Comment posted 11th April: George Berry chairing hustings for Oban Wards 4 and 5 by newsroom.
On the issue of airports – Brian Keating raised the issue at the Argyll and the Isles tourism summit and made a telling point about the absolute need to develop our area’s air travel and leisure flying sector.
He could not be more right.
We do not need to see Oban Airport closed. We need to see it work.
We need to see Campbeltown airport work.
We need to see our air routes marketed and run for what they are – unique routes to unique places – including the sea plane service.
And the leisure flying market is a crucial loss we’ve sustained in the cack-handed way Oban Airport has been handled before and since its inception.
Is there any other area in Scotland that has the variety of air routes in Argyll and the Isles? And that’s not to mention the airstrips the private flyers can use.
There’s another world up there. And who knows?
newsroom also commented
- Stooshie – This is not a place to start but a place to finish.
When we said we wanted this to stop now because it simply repeatedly – endlessly – goes over old ground – we meant it.
When we said that we were asking for our openness and our wishes to be respected – we meant that.
When we said that this did not involve barring but were asking for self editing – we meant that too,
This does not mean that if what we are asking for does not happen we will let it run. We will not. And that includes debate on our decision.
We will not hesitate to disallow comments that do not respect what is clearly constructive common sense in this matter.
- I have edited some material in the comment above – if for no other reason than it has all been said before and I cannot spend endless amounts if time in constant retro-checking and re-moderating.
There has to be an end to this – at least as far as For Argyll is concerned.
There is no value in endless repetition. Life – lives – get stuck in a groove which can go nowhere; and none of us have that much time to waste.
This issue has also hijacked discussion of the hustings in Oban with which it may have a relationship but not an exclusive one.
It is obvious that there are fissures in the Easdale island community of a serious nature. We have not run away from that but have tried to be constructive by considering the situation fairly and presenting a picture of the colliding cultures we have found.
There is also clearly more to it than that but whatever that is, it drags everyone to depths we cannot approach and would have no reason to try.
Yes, we feel that Eilean Eisdeal should be open about its membership. Why ever not?
Yes, we feel that a charity should be open with its own community about its accounts. Why ever not?
But suppose the worst case scenario – that not one of its members is a full time resident on Easdale island or even has little more than nothing at all to do with it….
That small group of volunteers, with whoever their supporting members are, has bpught and renovated the Easdale Village Hall – a lovely and spirits-lightening place that is a real community asset.
They have done a substantial amount of work on the harbour – a matter which is to everyone’s advantage – residents, part-time residents and visitors alike.
They secured the little island museum – again a real communal resource.
They run an entertainments programmne in the village hall that is utterly enviable, with landmark figures from the national and international music scene appearing there.
What does it matter, in the light of this genuine contribution (for which there is no evidence of competing offers) if every one of the members of Eilean Eisdeal comes from Kota Kinabalu?
As we’ve already said, the things they have defensively not done are as likely to spring from weariness and fear of any action triggering another round of accusations.
Whatever the ins and outs of all of this, there is a point where everyone has to ask what can possibly be achieved by perpetuating the situation?
For Argyll, having been as open as possible in allowing matters to be aired and having spent time and care in exploring the issues as best and as honestly as we could, cannot now spend time and webspace facilitating repetitions.
That is not an unreasonable position to have reached. It does not mean barring. It is a pleas to respect our position on this and to self-edit.
Please do not see this as a challenge to produce new grievances and allegations as opposed to repetitions.
Turn this to the positive and write for us on sea kayaking – a matter on which we know you are expert and on which many like us would be interested to know more (from the security of a sofa).
- We are about to remove the second of the two paragraphs of your comment on the grounds of lack of substantiation. In one case you say ‘I can’t prove this…’
This is being done in the spirit of fairness.
We accept that if you had got itemised financial breakdowns those would have presented a definitive picture that would have supported or removed your concerns.
We have seen a report by OSCR on their own examination of the affairs of Eilean Eisdeal – after complaints from island members of the ‘leave things as they are persuasion’. They concluded that, in the case of Mr Mackenzie’s company, it had indeed been paid for doing project work but had demonstrated that it had done a lot of work in a pro bono basis, had discounted more and that the arrangement was clearly of benefit to the charity.
OSCR commented that the work had been untendered and recommended that Eilean Eisdeal: ‘should implement a tendering process ‘… for architectural or building related services’ ‘to ensure all decisions made during the tendering process are clearly recorded’.
It seems fair to us to say that it is foolish of Eilean Eisdeal to ignore the advice of OSCR in apparently continuing to be less than transparent with its entire community.
OSCR regulations on compliance in specific accounting procedures by charitable organisations are extremely rigorous. Specific itemised accounts must exist. It is hard to understand why such breakdowns are not made public.
As we have said before it is possible, in this conflictual situation, that this high degree of defensiveness has more to do with being terrified of giving hostages to fortune than having much to hide – but it is certainly ill advised.
And yes, Mr Mackenzie did directly mislead us in response to a clear and simple question. We continue to find that disappointing.
What we would say is that, whatever the historical ins and outs of your core dispute with Mr Mackenzie, they are probably insoluble but it seems unfair to draw Mr Melville closer to the heart of it.
This risks perpetuating a diseased situation which is no good to anyone, by serially loading it onto the back of a new involuntary carrier.
The two article we published in an attempt to bring some objectivity to the community divisions in Easdale Island are:
- CMAL are responsible for all of the ports and harbours they own – but they do not own them all.
The standout controversy at the moment is that Craignure pier on Mull – owned and charged by Argyll and Bute Council, brings in around £1 million a year from CalMac but has had nothing spent on it for so long it is now unfit for purpose and has been unsafe.
Part of the current consulation on the Draft Ferries Review asks whether or not CMAL should own and operate all ports and harbours.
- Facing nose to the grindstone for some hours yet tonight, this is really uplifting news.
Your comment carries the sense of an invigorating session – so much more galvanising than endless wars of attrition.
Recent comments by newsroom
- Astonishing infrastructural deficiency threatens Oban’s business development
If any of us had other people’s money to spend, surely we could run an event and a street party?
Your sense that this is evidence of an OK performance highlights the rock-bottom expectations Argyll now has of its council.
- Astonishing infrastructural deficiency threatens Oban’s business development
Your first remarks would discourage amy business developent whatsoever – which we’re sure is not your intention.
Any 21st century entrepreneur is entitled to expect that the infrastructural provision of major towns is automatically business capable.
We have never described the previous Executive Director responsible for Infrastructure and Economic Development as a star performer but at least he knew the field – a ‘square one’ necessity. Now the council has chosen not even to have level of competence available.
- NHS Highland attempts heist on Campbeltown’s volunteer kidney support group
We have some problems with the comment above.
The first is an arguably unintended but careless smear on Councillor Kelly and on Jamie McGrigor MSP in saying: ‘councillor Kelly and Mr McGrigor hijacking a very positive cause for their own personal political gain’.
Unless ‘personal gain’ is qualified as ‘personal political gain’, the immediate reading of such a comment is that money is involved.
Beyond that, we stand to be corrected – but we find it unlikely that any community could be in a position to guarantee to raise funds allocated to issues over which it has no control and is not necessarily consulted upon – without question and at the dictat of an organisation which is not answerable to them.
If this was a contract, it would be different, There would be accountability to those who pay the bills.
This sort of confusion need not arise if relationships and responsibilities are clearly framed and agreed at the outset.
The main issue here is the credit to the community in Campbeltown and to people like yourself who have donated to this very worthwhile alleviation of additional stress on people already suffering from a serious illness.
We don’t know a lot about Councillor Kelly’s work in South Kintyre although we notice his involvement in a lot of community causes and projects, indicating a widespread engagement with community development; but we do know a lot about Jamie McGrigor’s work across the Highlands and Islands and anyone further from the caricature of ‘posturing politician’ would be very hard to find.
Whatever his party, he is someone who is – unusually – unvaryingly focused on issues he knows to be important for his regional constituents. He also never routinely runs down other political parties or those who represent them when he disagrees with their policies or actions. That is unique in our experience and a welcome breath of fresh air.
- Substantial community benefits from the big estates
The pier’s privately owned by the same outfit that owns the wreck of the Inn across the water at St Catherines.
The – once lovely – Inveraray Pier is one hostile community buy out – for nothing – everyone would unquestioningly support.
- Syriza, one seat short of overall majority, now talisman for the Scot Nats
Could not agree more.
Of course there is no effective Greek recovery. Mr McWhirter though, rightly identified the fact that – below the massive interest burden on the massive debt burden – the Greek economy grew [from a very low base] by what is now almost 4%. He did, foolishly – go on to compare that growth favourably with Britain’s. That’s the problem with polemic.
As you say,there is no escape from austerity for Greece. It just depends on the specific source of that austerity, formal or informal, with the spectre you raise of it becoming worse in the chaotic collapse of an exit from Europe.
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