Comment posted 11th April: George Berry chairing hustings for Oban Wards 4 and 5 by newsroom.
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.
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.
- 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?
Recent comments by newsroom
- Oban North Pier development – try this
Thank you, phill.You’ve always been a markedly fair contributor – and that includes when you are critical of us. We do learn lessons.
- Oban North Pier development – try this
Apologies for forgetting the Regent- which is something of a gem in its own right. We will add it at once to the article above.
And yes – we absolutely support the Macleod enterprise. Not many businesses invest so much of their own money into their own development. The norm is ‘other peoples money’. And these are attractive, high quality businesses that stoutly support the Oban experience for visitors and help to create the foundation for the repeat visits that benefit the town.
Also yes – when we support businesses, the free advertising this does give them is neither sought nor paid for. It is based on our independent judgment and, as such, is a considered endorsement of business initiative we judge to be exemplary and important for Argyll.
If any fell short of our expectations, we would be the first to challenge that negative slide.
Because there is real ability, real quality and real hope in a wide spectrum of Argyll businesses, one of the very positive contributions we can – and do – make, is to bring what they do to the attention of our substantial and lively audience. And, as with the Ninth Wave restaurant on Mull they don’t have to be big businesses.
As for the council, there is no value in gilding a decomposing organism.
As with our positive response yesterday to the Council’s initiative in developing air routes to Argyll and the Isles, we do look for signs of imagination and economic development attack – and support them. Here too we back our own judgment – and some have expressed their very different views on this particular development.
But this is a diseased council with no more trustworthy or any more capable alternative administration – and that is Argyll’s problem.
The best that we can do on anything is to use evidence to arrive at independent conclusions and positions on every issue we deal with – to make available the evidence for the conclusions at which we arrive and the positions we adopt.
There will be no-one and nothing we will not have both supported and offended – because no one and nothing is right all the time or wrong all of the time.
We are honest brokers, like us or detest us.
And. by the way – we were not suggesting putting a roof over McCaig’s tower – but roofing over a central area of it – well inside and below the height of the outer wall – and we did say that this is ‘blue skies thinking’.
We do not expect risk-averse and conservative Argyll to go for this [nor are we saying it should]. And we did not expect people to go for our sugestions of a road extension down to near Gallanach, a bridge there to Kerrera, with road development on the island, building a community there across the bay, with a twinkling night-time conversation going on – and stimulation for all sorts of new businesses.
We still see this as a more giving solution to the future of the bay communities of both Oban and Kerrera than is the frightful, heartless ghetto of the ‘Dunbeg corridor’ plan which will blight the signature deceptive approach to this surprising town, raking down and around its bay.
And at least these ideas, however dismissable, are thought propositions generating both debate and, we hope, new alternative solutions.
- Quarriers who put Easdale Island on the map may do so again
Congratulations on a dedicated and quite staggering volume of work well done – and on a voluntary basis.
We too look forward with excitement to new access to funding that will see this genuinely unique island heritage secured – and to access to expertise and promotional respurces that will see its value much more widely recognised.
Liaison with the Atlantic Islands Centre on Luing will be mutually beneficial.
With scheduling for Easdale and all that it can bring, the Atlantic Islands Centre will have a fabulous living museum, as well as the Slate Museum, on its doorstep to refer visitor to go and see.
- Analysis of Gourock-Dunoon ferry services confirms imperative for change
There is a technical problem with Argyll Flyer which amy account for this.
It is not expected to be prolonged and the company has said that it expects MV Coruisk to sail for her core duty on the Summer season run between Mallaig and Armadale on Skye, which starts on Friday 3rd April.
Coruisk has been acting as winter supplement on the Gourock-Dunoon service since December – as she did last year.
- When is Council going to replace the A814′s missing warning for HGVs?
As the article makes clear – large vehicles canot be prevented from using it because there will always be a genuine need for such vehicles to access a place or a property somewhere along that road.
But a clear ‘limitation of use’ notice puts the onus on drivers and gives Police Scotland’s traffic division reason to stop inquire and act accordingly.
Making the road one way for large vehicles, say south to north, would allow such access, deter casual convenience use by such vehicles and prevent stalemates when two meet.
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