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
- And the 2014 Kilberry Scarecrow winners are…
Apologies. We must have missed the Thorley family one. We saw only one Clyde.
If you have a photograph of the prizewinning Clyde and would email it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org we wold be delighted to publish the Thorley creation.
- Better Together still clueless – and about to do more harm
Nothing could ever persuade me to support one of the most irresponsible, deceiving and divisive campaigns I had imagined possible in the developed world in the 21st century.
This doesn’t mean that I or For Argyll would therefore talk up the undeserving opposing campaign – which is lazy, complacent, unfocused, tedious, unexciting, internally riven, leaderless, directionless and pointless.
The only fun has been the opportunist Northern and Western Isles seizing the chance to negotiate for greater devolution for themselves, whatever the outcome of the referendum.
I will personally vote for Scotland to stay in the Union, because I have come to believe that this is the best thing for Scotland – and for the union – not just the safest option but the one with the longest legs for the future.
What I then want to see is Scotland taking the United Kingdom by the scruff of its moribund neck and leading a root and branch reform of the shape and operation of the politics of a union too important and too valuable to let go; but that needs to work very differently to be in a position to develop and implement strategic and sustained economic development that never loses sight of social justice.
Pipe dreaming, of course – but no one should ever settle for an obviously unachievable sales pitch in the hope that it will all turn out OK in the end. It won’t.
Why have the intelligence that distinguishes us from other species – and choose to neuter it?
Today’s world is not a place for narrow parochial nationalism unable to tolerate difference. It has been disturbing to see the attitudes and practices that have emerged in this campaign – and on the nationalist side – to silence, to bully and to punish those who genuinely think differently – as they are democratically entitled to do.
I confess to noticing myself yesterday editing to protect the interests of a business whose scarecrow entry in the Kilberry festival [for God's sake] – was likely to bring the cybergnat stingers from all over the place on their heads. So I didn’t mention the entry or the business or display the photograph of it that I had taken. We are not a free society at the moment and I genuinely worry how much worse it will get if we vote ‘Yes’ and this mindset rules the roost.
- Indy and the Monarchy
The EU has a lot to answer for in the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine – and, at root, much of this responsibility lies with the UK and the helpless patsy Gordon Brown pushed to have wildly overpromoted to the level of the EU’s first Foreign Affairs Minister.
The territorial games that the EU has played with Ukraine, in offering seductions, has given them reason to imagine that they may do less than negotiate with Russia – where there are indisputably serious issues with large ethnic Russian communities in eastern Ukraine who do not appear to be treated equitably – and that thier new friends will come to their aid if necessary.
If Ukraine imagines that any one of the western states busily stoking anti-Russian international opinion, they will find themselves out on a limb with absolutely none of these states coming to their aid. Such an action is easily capable of tipping the world into conflict the like of which we have not seen – for what?
We’ll be lucky if a cold war is the worst that emerges from the actions of the current clutch of inexperienced irresponsibles – and that includes John Kerry and William Hague.
- Indy and the Monarchy
Speaking personally, it’s hard to disagree with this.
- Clyde RIver ferry: Business Scotland interview with CalMac’s Martin Dorchester
Bit of a ‘Doh’ moment. Confess to having forgotten that it’s an amphibian simply because of knowing it only as taking off and landing on the water.
Being on the tarmac at Glasgow would make it a very seductive experience for both golf and scenery packages.
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