You’re quite right, Mairi, that tribal exclusions are …

Comment posted McCuish announces ‘coalition for progress’ by newsroom.

You’re quite right, Mairi, that tribal exclusions are out of touch with the way most people today feel about the world.

It is the calibre of the individual that counts – either way, not the pedigree they carry.

newsroom also commented

  • Coincidentally we are working on an article on this very matter which will shortly be published – and we agree that it could not be more important.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Salmond finds irresistible his ‘dark star’ of London and his reviled Westminster
    You will find that we have consistently been pretty excoriating on ‘Labour’s woes’.
    Johann Lamont’s parting shot could not be more accurate – that Labour’s Westminster MP cadre has not understood at all that the driver of politics in the UK at the moment is Scotland and not Westminster.
    If they cannot grasp that and recalibrate what passes for their thinking on that premise, they will not have earned support.
  • South Kintyre by-election
    How do the Greens feel about the extent to which the SNP and its followers are simply taking ownership of them – like a flower in the SNP buttonhole?
    They decorate it well, of course, and did sterling service in the indy referendum, keeping mum at all costs – but they are paying the price of their lunch now.
  • South Kintyre by-election
    And Alex Salmond lives in Gordon?

    You’re quite right about Councillor Kelly standing as a Conservative – apologies.

  • Salmond finds irresistible his ‘dark star’ of London and his reviled Westminster
    I have never been an ‘Ulster Unionist’. I do not know Mr Clegg. I am no part of any political or other clique. I now have no political affiliations.
    I have joined two political parties in the past.
    I joined the Labour Party of Northern Ireland when it was set up in 1985 by the late Paddy Devlin, since Northern Ireland had a serious political deficit being a member of the UK but with no UK parties established there. The LPNI did not survive too long in the largely sectarian politics of Northern Ireland it was set up to render redundant.
    I joined the SNP early in the 2007 minority administration as I was and remain deeply respectful of the abilities and achievements of Argyll’s then MSP, Jim Mather. I left the SNP early in the independence campaign when I saw, on independently researched evidence, its prospectus to be disappointingly incompetent and downright dishonest. I was relieved to have come to this decision when I saw how primitively tribal, abusive and divisise the indy campaign became.
    In my voting history, since I make my decisions on the calibre of candidates alone, I have probably voted for representatives of every one of the main UK political parties and for independents – and, in Northern Ireland, for the Social Democrat and Labour Party [SDLP].
    For the record, I personally found the most genuine and honest moment in the endless indy campaign to come from the Scottish Conservative MSP, Jamie McGrigor.
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    ‘I was there – to pay my respects to the many Scots who died in that battle but no one from the SNP was bothered to come, because they lost.
    ‘You lot are only interested in the victories, not in the Scots who died in failed attempts. I have no respect for that.’
    He sat down to silence and then growing applause.
    Being a gentlemanly person, Jamie McGrigor got up again at the enld of the session and apologised to the SNP claque ‘for losing my temper’.
    To me, his first intervention blazingly underlined the hyopcrisy of the braveheart stance; and his second one spoke volumes for the sort of civility in politics I did not witness at any other point in the campaign.
    So while I am politicised, I am unattached; dogma free; recognise merit, dishonestly and incompetence where I find it; have been and will be profoundly critical of every political party deserving it.
    I believe that party politics are redundant and damaging to any state’s chances of progressively building for a balanced and sustainable future.
    I believe that the United Kingdom, if it has any political vitality left, must work to become a federal union, as the fairest and most mutually respectful political system for today – and I will openly support that. If the UK proves to have little interest in fundamental reform and redirection, I will not support it again.
    And that’s the picture.
    Lynda
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    The desperate grasping at Kezia Dugdale rather suggests that what you fear may happen is on the slipway.
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    With experience and a good mentor, she could be an influential politician for the future.
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    She does not need to be propelled prematurely into the leadership of a haphazard parliamentary group within a national party which is directionless and underfuelled.
    With no sign on the horizon – at Holyrood or Westminster, of the thinkers that are so badly needed right now, Labour needs a strong strategic political intelligence to harness and redirect itself. There is no sign of that capability either.
    Political fixing and opportunism will get a listless party through the odd bad night but cannot fuel it for an expedition.
    The prospects are not good.

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23 Responses to You’re quite right, Mairi, that tribal exclusions are …

  1. Councillor Donald Kelly may be delighted , but I doubt if his voters are . He should be thrown out the Conservative and Unionist Party if this betrayal is true .

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    • i don,t know who islay forever is ,but i suspect he or she is what is termed on this island a white settler. obviously they are a tory to the root but haven,t a .councillor for the island except a lib dem which as many comments on this website have shown, that he has his own interests at heart and not the islanders or their children. donald kelly is an honest man and puts the interests of all the folk of argyll and bute above any party political associations whatsoever. this election was a local election and local issues are what most folk on the island of islay are concerned about.the argyll first group are in touch with the people of argyll which is more than can be said of david cameron and his cronies in his coalition,who are not in touch with the people in britain at all.

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  2. I thought the SNP was – according to its own rules – barred from doing deals with Conservatives. Is this still true?

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  3. The sun has consistantly shone on most of Argyll throughout the run up to the election. With the brave commitment of the new council ruling group our futures can only be but basking in a new dawn of sunny possibilities.
    Let’s away with negative posts, such as those aforementioned.

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  4. Well said. Its party politics that has allowed Dick Walsh to wrap our councillors round his little finger. The electorate voted for the candidates who would stand up to tricky dickie and kick him out of his current role whether he is re elected or not

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  5. Hey, I asked a genuine question – I don’t know the current status of that policy. I thought that someone here might know what the current policy is!!!

    It has certainly been applied for a long time. Eg, it stopped Alex Salmond from entering into any formal coalition with Annabel Goldie and the Conservative group in the Scottish Parliament. And I have heard lots of SNP people quote it at me, that they ‘would never do deals with Tories’.

    Now if they keep or change that rule, that is up to them. I am simply asking for clarification of current SNP policy.

    For what it’s worth, my view is that this is not a sustainable position nowadays in local government.

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    • You’re quite right, Mairi, that tribal exclusions are out of touch with the way most people today feel about the world.

      It is the calibre of the individual that counts – either way, not the pedigree they carry.

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  6. Nice to see Elaine getting down from the fence.
    Where does poor Duncan go now,Roddy beware a stranger bearing gifts, it gets better and better.
    Please tell us the coalition will start ripping apart Loudon, Sneddon, Walker and the rest of the malfunctioning Education department.A vote of no confidence in Loudon is a priority,the rest of her buddies can wait in line.
    Let the decent,honest staff who work for the council come forward and spill the beans,starting with the” Jo Smith adventures”.Good title for a book,sounds a bit steamy so we better keep pictures of Dick Walsh in his underwear out of it.
    Just a wee bit of crack till the hard decisions have to be made then we will really see what our new council is made of.Best of luck but the time for change is now no excuses now you are in charge.Lets rock and roll.

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  7. Times they are a changing.
    The SNP embargo on working in formal coalition with Tories was at Parliamentary level because of their unionist commitment. It is not relevant at council level. A Tory publicly in favour of independence has just been elected in Midlothian (Peter De Vink – see below)
    The “Unionist” in the Tory description in Scotland is not fundamental. It was a reaction to the “Irish Problem” in the early years of last century but I suspect London influence is the reason for it being stuck on Scotland’s Tories as if it was a party constitutional clause. Two of the prominent founder members of the SNP – the Duke of Montrose and Sir Compton Mackenzie – were Tories

    But the piece below represents a not inconsiderable procession of thought among Tories. Tories are not political in the sense others may be . They are pragmatists. When power shifts they shift with it. Interesting times.
    Despite last Thursday’s odd results (achieved by the media and not by a hopeless Labour Party)I believe Labour in Scotland is in as much, if not more, trouble in Scotland than the Tories

    http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/opinion/comment/brian-monteith-prime-example-of-why-the-tories-must-change-1-2279075

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    • The election is over. We now need the best councillors elected to serve in the coalition not the slickest operators

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  8. If the new coalition is to be successful then something needs to be done about what are clearly very strained relationships between elected members and the corporate management team. Whether or not people agree that this Council has been failing under the current Chief Executive’s control is up for debate (I think most people on here know where I stand on the debate) however what can’t be denied is that member/officer relations are not what they should be.

    Depending on the nature of the CE’s contract the new administration will, fundamentally, have two options available to them. If she is on a fixed term contract which requires renewal at a set date then they would be able to replace her at that point if they felt she was not capable of performing her role competently. They may, of course, conclude that she is capable and agree on a contract extension.

    If she is on a permanent contract with no break point then the administration needs to assess whether her performance has been satisfactory and deal with this accordingly. In this scenario she would be treated the same way as any other employee and performance issues would be addressed via a proper performance management process (which could, and I stress could, result in dismissal if, after following a proper process, the performance doesn’t improve).

    Dealing with performance issues at director level is slightly different as the administration have no direct control over the appointment and removal of directors. They have (or should have) performance issues managed in the same way as any other employee however the problem here is that they report directly to the CE and if there are question marks over her competence then you could argue that she is not capable of managing the performance issues of those who report directly to her.

    What the new Administration need to consider is whether or not their opposition to issues such as the schools closures was because they were opposed to the policy, opposed to the lack of competence shown by Council officers during the consultation process and in the consultation papers, or a combination of the two. If they were opposed to the lack of competence to a material extent (and any other areas of competence amongst the senior staff) then they can’t be seen to duck their responsibility to challenge the CE and CMT and ensure they are accountable for their failings. Just because it happened under the previous administration’s watch does not mean the issue should be overlooked.

    Roddy McCuish says ‘The people of Argyll have given us a clear mandate for change in the way the work of this council is conducted.’ It is encouraging to hear those words and there is much talk of ‘change’ in the air’
    Recognition of the desire for change makes it crystal clear that change is required and part of that process has to be to identify what has gone wrong, or stood still for too long, and take corrective action. If that means removal of the CMT or close performance management of them then I urge the Administration to be strong and take the necessary steps.

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    • Coincidentally we are working on an article on this very matter which will shortly be published – and we agree that it could not be more important.

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  9. Employment legislation affects senior management a bit different from the PBI. Crucial in management and leadership is trust. If the employers of the CEO (ie the councillors) feel that they have lost trust in their CEO then the contract can be terminated without the need to go through the usual series of appraisals, warnings etc. Usually there is a financial settlement involved in terminating a contract early (and that is usually one year’s pay). If the CEO is on a fixed term contract (and that would be good practise) then all the councillors need to do is agree that the contract will not be renewed – the notice period of this will be in the existing contract (and is again usually one year).

    My understanding is that all other employees can only have their contracts terminated by the CEO.

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  10. I would think it sensible to allow the CEO to explain the conditions she was operating under before we all jump to conclusions. This is not an attempt to excuse completely unacceptable behaviour on a number of issues but a suggestion that the CEO may be able to explain what pressures were brought to bear on her as she did her work. Could be illuminating and very useful – particularly if appropriate measures are to be taken to insure that Dick Walsh does not rise from politically dead as he was allowed to do over ten years ago after Jean McFadden of Strathclyde University and the Ombudsman both suggested he was not a fit person to hold public office

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    • Dave, I would normally agree with common sense like that, however, having seen Ms Loudon and her executive pets in action at Kilmory at a number of meetings, I would have to say that will need to be one hell of an excuse to justify their actions.

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    • I think that should go without saying Dave. Any action taken to assess performance to date and potential looking forward should be a proper and thorough process which views the roles, duties, actions and influences (and how these were responded to) that are relevant to any such review.

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  11. Nice to see Labour starting to get a grip and putting up decent proposals.A lot to like in their manifesto,my old socialist heart has had a great week not just locally but nationally.Labour will need to gear up in Argyll, I would certainly be very interested to play a part if they are true to their words.As for Roddy he’s the man but he will need quality behind him not the ship jumpers.
    Power to the People.

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  12. Interesting to read Brian Monteith’s article about Peter de Vink in today’s Scotsman -the link is above in item 8 – along with the searching analysis of the Glasgow voting patterns in Gerry Hassan’s blog. Both of those thoughtful contributioms to the current debate indicate that Scottish politics is once again on the move and that the regular pundits in the BBC and the print media are, for the most part, floundering in the wake.

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