81 Responses to The breakdown of Green Streets expenditure does not …

  1. Didnt expect them to go, as they (the decliners) possibly feel they would not get a fair hearing. They should have responded though. Makes the ‘debate’ a bit one sided, and will reduce the turn out, which is a pity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • You’ll be right.
      But the point about hustings – never genteel affairs anyway – is that you show you have the guts to fight for your hearing.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Recent relations between the hustings chairman and 1 councillor in particular, and the administrarion generally.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. So the spokesperson on social affairs, Ms EEEEEEE! Robertson has not confirmed yet her participation for the hustings meeting tonight,
    I hope chronically sick and disabled people in Lismore exercise their franchise and replace her with a more sincere and genuine Councillor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Oh come folks – this is a set-up and you know it.

    Is this not the same George Berry dunped by Oban Radio and who blames the Council for that decison! Is this not the guy who claims (but never evidences) abuse of a Council parking ticket by a sitting Councillor?

    And this is the guy who will ‘chair’ the hustings meeting ensuring neutrality and an equity of treatment of all???

    As Ovid said – ‘Neutralium Chairium et Democracium Ma Ersium’.

    Have a nice day :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • No ” Simon” this is not a setup, It’s called a hustings!

      It’s an opportunity for voters to ask candidates about issues that are important to them.

      It’s about listening to the replies and gaining some insight to potential councillors standpoints.

      In other words, It’s something that the present administration of A&BC show No interest in at all!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Simon
    Is it not better to face your accusers? And if you have nothing to hide then what does venue matter? The thing that bothers me is the amount which have declined the invitation or ignored it

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. I still reckon a great big bun-fight on the grass at Kilmory is the best way to go. I personally would donate all my worldy goods to charity to nail the Lib-Dems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Simon why not come along and enter into the debate?
    If you have a problem with what is being asked or the views put forward to the candidates, by the public who turn up, surely the best way to deal with that is by being there in person? I will be one of the candidates and if I get slaughtered on any point that comes up that is the way it should be. If you put yourself forward you have to be prepared to take the stick that comes with it.
    It would be a very poor show if there was no disagreement, now that really would be a set-up!
    We need as many people with different views and ideas to be there, so please come along if you can and add to the debate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Totally agree Neil. Only a coward or ineffectual dilettante will shy away from real engagement with all the constituents in the hustings period. They cannot face honest scrutiny
      Of course they don’t want to be accountable for their shortcomings and I hope the electorate have had enough of their absentee backsliding.
      And I wish you well although I will be voting number one for the SNP. I will give you my next proportional rating as I know your commitment is exemplary.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Fat chance of that!Far easier to snipe from the sidelines and from behind a wall of anonymity.

      May not this be the perfect opportunity for Mr Berry to reveal the identity of the (allegedly) offending councillor – who is not to be there (allegedly)?

      This event has been well publicised and for long enough ahead for all the candidates to make arrangements to be present. Those who are busily claiming in their publicity leaflets to be our “voice in local government” have an positive obligation to be there.

      The way the local media reports on this -if at all- should be revealing.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Neil, thanks for the invite but I believe me I have much better things to do with my time tonight.

    I was interested in your comment “If you put yourself forward you have to be prepared to take the stick that comes with it” – perhaps you could share those words of wisdom with Anne Baird when you see her and get her to asnswer reasonable and simple questions.

    Enjoy tonight – I know I shall. :) :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Ken – It’s really most uinfair of you to castigate Phil, Newsroom, Morag, Crazy and myself for choosing to remain anonymous on this article.

    People are entitled to comment from the sidelines on here and if you don’t like well perhaps you should just go somewhere else for your daily dose from the snp luvvies rather than attack people for exercising their rights.

    Have a nice day Ken – and do enjoy tonight. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Poor old Simon has discovered that life is not fair!

      I find most of those you name to be constructive but
      I think your constant apologia for a cack handed administration is irritating and suspect that you have more involvement with it than you are prepared to admit.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. “Simon”

    I am definitely not ANONYMOUS ! Would love to have that skill…….of being able to hack into another computer!

    Who knows what could be revealed!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Well don’t know about you losers – but I had a real BALL tonight. ;)

    Ahem, I’d like to ask you ‘how were the crooked hustings?’ but frankly luvvies I don’t give a damm. :) :)

    Oh what a night ;) ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. If the standard of new and SNP candidates across Argyll is anything like as clued up,steet wise and articulate as those who attended the Oban ward’s hustings this evening then ARGYLL has nothing more to fear.
    Let us pray the electorate get behind these good people.
    Past misguided political decisions and how they have negatively impacted on so many will fade into memory.
    Then there is much to look forward to in what can only be a bright future for all in ARGYLL.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Having just returned from the Oban ‘hustings’ I thought I would give my take on the proceedings too.

    The event opened with a very lengthy diatribe from the chairman giving his views on many of the areas of operation within the council. He slated both council officials and councillors and gave an extremely opinionated view on several fronts.

    When we eventually heard from the various candidates I noted the following:-

    George Doyle left due to personal circumstances.

    Fred Hall: He claimed to hate any waste of money. He has concluded that the SNP government could learn a lot from the Welsh administration on sustainable investment.

    Roddy McCuish: Although he stated that it was already widely known, when asked to name the person responsible for offering him an ‘incentive’ during the schools closure fiasco (in the interest of being open and honest) he refused. He said that he would tell people in private afterwards. He left very smartish after the event.

    Gordon Chalmers: He laid the blame for the Craignure gangway debacle squarely with the SNP government.

    Elaine Robertson: A member of the audience criticised her for her involvement in the schools fiasco. She reminded everyone, that the original list of 26 schools had been drawn up by SNP councillors as well as the independents and agreed that a lot of stress had been caused.

    Mary-Jean Devon: She focussed on the poor handling of the progressive care unit on Mull and the impact on the island community.

    Donald Melville: currently a director of an island charity which has been criticised by OSCR for its lack of openness, transparency and community consultation skills, had the gall to suggest that he would bring about such improvements in the council.

    Iain MacDonald: sitting next to Donald Melville, made things even more amusing by quoting the United Nations description of Community Engagement in cases where dictatorships have been overthrown.

    Louise Glen-Lee: She agreed with most of those who wanted better services and frequently referred to the SNP manifesto indicating that if we all voted SNP everything will be better.

    Ian MacIntyre; He said he would make sure that his Mum votes for him this time.

    Towards the end of proceedings someone from the panel declared that there were 60 people in the audience. This amused those of us in the audience who could count as there were only 31.

    Finally, the chairman started waving his arms around in disagreement with a member of the audience. By this time everyone else had lost the plot and began leaving. I deliberately asked a few fellow participants, who I had never met before, if their interests had been well received and they had thought not. However I noticed in the foyer that most of the candidates felt that they had done extremely well.

    I am sure other members of the audience will have a different take on the evening and look forward to reading their reviews.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Lowry’s account of the above hustings is so selective , personal and inaccurate as to be comical.As George Berry had organised the event it was inevitable that he would use some of the chair’s time in indicating his slant but he did certainly overdo this.
    Those candidates who were present were each given the opportunity to comment on several aspects of Council work. The feedback from the audience conveyed general frustration and dissatifaction with the present administration
    The most ndisheartening feature of the evening was the absence of sitting councillors Duncan MacIntyre and Neil Mackay who not only failed to attend but lacked the courtesy of contacting the organisers.
    I did not see any presence from either the Oban Times or ObanFM and wonder at their ability to report on local news if they feel able to miss such an event.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Ken – get a grip “As George Berry had organised the event it was inevitable that he would use some of the chair’s time in indicating his slant but he did certainly overdo this” I said HOURS AND HOURS ago that this whole charade was a set-up.

    Anyone with half a brain would not have been seen anywhere near this disaster/personal vendetta/diatribe.

    What an embarrassment! Lowry gives us a blow by blow account and then another numpty invokes the Deity!!! “Let us pray the electorate get behind these good people.”

    God defend me from ex-DJs with a chip on their shoulder,religious nuts and their snp friends!!

    And as for Newsie’s comment about “uplifting news” is she back on the sauce again?????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. “did not see any presence from either the Oban Times or ObanFM and wonder at their ability to report on local news if they feel able to miss such an event.”

    …they obviously had much more sense than you….;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Newspaper headline tomorrow!!

    ‘Council officials face new claims of corruption’

    But just before you lot get your knicks in a twist – it’s about Edinburgh – a LibDem/SNP council. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Not sure who is the greatest numpty here.

    The one who ‘invokes the DEITY’ for the collective common good or the one who selfishly and selfcentredly invokes, for his own defense.

    Me thinks Simon writes without engaging brain fully, doesn’t re-read or is of duel personality.Mind you castring an inward eye back over his many negative postings – probably all three.

    A THOUGH TO END ON. Shame I don’t hide behind a false name as ‘Numpty’might be an elevated status compared with A AND B Council. Simon speak, got me there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Well, after reading all these varying versions of events, I have reached the startling conclusion that Helensburgh and Lomond is a bit boring.

    Can we not have a stooshie like this as well? :lol:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Lowey LOL
    You go on about George Berry being bias! Sorry I missed his opening speech now by the way you describe it, it must have been fun (who poked the bear with a stick)

    First of the bat I would like to say most of the panel were SNP what does that tell us all about the other candidates? Now I have some major issues with the SNP government but as for these grass roots guys at least they will take the time to turn up
    Fred Hall: This ex policeman had investigated avenues within the council and discovered the total waste of our tax money on consultancy fees; I don’t think anyone should be happy with wanton waste of our money! But as far as taking any form of advice from the welsh assembly I think Mr Hall should look into the education system and suicide rate of children within certain areas of Wales
    Roddy McCuish: Now this was funny it was like watching a pack of hyenas baying for a morsel of flesh, but credit to Mr McCuish he kept what was said to him in private (“hearsay”) and did not disclose the name in a public arena. As for him leaving smartish this is factually incorrect as I had a fairly lengthy chat with him and Mr Andrew Black outside at the front steps
    Gordon Chalmers: I got the impression he was only implying the SNP are now using this situation as a political football, cant say I heard him putting the blame at any doorstep
    Elaine Robertson: again this was a good part of the meeting the elderly gentleman was very informed and cordial toward Mrs Robertson, I took his point that as an independent she had continued to push through the closures reducing it from the original 26 down to 12 this after the SNP had seen their error and withdrew from the proposal
    Mary-Jean Devon: This lady did appear to be very disappointed and genuinely annoyed at the mismanagement of this project, but I am sure if she gets elected then this matter is not closed
    Donald Melville: well I don’t know anything about his status of history, But I can say no one at the meeting pulled him up about the stuff you have spoken about, why did you not bring that out at the meeting rather than on here? IMO Donald presented himself very well and appeared to be genuine in his intent.
    Iain MacDonald: This guy to me was like watching paint dry! He read out chapter and verse from the common purpose, angenda21 bible, but saying that he did admit that he is new to this and I think to be honest he really does want to try to make things better! Perhaps within a one to one or smaller group, you would see a far more confidant and energetic Mr MacDonald
    Louise Glen-Lee: This lady was very strong on community issues and child care IMO she has a comprehensive knowledge of her subject matter, but I was disappointed with her continued references to the SNP manifesto, I would have liked to have heard more of her personal achievements or local achievements
    Ian MacIntyre: I don’t understand why you seem dismissive of this guy with your comment, IMO He was very well spoken, very knowledgeable of his subject matter His talk about the farcical jetty proposal was right on the money.
    Could not say how may attended but I recall only seven people asking questions some asking several questions
    When George had closed the meeting and a member of the audience thanked him for chairing the meeting another member brought up the subject of a bus stop at Dunbeg, never caught the whole story but I believe the audience member was blaming George for getting it removed, George got quite heated and pointed out that it was another councillor and not him, he also pointed out that he had contacted the police about the removal of the shelter

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • You’ve got this totally back to front. My question to Mr Berry was regarding his campaign to STOP the removal of the bus shelter outside my pensioner parents house, which had become a meeting place for all sorts of thugs and nere do wells mostly during the night where drugs and alcohol were consumed and various acts of vandalism perpetrated in surrounding gardens. The police, local councillors, community council and all neighbours agreed that for the peace and safety of the surrounding community, removal was the only solution which was carried out and solved the problem. Mr Berry instigated a campaign against this bleating “where will the kids go at night” there were a few other protests but not valid regarding the nuisance suffered by my parents and their neighbours.Mr Berry’s rantings about a wheelchair bound local lady being observed at the shelterless bus stop and soaking wet can be fully explained if required.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Could I also add that the OP heard wrong, I was also the member of the audience who “congratulated” Mr Berry on his social integrity and concerns for the old age pensioners and then went on to ask him where were these concerns when he fought to keep the nest of hooligans on the aforementioned site. Could I also point out that my refference to Mr Berry as Mr Galloway was not a Freudian slip but a very succinct piece of satire, some may have noticed that I paused for the laughter to abate

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Sokay:
          Lol! First post 9:44 second post 2:51 guess this subject has you wound up as much as George Berry, the OP was not interested in listening to children squabble, I think I made it clear I never heard the full story.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Keich, If you did not catch the full story why make one up? You got ic totally A for Elb and I felt clarification was called for! Your 4 line ref. was totally made up, how much of your approx 45 line post was made up? There were many less than correct items, but not with reference to my questions and observations . If you feel the concerns for the safety and wellbeing of our pensioners is a “chidish” matter so be it! The reference to the timing of my posts is totally pedantic but was brought about by another member of the audience pointing out this P.M.the total inaccuracy of your guess work and fabrications. As a first time poster on here I have not used my name as the pseudo worked but I’m sure you know who I am and thanks for your less than warm welcome to the forum cheers K.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Sokay
            Nah! Have not got a clue who you are mate, as I recall you were sat at the front and I was walking out as you and George started. Now correct me again if I am wrong but George did say that he had contacted the police, as he claimed “the bus stop was removed illegally” Now I think you will agree that, from hearing George saying this added with his comment about the old person in a wheel chair and getting soaked that it would be fair to write or assume (not knowing the full history or catching the full animated conversation) “I believe the audience member was blaming George”
            Would you not agree that persons reading this without personal involvement on the subject would have noticed my statement or disclaimer, “I never caught the whole story” so nothing was fabricated it may have been the wrong assumption. As for my other posted observations read my post in conjunction with the post by “Lowry”
            Just for clarification “the OP was not interested in listening to children squabble” would you say Mr Berry acted like an adult? With you choosing to become animated to get your point across and me viewing this as a totally independent person do you think this would look like two adults communicating at a public venue?
            Do you not think it is very unfair to twist my observation of two adults at a public venue shouting (and just remember George at the table) and linking this to childish behaviour, for you then to turn round and link my observation and comment to the actual subject matter?
            As for “the warm welcome” I don’t know were your coming from with this, But at the time of writing my reply 5:45 there was no intended malice, having just read it now I cannot see anything which would make you feel unwelcome.
            Like you I am new here, your first two replies were excellent and very informative; they gave the other side of George which I have not heard much about I may have suspected but not heard. Would you say your third post was welcoming to me as a new poster?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • This is a reply to Keith, should have been serialized
        Fairy Nuff Keith I don’t wan’t to make this a war of attrition which, although I don’t claim to be any smarter than any one on here, I would win as the possessor of the 100% accurate facts regarding the bus shelter debacle and the debate at the hustings, while you can only depend on assumptions and misunderstandings “. Now correct me again if I am wrong” from your last post. Consider yourself about to be corrected again as you are wrong .I will come back to that post at the end but in the meantime I will full fill the following request from said post “ read my post in conjunction with the post by “Lowry””
        (1) I pointed out to Mr Hall that this was nothing new, I disclosed similar during the fiasco that was “Oban’s waterfront development” in the late 80’s £2million pound was made available by the then SDA, it all went to developers, consultants and no few £’s in councilors expenses (no salaries then).I submitted a dossier of all these facts to the Oban Times at the time but it was never published. Different wheels within wheels in these days but still going round. There were some site meetings where you could not move for councillors claiming their attendance allowance (not pennys) and associated allowances for travelling from Islay, Dunoon Lochgilphead and other such far flung places with as much interest in Oban’s success as pandas have in procreation! Neither of you reported this.
        (2) You both only touched on one part of Mr McCuish’s contributions on the night, both ignoring the very succinct and honest answer he gave to me regarding the problem relating to the tonnes/tons of dog dirt left on the pavements, roads, playing areas and all free space in our lovely town.about which I’ve lodged three complaints using both metric and imperial (PC) to no avail (seafood capital of Scotland, I ask you) the well being of the public and the maintenance of hygene not worth mentioning?
        (3) The elderly gentleman was not cordial toward Mrs Roberston at all,he was well informed but was still rude loud and overbearing through out the evening bellowing in my ear when speaking to Mrs Robertson and disrupting the evening with caustic comments whilst thumping the floor with a stick, all directed at contributors (poss not his own party) .He was also encouraged by the gentleman sat beside who at the end shouted at Mr Berry that the Dunbeg shelter had nothing to do with the airport. Mr Berry had closed the airport and had taken my question by this time, another one with disregard for the elderly in someplaces?? I also hope this friend and supporter explained how rude he’d been to the gentleman sitting along from me.
        (4) Yes Lowry perhaps should have asked Donald there and not here but agree with you on the rest.
        (5) I can’t understand how some people know what it’s like to watch paint dry. Yes Iain MacDonald is new and enthusiastic already practicing that political skill of “tangential diversion” good luck to him.
        (6) Louise has not had time to have significant achievements in the political field but I’m sure she will, and at this time why should she not refer to her party’s manifesto if she believes it’s a winner?
        (7) I agree that Neil contributed a lot more than Lowry suggests (perhaps his pencil broke)t Neil contributed much more.I’ve not comented on the points that the three of us roughly agree on
        (8)
        Now back to “ . Now correct me again if I am wrong but George did say that he had contacted the police, as he claimed “the bus stop was removed illegally” now reconcile that with this “ never caught the whole story but I believe the audience member was blaming George for getting it removed, George got quite heated and pointed out that it was another councillor and not him, he also pointed out that he had contacted the police about the removal of the shelter
        Now ask yourself this Why would you say that I blamed George for getting the shelter taken down and then say that George had contacted the police as the shelter(aka the bus stop) was removed illegally, so you now have George removing the shelter and then reporting it to the police? Remember the old adage “to assume makes an ASS of U and ME” The only police involvement was in trying to solve the hooligan problem they agreed with the local (other?) councillor, community council and all the affected neighbours that shifting the shelter would only shift the problem and removal was the only solution and it worked,George and a few others objected to it’s demise. The wee wet wifey abandoned at the shelterless bus stop can be explained if required.Sorry for the length of this reply but it will possibly be my last, I only came on to clarify a few points based on Keiths belief in assumption and as it would seem the more I read ,fairys. Keith when I 1st posted for the sake of clarity I did not expect the timings of these posts (with a LOL) to be highlighted and be the subject of some amateurish psychological dissection, that was the not too warm welcome, I didn’t know you were a new poster I’d seen your previous posts and you’ve got ared and green glove I have’nt but won’t need them. If there’s any thing on here you don’t understand ask a grown up.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Do you think we could sell this to the BBC? LOL
          You have taken offence to my LOL yet if you read my reply to Lowry it also has LOL at the beginning yet he/she (pc) has not taken offence if you read my first couple of posts I think you will see that one is my disappointment at the low turnout and second is a bit of fun, so I took this page as being light hearted, now “amateurish psychological dissection” that is quite funny, my lol to your post was the “OP” which I took as “original poster” it was funny to me as in my last job when we emailed about one of our directors we used OP as opinionated rick (with a capital P). the time reference was nothing more than my thinking out loud you must be really wound-up about the subject matter.
          When I requested you read my post along with Lowry’s how stupid of me to think you would view both and see I had used the same format as a bit of fun and an opposite to his/her post, but trying to highlight the people like Neil Macintyre (just a shame I got his name wrong) obviously you are so personally involved in this bus stop (oops sorry shelter) issue that you become defensive, at no time have I laid claim to be a journalist or political reporter, so any post I present is an opinion or an observation I am not obliged to make it factually correct so why you have decided to try and twist my post into being anything more is beyond me.
          Guess my NLP is not what it used to be, your point 5) rather than pick up on the main point of my post about Ian quoting chapter and verse Common purpose/agenda21 you focus on trying to discredit me once again, understand as a practicing article 61 participant (or government issued box freeman on the land) I could not give two monkeys how you wish to try and discredit me.
          At no time did I intend to belittle the subject matter or your passion on the subject {unlike your continuous attempts to discredit me}, we have a similar problem within Soroba, and when it was brought up at a community meeting the Police said there was not enough statistical evidence to provide additional police resources and speeding was their main statistical priority (Credit to Brian Auld within two weeks he created a community officer {short version})
          One last attempt read your point 8 then try and view it as an independent.
          George got quite heated and pointed out that it was another councilor and not him that got the “shelter” removed (assumption based on this, if George is defending his position and pointing the finger at another councilor would it not be reasonable to assume he was getting blamed for the removal?) now add to this George saying that he had contacted the police about the “shelter” being removed” illegally” (would this not further advance the assumption he was getting blamed?)
          Obviously you have a reasonable knowledge of local issues and the perceived corruption of our governing body, as I have said already your clarification of the subject matter was appreciated and as for that post I am glad it is open and recorded on this page, your point 1 +2 that is the sort of stuff we need to get out rather than having personal attacks at other posters, but perhaps you have a personal issue with me
          My apologies to for Argyll and other posters but I will assure you this is my last post

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Keith, don’t be silly, I was finished with the forum as I had stated all the true facts pertaining to the hustings and bus shelter, for some reason known only to yourself ,in your last post you still maintain that what you THINK you heard and ASSUME what you heard to be correct, one last time Mr Berry was totally against the removal and was NEVER blamed for it, the councillor (along with other parties)responsible for the removal (thankfully) was Mr D. Macintyre which begs the question were current vendettas spawned all these years ago? If any other posters can help convince Keith obout the truths of the matter please do, and encourage him to not give up but just learn from the experience of our little spat (which I at no time intended to be personal but did perhaps slip for which I apologise) and in time I’m sure he’ll become a respected and valued contributor to all forums, Don’t give up ‘cos of some old smart ar** fella hopefully you’ll be one yourself someday :) Stay put and good luck in all you do (I’ll probably still be watching) P.S. when Mr Berry suggested it was a police matter he was not referring to the removal of the shelter but the hoolgan behaviour therein and in hindsight I don’t see how Mr Berry could have been in a position to remove shelter legally or otherwise, he was not councillor just a concerned party cheers!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. For Argyll: You really should have been there to report on this event, impartially. The so-called Oban Times shows no interest in political matters, save to give Mrs Loudon’s press releases full coverage. They cannot even cover the Spygate story which is perhaps the only story out of Argyll which has gone national ( I exclude the fireworks joke ), suggesting that they have no investigative reporters worth the name – or perhaps dont want to afford to get one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. I can’t really offer much comment on the issues specific to the Oban Wards as I don’t know enough about them. On the issues I can comment on I would say:

    1. Roddy McCuish is correct not to publically name and shame the person who he claims offered him an incentive. It is unlikely that something like that can be proved categorically as it was most probably a conversation. If Roddy was to start naming and shaming he would face repercussions under the Code of Conduct. All I will say on this matter is that based on the way the Alliance of Independents bought their support from the Lib Dems on the school vote, and based on the way George Freeman was treated for having the courage and conviction that the Lib Dems (and other members of the Alliance) didn’t have it would not surprise me one but if such an incentive was offered.

    2. Elaine Robertson’s response is a cowardly one that is a feeble attempt to deflect attention from the fact she agreed to allow proposals that were clearly not fit for purpose to go ahead. The SNP’s role in the school selection process has been debated before and I agree that they do have something to answer for (contrary to what the likes of Simon will have people believe this site isn’t just a collection of SNP party members) however that does not, for one second, detract from the fact that selecting 26 schools for consideration is one thing and actually progressing closure based on woefully flawed and legally incompetent arguments is a different thing. Elaine has a perfect right to point the finger at the SNP for their role in the selection but has no defence for her lack of challenge to the proposals put forward. She is guilty of failing in her duties and should be thoroughly ashamed of herself. She does, however. At least show up to take the questions on but should be more honest about her role instead of deflecting.

    3. The consultancy fees accusation is something that can be aimed at a lot of Councils (possibly all) and care should be taken not to use it as a blanket accusation. There are occasions when the use of consultants is the correct thing to do so each appointment should be considered on its own merit. Use of an ‘independent’ education expert to advise the Council how to circumnavigate legislation and keep Councillors out of meetings about issues which are hugely pertinent to the people who elect councillors is clearly an inappropriate use of consultants however there are occasions when good value is delivered.

    4. The comments about Mary-Jean Devon being disappointed with the management of the project confused me a little. What project was she referring to? Was it the schools issue? If so then that is a fine example of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. She is as guilty as Elaine Robertson (and the rest of the current administration) and can’t turn back the hands of time on that issue. If it was some other ‘project’ then I am off on the wrong track however my comments above still stand. AAAARGH sorry, just read other comments and it appears this is a reference to progressive care unit on Mull.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Just managed to catch up on some of the comments from last night.Hopefully the rest of the candidates enjoyed it I thought the crack was good especially when Fred lets go.
    Cheers Ken for the name change, I don,t think swally would of been happy getting a slagging instead of me.As everybody local knows there is only one Ian MacIntyre.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. As a member of the audience at the so-called “hustings” last night, I was disappointed to find that the whole event became a SNP rant on the performance of the Council over the last few years. Very little in the way of candidate policies emerged. Much more in the way of attrition and stage managed attacks on individuals within the Council were displayed. I am not surprised that some candidates declined to attend.

    If the SNP gain control of the Council I can only fear for the future, based on what I heard and saw last night. For example, Oban has tremendous potential as a transport hub for the highlands and islands. However, the SNP seem hell bent on withdrawing funding which would result in closing down the airport at Connel. Whilst they may have concerns over the Oban pontoon proposals, they seem to lack understanding of how this could help increase tourism and local businesses. Where is the vision and what is the sense in doing this? There was plenty of negativity and criticism but very little in the way of suggestions of what could be achieved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Spock, I took comprehensive notes throughout the ‘meet’ and can asure you there was no statement of intent to close connel airfield.In fact marketing was said to be the route to improvement.
      As for pontoons, the critism was one against the illogical waste of providing a second restricted pontoon for cruise liner use(speculated to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds) when an alternative is already in train (no pun intended)Further the recorded yeary income from cruise liner customers using the landing facilities is just over £1000, most of whom leave the town on coaches which are provided by companies external to Argyll.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Iain – SNP & supporters can’t complain about the cruise liner proposal…..as the influential Cllr McCuish did not vote for OBM. His reasoning was that he didn’t want a community org (run by business people) to suffer if it didn’t wash its face. However, his fellow Cllrs will just push ahead with 100% funded project that we’ll all pay for anyway!
        Economic development is all about measured risk and addressing market failures. The council should have supported OBM as it was proven to be the best project/economic case from the entire CHORD portfolio.
        C’town got a all weather football park!! still to see the business case on that one, the sinking fund alone will be hard to attain! Cllr McCuish will be able to confirm that for our own Community Park.
        So SNP can’t complain about the recent CHORD approval but I must take my hat off to council/councillors who made successful LORN Arc submission
        Oban constituents need much more detail on TIF. On a personal level, i would like to know how A&BC (Oban) would accrue future business rate tax from improvements to marine and shoreside infrastructure? I thought it was CMAL/A&BC that collected berthing/landing charges (per tonnage) not a Tax? (are they the same thing?)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • 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.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • understand this…..its a separate matter! but how can A&BC charge taxes for use of improved landing/shoreside at North Pier (for example) I thought TIF was future incremental finance used for capital investment….but what taxes will be applied?
            The cruise liners currently pay 50p per passenger so, how is that plus additional tonnage going to finance the large £M’s of proposed projects? Likewise, for a development road??? Will it be a toll road as reported by Cllr McCuish (only joking) or is it anticipated that their will be huge influx of businesses/population growth due to Lorn Arc? I’m not clear newsroom, do you have better understanding?
            I can see TIF being used for a science/business park or for town centre even bout not clear with Lorn Arc

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. The hustings on Wednesday was not organised by the SNP but their candidates for the Lorn wards had the courtesy and the political nous to attend to answer to whoever came along.It is known as accountability within the democratic process.The opportunity to respond to this was there for Messrs MacIntyre and MacKay and they ducked it. At least Elaine Robertson was prepared to defend her actions and while she was questioned about her actions she was not treated harshly.

    As Ian MacLean states above there was no suggestion made that the Airport should be closed but certainly the desperate need for intelligent, committed and informed marketing was identified so that the considerable number of flights from the leisure flying industry be attracted back to what was once a profitable and well run, award winning facility.Private flying is a burgeoning sector.

    The loss of the seaplane is yet another example of the lack of imagination and an inability to recognise potential. It is a huge reverse for Oban but the present administration is deaf to suggestion and unwilling even to approach the allies that exist in the Scottish government.

    The Council pontoon proposal was similary constructively questioned as it would add nothing to what is already provided and simply create an additional cost of borrowed monies when a similar proposal-roundly condemned and opposed by the present administration- could be utilised and assisted at the other side of the North Pier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Ken as Iain – SNP Cllrs didn’t support OBM, maybe with the exception of late Donald MacDonald, and Skye was bold enough to challenge a senior officer who advised against supporting on a legal technicality. However, the project wasn’t passed and SNP was well represented. The SNP could have been united and applied an “intelligent, committed and informed” decision. The turnout of hundreds and more importantly, biz’s parting with hard earned cash should have been enough to highlight this. SNP can’t slip out of all the BIG decisions that they missed (schools, CHORD etc)
      If in power next time around then no hiding!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • One of the reasons councillors SNP and admin included didnt support the OBM pontoon was location which many of the electorate didnt agree with due to loss of a wonderful outlook free for us all. Hats off to Roddy etc on that one. He and others were merely representing their constituents.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • don’t remember him mentioning anything about location!….was all on the business case. at the public meeting their reasoning was based on the business case. no mention of public opinion. he may have taken note of it but doubt there was a swell of passionate constituents bashing down his door!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Maybe not at meeting but nevertheless location would feature in the public reasoning and i feel decision generally well accepted by many on the street. Nice to see locals of all persuasions standing together on this. hats off to Duncan Macintyre and Roddy McCuish on that one. Have you seen the view this morning?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Ken – ‘The loss of the seaplane’ – I wasn’t at the hustings, and maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but I’d like to know what’s happened to this, if there’s a short explanation.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Yes, perhaps I should have confronted Donald Melville with my views of his lack of honesty, transparency and accountability as a director of a charity. However, as has been pointed out, some folk dominated the evening and the session seemed to be more about the poor performance of A&B council.

    The evidence for my accusation can be found on this website. Newsroom has asked the charity for information which has not been forthcoming. Also, questions have been raised about the charity’s funding and answers are still outstanding. Melville is treasurer of the charity. Even OSCR has pointed out the charity’s failings in openness and transparency.

    Donald Melville has been involved with the charity for years. This charity has caused a great deal of stress amongst its own community and has also, in my opinion, wasted a great deal of public money by, for example, appealing outcomes of planning decisions made by the council; council decisions which also happened to be in keeping with the wishes of the community. (E.g. Wind turbine applications, Local Plan inquiry). There are recents comments on both Seil Chat and The Easdale People which provide more information.

    In my view, no matter which party, a candidate with this track record is extremely unlikely to serve the electorate to the standards that we all expect – despite what he said at the hustings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. For at least a year now members of the Easdale Island community have been asking the directors of Eilean Eisdeal for a breakdown of £22,041 spent as part of the Scottish Gas Green Streets project. Island residents had also emailed Jack Welch, the Scottish Gas Green Streets project co-ordinator for the figures but were stone walled by him as well. On 2nd April this year Donald Melville, in his capacity as treasurer of the charity emailed a member, Henry Tarbatt a very rough outline of the amounts of money that had been spent, but not the complete breakdown that islanders had been asking for. What are these charity directors, including Melville so afraid of, what would be seen by us and the media if they were to give us the full itemised costings.
    Julian Penney
    For info, the breakdown finally received after repeated requests is shown below:
    Green Streets: £22,041
    Insulation for our award-winning Museum; Planning fees; Accoustic Scientist report for wind turbine application; Community consultation costs; Independent verification of project costs by Quantity Surveyor; Thermal imaging of participating houses and Playpark renewables installation

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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:
      http://forargyll.com/2012/01/easdale-island-division-1-or-just-division/
      http://forargyll.com/2012/01/decoding-easdale/

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • “A new involuntary carrier”? By this I assume you mean Donald Melville. I will provide evidence later proving that this is far from correct.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The breakdown of Green Streets expenditure does not appear to cover the purchase and installation costs for the Solar Panels, Air Source Heat Pump and the Argyll Architecture fees!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. I take it questions on the details of the breakdown are still outstanding? e.g. How much was paid for community consultation and to whom? Who installed the playpark renewables?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • For clarity, the other figures that were provided by Eilean Eisdeal were:

      Climate Challenge Fund £12,032

      Electricity monitoring equipment; Screen to display electricity usage; Signage costs; Project Management

      But still not enough detail to make any sense! And yet again we are left wondering, what have they got to hide?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Why not organise a hustings for easdale to cover your concerns and invite everybody along.The amount of posting when this was discussed on here before certainly justifies it.I would certainly come along to find out more.Just an idea,plenty of time before the election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Further to my comment above re. “involuntary carrier”, I found this posting on the Easdale People website. (It was not posted by me). For brevity I have reduced some of the content but it can be found here: http://www.easdalepeople.org.uk/?p=947#comments

    “During the previous Local Plan consultation period…, Donald Melville, the then chair of Eilean Eisdeal wrote to A&B Council [on charity headed paper] saying that Eilean Eisdeal had long standing plans to build affordable housing on the land used by residents as allotments. Neither members nor residents were told about this letter….
    As I recall, the letter was verbally withdrawn at the inquiry itself…after a few questions were asked about his contribution made on behalf of the charity without any evidence of community support. It may be interesting to note that another director at that time and who also happened to be both his brother-in-law and local builder, Mike Mackenzie (now SNP MSP), also supported the idea of building houses in the same area.”

    I will post more evidence later of connections between Donald Melville, Mike Mackenzie and the charity Eilean Eisdeal which have been more than a little questionable. I understand that a copy of the letter mentioned above is still available for inspection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • All is not well down Easdale island way and very difficult for voters to decipher whats is the truth.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Looking at the truth would be a good start … for example, the very few documents that have been made available by the charity, or documents that are already in the public domain. When a local charity manages to get a large amount of grant money over the years, but doesn’t have any clear process of tendering and then channels a lot of it’s work through one local business; when the same directors cling on to power for as long as possible due to dubious membership rules; when minutes are not made available to meetings; when members are constantly fobbed off when they ask for clarity, when OSCR says they must be more transparent in their dealings; when the charity refuses to recognise the local Community Council or Residents Association; when members of the community are heckled and threatened if they submit objections to planning applications ….. I could go on and on …. there is proof of everything listed here and much more.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • 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.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Linda, I have know core dispute with Mackenzie as you put it, I just know that he is not fit to be an MSP. (Ed. Material edited out.)

    As you well know I have evidence to support all of these allegations. Now you can’t sit there and put pen to paper and tell me that he’s a fit person to hold political office, know matter how high a pedestal you put the SNP on.

    Julian Penney

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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).
      Lynda

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Well said Newsroom!!
    There has been a one way flow of poison emanating from some members of Easdale Community(?) for too long!
    Most of the rest of the North Argyll Community prefer to work in a positive and supportive manner to further the collective well being and modernisation of the area
    I suspect that this is a concept unknown to many of the ‘Easdale’ posters and I am glad that the target of their venom has had the dignity to ignore them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


All the latest comments (including yours) straight to your mailbox, everyday! Click here to subscribe.