Argyll and Bute Council planning for resumption of war on rural schools

We understand on good authority that Argyll and Bute Council’s education department, led by Cleland Sneddon, is well into preparation for its strategy in a coming resumption of a war of attrition on rural schools. There are two drivers of this situation.

  • The council needs to save something of the order of £2.5 million a year on education.
  • Cleland Sneddon has a major job to do to recover his professional reputation after the profound incompetence of the papers he put forward to justify the attempted closure of 26 schools across Argyll and Bute in the 2010-11 war between council and communities that literally changed the faces in politics in Argyll.

We understand that the strategy this time – and one of the places where work is being done to stand it up – is to try to demolish the argument that the loss of a school spells decline for a community.

The education department is said to be determined to produce ‘a robust and evidenced report’ demonstrating that this is not the case.

On previous performance, it would be a first if this department did indeed produce something ‘robust and evidenced’. Neither of these characteristics had anything at all to do with the cases they produced in the battle the communities and the Argyll Rural Schools Network fought so manfully to save the threatened 26 schools last time around.

This preparation for war is happening at a time when there has been not a peep from the Commissions on the Delivery of Rural Education. This Commission was set up by the Education Secretary as a reason for the moratorium on school closures he decided to request of the local authorities in that last stand-off war whose principal theatre was here in Argyll.

Part of what the Commission was charged to deliver was the necessary revision of the 2010 Schools Act.

The Commission, a joint responsibility of the Education Secretary and COSLA [the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities], has not reported on any aspect of its responsibilities.

The Education Secretary’s reputation was invested in this initiative, which is looking very like the dog that didn’t bark.

The bigger picture

The once celebrated quality of Scottish education is generally shown today,  at all levels, to be in a poor way – Universities are on the record as having to provide remedial education for many students before they are fit to succeed in their degree courses.

This is a situation now requiring remedial action if Scotland’s education system is to have a chance of playing its part in providing the skills and expertise to take forward the nation’s economic growth.

In this context, in the coming renewed hostilities between council and communities, there will have to be reasonable give and take on both sides.

Communities whose schools have miniscule rolls will be short of support in fighting to save them.

A key criterion here should be the cost to the child not the cost to the council. For example, a school with a roll of five may serve a community with no other option within 20 miles or 35 minutes – and where the individual small child, in being so moved, would lose the interaction with his or her local multigenerational cohort.

Communities that have clearly made strides to develop and secure their schools – in learning opportunities and achievements, in roll numbers and in constructive community engagement – will have every reason to argue for survival.

In the campaign for the far better quality of education than is currently the case in Scotland, it will not simply be the small roll rural schools that will be under question.

The so-called ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ [CfE] is a client for the sort of unblinkered scrutiny that once produced the story of the cry that the Emperor was naked.

We recommend everyone to think first of what they would expect a ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ to be about – and then to go to its website and immerse themselves in what they find there – for as long as they can bear.

The words ‘content free zone’ could not be more applicable.

As most parents did, we had accepted without question that something so triumphantly enitled ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ had to be a capable initiative – and, as a small team, we cannot delve simultaneously into everything.

But as we became worried by the range of concerns about the calibre of the students we are turning out from our schools, we turned to an examination of the’ Curriculum for Excellence’. Words still fail us – but they will not do so for long.

Any serious attempt to get education in Scotland on a footing to secure the futures of its young folk and of the nation will need to see some small schools close – where the relative cost to the child is clearly small and acceptable – and see the end of the supreme misdirection of CfE.

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71 Responses to Argyll and Bute Council planning for resumption of war on rural schools

  1. “We understand on good authority” well there it is right there – the classic phrase that signals to the regular reader on here that everything that follows is probably just more unsubstantiated nonsense from Newsie.

    And in connection with the closure of rural schools as well. Quelle suprise!!

    And a surprise re-appearance too of the legendary folk devil Cleland Sneddon.

    Well mark my words – EVEN if there is one shred of truth in this article – this inititiative for re-visiting the closure or rural schools could ONLY have come from the SNP politicians on the coalition. (Unless of course the SNP are going to try to play the ‘we didnae ken’ card they played the last time).

    So, for the avoidance of doubt why not contact the SNP spokesperson Mike Breslin and ask him outright – is the Council contemplating closing schools ?

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    • Well, if such a proposal is put forward we’ll find out what the SNP majority on the Council is really made of. At this point, the SNP will deny any knowledge of such a plan- it’s Cleland & his band of misfits preparing it. It’s in the final vote that we know who stands where. I wonder which way Tricky Dicky would vote?

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  2. Re the Commission, it has not simply disappeared but awaits the conclusion of the courts on the Western Isles appeal. It would be nonsense to report without that verdict and the decision to wait for it was unanimously agreed.

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  3. Bully for you Anne! Waiting for the courts!

    Doh! What was the point of the Commission then??? Why not just let the courts decide????

    Anyway, has the ‘initiative’ to re-visit rural schools come from your colleague Cllr Breslin? Is this now official SNP Group policy??

    Oooops. Sorry. I forgot – you didn’t actually get elected… apologises

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  4. I’m not surprised, it was only a matter of time. When the new council failed to grasp the nettle and clear out the trash from Kilmory last May when they were elected, it was only a matter of time before the smell of it would return to haunt them. The sheer jaw-dropping ineptitude of Sneddon and Co. is matched only by their arrogance, so their will be an endless supply of omnishambles while they remain. So far we have had School closures (twice), then the “spygate melodrama, then the Mary’s meals debacle. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the lavish rebuilding of Sally Loudon’s office suite (twice) to suit her exacting taste while the council were cutting services to everyone else. Now it appears that we are back to school closures again. As I said – endless.

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  5. It will be interesting to see how Roddy handles any developments on the schools issue.
    The first move was supposed to be to get rid of the QIO,s and let the head teachers get on with it.
    Thats a no brainer and I am sure counciller Breslin with his background will be more than a match for Sneedon.
    Simon,s point is valid the SNP can,t run from these decisions this time and blame someone else.Sadly the same people who were slagged before the elections are still in post not just in education but in all departments of the council.What do they produce for the money? Answers on the back of a stamp.
    Happy New Year everybody and keep the crack going.
    Cheers Neil.

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  6. Some posters on here actually seem to think that it’s the officials who determine Council policy. Well let’s be clear once and for all – the politicians dcecide on all matters of policy – including which service are to be cut. The officials are then charged with enacting those decisions.

    So, if the education department is sharpening its ‘school closure’ pencil – it’s because it has been told to do so by the SNP politicians on the coalition.

    Persoanlly, and as regulars on here know, at a time of severe public sector cuts I simply cannot accept that one section of service provision, rural primary schools, should be protected when there are better and cheaper options available locally.

    That said if there is any truth in this I await with interest to see just how the SNP try to justify their volte face. Shouldn’t really be a problem for them though – they are past masters at this sort of nonsense.

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    • Simon, you surprise me, I feel you’ve forgotten to mention what part good ole Mickey-boy Russell will play in the closures, or is this more Neil’s territory?

      On a lighter note, I hear that Russell was given a new compact vanity mirror for Christmas, one that he can carry at all times in his handbag.

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      • Do I remember correctly – did Mike Russell initially agree that some schools in A&B needed to close? I can’t remember the exact figure but I’m sure that both he and SNP councillors agreed to a reduction in numbers.

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  7. Graeme – the othe rhalf empty ones just down the road of course.

    No doubt (if there is any truth in this story) you’ll hear their names soon enough as the budget process is now well underway. ;)

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  8. This situation was always going to be revisited after the moratorium.
    Most Council tax payers (with no axe to grind, or blind affiliation to SNP etc or opposition) would i feel accept that not all schools can be saved in perpituity, or that that the extreme proposals in the previous admins’ plans were the way to go forward either.
    Ther now needs to be skillful work done in this matter and having taken a step back since last year, a need for all paties to have a balanced look at this again and get it right. Their needs to be zero influence from national politicians by way of ‘leaning’. You will not please everybody, but i will be surprised if our councillors in the Admin (SNP, argyll first etc) have not had some sort of discussion ready to put a plan on the table at the appropriate time. The old guard were slaugthered for tabling their proposals and indeed were too intransigent all along. They will be watching closely…………
    Interesting times ahead!

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  9. Simon, the Commission had a very wide remit and will report on it all. There is one important aspect that the court decision will have an impact on and a whole range of intelligent people agreed that it was important to consider that before concluding the report. If you think yourself wiser than them let me have your name, address and phone number and I’ll ask them to consullt you. Who knows, they might feel the need of a partisan joker’s input.

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  10. I am not surprised that this subject has “reared its ugly head again” as councils throughout Scotland have to make cutbacks to balance the books.
    I would like to put forward a suggestion that would save Argyll & Bute Council a little money every year in the future.
    Today 2nd January 2013 in Islay, the householders general waste bins are being emptied and the bin lorry staff are being paid TRIPLE time for working today. Argyll & Bute will probably be the only Local Authority in Scotland to empty domestic household bins today as the others usually empty the bins the following weekend paying DOUBLE time.
    For the Cleansing section of Argyll & Bute Council it is the “land of milk and honey” whilst other sections have to make do with gruel.

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  11. I love the comment from Treble T about the bin boys, so the money they get for working the holidays is going to put them in the “lap of luxury” I wish it was so easy.
    If we want to debate the money spent by different departments why not start with flexi-time across the board, you will be amazed by the results. By the way the bin lorries don’t qualify for flexi time and what they will be payed for the holiday work will not even go close to paying Jo Smith’s compensation for being made a scapegoat.
    But I think it is important that the debate about where our money is spent is in the public domain ahead of cuts that are to come, so we all can discuss and evaluate what is important for all of Argyll and its services.
    Cheers Neil.

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  12. My brother-in-law works on the bins in Islay and what he worked for today was 2 days in lieu. He also told me that sometimes even if the lorry is an hour late, never mind 3 days as Treble T suggests, the phones are red hot in the office with complaints. If you knew the hourly rate these boys were on Treble T I doubt if they are in “the land of milk and honey”.

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    • Totally agree with Neil and James in above comments.
      What is referred to as triple time is (i am informed)actually double time + the fact you are allready paid for the day as a hol, whether you work it or not. As James has also stated the boys may well have 2 days added on to annual leave rather than be a direct monetary cost. Treble T has got the gist of this one wrong and appears to have a ‘problem’ with the binmen?
      Another point to be ponder is that some areas of Argyll and Bute are on a fortnightly uplift.
      The only certainty for 2013 (and beyond) is that it will be a difficult year balancing the books.

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  13. Phil.
    For the record Islay has been on fortnightly bin collections since August 2006 when it started as a pilot. Our local Coucillor Robin Currie cannot even remember whether he voted in favour of the pilot scheme but Councillor McAlpine says that he voted against the pilot scheme. A show of hands were taken so this is Councillor Currie’s “get out of jail card”.
    I do not object to having my general waste bin emptied fortnightly providing EVERYBODY ELSE in Argyll & Bute did likewise. However in Kilmory it is a case of “out of sight out of mind”.
    Regarding the payment of triple time even if staff receive double time and a day in lieu someone has to be transferred from another job to cover the binman’s day off.

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    • Yes I did think that Islay were on the fortnightly uplift so thanks for confirmation. It emphasise the need for the bins to be uplifted during the holiday period.
      I do agree with you that the fortnightly system in conjunction with the alterante week recycling uplift should now be rolled out accross the council area, saving money and doing the right thing envoronmetally.

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  14. As we have touched on some financial bits here there is a very important meeting on the 16th of January in the Corran Halls in Oban at 6.30 to hear about the council budget.
    For people in our area it will be a great chance to see what is being proposed and a chance to ask our councillors and officers what they have decided to cut.
    Jobs will obviously go and services could be lost so please come along to get involved in the debate.
    We can,t blame the councillors if we don,t take part.
    I am sure there will be meetings about the budget all over Argyll so forargyll will be a great site for us to discuss the implications for the future.
    Cheers Neil.

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  15. Neil, you are being far too civilised about this! Asking people to take part in a consultation meeting about Council budget and service cuts – don’t you know that Newsie* has already declared this story to be “a war on rural schools”??

    So please less of the considered and intelligent posts from you and get on message – ‘Big Bad Council (where Councillors have noses in trough) is declaring war on small isolated, vulnerable, award winning rural school’.

    *I surely can’t be alone in thinking that Newsie must perversley be looking forward to resumption of war on rural schools.

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    • Simon – on no occasion have we ever suggested that any councillor at Argyll and Bute Council has her or his ‘nose in any trough’.
      This is dishonest information manipulation on your part.
      In your determination to discredit For Argyll at all costs, you smear honest councillors by raising this issue in association with them.

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      • Newsie, most posters on here will not be aware that you censor my comments ie my comments are being moderated, if YOU don’t like what I say then you don’t print it.

        This started after your moral outrage post of Jan 4 (above). In this post you thundered “on no occasion we ever suggested that any councillor at Argyll and Bute Council has her or his ‘nose in any trough’. This is dishonest information manipulation on your part…you smear honest councillors by raising this issue in association with them”.
        You then go on to accuse me of seeking to discredit For Argyll.

        Fine and impressivve words Newsie – unfortunately though that’s all they are fine words; see despite your high moral tone what you’ve printed is a complete lie…

        Evidence: On dec 6 2010 you published an article entitled ‘Argyll Bute Council: ‘THE ADMINISTRATION’ – the price of communities’ and amongst the other insults and smears you made you stated
        “Everyone was right about what bought the LibDems and oh boy are their snouts in the trough. ‘Bought and sold for Council Gold’ a parcel of rogues indeed”.

        Now, can you please publish this post and can you do so with an apology to me for the hypocritical, poo-faced lie that I was spreading “dishonest information” and in doing smearing honest councillors when all the time you were one doing that.

        Oh, and as an aside – I’m not determined to discredcit For Argyll – you do that well enough all on your own.

        Have a nice day ;)

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  16. Newsie – get off your high horse and gie’s peace.

    You have made repeated, vicious, and personal attacks on those councillors (and officials) whose views you do not agree with. For example “a rainbow rag bag of disguised political views bound together by nothing more than personal ambition”, you have repeatedly accused councillors and official of bullying “Both the elected membership and the salaried staff are riven by a culture of bullying”, you also claim that they “ready indulgence in the lard of pork barrell politics”.

    You are of course entitled to your opinion but let’s be honest – you do tend to express them in emotive, personal and very childish bullying terms – “brain-free environs” and “Kilmorons”, “performing seals” for example.

    And you suggest I’m smearing honest councillors???

    Pot, kettle, black.

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  17. In considering the primary school closures the number of placement requests would be interesting.
    A number parents decide to send their child/children past their local primary school to a school further away.
    They do have to get the child to the placement school…. however having the time and transport are essential to make such a choice.

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  18. “Resumption of War on Rural Schools” – meant to say Newsie – if these cuts do go ahead it would be a budget cut/service cut – one amongst the many this Council and the previous Council has to decide on – they will NOT be ‘a resumption of war on rural schools’.

    The misleading, overblown and emotive language you use on here does nothing to help anyone. It’s also in complete contrast to the style of Jamie McGrigor MSP whose attribute of ‘playing the ball not the man’ you’ve praised on here previously.

    You seem to take the school-playground view that as ‘it’s ma baw it’s ma rules’. It’s fine for you to denigrate, offend, ridicule, lambast, invent, personalise and abuse -but as soon as anyone else comes near to doing anything like that – you jump on your moral high horse and it’s ‘Hi Ho Silver Away’.

    Grow up.

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  19. Well, at least it will be the SNP who will be accused of resuming the war on rural schools (after council officials) – they can’t run away and hide this time.

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  20. Phil.
    Thank you for your comments.
    Now you will realise why I have a “bee in my bonnet” about bin collections in Argyll & Bute.
    Perhaps James Walsh will now understand why council taxpayers in Islay phone up wondering why their bin collection is one hour late. I do not have a major problem if the bin collection is one day late as there is only my wife and myself but households with children must panick when the bin collections are late because their bin will be full to bursting. In some parts of Scotland the binmen will not uplift extra black bags if they cannot be deposited inside the domestic waste bin although I do no if this is the case in Islay. The sooner that Local Authorities realise that they are there to serve council taxpayers and not the other way round the better.
    The first time our general waste bin was not emptied on the due date I did what council taxpayers do in the rest of Scotland. I emailed my local councillor Robin Currie to ask when we were likely to have our bin emptied. I received a cheeky reply from him saying that I should make a better job of recycling my household waste.
    At that time Councillor Currie was a member of the Executive Group of Councillors on Argyll & Bute Council and for 3 or 4 days every week he was at council meetings on the Mainland or the A & B council representative at West Highland Housing Association meetings in Oban. Councillor Currie was living in hotels at the Argyll & Bute Council taxpayers expense.
    As he is now an opposition councillor and living on Islay for 6 days per week it would interesting to know how well he is currently recycling his domestic waste!
    Like the rest of Argyll & Bute we have had our skips removed and for three years we received a fortnightly uplift of our browns bins containing garden waste.
    About three years ago the service was stopped to save just £34,000 per annum (FOI request). At about the same time one of the public cark parks in Ardrishaig almost opposite the Argyll & Bute Building Control office was completely resurfaced.
    Argyll & Bute Council were conveniently able to find the funds to pay for this work whilst Islay council taxpayers lost their brown collection service.
    If the bin lorry is late I am able to find out why using another source.

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    • ‘Like the rest of Argyll & Bute we have had our skips removed’ – so howcome there are still skips in the car park in Lochgilphead, TTT? I’m not imagining them, you’re imagining their disappearance, and misinforming everyone who reads your grumbles.

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      • Sorry Robert, afraid he’s right in this one – no skips on Islay.
        However, personally I was delighted to have our bin emptied on the 2nd, as we had missed the collection before – our own fault. TTT does seem to have a bit of a thing about the bins; not enough to do I’m afraid.

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    • Yes i totally agree that the same system for bins, skips etc should be universal regarding frequency and availibility.
      Skips not being readily available i can understand due to them being misused with buliders waste etc, and overflowing. The cost of landfilling all the skip contents as a freebie would be impossible for the council as landfill tax has being incresing way above inflation for years.
      Skips or ‘special uplifts’ for bulky waste can be booked for a very reasonable cost through local offices.
      The Islay fortnightly service was as you point out a trial, that was for some strange reason not rolled out over the council area. That is an area that should be looked on as a big money saver in the next round of savings.

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      • Phill, you are well out of date. The emptying of refuse bins in the Helensburgh and Loch Lomond area has been going on for umpteen years without any problems. I have checked and it was the first area to introduce such a service. That area has the largest population of any of the decentralised areas within Argyll & Bute. I believe that over 30% of the Argyll & Bute population lives in that area.

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        • Thank you Benasheil for the info.
          If 2 totally diferent areas like Islay and Helensburgh can manage the fortnightly refuse/recycling uplifts then the other areas, Lochgilphead, Dunoon, Oban, Campeltown, Rothesay and all points between should also be on stream by now.
          The money saved may ease the financial strain on other areas eg education etc to some degree!

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  21. Lowry, I agree with your sentiment – but any attempt by anyone to ‘blame’ Council officials (as Newsie does in the article above) has to be refuted by any fair-minded onlooker

    Regardless of what Newsie claims as “the driver of this situation” – there is in fact only ONE driver – and that is a determination by the SNP (led by SNP Cllr McCuish with SNP Cllr Breslin as education spokesperson) that rural schools will not escape service cuts this time around (due process permitting).

    Therefore any attempt to blame council officials for ‘waging a war on rural schools’ is complete, utter childish nonsense.

    Policy is determined by politicians and not by officials.

    Regardless of what Newsie would like us to believe….

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  22. Treble T said the other day that he wonders why he moved from Dundee to Islay. I in turn wonder if he grumbled like this about the local council in Dundee when he lived there. He strikes me as someone who is rarely satisfied about anything!

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  23. Alex McKay.
    I often wonder why I moved from Dundee to Islay and now I realise that I made a big mistake moving to Islay.
    If I still lived in Dundee my general waste bin would be emptied weekly.

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  24. Phil.
    You may have noticed that Helesburgh and Islay are two of the furthest away places from Kilmory and as I have said before the bosses at Kilmory take the view “out of sight out of mind”.
    It is a pity that A & B Council did not start the trial period of fortnightly general waste bin collections in Lochgilphead and then they could have seen whether it was going to be a success or not.
    Council taxpayers in Helensburgh and Islay should request a refund on their council tax for the number of years that they have had an inferior bin collection service compared to council taxpayers in the remainder of Argyll & Bute.
    If would not be difficult to calculate based on the annual cost of emptying the general waste bins per annum in Islay, Helensburgh, Campbeltown and Lochgilphead. If the cost is cheaper in Helensburgh and Islay compared to Campbeltown and Lochgilphead then council taxpayers in Islay and Helensburgh are due a refund.
    Everybody in the Argyll & Bute council area pays the same council tax depending on their property band and they should ALL receive the same service no matter where they live.

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    • Treble T said – “Council taxpayers in Helensburgh and Islay should request a refund on their council tax for the number of years that they have had an inferior bin collection service compared to council taxpayers in the remainder of Argyll & Bute.”

      That is a slightly dodgy argument if you apply it across the board of Council services as someone in a village could demand they get a refund on their council tax until they, like Helensburgh for example, have easy access to a secondary school, choice of primary schools, semi maintained parks, leisure facilities, regular bus services, social work offices, library (granted it is a terrible one) etc etc etc. It was always one of the woeful arguments during the school debate that it wasn’t fair that a kid in a village got more spent per head on them for education than a kid in a big town – once that equal provision argument is made across services then we can see it isn’t such a credible point.

      Personally I have no objection to a reduced bin collection service and on this specific point I do think it is one where it is possible for it to be implemented differently in different areas. Areas of greater populous, possible with less space (i.ee more urban) might need bins emptying more frequently than more rural locations. Given that it does seem odd that Helensburgh would get less than other more rural locations.

      As for any potential future school closures within A&B I, and ARSN as a group will wait till we hear something more concrete and also make our own enquiries.

      I do, however, like the fact that an article about school closures has turned into one about waste disposal for that is exactly where the last proposlas ended up and should always have been. Even Simon writes more sense than we witnessed in those!

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  25. Robert Wakeham.
    If there are still skips in the car park in Lochgilphead then it is because Argyll & Bute Council are too frightened to thake them away.
    I suggest that come to Islay and suggest that we are imagining that the skips have been removed.
    You are either taking the p**s or have a screw loose!!

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  26. Robert Wakeham.
    Please explain to me why it has been widely reported in the local press ie Oban Times etc that since the council skips have been removed from all parts of Argyll & Bute, fly tipping has greatly increased.

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    • Nevertheless, I dont feel that taxpayers money should be used as an antedote to those prepared to break the law by fly tipping. Skips are expensive to operate, both in terms of transportation and subsequent landfill/tipping charges.
      Each Council area has wardens ‘policing’ flytipping, dog fouling etc, and depend on information from the public re this lazy anti social practice.

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    • So, Treble T, you want to leave Islay and can’t, because you are under your wife’s thumb, so you relieve your frustrations by constantly comparing Islay and Argyll & Bute unfavourably with Dundee. I wonder how the folk on Islay regard such behaviour.

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  27. Alex McKay.
    Councillors in Dundee listen to their constituents’ complaints and take action unlike our local LibDem councillor on Islay who cannot even remember which way he voted on a show of hands!

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  28. Robert Wakeham.
    I am very disappointed that you are unable/unwilling to answer my question.
    If you cannot do so then the alternative is to apologise.
    I can think of a suitable word consisting of five letters, the first letter is S and the last letter is Y.

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  29. Robert Wakeham.
    Apart from the car park in Lochgilphead where else in Argyll & Bute are there council skips for members of the public to deposit their bulky items of household rubbish.

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  30. I was speaking about the removal of skips in places on Islay such as Port Ellen where Argyll & Bute Council received European Objective 1 funding to create a site for 2 skips. This allowed householders to put their garden waste and bulky items of household rubbish in the council skips. There were also council skips at Portnahaven.
    With the removal of these skips on Islay residents in Port Ellen have a round trip to Gartbreck of approximately 24 miles at £1.46p per litre of unleaded petrol. The residents of Portnahaven have a round trip of approximately 52 miles to Gartbreck.
    Residents living outwith Lochgilphead, Campbeltown, Helensburgh and Gartbreck which is at least 2 miles outside Bowmore have the same problem and Argyll & Bute Council wonder why there has been a great increase in fly tipping throughout the council area.
    The sooner the well paid A & B councils bosses realise that they are employed to provide a service to the residents of Argyll & Bute and not the other way round the better.

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  31. When I was at Downfield Primary School Dundee and Morgan Academy Senior Secondary School Dundee “centre” was spelt centre NOT center.

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  32. Anyway thats the skips debate……
    Look forward to ‘forargyll’ as always and in anticipation of keen debate when the schools decision makers start the ball rolling.

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  33. Newsie – any comment on my comments (above) of today’s date at post 17? You know the one where you denied describing councillors as having their noses in the trough?? And I proved you wrong.

    Any apology forthcoming?

    Mmm?

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