Hmm, don’t you mean “no research on our …

Comment posted Streamline challenge on Northern Ferries tender underlines paralysis of MacBrayne group by Alex McKay.

Hmm, don’t you mean “no research on our part”, but instead a classic case of jumping to a false conclusion?

Recent comments by Alex McKay

  • State Guardians / Named Persons a situation out of control
    No Cheese Here. What’s all this nonsense about “45% of the country…to be deported”? About 37% of eligible voters voted ‘Yes’ and obviously this represented a much smaller percentage of the total population.
  • Finlaggan finesses its whisky carryings with an international safety award
    My understanding from friends on the island is that, far from your “provides occasional cover on the Skye to North Uist and Harris routes”, it is absent for months at a time each year during which it can’t be carrying Islay whisky “most frequently”. Why don’t the other vessels on the route, currently Hebridean Isles and Isle of Arran, get safety awards, too. They must carry nearly as much whisky as Finlaggan. Or aren’t they as safe???
  • Is Scottish Government taking out Campbeltown to give Prestwick a clear run for Spaceport?
    There is no possible comparison between the transport links offered by Campbeltown and Prestwick; the latter wins hands down. Little more than 30 miles along the A77, which doesn’t go through any towns, and you’re on the motorway network heading north, east and south. Campbeltown is nearly 140 miles from Glasgow and the A83 is most certainly NOT an adequate road and passes through many towns. Prestwick has trains, Campbeltown doesn’t. Campbeltown may have a good harbour, but so does Troon. Prestwick has many buildings seeking uses, Campbeltown doesn’t. The Scottish Government have purchased Prestwick and are desperately seeking a use for it to assuage those taxpayers who think it should not have been purchased. End of story.
  • Brian Wilson on Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services tender
    MM. I agree with you about the subsidy paid to Calmac and the inefficient and expensive ferries they use, but that wasn’t the point I was responding to. Instead it was to your claim that “the whole thing is a big charade played out by Governments and Europe to plant a periphery population around our coasts for their political advantage” which, I repeat, is a load of tosh. I note you have failed to respond on this or to produce any evidence for your claim.
    And then you make yet another evidenceless claim that “80% of the world’s population see them [the twin towers conspiracy theories] as the facts of the case”. You may or may not be in a majority, but I will keep mentioning it when I think fit because, to my mind, someone who believes the twin towers conspiracy theories should have every other claim and statement they make examined in the light of that unsustainable belief. You, like all conspiracy theorists, clearly lack critical thinking skills.
  • Brian Wilson on Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services tender
    So, MM spouts his views yet again from somewhere outwith Scotland, or so I believe and claims that “the whole thing is a big charade played out by Governments and Europe to plant a periphery population around our coasts for their political advantage.” What an insult to the tens of thousands of people living not just on Scotland’s islands but the entire “periphery” of the country. Why not ban anyone from living more than 10 miles from a major town or city because the cost of maintaining services to them, transport, health, roads, energy, is done purely “for political advantage”? What a complete load of tosh. Stick with your risible conspiracy theories about the twin towers and keep looking for the aliens who abducted Obama and replaced him with one of their own. That’s about your level, not this rubbish.

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19 Responses to Hmm, don’t you mean “no research on our …

  1. There should be no reason on earth why any of the bidders for the contract should be prevented from challenging the outcome of the tendering process, if they consider themselves hard done by.
    The specific offers for ‘extras’, and of any conditions imposed by bidders – beyond what’s specified in the tender – should be public knowledge, and if they’re not then surely that’s cause enough for any or all of the losing bidders to challenge the outcome; the whole process should be transparent, and that popular let-out ‘commercial confidentiality’ shouldn’t be used as an excuse to conceal any controversial aspects of the process.

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  2. The MacBrayne group would certainly face some difficulty in challenging any contract award, and have been in such a position before on the Ballycastle-Rathlin route. One has to wonder why the Scottish government took such an “interest” in the way that particular contract was awarded.
    ” Judith Ainsley, Guy Platten of CMAL and Mike Berry (Scottish Government Ferries Division) are hoping to meet with representatives of DRD (Department for Regional Development) Northern Ireland to discuss the tendering of the Rathlin-Ballycastle ferry service, this will be followed by a visit to the ferry operator”
    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/935/0087905.doc

    Perhaps Streamline have done MacBrayne a favour in opening the process up to legal scrutiny.

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    • I don’t understand why ‘the MacBrayne group would certainly face some difficulty in challenging any contract award’ – Why? Surely the tendering process has by law to be a level playing field, and if Northlink (which is surely more than just MacBrayne) were to find fault with the contract award they’d be just as free as any other tenderer to object. This is a government tender involving public money and must be organised fairly, or the media will have a field day and the Transport Minister will have some explaining to do. That’s quite apart from what the European authorities might see fit to do.

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  3. I think you will find streamline credit card machines has nothing to do with streamline shipping!

    Come on, poor research

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  4. NORTHERN ISLES FERRY TENDER
    Back
    13 May 2012

    “NorthLink Ferries Ltd today confirms that it is in continuing discussions with the Scottish Government to clarify certain aspects of the procurement process which eight days ago saw Scottish Ministers announce that the six-year contract to operate lifeline ferry services for Orkney and Shetland was to be awarded to Serco Ltd. NorthLink’s current contract to operate the services is due to expire on July 5″ http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/default.aspx.locid-00gnew3eu.Lang-EN.htm

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      • Independence? Hardly independence, as NorthLink is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Macbrayne Group (i.e. the Scottish Government) and who are they currently running the service for? Oh yes, the Scottish Government! Perhaps not so much independence as nepotism?

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  5. “they’d be just as free as any other tenderer to object. This is a government tender involving public money and must be organised fairly, or the media will have a field day and the Transport Minister will have some explaining to do.”

    Do you think? Having read their responses to an “independent” investigation into the awarding of the Rathlin contract, it’s very clear that Calmac/Rathlin Ferries Ltd were unhappy at the way in which that tendering process had been operated. Yet, no legal challenge? http://www.scribd.com/doc/9618691/CalmacRFL-Addendum-Note-to-DRD-investigations-body
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/9592687/CalmacRFL-Note-to-the-DRD-investigations-body

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    • I hope we’re not getting into some sort of Scottish public sector giant pile of sleaze centred on inadequately defined process in tendering for large public transport contracts. It could be stretching from the megabungling of the Edinburgh tram system procurument disaster at one end of the scale to the microbungling of the Gourock – Kilcreggan – Helensburgh ferry links at the other, taking in the Gourock – Dunoon affair and the ongoing saga of Calmac routes retendering on the way. Not sure about the quality of the second Forth Road Bridge contract, but time will tell.

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  6. I stay on Orkney and we are just sick of the mess the Government is making of our lifeline ferry service. The contract with Serco, if it lasts, is undesirable -they can only make money by cutting services and the crew’s pay and numbers and their reputation as a cutter of pay and numbers is clear from their control of NHS contracts in England. As well as the developing contract fiasco, this year we had the mess the Government made of the dry dock timetable where they went behind Orkney’s back to get Shetland council to pay extra for an extended charter of the Hebridean Isles (I think); we’ve the attempt to cut service standards by slowing down the boats and reducing services; there is the continuing saga of the alternating denial and promise of RET which, if it comes has receded to the next Parliament.

    This is heading for a grand all purpose mess.

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    • Are you sure you’re not over-egging the pudding? With two separate Northlink services (Stromness – Scrabster and Kirkwall – Aberdeen / Lerwick, the Pentland Ferries route from St Margaret’s Hope to Gills Bay, and the freight ferry between Kirkwall and Aberdeen / Lerwick, to the outside observer it looks as if Orkney enjoys good lifeline ferry services.

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      • I agree that we do well with the service we get – the service from the Hope to Gills Bay is completely private with no subsidy nor does it count as a life line service. Our bind is not so much about the service as the secretive and underhanded behaviour of the Government – for example we don’t know about what the new contract says about ferry frequencies or times; there looks to be a cut back in the freight boats for both sets of islands; the possibility of RET for Orkney ferries- including the internal services has receded to beyond 2015.

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      • Of course they enjoy good services, just like Dunoon has a reliable service. Unless you are local to the route and use it regularly you really don’t know all the ins and outs.

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  7. Transport Scotland do not seem particularly competent at writing contracts – read yours carefully.

    In theory CalMac can take legal action, it practice I imagine it not possible because CalMac is run by the Scottish Government so people are hardly likely to try to take Court action against a decision made by their own bosses.

    There was no logic to the Dunoon Gourock route decision. A linkspan had been built a promise of vehicle ferries had been made, then all of a sudden there was a U-turn. Now with the CalMac losing Northlink it is starting to look as if there is an agenda to break up CalMac.

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  8. i think the snp agenda is get rid of calmac ,alex salmond stated yesterday the basf factory in stornoways would create 9 jobs (equal to thousands in the glasgow/edinburgh). when they give northlink and calmac away ,i fear hundreds of jobs will be lost (mostly in rural areas ).
    how will he explain that !!!!

    this isnt scaremongering it will happen .

    snp …only interested in big business ….get these clowns out

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    • It does look like they want to break up CalMac, but why is not clear. Private companies will snap up the profitable routes. The Government will be left subsidising the unprofitable routes. Everybody will lose because there will be no ability to move relief boats around during maintenance periods.

      This is exactly the position in Dunoon. The vehicle part of the old CalMac service was making a profit every year from 2002 until it ended in 2011. Now the Government has to subsidise a dismal passenger service that cannot cope with the weather and has to run a half service for four weeks each year because there are no relief boats. Meanwhile Western gain 60,000 vehicle crossings per year with no control on prices and profit.

      This seems set to spread throughout the ferry routes in Scotland – not good news.

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