Has our’new council leader’ enlightened us yet or …

Comment posted Spygate: group leaders to be briefed tomorrow morning by phill.

Has our’new council leader’ enlightened us yet or have i been sleeping?

phill also commented

  • I for one think it would be a far poorer place (FA) without you Simon. You stick to your guns and are entertaining with it.
    Good debating skills, sometimes even winning arguments against the odds, often stunning opponents into silence.
  • See above Simon-i put reply in wrong box. Sorry.
  • Because it was a pre election stunt exagerated i feel for political points.
  • Agreed, what a total waste of money.
  • Wow! Cant wait.

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82 Responses to Has our’new council leader’ enlightened us yet or …

  1. If James Robb, an elected councillor, is barred from hearing Executive Director Hendry’s presentation on the council’s take on the current accusations of malpractice tomorrow morning then it’s only reasonable that Executive Director Hendry explains to all of us exactly how this squares with the democratic system of government we tell ourselves we enjoy in this country. If the pernicious little rule – that debars an independent elected councillor, who lacks representation by any other elected councillor, from attending such a meeting – is not of Executive Director Hendry’s creation, if the tail’s not wagging the dog, then just where did it come from – out of uncle Dick’s Hat?

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  2. I hope not, csb, as it would clash with dickie-boys face. It tends to change colour from the neck up when he is angry. Watching it can be a sport itself, maybe we could have a new Olympic sport? Guess how angry/ upset/ caught out etc your leader is by the colour of his face?

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  3. I made myself available and was invited to this briefing. This is a major step forward as management sets a precedent and recognises non-aligned councillor. Will the Council Leader now take a lead from this for his political management arrangements?

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  4. Douglas Hendry will be giving the briefing because his pal Dick Walsh and Chief Executive Sally Fulton will be at the COSLA conference in St Andrews.

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  5. I see yesterday’s Oban Times has the latest update on the Council spygate affair. Jo Smith “to face a lesser charge” whilst apparently, Argyll First had really wanted an internal enquiry all along – to save money. Strange that they had never mentioned this before: strange also that there has been no mention of these developments on FA considering how much coverage Newsie gave to Spygate previously…

    Have a nice day ;)

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    • Sorry Michael. there is nothing to know yet in any real sense so there is nothing to say.

      What matters here is the endgame, which is being impossibly dragged out.

      Ms Smith has some sort of internal disciplinary hearing to address.

      The issue is whether, whatever the final judgment, the council and Ms Smith feel it can be appropriate for her to return to her post.

      The simple fact is that someone who understands the nature of her chosen activities in such a way as to describe them herself as ‘spying’ is no longer credible in her post.

      We will comment when the endgame is known. The Clayton conclusion should be no surprise to anyone.

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  6. The council leader knows all about Jo Smith,s involment with the George Berry Show and Oban,s ex councillor so it is time to come clean.As for the rest of the story I,ll leave that to others.If the OT.wants to go with any part of the local Oban story all they need to do is ask.They didn,t want to know before so lets see what happens.
    So much for the promises about being open and honest this investigation was finished in May,why were we not told the outcome then?

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    • This issue was not under investigation. What it does, though, is establish Ms Smith’s mindset, to which we have referred in an earlier comment.
      Her engineering of the removal of George Berry from his job at Oban FM is not speculation but is documented in an email chain which we published.
      Ms Smith herself regards a social media initiative she introduced as ‘spying’. She has been active in bringing vindictive pressure to bear upon a community radio station in order to have a volunteer broadcaster removed from his position because he was an outspoken and persistent critic of council actions.
      Our view is that someone managing a local authority’s communications service – whose work is founded on these values in action – cannot conceivably have the public trust should she return to her job – regardless of whether she is technically sackable.
      On this issue, the Oban Times FoI information shows that Mr Clayton was paid almost £30,000 for 14 days work. He was the ‘investigator’ appointed by the council CEO in whose personal department Ms Smith and her team operated.
      This rate of pay for consultants is relatively modest by current standards and we do not believe that an internal investigation of any kind could have done anything but inflame public opinion at the time.
      The real issues are that it took Mr Clayton only 14 days to do his work. Any proper investigation of what Ms Smith and her team may or may not have been doing would have required forensic examination of material on the council’s back up servers over a considerable period of time.
      This cannot possibly have been done in 14 days work. This is slow, careful and time consuming and, properly, would have had to be quite wide ranging.
      We should know exactly what Mr Clayton spent his time doing.
      The fact that Clayton’s work was completed in May and no announcement was made does not reflect well on the new council administration.
      We understand that they chose to give an amnesty to senior council officers whose work with the previous administration had damaged the council’s reputation for competence and integrity.
      The spirit of this action was correct but the action itself was not.
      Allowing the known suspects to start again with a clean sheet enables them to notch up another collection of penalty points before their position would require consideration in the relevant quarters.
      They should simply have put them on a warning – a ‘one strike and you’re out’ situation which would, fairly, not been backward looking but would have been serious enough to encourage a focus on due professionalism.
      This blanket ‘get out of jail free card’ was silly and unfocused. In fact it has already been abused, with one senior officer stepping well out of line in a manner which brought weighty and undue public criticism upon the administration.
      Any new administration needs time to bed in, though. Argyll dispatched an administration that was not competent but was experienced and well practiced in the black arts. We replaced it with one that had individuals with some experience of administration but not in leading it or in being a part of the leading group who dictate direction.
      They need some time and some tolerance – but they need to show clear direction, authority and competence in their grasp of issues and evidence. Like everyone else, For Argyll is waiting to see it.

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      • The Herald has Mr Clayton billing the Council for 60 days work – which is a much more reasonable and likely £500 a day. I think the OT has made a mistake and interpreted 60 as 16. Alternatively the 16 may refer to the number of days collecting information and the rest of the time analysing it. £2000 a day would really be over the top. Although you do see consultancy fees higher than that this will not be for a single individual but rather a team within the consultancy working on the problem. Mr Clayton was working alone so £500 a day is perhaps reasonable.

        I agree that it strange that councillors are now questioning whether the investigation should have been handled internally. This is not what the CEO was asked to provide and would not have satisfied anyone. The nature of Mr Clayton’s appointment is perhaps questionable but that is water under the bridge.

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  7. “So much for the promises about being open and honest this investigation was finished in May” Neil are you really suprised. Anyone can do the talk, very few can do the walk.

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  8. What a pathetic convulted post Newsie.

    There is news here – much more news than the lazy press release journalism you’ve been parading on here recently.

    C’mon let’s face it – be honest on here for once – you made a mountain out of this story but only when it suited you to do so. You lot ‘found’ Jo Smith guilty before she even faced disciplinary action; you insisted that Clayton was an inappropriate person to take charge of the external investigation “one of the officer class” were the words you used to describe him; you lambasted the Council for taking action against a further two Council members of staff – who had been using the Council system to make snide and personal remarks about another member of staff “unthinking folly” you described the Council action then; you imagined and promoted some great Orwellian conspiracy where the Council were actually spying on on individuals and groups and in doing so you whipped up the I-want-to-believe-anthing-bad-about-the-Council on-line mob until they too were slavering away as well as you.

    And now?

    Now when the actual outcome (not your imagined and preferred outcome) is about to be announced YOU have the termerity to decide that Jo Smith realy cannot return to her post.

    Unilke others on here I never imagined you – or any of the the FA team – as journalists. Your latest cheap, nasty and vindictive comment on Jo Smith has proved me correct.

    I know you won’t be but you should be utterly ashamed for your latest comments about Jo Smith.

    ‘Pot, kettle, black’ springs to mind.

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    • Slimey,

      Perhaps when you lose the presumed hangover and re-read your ridiculous contribution, you may chose to edit it.

      Ideally down to the last sentence employed.

      “Pot, kettle, black’ springs to mind.”

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  9. Senior council officials were given some sort of amnesty for what?
    If FA.have that information please print the names of the officials and the reasons behind it.We have all been critical of the last Administration and the way things were run so surely we are all entitled to know what was going on.
    If they were forced to go along under duress or fear of losing their position we need to get rid of the garbage that were giving the orders.What actually are people who were incompedent still being employed for.Still waiting for a reply to my FOI concerning the 8 employees who the council can not live without and their “new jobs”.
    You do not need time to tell the truth, Roddy will need to get his act together and decide not play us for mugs or he will be in trouble.

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    • Officials of lesser rank have no need of an amnesty. Most of the stellar work done by council officers – and there is plenty of it – comes from that part of the spectrum.

      It was fair for the new administration to let officers know that they would not come into power looking as if they were bringing scores to settle. That was good judgment.

      But, given what the most senior officers, including the CEO, were directly responsible for – or not – in the past couple of years, the position now has to be one of zero tolerance – and Argyll needs to see that in action to believe it has made the right decision at the May 2012 election.

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  10. You know what Newsie? Rather than attributing blame to all and sundry about things you don’t agree with – you’d be much better spending your time trying to sort out For Argyll’s inept, amatuerish, nonsensical and illogical ordering of the posts submitted on YOUR BLOG.

    For a simple example (although there are a shed load more)some petty, mindless and gratuitously insulting bawbaggery posted by Grant MacDonald at 2:51pm appears BEFORE a post by John Sinclair at 9.28am.

    Get a grip Newsie.

    This site used to be at least understandable because post followed post in time order. Now because of For Argyll’s complete incompetence it is even more nonsensical than before.

    Sort it out Newsie.

    ps Neil McIntyre re Geo Berry – honest mate – nobody cares. Nobody. Not even pathetic FA. As the Yanks would say ‘cac or get off the pot’(if they spoke Gaelic that is ;) )

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    • Slimey,

      If you take the time to actually read what has been written, the chronological order is quite clear. I replied to post number 10 and the reply was shown quite correctly below it.

      Post 11 is a different contribution.

      Your “complete incompetence it is even more nonsensical than before.”
      (Thanks. Didn’t even need to hunt for the words. Between your pots and kettles, you really have all the answers. Why not actually take the time to read what people have written. And edit your own nonsense. It is enjoyable but… more suited to The Daily Mail)

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    • I just appreciated I have been dreadfully rude, Slimey.

      As such, my apologies.

      My objection to your style of posting is your constant diminishing reference to other contributors and also, “newsroom” who is doing something useful. You seem to be able to ‘dish it out’ but dislike being referred to in the same foolish manner you employ.

      As a result, I am inclined to use language you clearly understand. Your own.

      “Sort it out, Slimey.”

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  11. My god, you really hate Jo Smith, what on earth did she ever do to you to deserve such bile? Anyway I am sorry to say that you are so completely wrong on one matter. Let me state categorically that Jo Smith had absolutely nothing to do with the dismissal of George Berry. The evidence you offer is what exactly? A chain of emails that ends in ‘thank you for help in this matter’. What an absolute load of claptrap you sometimes produce, when is politeness a crime. What would you expect someone to say. Supposed threats to withdraw advertising, what threats? just because she spoke to the advertising manager on her initial phone call. How many people do you think work at the station? It’s not the BBC for christ’s sake. George Berry was sacked because he breached the terms of the OFCOM licence, do you think it was the first time? Here are the terms of the licence, all shows must be recorded, in this specific instance it wasn’t. Because of that, OFCOM could have taken sanctions against the station, even have shut it down, if your existence was threatened by a wayward employee, would you not take action?Oh yes, Berry’s bleating on about his broadcast, he could not get that right as it was the broadcast the week before that was the one in question. Blame McKay? It was a simple request and he was not the only one that made it. Also what benefit would it bring to the council to get rid of Berry? Surely if the council want to know what it’s electorate was thinking, then this show was the ideal medium, no need for ‘spy’ accounts. Although why exactly and what or who they would spy on is a matter for conjecture. And why bother spying when its all out in the open.

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    • Well said, Paula. Glad someone has spoken for the radio staion in relation to possible OFCOM sanction re the Berry show. It is old news and George has lost himself a valuable platform in which to air his views and those unable to do so otherwise. He finished up a cross between a peoples champion and an off target SCUD missile. As George said in a previous post, no one is bigger than the station, that he is sadly(for him and his big audience) no longer part of.
      Sunday mornings now have a lady with a fine Irish brogue, with a good show, follwed by the veteran ‘ONE’ Alan macKechnie, himself never one afraid to rattle cages but within boundries, and in a respectable manner – never miss it.

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  12. Oh and as a PS, if you were Jo Smith would you return to work there after the toxic atmosphere that you have had a part in engineering? It would be intolerable.

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  13. For Simon.
    As long as even one person cares its worth the crack and I will be asking the council leader to give us all the story of the events concerning Jo Smith and ex councillor MacKay that he told to me.That way the lady can stand her corner and we can put this particular little story to bed.If we are wrong about anything she will certainly get an apology from me.If there is nothing to the story as I have said before why all the silence.Let Jo Smith have her say she has nothing to be afraid of if she was just doing her job for the councillor.The saddest part of this is obviously her being victimised for just doing her job but we have asked all our local councillors to come clean and give us some answers but they just do not have the decency to come forward.If this administration are willing to let one of their own staff take all the crap then Simon we battle on my son.
    Cheers Neil.

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  14. I’d just like to state – as someone who was on the receiving end of the spying – I have absolutely no bad feelings towards Jo Smith. We are all guilty of making mistakes at times.

    I would very much like to know the results of the investigation first though, before passing any judgement on the situation.

    It could be very possible, she was acting under the direction of a more senior officer and is unfortunately the one stuck in the firing line.

    We all know there is a toxic atmosphere at Kilmory anyway, everyone else is having to work in it, so I don’t see it being any different for her, if she returns to work.

    But this is all academic, we need the results of the investigation made public.

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  15. How on earth can you say you have no ill feelings towards Jo Smith when so much of this website is filled with vile rhetoric, hate filled bile and lots of content disparaging her character? Accusing her of getting someone fired on zero evidence, accusing her of creating a spy accounts yet offering no proof that these exist, nor has anyone else by the look of it. Your reporting on this matter has been reminicsent of that of crazy dictatorship in its frenzy. If these spy accounts do exist, then let us see them and what they contained and question their purpose.

    I wonder if Smith has ever read The Trial by Kafka. If so, no doubt she can identify with the central character of Josef K. Whether like him she will walk quietly to accept her fate no doubt time will tell and soon.

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    • Eh Paula, I think if you spend the time going back over my comments, I have consistently said I want to know the results of the investigation first.

      I am suspicious, she was not doing this on her own or that it was even her idea.

      I don’t know all the ins and outs of the Oban FM thing and as such have not passed any opinion about who is right and wrong, again just saying lets get the results of the investigation.

      Jo Smith is a human being and I have had no direct dealings with her, so how can I have any feelings about her at all?

      Cleland Sneddon, Carol Walker or whatever her married name is – I have issues with – because of personal experience.

      Simon, see you still have that big wooden spoon in yer mit. Go make some soup with it for a change ;)

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    • Paula Jones: if that’s your real name, so be it, but if it’s a nom de plume would you mind telling us why you chose it (I could ask ‘Hans Blix’ the same question)

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    • Once again Simon, you fail to address the core issue and correct the nonsense you wrote.

      Simon – tsk tsk tsk.

      Perhaps if you chose another IP address other than the one your internet enabled phone gives, you will be able to read things properly and correct your ongoing errors. I would guess you’ve several computers at work to give proper and varied internet access.

      Fascinating undertone in the commentary about the communications officer. She was only following orders?

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  16. Grant “you fail to address the core issue” – actually if you would care to look at post 6 you will see that I was the one in fact who resurrected this debate. And I did so because Newsie and For Argyll were simply ignoring these latest developments. This, despite the fact that she had published several articles on the subject previously and when it suited her to do so.

    Jo Smith was hung out to dry on here by Newsie.

    The core issue then is that Newsie decides the agenda here and any news that doesn’t fit with her narrow biased view of the world is simply ignored. So the only way to get the latest developments on the Jo Smith saga addressed was to ‘bump’ an old post.

    Which is what I did.

    Have a nice day. :)

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    • Bit of historical revisionism going on here, “Simon”:

      The Jo Smith “story” was originally broken in the Herald and she was hung out to dry by her own presentation. She made the cardinal error of any PR person by becoming the story.

      As Newsroom says, there isn’t much point commenting further until we have seen the report.

      Your comment about the core issue being that Newsroom decides the agenda elicits the response: “well, duh!”. FA is a blog. It is a peculiar blog but it is a blog and like all blogs reflects the interests and views of the blogger. As I’ve said before, you can criticise the opinions but not Newsroom’s right to conduct the blog anyway she likes.

      There is plenty that Newsroom writes that I don’t agree with, don’t like and feel is daft or ridiculously over-sure of itself (and I say so quite frequently). But I would never question her right to write what she does: it is her blog after all.

      There is a point over news being confused with comment and comment masquerading as news. Several of us have suggested that FA would be improved by a better separation of such pieces but only the most ingenuous reader on here would fail to distinguish the two in Newsroom’s pieces(especially as her commentary is often spectacularly opinionated and lacking in tact).

      You may like FA or you may loathe it but you cannot demand that it follows your agenda.

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      • Clarification of some facts.

        For Argyll is a news and information service for which I am editor and that uses Word Press as its publlsher.

        Word Press is the blogging technology, whose use in our service was our Internet Services Director’s inspiration, in its flexibility, its facilitation of reader interaction and its Open Source foundation.

        There is an essential distinction between blogging technology and a blog.

        For Argyll is run by a group of people and has a wide range of contributors. It is not ‘mine’ in any way.

        In fact it is not even ours. It has been taken into collective ownership by our readers with us – and that is a situation we all, I hope, find worthwhile. It is a fluid and evolving relationship with which we all negotiate as we go.

        For Argyll has been and remains a pioneering initiative, working on a new and immediately interactive form of news and information based exchange – in line with the way technology is changing the shape of the way we live, work and engage,

        This means that the nature, transmission, interrogation and development of news and information has and must change radically, We are proud to be a part of that change.

        The enabling of readers to comment on stories means that anyone is free to challenge, to supply expert and specialist information and to contribute to ongoing dialogues on issues. This is what happens here.

        Analysis is part of any good information service. We spend a great deal of time in research and analysis and in preparing the results of that for publication. Some of this work produces results many do not like and prefer to class as ‘opinion’ – which it is not. Notably, none of this work has been challenged on substance.

        This is not to say that we are not opinionated or that we always separate commentary from source material.
        Anyone can distinguish one from the other here – and if we did not comment on information we have put together or been given, we would in many cases be party to deception or sleight of hand.

        The comment facility is more radical than you realise in that it frees us as well as offering and welcoming input from readers. That freedom allows us not to be fence sitters.

        Readers may be interested to know that the most baldly factual material we publish is the least well read. The best read is the copy that marries research, analysis and commentary. Narrative illustrated articles are invariably well read but rarely commented upon. They clearly offer insights readers find valuable but to which they feel no need to respond.

        The print press has been very very slow to respond to the nature of change the internet has brought, Journalism is still largely unaware of the specific new directions ft has engineered – and that is the frontier on which we exist.

        Do not forget that ‘journaism’ as we have come to know it has become a discredited profession employing means that even at a basic level we do not employ, In the abrasion that work like ours brings, it does no one any favours to create sacred cows,

        Tact? We can do a lot better on this. We work at the extremes of capacity and sometimes tactlessness is born from the impatience tiredness fails to restrain.

        We have evolved continually since we began and that has to be an ongoing process. We have built For Argyll to a point where it will soon be entering a new phase of its development.

        What will not change is the respect and welcome we have for the input from our readers – whatever it is. Tactless as we are, no one can deny that if we dish it out we can certainly take it.

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        • FA is a blog – certainly as it is widely defined and understood:

          “A blog (a portmanteau of the term web log)[1] is a discussion or information site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first. Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often were themed on a single subject. More recently “multi-author blogs” (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, interest groups and similar institutions account for an increasing proportion of blog traffic.”
          source Wikipedia.

          “Notably, none of this work has been challenged on substance.”

          Here you are deluding yourself. Newsroom’s comments and opinion (and much of it is opinion) are often challenged on substance such as the recent article on the RAF.

          I remain in general an admirer of FA but I am concerned with the pervading declarations of auto-infallibility. A bit more humility would not go amiss at times (and not just over the typos either!).

          And a bit more tact when it comes to personalities would not be unwelcome.

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  17. “Doc” I ain’t suggesting she follows ‘my agenda’ just trying to illustrate that there is in fact an agenda that Newsie follows.

    As far as the Spygate story is concerned the Dunoon Observer reported at the time that there appeared to be a bit of a conspiracy going on ahead of the Council elections: the story was actually ‘broken’ several months after the actual Conference; the reporter was not present at the Conference and according to the Conference organiser Jo Smith received the highest rating of all the presenters at the Conference.

    You wouldn’t have read any of this on For Argyll – that’s for sure. ;)

    And whislt you might not accept it “Doc” – I can and shall criticise the way in which Newsie conducts the blog. Especially when she is narrow, biased, personal and vindictive and offers views that go way beyond any definition of fair comment.

    As I’ve said before “Doc” if you don’t like that – don’t read our comments. ;)

    Have a nice day.

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    • “Simon”: far from not reading those details on FA , they were all discussed on here but the point was that all of this came from the Herald and not FA.

      Feel free to criticise FA but just don’t expect the rest of us to get excited about it as we understand what FA is. And if you don’t like it why don’t you follow your own advice and stop reading it?

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  18. “Doc” – “Feel free to criticise FA but just don’t expect the rest of us to get excited”.

    Thanks for the permission. Ok I promise not to try to get you lot excited.

    ps Crazy – too hot for soup – at least where I am. :)

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  19. “Doc” – something way far, far wrong here. IE when you said about Newsie –
    “I am concerned with the pervading declarations of auto-infallibility. A bit more humility would not go amiss at times (and not just over the typos either!).And a bit more tact when it comes to personalities would not be unwelcome”

    I actually agree with you “Doc”.

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    • Aye Robert come off it. Paula has some very valid points and it does you no credit to shift your focus on to her name be it real or used for doubtless a good reason. She has not been attacking anyone personally. Concentrate on debating the points raised instead of thowing in the towel.

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      • ‘Throwing in the towel’? – it was just the choice of that particular name that made me wonder, presumably contributors who choose to adopt the persona of a real live human being don’t pick the name at random…

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    • Michael, during the schools campaign the Save Luss Primary twitter account (which was also linked to our Facebook page) was being followed by the Council. I knew about this very early on in the campaign, not when the “Spygate” story broke.

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  20. Dear god She-Bat, your public Twitter account was looked at by the council? Blimey, next thing they’ll be attending public meetings.
    Maybe James Bond got it all wrong, maybe he should have just signed on to Facebook and Twitter!

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    • Oh She Bat, that tells me that you have a somewhat paranoid streak. Surely the whole point of the alleged and now apparently non existent, never existed spy accounts was to have a fake identity to watch people surreptitiously. Not out in the open in this case. Surely you should be flattered, after all it’s a public forum, the whole idea being to gather followers, they are just another follower.

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      • Paranoid? Who said that? I can’t hear you for the voices!

        Ummm Mr Banks, you are addressing someone going by the name of “Crazy She-Bat”…

        Paranoid doesn’t even come close to covering it ;)

        Please see other post please about the whole Argyll & Bute Council is in my fanclub stuff.

        And one last point re: the paranoia – a wee episode called Keir Bloomer’s Bloomers might have amped it up a notch where the council is concerned.

        Google is your friend. Embrace it :)

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        • Well She Bat it would appear that your views matter or at least are being noticed by ABC. It doesn’t really make you a victim of a spy account does it. Also kind of adds another torpedo to sink the whole spygate story as why go to all the bother of creating accounts when peoples views are so out in the open. Not quite the Orewellian nightmare that has been painted.

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          • You raise a valuable question there Michael, something that has indeed bothered me since this story broke. Why bother creating “Spy” accounts?

            It all comes back to what have they found in the investigation – how far did they go to “investigate” us? Twitter and Facebook are exactly that – public internet sites and that is why they were used – to reach the public.

            But, did the council go as far as creating these “spy” accounts and then try and befriend people say on Facebook and access their personal information which is only available to friends etc? I feel that is crossing the line.

            As I have said many, many times before – I await the results of the investigation.

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    • OMG! Twitter is public? Crap, I thought it was MI5!

      I have not actually complained about them engaging in this practice at any point. As I have previously said, I would be stunned if they didn’t check up on us all.

      What was hysterically funny and caused all the stramash, was the council bragging about it and saying it was good practice to do so.

      For the record, I made a point of welcoming the council to following our account.

      I was quite chuffed. We must have been doing something right for them to look us up.

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      • Sorry She Bat, can’t reply to your reply to me. Another thing that would go against the creation and existence of spy accounts is the sheer effort involved in monitoring them all, it would surely be a lot of man (or woman) hours. Small team would get swamped. Surely the council know all the relevant info anyway, of what interest is it to them that a person likes Maroon 5, Eastenders and plays Scrabble? By the way, that is just random, i am not spying on anyone who has those interests, honest.

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  21. Micheal – So does the Oban Times ( yesterday) Apparently Clayton billed for 60 days rather han the 14 days Newsie claimed and blethered on about.
    Really Newsie – get your fact straight.

    In fact answer Neil Kay’s question …..

    Newsie: CV or not CV that is the question :) :) :)

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    • Sorry Simon – correction.
      We repeated facts printed by the Oban Times in their first story when they got their FOI documents.
      They have revised those in this week’s edition.
      We accepted as secure the facts they originally gave.
      They will probably have been dealing with a morass of material released under FoI.
      The pressure of print deadlines makes it hard to digest volumes of data at speed with 100% accuracy. There is often little time to reflect. They did a good job with this FoI and should not be blamed for corrected inaccuracies.

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  22. “We repeated facts printed by the Oban Times” blaming the print media that you boast about being superior to- what a cop-out!

    Anyway, CV or not CV that is still the question…. ???

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  23. Hi She Bat, sorry if i said something out of context there, it wasn’t meant as a personal thing against you, it was more aimed at the website. I know the Berry incident is old news now, but the misreporting on this site of it just annoys me. I just don’t like the name calling of people not in a position to defend themselves, the nature of it is unwarranted and unacceptable. For a website that is in general very professionally run it is a weak spot allowing personal animosities to get in the way of balanced reporting.

    Now Robert, hopefully i can satisfy your curiosity of how i chose my name. Jones is my maiden name, then again after three marriages and two divorces surnames tend to be a fairly tranistory thing in my life, not that i have any intention of changing it again. As for Paula, that is one of my middle names. As my mother chose to give me four of them, i had plenty of choice. I must admit it has been a bit of a pain in the past filling in forms so nowadays i tend not to use many. So there you go, no nefarious plotting and i am unaware of any one called Paula Jones. If by coincidence it is someones name that you know or is someone’s name that would rather not be used, then i apologise, i will use a different name as and when i comment on here.

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    • Paula;
      I for one think that you spoke a lot of sense re the radio station stooshie. Oban community radio is a great asset to the Lorn and isles area, and has taken a pretty dignified stand on any ‘chips on shoulders’ over many years. Bute fm hopefully will come through their recent rumbles and Mull have a community radio licence so that will also be a useful addition to local communities.
      Really, we dont know when we are well off with so many people giving up their free time sharing their talents with us all.
      ‘Newsroom’ sometimes starts debates and its always done in the right spirit i feel, and with a small staff they FA cant always be on top of eveything. That said i always enjoy the banter on here.

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    • Thanks for the explanation, and it’s me who should apologise because I didn’t think it was your real name;
      There’s someone who calls themselves ‘Hans Blix’ on this blog, and I’m pretty sure they’re not the investigator of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and that it’s rather unlikely that there are two Hans Blixes (maybe I’m wrong there, too). So when your name appeared I thought that it was someone who’d chosen anonymity behind the name of that rather colourful Arkansas character who initiated the ‘outing’ of Bill Clinton.

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  24. Hmmm, “Team Simon” seem to be out in force again. I genuinely wonder about the level of whinging postings and its real source.

    The casual bullying of ForArgyll is one thing and rather disturbing, the suspicion it’s coming from an employee of the council during their weekend off quite another and makes me wonder whether it’s officially sanctioned.

    Assuming FA is collating the varied IP address’ the Simon persona has been using, the end game of this bullying campaign should be of interest.

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  25. I for one certainly don,t think the Berry incident as the lady calls it is old news.Our new council leader will be enlghtening us all with the true story very shortly and then we will get some tremendous crack.As for Oban Fm.well I am sure Phil will be extremely delighted about what will be put in the public domain.
    Cheers Neil.

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  26. Grant – Team Simon? Team Simon??

    You’ve been reading “Doc’s” posts ansd believing them. How else do explainf your rather strange post combining as it did wild specualtive accusations with traces of paranoia.

    “The casual bullying of ForArgyll is one thing and rather disturbing” – so when I point out that FA and Newsie have made yet another dog’s breakfast of their ‘facts’ that in your opinion constitutes bullying?? Get a grip Granty even Newsie admitsa “no one can deny that if we dish it out we can certainly take it”.

    Kind of you to rush to protect her honour – don’t think she needs it though- her skin seems to be pretty thick – Gawd’s truth she can COMPLETELY ignore a post from Neil Kay asking her directly to publish her credentials…

    Also, Granty are getting seriously paranoid if you think I’m a Council employee and that my posts are somehow ‘officially sanctioned’. That’s fanatasy and conspiracy theorising on a grand scale.

    Anyway enough of responding to your nonsense as I must go and trim my beard. ;)

    Have a nice day y’all.

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    • The bottom line, Simon, is that we’d be better off without For Argyll. I don’t think so, by a very long shot, (although of course there are criticisms when there’s so much controversy flying about) so the question is just what is motivating you (and others) in persistent and sometimes very tedious sniping? Some of it’s really childish stuff.

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  27. I would say Robert of course there is a place for FA in the media diaspora. They have the added advantage in that they are beholden to no-one but the readers. There are no big advertisers to answer to, no group line to toe, no Rupert Murdoch type figure to dictate what to say and what line to take. It gives a great freedom to go where the local media won’t. However these freedoms do come with responsibilities and those are to be fair, to report the facts and to put both sides of the story where known and not to make rash judgements. FA does indeed ask some difficult questions and in the case of Spygate (as FA has dubbed it) they have done so. In my view though, as well as asking the questions, FA has provided its own answers, either manipulating or inventing answers to fit in with it’s own dogmatic editorial. I too was with FA on this, at least initially until it seemed to me what few facts there were did not seem to fit the story as told.

    Now unlike you, i didn’t pick journalist out of the dressing up box but i do feel there were a number of questions that were not asked or if they were, left hanging.

    Why after 6 months did the PowerPoint from the meeting suddenly emerge to cause such controversy? At the time, if Simon is to be believed, the presentation was given to universal acclaim. So the presentation itself is sat on an obscure website somewhere, or its sat on the council servers, but then it gets leaked a few weeks before an election.

    What due diligence was done? How does anyone know the fake accounts existed? What proof did anyone have of these accounts? Did anyone interact with any of these fake accounts? It would seem not, otherwise someone would have noticed. Even if accounts were deleted, they would be still be traceable. The so called admittance, which to me just looked like an ambiguous statement from a person caught on the hop who did not know quite what to say. Now had she said, ‘yes I created fake accounts’ I would have said that was admitting it, but she didn’t. Seemingly the only evidence provided is an email from a John Mckinnon. But that was someone leaking information, whereas the purpose of the spy accounts was to gather information, contradicts the purpose. Of course being followed on twitter by the council could be interpreted as monitoring, but not spying as there is no cloaking of identities.

    Was the phrase ‘spy accounts’ put into context at all, did anyone know any of the speech around it. After all these presentations just tend to highlight key points.

    Now an anonymous source said, she talked about creating fake accounts. However the conference organiser, who by the way is named, said no she didn’t. For some reason FA wilfully ignored that, or did i miss that. Where is this anonymous source now? They have been given far too much credence in my view and now they have vanished into thin air not backing up what they said with any credible evidence. I know proper media organisation use sources that they call anonymous, but that is normally to protect their identity. Does anyone this sources identity and did they give evidence to the Clayton enquiry?

    So many questions, so few answers. I am coming to my own conclusion about all this, i may or may not share it. Only those of you who think the current administration is squeaky clean might want to ask questions as to how they got there. Politics at a local level is the dirtiest politics of all.

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  28. Michael – the stuff I’m quoting from was all reported in the Dunoon Observer some months ago. I posted about it on here – but Newsie never took it up she just kept preaching the line Jo Smith = bad.

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  29. “if Simon is to be believed,” actually Michael I don’t lie.

    Here is the link to the story in the Dunoon Observer that I was sent.

    Even that local newspaper called it a ‘Kilmory conspiracy?’ and ‘black ops’ ahead of an election.

    No doubt in my mind that FA and Newsie were in this right up to their armpits.

    Here is the link from FEBRUARY this year – http://www.dunoon-observer.com/index.php/news/1-news/3850-kilmory-conspiracy

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  30. Excellent post Michael,the whole very sad saga could have been sorted out very quickly and it would have saved the Argyll taxpayer a lot of money.What they payed for the investigation could of gone on a couple of jobs which are badly needed.
    This Lady was used by ex councillor MacKay and Roddy knows all about, it was tied into allegations of misuse of parking permits.It was all being left to fade away till the Herald broke the story about Jo Smith at the conference which brought it back into the spotlight.
    Jo Smith had a boss above her so surely any council business would have to be sanctioned by her before any action to follow people,s on line accounts could go ahead.
    The councillors in this new administration especially Roddy should have the decency to stop this farce right now and come clean.Council employees were frightened to come forward before but we are supposed to have a so called new era of open goverment so let them speak now without any threat to their jobs.
    They have wasted a lot of our money when they already knew the answers.
    Cheers Neil.

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  31. No need to be so sensitive Simon, perhaps i could have put that sentence differently, i am not as fully up on all the detail as you, well until now. Yes Neil, looks like Jo Smith is not quite the evil demon that FA have been portraying and many including yourself no doubt once thought. Were FA and Newsie up to their armpits? That remains to be seen, but the ongoing silence speaks volumes.

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    • I for one think it would be a far poorer place (FA) without you Simon. You stick to your guns and are entertaining with it.
      Good debating skills, sometimes even winning arguments against the odds, often stunning opponents into silence.

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