Every visit he had made to a threatened Argyll school had been as a prospective parliamentary candidate and had been at the direct invitation of its local councillor, parent council or parents.
  • He also had, as a prospective candidate for election, the permission of the area’s sitting MSP, Jim Mather, to make these visits.
  • In every school visit he made he had done nothing other than make sure that parents and community members knew their rights under the governing legislation. He had made no comment on the closure proposal for the school in question This was borne out by those present.

His overarching point was that, as his party’s prospective parliamentary candidate in the coming election it was natural for him to discuss with his local colleagues the political impact of what had become the crucial local issue. While Mr Russell did not mention this in his Ministerial statement at Holyrood, his position is supported by the fact that the leaked email itself makes it clear that he is talking to colleague as PPC and not as minister.

Dirty tricks and the fake persona?

The local newspaper for Cowal, the Dunoon Observer, which had also published the leaked email, told Mr Russell that the email had been sent to it two days before the special  council meeting on 5th January, by a ‘John Mackinnon’.

The reporter in question emailed ‘John Mackinnon’ back, asking if he was a member of any political party or group and how he had come by the email from Mr Russell to Councillor Macdonald?

‘Mackinnon’ did not answer and vanished.

The very serious concern here is that councillors’ emails were being routinely monitored.

This can be done effectively by the use of keywords, with the system latching on to emails to or from any elected member – or council officer, and harvesting emails containing these words for review by the monitor.


  • the paranoia in plain evidence in the council administration over the duration of the heart of the school closures affair from October 2010 to June 2011,
  • the administration’s vindictive attitude to the SNP group which had walked away from them in despair,
  • the new coalition’s obsession with the presence in Argyll and Bute of the Education Secretary (a decades-long resident of Argyll) as the prospective candidate for the constituency to the Scottish Parliament,

keywords such as: ‘school closure; Michael Russell; Education Secretary; SNP; school consultation; SRSN; ARSN;…’ would have been obvious and would certainly have discovered Mr Russell’s email to Councillor Macdonald.

Councillor Macdonald maintained that he had kept the Russell email in tightly controlled circumstances – and this would be fully characteristic of his precise nature and care for accuracy of detail and procedure.

There were accusations of covert surveillance of elected members’ communications following this leak.

The LibDem’s who led the attack on Mr Russell over the leaked email, with Depute Leader and Education Spokesperson, Councillor Ellen Morton in the van, have never been clear about how and where they got hold of the email. They have focused on rhubarbing the notion of covert means but have signally failed to offer any convincing alternative.

There were vague and implausible stories of a cleaner finding that Councillor Macdonald had left his computer on after leaving the building… You get the general drift.

The core facts are that:

  • it very much suited the council administration at that particular time to leak this email,
  • only the administration, with the collusion of senior staff, could effect such an intervention,
  • the LibDems had hoped to recover the Argyll and Bute seat which the SNP’s Jim Mather had taken in 2007 and one of their council members was the party candidate in opposition to Mr Russell,
  • the Alliance of Independent Councillors were set to wreck vengeance on the SNP in their own well documented way, following the SNP group members – against Alliance expectations -  going through with their threat to walk out of power if the Alliance would not drop the closure proposals.

There was a clear attraction  – need, really – at that moment in anything that might throw public attention away from the midden of their unable school closure proposals, to try to destabilise the SNP opposition members before the crucial meeting and to attempt to force the SNP candidate for the constituency onto the back foot.

The final question

The Russell email was written in November 2010, before the meeting on 25th which saw the SNP group choose to leave power as they had threatened to do.

This email was leaked on 3rd January 2011.

If someone already had that email because Councillor Macdonald had unwittingly made a mistake in circulating it, they would have had it from the time of its sending. In that case, why would they not have used it on the day the SNP left power? The email advocates this action. Leaking the email at once then would have taken some of the glitter off the SNP councillors’ self-sacrificing move – several lost substantial percentages of their salary in walking away from senior administration posts.

But once the SNP had requisitioned the special council meeting for 5th January; with the damningly conclusive evidence of the SRSN report on the closure proposals in circulation, there was a desperate need for distraction and a lump of mud to throw at the SNP who the administration saw as the sole agent of their predicament.

These are just the circumstances in which someone helpful and experienced in such matters – in, say, Ms Smith’s position, could feed a few tight keywords into a mail surveillance programme, fish this little gem from the council server and dish it up to the Leader and Depute Leader.

It is now imperative that any independent investigation is wide ranging, looks at all possible covert surveillance interventions that may have been taking place internally as well as externally at Argyll and Bute Council – and takes this inexplicable incident as its starting point.

Update 20.30 15th February: We now understand that Head Teachers had reason to know that their emails were being monitored during the school closure campaigns.

Their Head of Service, Carol Walker, was alleged to have been au fait with the content of private emails between colleagues.

This has to indicate that it is fairly routine at Argyll and Bute Council to monitor, on perceived need, the communications of anyone whose online services are provided by the council.

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43 Responses to Spygate: Who was ‘John McKinnon’? Was Russell a victim of dirty tricks by a council false persona?

  1. For the technically minded: an administrator on the IT system (with sufficient level of clearance) can presumably read any e-mail on the server. But does the system record who read a specific e-mail and when? Is it likely that, if someone with an administrator’s privileges was using search terms to comb through a large number of e-mails, the system would record the search?

    I suspect that anyone from within the Council’s IT department that was willing to hack councillors e-mails would also have had the technical capabilities to erase traces of their presence but I am intrigued as to how hard this would be to do.

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  2. Dougie,

    You are indeed correct that e-mails will be able to be monitored as they will be held on the e-mail server. IN fact I don’t think it is illegal for organisations to do so (although I could be wrong) as work e-mails are supposed to only be used for work purposes.

    As for your other queries I am not so sure however there might be someone who can help with that. I will e-mail and copy you in.

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    • Just checked – standard text in many IT policies is along the lines of

      In addition, all of the company’s internet-related resources are provided for business purposes. Therefore, the company maintains the right to monitor the volume of internet and network traffic, together with the internet sites visited. The specific content of any transactions will not be monitored unless there is a suspicion of improper use.

      Meaning monitoring is legal however there has to be sound grounds for it which in this case, if it is proven to be correct, is not the case.

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      • oops that is internet use. e-mail standard text is pretty similar though. Samples (available one businesslink.gov website) read

        [business name] accepts that the use of email is a valuable business tool. However, misuse of this facility can have a negative impact upon employee productivity and the reputation of the business.

        In addition, all of the company’s email resources are provided for business purposes. Therefore, the company maintains the right to examine any systems and inspect any data recorded in those systems.

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  3. Dr DM: You probably know more about this than I do, but there seem to have been some quite remarkable cases in recent years where that new breed of forensic human IT bloodhounds now working in some police forces – and elsewhere – have succeeded in retrieving material from supposedly carefully ‘laundered’ computers. If the current situation doesn’t warrant the attention of the very best of those ‘bloodhounds’ – if there’s the slightest hint of a ‘whitewash’ – then the activities of this administration will remain suspect until they’re kicked into the long grass.

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  4. E-mail reading:
    Surely no-one could believe that Messrs Smith, Loudon and Sneddon could put themselves in the frame to replicate Mr Murdoch’s staff shenanigans?
    Besides who could shut down the The News of the Argyll and Bute?

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  5. lets separate the politics from the use of computers at work. There are essentially 3 areas of control to which government, public bodies and the vast majority of companies would agree on.
    They expect their employees to use a degree of censure when using computers. The word used is “reasonableness”. They expect the computer tool to be used for their business. The odd personal email and scan of the Internet is acceptable, as long as it doesn’t interfere with work. Most organisations circulate reinforcing information of dos and don’ts at regular intervals; Next is systems – most organisation go to some length to protect their systems – my organisation for example blocks certain websites and deals with attachments to emails in a set manner for the safety of its users and systems. My lead team has automatic rights to examine all email correspondence – indeed it is the way the organisation manages holiday cover – my boss can scan my emails and look at my diary – its not secretive – its the way we work. Personal stuff is handled by gmail; Data protection – all companies that gather data must have a prepared methodology and statements about who, what, when, how, why and for how long and how they destroy the data they gather from and give to.
    A&B Council will have a nominated Data Compliance Officer. Their job is to ensure that the Council and its employees comply with the Data Protection Act and its six (or is it eight) principles and that data is managed for and by its clients (us) in compliance with the Act, both legally and in the spirit of the law.
    All staff, officers and contractors working on behalf of A&B Council therefore have to operate ultimately within the Data Protection Act’s framework – there is no wriggle room. That’s the way it is.
    So if an employee, officer or contractor does any computer presentation from which the inference is that there may perhaps have been a breach of Council’s data caputure and use policy or a breach of the principles of the Act then any such alleged breach must be investigated by the Council’s Data Compliance Officer. I would have thought that sending off newspaper clippings and a covering note to both the Data Compliance officer and Data Protection people in Edinburgh or London would see the start of exposing who did what to whom. Or have I missed the point?
    Late addition – Argyll and Bute Council is registered under the Data Protection Act 1998 and as a data controller (notification number Z5909574), the register entry can be inspected at the Information Commissioners Website. http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations.aspx
    [What does “fair processing” mean?
    The first data protection principle requires you to process personal data fairly and lawfully. Ensuring fairness in everything you do with people’s personal details is, in our view, central to complying with your duties under the Data Protection Act. In practice, it means that you must:
    have legitimate reasons for collecting and using the personal data;
    not use the data in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned;
    be open and honest about how you intend to use the data, and give individuals appropriate privacy notices when collecting their personal data;
    handle people’s personal data only in ways they would reasonably expect; and
    make sure you do not do anything unlawful with the data.
    Fairness generally requires you to be transparent – clear and open with individuals about how their information will be used. Transparency is always important, but especially so in situations where individuals have a choice about whether they wish to enter into a relationship with you. Assessing whether information is being processed fairly depends partly on how it is obtained. In particular, if anyone is deceived or misled when the information is obtained, then this is unlikely to be fair. - Notes on Guidance from the Information Commissioners Office]

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  6. John McKinnon will have a IP address and Im very sure that its been checked and someone knows who he is……..Its very basic stuff……….So who is it? Also every company has the right to check employees e-mails so no law broken there………. I would hope the administrators are doing this anyway.

    Get rid of anyone who breaks the law is the only way that things will start to be done right….

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  7. So where do these articles and comments get us? nowhere.
    The question to ask is “what do we achieve by what we do”. I guess that ForArgyle now has enough news clippings and comments to suggest that there may have been a breach of the Data Protection Act’s First Principle and that if it gave a copy to each elected Officer and the Council’s Data Protection Officer then A&B Council would need to investigate. If such a breach existed then it (The Council) must inform the Information Commissioners Office; and it is for the Commissioners to conduct an enquiry. So, is anyone going to bell the cat? In all probability – I think not. It will all be punted into the very long grass and yet again the Councillors will return to their petty squabbles and pointless political point scoring. We get the councillors we deserve. And ForArgyll? – Well of course “lets all have a heated debate” – It’s what they do best. Just a bunch of stirrers if you ask me.

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    • Hamish, aside from the fact that no-one trusts this council at all, let alone to conduct an investigation into wrong-doing on itself, your point about stirring is completely bogus.

      The biggest stirrer on here – and I say this actually as more of a compliment than a jibe – is Simon. A stirrer of world-class proportions.

      And in most things he is in opposition to the views of the people on here you accuse of doing the stirring, so your comment just doesn’t hold water….

      unless you are trying to stir it yourself.

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    • Hamish, there aren’t many people left in Argyll & Bute who have any faith in the Council’s ability to censure itself. The call, across the spectrum, has been for an independent investigation and indeed that’s what Sally Loudon seems to have promised. Various people have moved with their own FOI requests which, if they show irregularities, may prompt complaint. It’s a slow process though and we’re unlikely to get any instant answers.

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  8. If I remember rightly, part of the ‘scandal’ that the opposition tried to stir up over this issue was that Mr Russell had sent the email from his parliamentary email address. Isn’t it possible that it could have been intercepted, or even FOI’d, from the source end, i.e. the Holyrood mailserver?

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  9. I’ve followed this debate with interest and anyone who doubts ABC would not involves itself in hacking or leaking emails or issuing false statements is living in another world.

    Both myself and my company were the subject of sustained campaign of harassment that was active for over 3 years and included senior council staff on web forums using assumed names, issuing of misleading statements to the press, fabricated complaints to the police, off the record briefings to elected members behind closed doors, an abuse of the court system by the raising of numerous (failed) legal actions and even went as far as the council’s legal department giving bogus legal advice to members banning them speaking to me. The campaign involved the council leadership at the top and employees at head of service level and at least one director. And all to prevent the public knowing the full extent of the failings of the disastrous Argyll Air Services project and in particular the Oban Airport part of the scheme.

    Thankfully most of those involved found early retirement and others were found surplus to requirements and quietly allowed to leave the council. However, there is no doubt in my mind that there was and still is a moral vacuum at the heart of ABC.

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  10. I’m aware that to engage with a troll will only encourage them, but I just had to in this instance. Rarely have I read a more speculative article. Firstly, this statement:

    “The core facts are that:

    it very much suited the council administration at that particular time to leak this email,
    only the administration, with the collusion of senior staff, could effect such an intervention,
    the LibDems had hoped to recover the Argyll and Bute seat which the SNP’s Jim Mather had taken in 2007 and one of their council members was the party candidate in opposition to Mr Russell,
    the Alliance of Independent Councillors were set to wreck vengeance on the SNP in their own well documented way, following the SNP group members – against Alliance expectations – going through with their threat to walk out of power if the Alliance would not drop the closure proposals.”

    In what way are any of these facts? OK, I’ll admit that the libdem’s wanting to recover a seat may have some basis in fact, but the rest of this comes across as, frankly, delusional.

    You then go on to list a number of terms that may have been used in a search string in order to locate an email on the server. Of course these terms could have been used, but that doesn’t mean they were.

    You then say that when the coucillors concerned were asked about the issue:

    “There were vague and implausible stories of a cleaner finding that Councillor Macdonald had left his computer on after leaving the building… You get the general drift.”

    Why on earth is this less plausible than covert surveillance? Are you actually sugesting that a more reasonable explanation is that employees of the council’s IT department were tasked with trawling through the email servers looking for dirt on the councillors?

    No, you’re probably right – I mean, that sounds far more likely than some halfwit forgetting to turn off their PC and then a cleaner comes along, perhaps one who’s childrens’ school is under threat of closure. Maybe this cleaner is understanably annoyed and wants to put a stop to it. One thing leads to another, and before you know it a certain email has been sent to people it wasn’t intended for.

    But no, that could never have happened could it? A far more likely explantion is the one involving a conspiracy that reaches to the very highest levels of the council and relies on the strictest secrecy from all involved.

    I know a fair few Council employees and frankly, I doubt they’d be competent enough to carry out something that complex (Sorry guys, but you know it’s true!).

    Onto the source of the leaked email – so, a reporter from the Dunoon Observer doesn’t get a reply to an email they sent? There we have it then! Conclusive proof that the Council and its employees are up to the most nefarious of activities.

    Almost the enitre body of the article after the heading “The final question” comes across as a conspiracy theory and the sentence concerning Ms Smith’s possible use of a theoretical surveillance programme is frankly libellous.

    I’m no fan of the council, but this article seems like nothing more than a set of egregious allegations linked together by a mixture of speculation and personal attacks.

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    • Bob – you reject the notion of someone deliberately tapping into the email system as a ‘conspiracy theory’ and then postulate a rather more unlikely-sounding theory of your own about a cleaner whose school is under threat, which doesn’t even make any logical sense. Why would such a person deliberately seek to damage the SNP group when they had left the ruling coalition some weeks earlier to oppose the schools proposals?

      I don’t know whether to be relieved or worried at your assertion that council IT staff are not competent enough to find emails, but it seems a little unlikely – they managed without any obvious difficulty to dig up some pretty damaging stuff between Mr Bloomer & council staff in response to an FOI request from SRSN.

      Finally, referring to the late & much respected & missed Councillor Donald MacDonald as ‘some halfwit’ is just bang out of order.

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      • Firstly, let me apologise unreservedly for my poor choice of words and for any offence or distress I may have caused – I’ve recently moved back to the area and had no idea that Councillor MacDonald had passed away.

        I don’t reject the notion that someone deliberately retrieved a sensitive email from the server, I suggested that an equally (perhaps more) plausible explanation would be that a security breach occurred e.g. someone leaving their computer on. I worked in IT for many years and this happens with depressing regularit. I used the example of a cleaner because that was the example used in the article. It could just have easily been anyone else.

        The fact that the email damaged the SNP group is, to me at least, incidental. I am suggesting that it had nothing to do with party politics.

        The Council staff are competent enough to find emails on the server, of course they are. It is a comparatively easy procedure. However, some points I would like to make are:

        1. I think the suggestion that council staff would do something as morally ambiguous as this is utterly disgusting. The vast majority of them are hard working, principled people who would never even contemplate this type of action.

        2.They’ve got far better things to do with their time.

        You reference to an FOI request is something completely different. Employees are legally obliged to fulfil these requests and to disclose everything, without prejudice. If any damaging material was disclosed then it is the responsibility of the person who originally wrote it, not the employee who was tasked with retrieving the information. Who, I can pretty much guarantee, wouldn’t read what was in the disclosed documents anyway.

        This is an example of the paranoia I referred to in my original post – council employees simply WOULD NOT set out to disclose damaging information. Not on the request of their line manager, head of service, chief exec or even one of the councillors. I used to be a council employee (many moons ago) and if someone had asked me to dig dirt on anyone, they’d have been rapidly and unequivocally told where to stick it.

        The over-arching point I was trying to make is that the original article reads like awful piece of paranoia-driven theorising. The writer obviously has an agenda and it looks worryingly like they are trying to defame Ms Smith at every opportunity.

        The article about “spy accounts” (which, by the way is a very widely used term when referring to computer accounts of all types) that appeared in the Herald was based on one slide from a powerpoint presentation that was taken completely out of context. Is it fair that the writers of this website are allowed to use that as the basis for a witch-hunt that has absolutely no basis in fact? The very fact they seem to want to drag the issue up at every opportunity leads me to believe that it’s no more than idle gossip. After all, if you say something enough times especially in print, people will come to believe that it’s true.

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        • Bob, you strike me as a right-minded and balanced individual. Long may it continue. Schools campaigners began with the same set of assumptions that you have. It took some time for everyone to work out what was happening and people were genuinely shocked. If you had the time, no doubt most of them could now show you evidence of misinformation, manipulation and downright dishonesty. If we, and FA, come across as paranoid it’s testament to nothing more than the tactics of a council that’s determined to defeat the very people it’s supposed to serve.

          Of course you’re right, that the vast majority of its employees are decent, honest, hard-working people. We’re assured that if this administration is kicked out in May, most of them will heave a sigh of relief.

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        • The term “Spy Accounts” is most emphatically not used within the on-line computer community and is not a widely used term.

          Perhaps only within local government maybe?

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  11. “I’m no fan of the council, but this article seems like nothing more than a set of egregious allegations linked together by a mixture of speculation and personal attacks.”

    Well said nothing more than the usual spurious rubbish on here or as Bob Loblaw so elgantly put it. “egregious allegations”.

    I understand last week’s Dunoon Observer -still thriving despite another of FA’s “we understand2 exclusives – are taling about dirty ops AGAINST Council. Would FA know anything about that? :)

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  12. Ooops sorry Granty. I’ll rephrase that – just for you – “last week’s Dunoon Observer -still thriving despite another of FA’s “we understand” exclusives – are taling about dirty ops AGAINST Council. Would FA know anything about that?”
    That better??? :)

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  13. Crazy – “Wow! I’ve never seen 10 thumbs down before! LOL”

    You are very easily impressed. ;)

    But let me ask you – have you noticed that nobody, including yourself – has come on here to explain why the snp group voted with Dick Walsh?????

    The duty of opposition is to oppose. Yet, these clowns desert their ‘leader’ and vote with Dick. Why????

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  14. “The duty of opposition is to oppose”

    The duty of the opposition is to scrutinise, agree with what’s good and disagree with what’s bad. Opposition for its own sake is tribalism at its most mindless.

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  15. I can’t comment for anyone else, but I can explain my lack of contribution to this quite easily. I’ve read reports about what happened that day (not just from For Argyll) and still don’t feel I have all the facts about what happened. I also don’t feel the need to defend the actions of my chosen party as I have no political affiliation.

    Having attended Kilmory during the schools episode, it always reminded me why I am completely scunnered with politics and politicians. Always came out feeling dirty and needing a shower – and that wasn’t because of the tropical heatwave in the Chambers.

    If I had been at this meeting and have seen and heard the goings on for myself, I would be able to form more of an opinion about events. As things stand, I just feel I am missing something.

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  16. Simon clearly lives on another planet when he says that “the duty of the opposition is to oppose”. As Anne has stated, “the duty of the opposition is to scrutinise, agree with what’s good and disagree with what’s bad”.

    I certainly oppose many things that the ConDemAll administration does. That includes their shambolic school closure proposals and also their second shambolic school closure proposals. I could list many others such as the CHORD Waste of £50 Million Programme.

    Opposition just for the sake of it is totally pointless but there again, it is Simon that we are talking about.

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  17. For Bob Loblaw?
    There was never at any time a suggestion that Donald Macdonald left any computer open to any outside scrutiny. He was always most professional and aware in his Council activities. I did hear of an incident that may have been the basis for this story but I assure you that the individual in question was not Donald Macdonald.!!!

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  18. Bob Loblaw refers to the possibility of the late Councillor Donald MacDonald leaving a computer on when he left the building and some cleaner then accessing information on that computer. I find that explanation unbelievable.

    Councillors have laptops that are used at home for Council business only. Very few councillors take these laptops to Kilmory or any other Council office with them. I think I can state without challenge that along with myself, there are only three other councillors who use their laptops at Kilmory. I am also certain that none of them would leave the building and leave their laptop behind with it still switched on and with them still logged in.

    If we turn our backs on these laptops for just a couple of minutes, they automatically log the user out. The user can only access information again by using their password to log on again.

    Apart from the laptops referred to above, there are two PCs in the Members Room that any councillor can use by logging on to their account. This room is very seldom used and I only know of two other councillors who have used these PCs. Again, if these PCs are in use and are left untouched for a couple of minutes, they automatically log the user out.

    It is just not plausible that the scenario put forward by Bob Loblaw could have happened.

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  19. Well said George Freeman.

    Good to hear the still small voice of reason in a welter of frankly loopy contributions. If Bob Loblaw really has only recently returned to Argyll & Bute perhaps he should learn a bit more about the Council administration and how they operate before he starts to pontificate.

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  20. Pingback: School Dinners and Spygate | Edinburgh Eye

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