Comment posted Misleading journalism from Dunoon Observer by newsroom.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Supreme Court finds for appellants on Named Persons
Not in my control and hadn’t noticed this myself [so thanks] – and will pass on your concerns.
This us likely to be one of the consequences of recovery from recent outages which were beyond our control.
- Supreme Court finds for appellants on Named Persons
It is worth noting that in its judgment the Supreme Court said:
‘“The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get to the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world. Within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way.’
- Bute refugees suffer from inadequately considered placement
Eveything you say above applies justly to those who radicalise – but not necessarily to those who are vulnerable to be radicalised.
When you are young, everything in life is understood in simple binary oppositions. It is only time and broad experience that introduces and embeds the tonalities of understanding.
Many of the young everywhere, from the need to belong and from the acceleration of peer pressure, are also prone to follow the accepted behavioural norms or fashions of their peers.
This is why radicalisation is most easily effected in cities and amongst the large cultural enclaves that can form there.
The young, in their uncluttered understanding, are also idealist – and extremism is a form of idealism perverted.
What you say about the safety and security that relocated refugees now possess is also correct – but is amended by two considerations.
One is the automatic perception of all refugees as having the education to hold such an understanding of their situation. Many will be educated – some very highly indeed – but by no means all will have had the opportunity of education.
The second is that, as may be the case with some of the Bute families, if they feel and look ‘different’ from everyone around them and if they cannot communicate, some will feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, even intimidated – and it is unrealistic to assume that refugees will be universally made welcome in any locality.
We had assumed that the acceptance of such refugees here would mean the automatic employment of those qualified to teach English as a foreign language and that such classes would be taught in a regular and compulsory schedule.
This would be a responsible and necessary provision if integration is to be a realistic achievement.
We do not know if such provision has been made and there seems to be no mention of it.
- Turkey’s military coup raises issues to be confronted here in Britain
This is another issue – a procedural one – and one which clearly needs to be resolved while the need can be immediately understood.
It remains a mystery why, when political party leadership elections require set percentages well above 50% to secure a win, politicians would not have reason and wit to see that decisions taking a member of a significant political union out of that union, changing the nature of the larger union [helpless to prevent that] as well as the nature of the departing member, that decisions of such weight and permanence cannot sensibly be taken by 50% + 1 single vote of an electorate.
The opportunity for due revision was not taken following the Scottish Referendum, which was run under this rule.
Something like a 60% threshold would guard decisions against the percentage of transient whim – and/or of misunderstanding and/or of misinformedness – in any vote; and these are the things that that can help to create very narrow majorities on very profound issues.
Opinion polls declare that their results are subject to a 3% margin for error.
In the EU Referendum, a 2% change of mind would have produced an even tinier – but legally acceptable – majority in the opposite direction.
- The measure of Britain – who cares about Gibraltar?
What was done to the Chagossians – under Harold Wilson’s government so not a matter of distant history but of contemporary moral dysfunction – is an enduring shame on Britain.
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