Perhaps Mr Walsh has read the writing on …

Comment posted Argyll First endorse Michael Breslin in Dunoon vote by Crazy She-Bat.

Perhaps Mr Walsh has read the writing on the wall…

or staff’s emails.

Recent comments by Crazy She-Bat

  • Hilarious council insight in Argyllhire Advertiser
    Guys, if you want hilarious, take a look at the “Sculpture” on the side of the new Helensburgh Council Offices. I laughed so hard my significant other thought it was time to phone the ambulance again lol

    My daughter is convinced it is evil and I dare say glowing red eyes would make that work a treat.

  • Baillie on latest figures for Royal Alexandra Hospital A&E waiting times
    The blame of this could be laid at multiple doors for repeated failure to protect and indeed advance the NHS services in this area.

    Tell me this, is there some way to get the geographical data from these figures as to who attended the RAH from North of the water and South? Wonder how that would change those figures if the Vale of Leven had an A & E again?

  • Baillie on latest A&E stats from Royal Alexandra Hospital
    As a recent patient in most of the hospitals in the West of Scotland, I think I am quite qualified to answer this from the punters point of view.

    First of all, anything that supports bringing A&E back to the Vale of Leven MUST be supported, by everyone in the political spectrum. There is a stretch of A82 between Milton and Bowling that makes this necessary. Roadworks or an accident in this stretch of road makes the whole of Dumbarton choke up and the place comes to a standstill. Ambulances can’t get through, let alone anything else. If it were you, would you want your loved one stuck on the A82 in the back of an ambulance with beleaguered but thank goodness we have them, Paramedics doing everything they can with their limited equipment? I was such a loved one recently and I thank my lucky stars there was no such delay in getting me over the river, there’s more than a good chance I would not be here typing this today.

    Another issue with this stretch of road is for getting ambulances on the way back from RAH to attend more emergencies, if the A82 is blocked up the other way as it takes no time to back up to Erskine – even something as simple as sunshine does that easily as half of Glasgow heads up the West Coast.

    Review of hospital staff in the 4 hospitals I have been in over the last couple of months – Superb. Everything to be proud about in the NHS. Doing a difficult job whilst being overstretched in every imaginable way. Every ward is full to choking. Patients are being sent home as soon as humanly possible and the beds filled as soon as they’ve been cleaned.

    There are a number of causes:

    Patients are being sent from hospitals all over Scotland to receive specialist care which they can’t get in hospitals closer to home.

    Patients being held in hospital because care packages are not being put in place quickly enough by agencies like Social Work etc.

    A&E departments not being available in more local hospitals.

    This list goes on…

    However, the answer to alleviate the RAH’s particular problem, is to re-open A&E services at the hospitals that now feed it. Its quite simply an overload problem. Too much of the population have to report there.

    I mean no disrespect to the fabulous RAH – Alexandria Paramedics and the RAH saved my life, but this is a service quite clearly at breaking point.


  • Scotification pros and cons
    Quite frankly, I’d rather settle for the BBC being devolved completely.
  • Luss really does give a toss
    Raining pancakes in Luss tomorrow. I’m going out with a large net lol Good luck to all taking part.

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57 Responses to Perhaps Mr Walsh has read the writing on …

  1. This is what Argyll and Bute needs Councillors supported on merit and ability and not held back by dogma. This indicates the wind of change blowing through the council and augers well, that we will have a broad based administration in Kilmory which will look to the needs of the people they represent and not the narrow minded, self interest and totally undemocratic regime that ended on the third of May 2012

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Well he might be making an impact if it were not for the FACT that the writer of the article you refer to is a member of the snp.

      Hardly impartial journalism !


      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. As the entertaining sage Oliver brown once pointed out “The value of a man of straw is that he shows which way the wind is blowing”
    Fot the last couple of decades this has obviously been the watchword of the LibDems who, unburdened by any principles or evident policies, unashamedly always followed the latest trend to court popularity.
    When in Argyll and Bute will they wake up to the fact that their recent self-serving association with Dick Walsh was disastrous to them?

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  3. Patsy… Mr Breslin’s impact came from Mr Russell conducting himself in an inappropriate manner.
    At the same husting when Mr Breslin made his announcement the Council Leader Dick Walsh said he had not been informed that the Council could use the SNP Government funding in other ways.
    SNP Mr Russell tells SNP Mr Breslin and keeps the Council Leader in the dark.
    If this the way the SNP operates then things for the people of Argyll and Bute may not be as rosy as first seems with an SNP led Council.
    Mr Russell’s quote “that the Council could still receive support for a new primary school of its choice” is unclear. Does Mr Russell mean one new school,three refurbished primary schools or whatever.
    Remember the SNP’s promise on the Ferries!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Mr Graham seems to think that a candidate’s person is based on the remarks at a hustings. Dick Walsh has had more than plenty time to examine situations that would benefit Argyll and Bute but has consistently acted in a manner to suit his and his groups best interests not that of Argyll. As far as secrecy is concerned Mr Walsh is a leading exponent of the omertà prevalent over the last years of his administration. Contact with the Scottish Government would have revealed what and what could not be done with funding received from Edinburgh, but lack of openness as highlighted by both Argyll First and the SNP group led by Roddy Mccuish, through the inner sanctum of the Executive Committee, that ensured no actions were discussed in an open and frank manner are hopefully a thing of the past.

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    • Mr Russell’s politics are, in many ways, as ‘old school’ as Mr Walsh’s, both are of the ‘whatever does the business’ view.

      It will be part of the challenge for the new coalition administration and for the SNP group within it, to stand on their own values and to find their own way.

      Just as they should not be officer-led, they should not be MSP-led either.

      If they are to win the trust and the respect of the general electorate and unite Argyll, there must be no smart tricks, just intelligent hard work and fairness for all above all things. Argyll is hungry for that.

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    • David: It is the job of the Council’s unelected officials to inform the Council leader what can and cannot be done with funding, not the MSP. You are just highlighting the ineptitude of ABC when it comes to public finance and was well illustrated during the schools debacle over GAE and during the block grant crisis.

      For the now former Council Leader to be pleading ignorance on the basis that he was not informed by Mr Russell either as the MSP or Minister is frankly humiliating but it does remind me of Mr Walsh’s similar whining over the block grant, where he blamed the SG for the mess he had himself voted for.

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      • Absolutely. Of course it is the core responsibility of officers to understand such situations and to ensure that the Council administration is aware of the detail and the implications.

        It is also not unreasonable to expect an alert Council Leader to work this out or to ask questions that produce the right answers.

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      • Dougie is correct and any argument made by Cllr Walsh along these lines is either demonstrating his ignorance and that of those supposed to be advising him or (and this is what I suspect) is a feeble attempt to score political points.

        As much as A&B’s financial work around the school closure left them open to criticism there is no way they are not fully aware of how revenue support is made up and the very small portion of it that might be subject to ring fencing. It is common knowledge in local government finance.

        Put simply revenue support from central government has three main components.

        1. Ring fenced grants (a very low percentage of overall support) which are awarded with fairly clear instructions about what they are to be used for and often tie in with more national policy. There used to be a lot more ring-fencing than there is now but it was reduced significantly when the Concordat was first introduced.

        2. Non –domestic rates which need little explanation.

        3. The general revenue grant – which is the big pot given to the Council to use as they deem appropriate. Out of that they have to pay for service delivery, servicing of debt etc etc (basically pay to operate)

        Cllr Walsh has been in the game more than long enough to be aware of this and the corporate management team are aware of it too. Any claims that he didn’t know are utter nonsense and suggest he feelt the electorate will just believe him because they don’t know better.

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  4. I think the funding was under the New Schools for the Future grants.
    The grants from the SNP government were made on the basis, again I think, of 60% SNP Govt-40% Council.
    Bids had to be made (some time ago) to the SNP Govt and the decisions on who got a grant and how much was made by the SNP Govt.
    Do not believe the grant was part of ring-fenced..non domestice rates….or the general revenue grant.
    Likely there were strings attached to each award from the SNP Government.
    Who decided them or what the conditions were are the questions that need answered!

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    • So, David, I’m intrigued by the way that you obviously feel duty bound to prefix ‘government’ with ‘SNP’. Why? did the previous government not provide grant funding for schools? What prefix should go before your name?

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    • You may well be right David regarding the New Schools for the Future Grant. I believe this was matched funding of 50% and therefore the Council had committed 50% of non funded capital expenditure to the project (which could clearly either be used elsewhere or removed from the capital programme).

      As I haven’t see any award letter from the SG for this funding it is not possible to comment on what terms, conditions and restrictions were placed upon the SG’s 50% award however that is something that councillor Walsh should have been asking officers to determine.

      I am not sure what the timescales are but I notice there was a paper that went to full council on April 19th which discusses the Funding of Schools for Future Projects and the proposed school facilities in Dunoon and Campbeltown. It states in it that the SG ‘have set out the key conditions and guidance for procuring bodies receiving revenue finance and the conditions and guidance have been accepted by the Council’ It would therefore be interesting to see what these conditions and guidance were as we could then be in a better position to judge whether the SG were ringfencing a portion of the funding to the Dunoon project and the Dunoon project only.

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    • David: I think you can take it as read that other posters on this site know which party is in government.
      I have long held you in high regard as a principled individual, but by prefacing ‘government’ with ‘SNP’ on every occasion your views begin to read like the inane utterances of Alan Reid….and I am sure that’s a comparison you would find less than flattering.

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  5. I totally agree with D Grahams point.

    Mike Russell relayed information to SNP candidate Breslin, without having the courtesy of also informing the leader of the councillor.
    His words were however that he pursue and support the retention of the money, not any promise that it would actually happen.
    I cannot see how, if SNP councillors are asked to vote on ANY matter that could be beneficial to Argyll & Bute, but opposes central Gov policy, can they vote without follwing SNP policy.
    They let down Dunoon and Cowal over their promises of the ferry service, what chance of anything beneficial for this area?
    Elaine Robertson has stated she will vote on a case-by- case basis, hardly an endorsement of joining an aliance with SNP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • It is the norm for Independent Councillors to vote on a case by case basis. Don’t confuse past practice of Argyll and Bute Council as normal.
      Only better governace will be the result of consensus decisions and subsequent unwhipped majority Councillor support.

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    • Such is life when national party politics percolate down to local council level, and people seem to jump to conclusions about whether local councillors with party affiliations will or won’t slavishly follow the national party line in matters of local, not national relevance. And one councillor had the temerity to identify with a national party but join a non-aligned group on the council. To the gallows! I wonder how many people won’t be satisfied until local community councillors declare their national party sympathies, and won’t be satisfied unless the community councillors ensure that they follow the national party line?

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  6. The funding has nothing to do with block grants, revenue grant or the normal capital program. It is Schools for the Future money allocated to Argyll & Bute Council back in November 2009 when Fiona Hyslop was Cabinet Secretary for Education. Argyll & Bute Council will receive £6.745million (at 2009 prices) towards 50% of the cost of upgrading Dunoon, Kirn and St Muns primary schools. This funding is scheduled to be made available in the 2013/14 financial year.
    The funding will be administered by the Scottish Futures Trust which is a company set up by Scottish Ministers to handle major investment in capital projects. The criteria for entering this scheme was that the schools should be in poor condition/suitability (C or D grade) and that the investment should bring the school environment up to good standard. Exactly how that is achieved is down to negotiations between the Scottish Futures Trust and Argyll & Bute Council. It is hard to envisage a situation whereby a cost effective alternative to the shared campus which met the required building standards and had the support of A&BC would be rejected by the Scottish Futures Trust. I am somewhat mystified that a leader of any Council in Scotland would not be aware of this.

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    • From the information given above (especially from John) it sounds as if Mr Russell was merely saying that IF there was a problem with transferring funding from a new campus project to a refurbishment programme then he, as MSP, would do his utmost to sort it out.

      I think Integrity put his finger on this earlier: this was a cheap attempt by Mr Walsh to score a political point over Mr Breslin by suggesting some form of dirty tricks by the SNP with the MSP favouring candidates from the SNP over the Council Leader who is not a member of the SNP but somehow implying that this information was deliberatively withheld from Mr Walsh for political purposes.

      I repeat, Mr Walsh should have been entirely conversant as to what could and could not be done with the grants, not just because it is in his ward, not just because he was the leader of the Council but because his officials should have made sure he was aware of the limitations and opportunities that the grant from the SG posed for the Council in terms of its freedom of action.

      I wonder if someone suggested to Mr Walsh that the funding could not be vired within the project area as they did not want the possibility of refurbishment to be even considered?

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  7. Thanks Sandy. Clear and precise.
    Robert… when posting I put SNP Govt or Coalition Govt as sometimes individuals can be unclear which Govt is being written about.
    Sometimes I put Tory/Lib Govt.

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  8. So, Dr McKenzie agrees that Mike Russell only said he would do his utmost to sort it out, but this is completely different from the response given by Mr.Breslin at the hustings. He said that Mike Russsell had said there would not be a problem.

    A problem not existing, and one which needs attention and sorting out, are two completely different things.
    Of course so are promises to provide vehicular/passenger carrying ferries and then not supplying them

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    • I was only giving what sounded like a possible interpretation of what was said: I was not at the meeting and haven’t talked to anyone involved (indeed was basing that interpretation largely on what you yourself wrote).
      I don’t think there really is anything in this.

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  9. News that Conservative and Unionist Councillor Donald Kelly is endorsing a SNP candidate , having earlier in the week propelled the SNP into administration in Argyll and Bute will result in his long overdue expulsion from the Party .

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  10. “News that Conservative and Unionist Councillor Donald Kelly is endorsing a SNP candidate , having earlier in the week propelled the SNP into administration in Argyll and Bute will result in his long overdue expulsion from the Party ”

    It would be akin to being expelled from the gas chamber or death row

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  11. this is a unique opportunity to get a new style council for argyll and people should avoid narrow minded parochial attitudes and let the new administration form prior to making any judgements. these quite rightly were made on Thursday 3 May and the electorate indicated that change is both necessary and desirable.

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  12. All the comment on here just reinforces my view that Party Politics has no place in Local Government nor I believe in Central Government. Its time we had proper democracy where elected members actually represent the wishes of all their electorate by actively seeking it out.

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  13. Kaybee, though I’m a member of a political party I have to agree that reducing the issues to a game of tennis is unworthy. The problem arises when you get one party who tries to twist the truth to their advantage. How do you respond to that? If you don’t comment, people will perhaps believe it. If you do, the average reader may have no clue as to which aggressor is right. In the end all they see is people bickering and it puts them off both.

    To be fair though, in Argyll & Bute some of the most twisted truths have come from independents so it’s not specifically a party thing, just a political thing. I think it disgraces us all. People dislike it and it’s really time the instigators looked at the damage they do to our democracy with this kind of nonsense. In the grand Argyll & Bute scheme of things the Labour party and the SNP should both be firmly aimed at the registered political party that is the Alliance of Independents which has so discredited this region.

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  14. I’m afraid the record of independent run councils would suggest that no sensible person could support them.
    The are usually aimless, lack strategy and direction, have no overall ambition or targets and are incapable of delivering any disciplined course of action.
    They also operate in a vacuum without proper scrutiny and, unlike in a political run council, take no individual responsibily for anything when things go tits up.
    You can vote out a political party en masse if their policies are wrong. How do you vote out a group of gormless independents?
    They almost always find themseves controlled by a couple of strong willed characters and find themselves pushed about by the hired officials most of the time.
    Just like Argyll and Bute in recent times!
    In short independent run councils are a nightmare.

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    • Wasn’t there a time, not so long ago, when councillors were predominantly independents (at least, as far as the council agenda was concerned) and party politics at local council level in an area like Argyll was almost unheard of? Were councils then as bad as you suggest?

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  15. with your ref: They each took a voluntary personal pay cut of 10% as a gesture to those in Argyll who would suffer hard times in the recession following the banking collapse – and they distributed the proceeds of this to three charities for young people.Mr Breslin has done very well from the public purse on his job. He created a job for himself and a payscale. By taking a 10% paycut this wasnt done to help the general public it was done to help thier charities they wanted. I wouldnt vote for him if he was the last person on the earth as he is lies , more lies and more dam lies

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    • Bob – as Private Eye say ‘Shurely shome mishtake’.

      It was the three Argyll First councillors who took a voluntary pay cut of 10% – Donald Kelly, John McAlpine and Dougie Philand – saved the money and donated it to three charities focused on young people.

      Michael Breslin is the SNP candidate standing in the election today for the Dunoon ward of Argyll and Bute – who has been endorsed by the Argyll First group.

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    • I wonder how may jobs have been created by Bob?
      One only needs to look at the success story that Argyll College is to realise the number of full and part time positions created by MB and the board of directors.
      If MB puts in 10% of his usual work ethic into A&B duties we will be 100% better served than before.

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      • you no that is total sh t but now he has been elected we all know who we can blame. Good luck MB but I will be on your back 24 hours a day

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  16. Malicious, inaccurate, ignorant and (of course) anonymous.

    This posting from “Bob” ticks all the boxes. The forces of darkness are never far away.

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  17. Ruth Davidson claiming Argyll and Bute as a Tory victory in council elections as Tories in coalition with SNP and Independents. Start of the Tory come-back in Scotland!

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    • A good illustration of the limitations of national party politics when it comes to local council policies. Aren’t a lot of other party politicians at local level really a disparate collection of independents by other names? The criticism of the alliance of independent councillors for behaving like a party after being elected as individuals – with no coherent shared aims other than to act in solidarity with their cronies (sharing the perks of government) and freeze out a substantial proportion of our elected representatives – was right, but aren’t there clear conflicts in trying to govern an area like this while standing on a national party ticket?

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    • Donald Kelly makes his personal voting preference public – unlike many others. He also makes it clear that his affinity within the council is with the Argyll First group which he co-founded and which, as a non-political group, constitutionally accepts individuals of any political persuasion.

      Unlike even more others he puts the interests of Argyll before those of the party he personally supports.

      Voters clearly did not share the confected expressions of confusion amongst the comments above.

      Had they not done so, they would have voted differently.

      As a councillor respected for his integrity, Donald Kelly got the most powerful personal vote in Argyll. That is what tells the story that matters to real people.

      If politicians paid attention to this story, things might be positively different.

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      • At least Donald Kelly is one of the very few upfront Consevatives left in Scotland.
        One has only to look at the debacle of Labour and Tory coalitions elsewhere, Stirling for example, how betrayed the Conservative voters there will feel, dose not say much for Lamont’s Labour Party either getting into bed with their cut, slash and burn arch rivals?
        Only good thing to come out of this will be “Islay for ever” aka Kintyre1 calling from the rooftops for them all to be keel-hauled before dismissal from the Conservative Party

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        • I don’t know how you can seriously suggest Donald Kelly was “upfront” . Many of those who voted for Councillor Kelly did so because he was the Conservative and Unionist Candidate . The last thing Conservative and Unionist voters expect is for their candidate to cut deals with the separatist SNP , especially 2 years before a referendum on the future of the 305 year old union , and when there exists an (increasing in number) Conservative and Unionist group within Argyll & Bute Council .
          Councillor Kelly would do well to remember that no individual is bigger than the party , presumably he was afraid to stand without the Conservative and Unionist ticket. I am willing to wager that if Donald Kelly has to face a Conservative and Unionist candidate at the next election , his vote will reduce significantly , perhaps to an extent where he fails to be elected .
          The SNP have 13 councillors in Argyll and Bute , the opposition have 23 . For Donald Kelly to align himself with the one third of Councillors who are in politics to break up the United Kingdom and for him to urge voters in Dunoon to support the SNP candidate , suggests to me that he sees the Conservative and Unionist badge as merely one of convenience and he should be forced to choose , Money First or the Conservative Group .

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          • Ife – the proof of the pudding is in the eating; You insult the voters for Donald Kelly by assuming they didn’t know what they were voting for, when he’s an existing councillor with a proven track record and has changed neither party nor affiliations this time around. You seem to be in a right old muddle if you think that the SNP local councillors are in politics to break up the united kingdom – this notion makes the old cold war ‘reds under the bed’ paranoia look positively sane. You need to be let into the secret that local councillors are there to deal with local council matters – some might have ambitions to eventually levitate into national politics, but that’s hardly the point, is it?, they wouldn’t get a free transfer as there’s a small matter of getting elected, at which point you’d be free to scream blue murder as loud as you liked.

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  18. Robert , members of the SNP are in it for one reason – they want to break up the United Kingdom .
    Potholes and dog’s dirt , nuclear submarines and RAF bases etc etc are only issues to be used to attain a separate Scotland .

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    • Looks like kintyre1 has moved to Islay.
      So if that is the case, why are Labour, Libs and Tories contesting Council elections? Are you suggesting the SNP should be barred from doing it? As things stand at the moment, ANY person or organisation can stand for any reason they want. It is up to the electorate to decide whether to vote for them or not. This is called democracy. Do you want me to spell that for you?

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  19. Islay for Ever states that “The SNP have 13 councillors in Argyll and Bute, the opposition have 23″ and complains that Donald Kelly has align himself with the one third of Councillors which is a total distortion.

    It should be pointed out that if the opposition had 23 councillors, then they would not be the opposition. They would be the administration. It may be that on Islay they count in a totally different way from the rest of the planet?

    The numbers in the Council are:
    SNP 13
    Tory 3 (excluding Donald Kelly)
    Lib Dems 4
    A&B Independent Councillors Group 2
    Alliance Independents 8
    Argyll First 3 (including Donald Kelly)
    Individual Independents 3 (Elaine Robertson, Alistair MacDougall and Iain MacDonald)

    It is clear from the information above that Donald Kelly, along with the other two Argyll First members, the two members of the A&B Independent Councillors Group and two individual Independent members (Elaine Robertson and Iain MacDonald) have aligned themselves with the largest political group within the Council and the Group that attracted many more votes from the Argyll & Bute electorate than any other political Group.

    Islay for Ever would have a justifiable complaint if those now aligning themseves with the SNP Group were to align themselves to any of the previous ConDemAll groups to keep the largest Group (the SNP) out of power.

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    • Trying to justify your putting the SNP in power Councilor Freeman ? The fact is any grouping of Councillors could have formed a coalition . My complaint is that Donald Kelly , who stood as a Conservative and Unionist candidate has chosen to put the SNP in control , and urged electors in Dunoon to vote SNP . Take a look at what has happened in Aberdeenshire council as an example of a better outcome from a Unionist perspective .

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