Comment posted Misleading journalism from Dunoon Observer by newsroom.
A straw poll would be interesting.
And in this case, we’re talking about a council where proposals were put forward to close rural schools without any evidence that anyone, however senior, had read the 2010 School’s Act 2010 enough to understand it. And that was primary legislation not minister’s speeches or the Scottish Architecture journal.
It’s not impossible that no one at ABC knew that the Schools for the Future fund also supported refurbishments. While there may accusations of laxity and incompetence in this, Government information on this is clearly opaque and that is not helpful.
newsroom also commented
- So, as a previous editor, we can take it that you would also have published this particular piece as it stands and would have been content to support its interpretation and use of the basic text to which it refers.
- It would be interesting to have examples of instances where ‘consultations’ in any quarter operated in the spirit of openness to evidence.
- Point of accuracy – in his quoted letter to Councillor Bruce Marshall, Mr Walsh did not discuss ‘stopping’ the planned joint primary campus for Dunoon but simply, post election, asking for the plan to be suspended pending clarification on funding options not previously known to him.
- Speaking purely for ourselves – the frontline presence of this fund says new build.
It would not occur to us to ask if a fund that purported to support one thing might actually fund something else. We would expect the targets a fund supports to be upfront or easily discoverable.
We accept that we have a particularly straightforward attitude to most things but we are experienced readers and analysts of information.
It is reasonable to assume that this information is comprehensive.
We are working, as we try to do, to be fair in this and there is no doubt that the available information is not fully lucid. No one should have to play guessing games with government information and this information does not hint at anything that would even prompt a guess.
- On 25 October 2011 the online journal Scottish Architecture carried an article entitled: ‘Scottish Schools for the Future programme expanded’.
It’s opening paragraphs said: ‘An announcement made on Sunday (23 October) by First Minister Alex Salmond outlined plans to build or refurbish 30 schools as part of the next phase of the school buildings programme – 12 more than originally planned.
This will see the total number of projects built under the £1.25 billion ‘Scottish Schools for the Future’ programme, which aims to provide high quality facilities for pupils and their teachers, rise to more than 60.’
However, to be fair to Mr Walsh, anyone who went straight to the horse’s mouth – as practical people would do – to the Scottish Futures Trust webpage for Schools for the Future, would find it hard to distil any sense that this is other than a new build initiative.
Is it reasonable to expect senior officers and council leaders to hear all minister’s speeches to parliament and to be au fait with specialist magazines? Maybe it is.
However, we ourselves would go straight to what we would assume was the authoritative source – and we have been unable to find anything else on the Scottish Government website. One link that seemed germane – ‘Building Better Schools: Investing in Scotland’s Future’ – would not open, recording simply Error 404.
If we ourselves were to go on the basis of the Scottish Futures Trust online material, we would not even ask if the fund covered refurbishments.
So the lack of awareness Mr Walsh claims may have been enabled by poorly managed public communications.
Recent comments by newsroom
- On nationalism
If you’re referring to the author of the letter, you demonstrate the process he is talking about.
If you’re talking about the author of the article, myself – I am a rationalist, not a nationalist. The two are not compatible.
- On nationalism
It has to be doubtful that the egg-lobbers of Kirkcaldy see: ‘a Yes vote about trying to protect what is left of the values and institutions that many of us used to think of as being British’.
There is though a very challenging play by the Irish playwright,Tom KIlroy – Double Cross.
This identifies the double-jeopardy of empire as being that a state newly emerged from empire into independence and forming its own identity, has no template other than empire – and so ‘creates’ itself in the image of its former imperial principal.
What you are saying here carries all of the symptoms of that particular double cross.
How can you know that there never was a better way of doing any of the British things you claim, bizarrely, that a ‘Yes’ vote is designed to preserve? [And the notion that the proposed new Scotland is conceived of as a place of sanctuary for the repository of the sacred artefacts of the Union you would destroy is the laugh of the campaign.]
The NHS, for example, is now a sacred cow by default. It would be a positive advantage to be free to start again in defining, shaping and delivering a national health service free at the point of delivery.
Your stance would be more worthy of respect had you shown an independence of mind that is willing to think newly.
It is also noticeable that you choose the soft option of engaging with the patently honest letter – from the already paralysed victim of the action you support Scotland to take; and that you are sufficiently arrogant to assume that your own idealism is in some way ‘better’ than his?.
You fail to engage with the major issues of the Achilles heels of nationalism – its chauvinism, its utopianism and its incipient racism.
And by the way, the federation that the United Kingdom should move to become and which would without doubt be the most popular option of all – cross-party and across the Union – would not be a ‘unitary state’.
- On nationalism
‘we ourselves’ and ‘ourselves alone’ have the same connotation of comfort in separateness.
- Jim Murphy hit by eggs in Kirkcaldy
On a point of fact: the ‘Seagull Whisperer’ at Mr Murphy’s Oban street session was not an apocryphal incident. We were there. We have the photographs. We christened him. His powers were mesmeric.
- Indy, the banks and the Scottish economy
About 20 months ago, Alastair Darling who was Chancellor at the time of the major period of meltdown in the financial sector in the Autumn of 2008 gave this first hand insight on his experience of the recapitalisation of RBS: ‘All I can tell you is that, on the night of 7 [October] 2008, no one at all anywhere in the world rushed to chip in to bail out RBS, despite the fact that it had a very large trading arm in the United States and many of the losses that it made were there.
‘Obviously the US Fed was immensely helpful in terms of liquidity support and tiding over;it kept RBS going for a whole afternoon when it got into trouble on that Tuesday.
‘When it came to recapitalisation, though — I think that the recapitalisation figure is about 30 percent of Scottish GDP — there was no one queuing up to do it. As Mervyn King said, these banks are global in life but national in death.’
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