Great idea – a 21st century Vital Spark! …

Comment posted Waitrose has £325k on table for Tuesday planning hearing – and opposition rolls in by Tim McIntyre.

Great idea – a 21st century Vital Spark!

Recent comments by Tim McIntyre

  • Porkie from Salmond on fiscal policy as Darling bests him again in Reporting Scotland interviews
    I didn’t see either interview, so have no comment on newsie’s “Blow for Salmond as Darling Triumphant Again” analysis :-)

    Is is not the case that being part of a currency union primarily requires the participants to agree on limits to public borrowing, and particularly borrowing to finance revenue expenditure?

    Fiscal policy covers the whole gamut of government revenue & expenditure, and so an independent government can surely still have effectively full control over public spending priorities, taxation and borrowing to invest in public infrastructure. These are surely the powers that matter most, particularly in terms of stimulating economic growth and achieving a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth.

    Personally I would be quite happy for an independent Scottish government to have some external discipline imposed over revenue borrowing – it would constrain them to funding public service expenditure increases through economic growth and/or tax. Whether you are part of of a currency union or not, the reality is that this discipline is imposed externally anyway, by the markets, so it’s not that big a deal. Plus we’re not exactly latched to a country with a record of tight fiscal control, as Mr Darling knows better than almost anyone else.

    The comments which usually emerge about the supposed ‘dangers’ of currency union tend to refer to the absolute extremes of the Euro, i.e. Germany and Greece. This is a completely nonsensical comparison – Scotland & rUK have economies which are broadly similar, and Scotland, supposedly the ‘Greece’ in this analogy, has the natural resource clout to punch well above its weight in terms of economic potential. Where they differ significantly, e.g. in the import/export balance, a currency union would seem to offer at least as great an advantage to rUK as it does to Scotland.

    I’m not any kind of expert on this, so I pose these points more as questions than assertions. Mr Salmond (and the Fiscal Commission) say a CU would be a good thing, for BOTH parties; Mr Darling (and Messrs Osborne, Balls & Alexander) say not. Who to believe? I haven’t seen any analysis of the benefits – specifically to rUK – of being in a CU with an independent Scotland, so would be interested to hear what Mr Strang (above) has to say on that.

  • PHEW. Scotland can sleep easy. Alan Reid says we can keep the pound.
    ‘Of course an independent Scotland could use the pound if we wanted to’.

    It’s a pretty uncontroversial and self-evidently truthful statement, so why the fuss?

    Now if he’d said ‘Of course the UK will agree to a currency union with an independent Scotland’ that would be different…

  • The food bank situation across the United Kingdom
    Food banks are a symptom – not so much of a poor economy overall, but of one in which government policies have led to gross levels of social inequality, and no-one disputes that this has happened across the UK.

    The SNP government has no constituency or mandate outwith Scotland, obviously, and I don’t recall the FM ever suggesting that Osborne’s policies were affecting Scotland any worse than the English regions. So that, and therefore this whole article, is a straw-man I’m afraid, newsroom.

    Mr Salmond’s intention, I assume, is to point out that an independent Scottish government would be free to choose a different economic path, in which the wealth of the nation is shared more equitably.

  • Andrew Argyle: Yes campaign impaled on currency
    An interesting perspective from someone who sounds like he knows about these things – a UK union supporter too!

    http://www.cityam.com/article/1394565144/big-independence-lie-scotland-could-keep-pound

  • Political whodunnit with reverberations
    Sceptic 1 – “It has already been confirmed by the financial sector that any decision by the SNP not to pay their share of the UK debt would certainly be considered as a default…”

    Can you provide a link to back this up please?

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37 Responses to Great idea – a 21st century Vital Spark! …

  1. Helensburgh has rejected a supermarket on the pier three times in the past decade. How many more times do you need to hear it?

    That being the case, the rest of your argument falls. I am beginning to think we need a For Helensburgh website, leaving you to concentrate on the old Argyll area where you are clearly better informed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • It is about For Argyll itself, which in many respects I admire but which does not seem to have much of a clue about Helensburgh.

      This morning at the hearing it was made clear, through various surveys, that thousands were in favour of Waitrose at Colgrain, and that there was a roughly 55-45 split against a pier supermarket.

      Yet For Argyll has consistently claimed the opposite in both cases.

      Today there is a huge attendance of Waitrose supporters and, so far, six objectors have put their heads above the parapet.

      Interestingly, the only person booed this morning was the representative of Helensburgh Retailers Association.

      If I was the editor of For Argyll, at this point I would be questioning the quality of the reporting.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. For Argyll don’t seem to understand my area either. Folk here are still waiting to learn the membership make up of the Easdale Island charity, Eilean Eisdeal, and how the money was spent from the Scottish Gas Green Streets award. For Argyll claimed that this information should be in the public domain – so where is it? We seem to have been forgotten or FA aren’t interested in persuing this further. Perhaps they’re not bothered about the rights of folk here, or is it too political?

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    • Lowry – as you must know, we are a very small team with a huge amount of work to do and we cannot keep absolutely on top of everything.

      We haven’t forgotten about this matter and we will be pursuing it.

      You gave us a smile at the suggestion that this – or anything – might be ‘too political’ for us. Hardly our MO.

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  3. Copied from URTV’s Facebook page:

    Final count is 693 letters of support to the council for Waitrose and 137 letters against, including a petition. There were also 7 miscellaneous letters.

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  4. Same source again – URTV:

    The Council Planning Department and Waitrose have both spoken. The Planning Department say that the effects on the town centre could have been grossly underestimated by Waitrose’s retail impact survey and that they are maintaining that they recommend refusal of the application.

    Waitrose still believe that the effects on the town centre will be negligible and they can mitigate them. Waitrose spokesperson, Martin Gorman, received a big round of applause for saying Helensburgh is crying out for a good quality food store.

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  5. I could be wrong. But I think they made an exception for Henry Bros at Colgrain, which was greenbelt outwith the local development plan. That seemed strange at the time. Probably a large brown envelope involved there.

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  6. From URTV again:

    ‎30 pro Waitrose representatives have spoken, including Councillor Vivien Dance and Community Councilman Nigel Harman. Now it’s over to the objectors.

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  7. We cope with bin collections once a week (or even fortnightly) so how about fancy supermarket visits once a week? – a Waitrose on a seagoing barge, serving the west coast – say from Helensburgh to Fort William, stopping off at Dunoon, Rothesay, Campbeltown, Oban, Fort William – and maybe Tobermory and Port Ellen alternate weeks. Just dreaming. At Helensburgh it would tie up at the pier, of course. The supermarket aisles would be cushioned with giant airbags to keep everything shipshape on passage, and maybe even giant gimbals would be effective.

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  8. Bruce Marshall has stated that he will support the application if a competent amendment can be brought forward. David Kinniburgh has stated that he will be doing the same. Robin Currie has stated that he hopes the application will be approved but the mitigation is insufficient. He is looking for an additional £420k in mitigation for various items. Neil McKay also looking to support it if an amendment can be put together but needs more mitigation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Alex McNaughton has also confirmed his support along with Gordon Chalmers. It is now clear that it will be approved if a competent motion / amendment can be put together.
    Cllr McAlister has also indicated support along with Cllr Devon, Cllr McMillan and Cllr McQueen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Pingback: Argyll News: RIP Helensburgh town centre: Waitrose out of town location approved | For Argyll

  11. A long hot day, but full marks to the Helensburgh area public for their active participation.

    The right result too, so long as Waitrose are not put off by the vastly increased ‘mitigation payment’.

    On a wider stage, Government should be looking at how such payments, which are pure and simple bribery, could be regulated.

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    • I thought ‘mitigation’ in the context of a supermarket proposal meant meeting the cost of any extra roadworks, pedestrian crossings etc made necessary by the extra traffic generated by the development. I’d like to know if some councillors took a more elastic view of the meaning of the word.

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  12. I’m sure they won’t be put off by the mitigation payment. In all probability there will be negotiations over the purchase price between drum & waitrose. The application was made under two names – Waitrose & Wandering Wild (aka drum). It is highly likely that there is an agreement between drum and waitrose, where waitrose purchase the land subject to planning approval. This allows them to attach caveats re planning gain / mitigation payments. It will probably be drum who take a hit on the price. They’ll be aware that without planning approval their land is worthless. I actually think planning gain is a good thing. Just as long as it reaches the intended parties and not the council coffers, which sadly often happens.

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  13. I’d like to see the money used to directly improve the retailers units / frontages. I’ve attached a link to the merchant city initiative below, which completely transformed that area.
    http://glasgowmerchantcity.net/regeneration.html
    I’m pleased Waitrose got their approval. Had Waitrose been rejected, then all that would have happened is a continuation of the current decline of the town centre. That decline is due to the apathy of a lot of shop keepers. Either the shopkeepers take this opportunity to get their fair share of mitigation money to improve the service that they provide. Or they sell up and allow the next generation of shopkeepers to take over. I’m sure like me, the majority of Helensburgh shoppers do not want to soley shop in Waitrose. To me the Waitrose development has always been about a high end outlet recognising the potential and wanting to invest in our town, which will hopefully be a catalyst for further investment in the town centre.

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