Comment posted Misleading journalism from Dunoon Observer by newsroom.
It would be interesting to have examples of instances where ‘consultations’ in any quarter operated in the spirit of openness to evidence.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Brian Wilson on Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services tender
You are quite right about the number and degree of confusions in this area.
We are preparing an article for publication which, amongst other things which are quite an eye-opener, will clarify these positions.
- Lysblink Seaways off the rocks at Kilchoan
This does make rather a nonsense of the early decision to send Herakles back to Kirkwall before she even got to Ardnamurchan – because Kingdom of Fife was within 20 miles of Lysblink Seaways.
Hard to see what the role is for Herakles here at this stage.
- Russell offers to meet Council administration to discuss Castle Toward
It has to be said that this is now into ‘flogging a dead horse’ territory.
Of course there is perceived political advantage at play [this is politics and they all do it] – but continually reheating it is an error of judgment and does the members of SCCDC no favours.
They need to be allowed to refocus in whatever way they see themselves shaping their own future – and ‘differently’ is as likely to be better as worse.
But first of all, as human beings, they need a break to recharge. Their efforts have been unceasing.
- Brian Wilson on Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services tender
It would be good to stick to the issue of Brian Wilson’s piece rather than tack on other infrastructural issues that merit attention in their own right. We have provided opportunity for that in various articles on Prestwick and will do so again.
No one could present evidence to contradict Rob Trythall’s case that there is no business plan for Prestwick – because no such business plan exists. [Nor is there a business plan - economic development strategy - for Scotland.]
However, well below the strategic muscle of a business plan, there was serious merit in the Scottish Government’s recent proposal to have Prestwick designated as the UK’s reception airport for incoming and outgoing flights experiencing difficulties necessitating premature landing.
The point was that this would then not cause hold ups at the big UK hub airports with delays and re routings of other flights; and Prestwick could develop specialist facilities for dealing with the range of such emergencies – which could include the hijackings we hope not to experience.
But for the moment, the CHFS tender is a major issue affecting the entire west coast mainland and island archipelago of Scotland.
We will not lose sight of Prestwick and will very much welcome your input to that challenging major issue so important to the complex and wonderful Ayrshire. Until then, we would equally welcome your thoughts on the issues Brian Wilson is highlighting here.
- The black arts of political spin betray SNP fears in Argyll & Bute
First the hard evidence: if the Conservatives thought they had a chance of taking the seat, Argyll and Bute would be a target seat – it is not; and party central would be funding the local campaign – it is not.
Then, in the interests of objective fairness, no one has accused – and no one could accuse – Alan Reid of having his nose in any trough. He is marked by prudence, modesty and carefulness. He has been written off before and has won with a good majority. He may well do so again, albeit with a smaller majority as votes are more widely spread.
This time he has the added strength, if elected, of being a guaranteed conduit to government if we do end up with a hung parliament. We see this as, surprisingly, becoming less certain by the day; but if the pundits are correct and we do indeed get a hung parliament, the Lib Dems are 100% certain to be part of it, whatever the number of seats they achieve.
In Argyll and Bute, no other candidate can offer this certainty and Mr Reid finds himself with an unexpected but undoubtedly welcome following breeze.
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