Earlier today, the Dunoon Observer published online an article with a screaming headline: ‘DUNOON SHARED CAMPUS SHELVED’.
The opening paragraph declares: ‘The Dunoon Observer understands that one of Dick Walsh’s last acts as council leader was to suspend ‘further works and progress’ on the proposed Dunoon joint primary campus.
In a move sure to delight campaigners, the council now seems to be actively exploring the possibility of refurbishing the existing Kirn, St Mun’s and Dunoon school buildings.’
In support of this stirring attempt to provide a game changer for former council leader Dick Walsh’s vote in the Dunoon Ward election – which goes to the polls this Thursday (10th May) – the article quotes directly from a letter Mr Walsh wrote to Councillor Bruce Marshall, which it has been given.
The distortion in the article’s serious misguidance to its readers is wholly the responsibility of the paper and not of Mr Walsh who is perfectly clear in what he says.
The matter relates to a scuffle at the hustings where Mr Wash was not aware of an alleged flexibility in funding arrangements for infrastructural developments in school buildings. The room for flexibilty was advanced by Mr Walsh’s opponent, Michael Breslin, supported by reference to statements made by Argyll and Bute’s MSP , Michael Russell.
Read carefully – and the emphases are ours:
‘Mr Walsh continued: “My last act as council leader last week was to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Education seeking clarification on the advised statements and, if this was correct, that if we were to develop a different project that the 50 per cent cost contribution will be earmarked/secured for us.’
‘Mr Walsh added: “As you know as of 2nd May I am no longer a Councillor or Council Leader but I can confirm that I will write to Cleland Sneddon in the following terms :-
- ‘To request that we suspend works on the current Shared Campus Project’…
And at the end of his letter, Mr Walsh says:
‘If I am successful at the elections on 10th May I confirm that I will press for and pursue all the above as an elected representative of this area.’
Quite how the Dunoon Observer ‘understands’ from this statement that ‘one of Dick Walsh’s last acts as council leader was to suspend ‘further works and progress’ on the proposed Dunoon joint primary campus’ defies logic and intelligence – and calls into serious question the paper’s journalistic integrity.
Moreover, a headline screaming ‘SHELVED’ does not, in its implication, concur with the more temporary notion of suspension which is what Mr Walsh is saying he will request in future.
The article is also labelled ‘EXCLUSIVE’ – as indeed it is. No one else could possibly have interpreted in this way what Mr Walsh actually said.
The statement in the opening paragraph that:
‘… the council now seems to be actively exploring the possibility of refurbishing the existing Kirn, St Mun’s and Dunoon school buildings.’ has absolutely no foundation whatsoever in the statement given to Councillor Marshall by Mr Walsh – or in any other evidence provided by the article.
It could not possibly have any foundation in fact, since Mr Walsh has made it clear that he has not yet written to Mr Sneddon (the senior officer responsible for the school estate) in any capacity, requesting any change to the status quo.
Shoddy work at the typeface.