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To reiterate my post on 3 Aug, if …

Comment posted With Heb Isles in for repairs, CalMac charters replacement vessel to reduce underprovision for Islay by Jerry McIver.

To reiterate my post on 3 Aug, if the contract was being delivered by a private operator, Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, the unions, MSPs and the Minister would be falling over themselves to demonstrate they were managing the contract very closely to ensure the service is delivered as expected and taxpayers are protected and the operator is publicly held to account.
One has to question the conflicts of interest inherent when contracting party and operator ultimately lead to the same person. No wonder nobody seems desperate to look too closely at recent misfortunes, especially as that same person has rubber stamped another 8 years and £1b! Have we seen any details of those 350 ‘improvements’ promised yet?

Jerry McIver also commented

  • I see the MD’s quit. Interesting way to kick start the new contract.
  • Whatever the technical issue, the fact is a large Calmac passenger ferry has run out of the control of its captain in fine, flat and calm sailing condition. Through sheer luck ‘only’ £100k of damage has been done smashing into a marina and the vessel has reportedly grazed its hull on the seabed, although some eye witnesses talk of the vessel coming to an abrupt halt suggesting it hit something more solid. But the extent of that damage isn’t know yet.

    This is an extremely serious maritime safety incident whose root cause needs to be investigated thoroughly with the results being made public.

  • How is it the state owned company even makes a profit? Would this profit be any more or less than a private operator?
    Would a 1.5% bonus wipe out any marginal profit made anyway.
    Where is Calmac getting its £6m it promised to invest in vessels and ports in the next contract if it isn’t coming from its profits, which are generate only from payment of excess subsidy anyway?
    Any business that costs more to deliver than it gets in revenue cannot by definition make a profit. Any ‘profit’ is just an allowable return funded from the payment of excess subsidy. There may be good reasons to allow this cash buffer to be created, but it is not ‘profit’. It is an operational slush fund.
  • Commitments made by Calmac for the next contract just announced to include:

    “Work in partnership with shipyards to plan long-term maintenance activities to minimise reactive maintenance.”

    Really? Surely this is fundamentally basic operating competence that any serious operator would be doing anyway and you’d hope Calmac has been doing this for years already?
    It beggars belief that this should be a headline element of the next contract. Have they been taking the ‘wait till it breaks’ approach until now?

  • Calmac is untouchable of course. Beyond criticism or challenge. There’s nobody in Scottish Government with an incentive to force accountability or ask awkward questions. Any shortcomings identified would embarrass the Minister as sole shareholder of the operator, ultimate manager of the contract, or political decision maker for funding of subsidy, infrastructure and assets.
    Throw a powerful union to keep onside and some media influence into the mix and its no surprise the message is ‘no serious problem here’.

Recent comments by Jerry McIver

  • ForArgyll on Pause
    I hope the party faithful come knocking to generate support for indyref2. I’ll take pleasure in telling them I voted SNP previously as I thought a Scottish focused Government would be a good thing, unlike other Scottish parties who must have some influence from big brother down south. I did not vote SNP to get independence and assumed once in power they would make best use of it. But now, they got wilder eyed and the thirst for independent blood grew stronger. We had a vote. I voted no. We’re now faced with another vote. It will still be no. And guess what, at the election SNP will definitely not be getting my vote again. Their opportunity to prove themselves in Government has been squandered with this obsession to the extent it overshadows everything else and they are objectionable on principle.
    An example? Some Conservatives suggested a new Royal Yacht, SNP rose up an decried it as wasteful and a stupid idea. Did not one SNP MSP or MP think for a second that Scotland has a proud shipbuilding tradition and several limping shipyards its desperate to keep afloat and has a whole executive agency who regularly need to buy or build large passenger ferries? This could have been an opportunity to build on that but dogma stood in the way.
    Instead, it is happy to piss £tens of millions keeping loss making Prestwick alive with no obvious plan to turn it around beyond a ‘space port’.
    Decisions like this shake my faith that SNP really has any competence to manage itself, never mind manage an independent country.

    The reality is, none of the other parties will do a bad job as by and large, the Scottish population and its public servants are sensible people. Roll on the next parliamentary election in Scotland. Time for change.

  • ForArgyll on Pause
    Fully agree on all counts.
  • ForArgyll on Pause
    Didn’t we have the ultimate ‘listening exercise’ in 2014?
    Is Sturgeon deaf.
    Or is it less a listening exercise and more a case of keep asking the question till you get the answer you want to hear?
  • Here’s how the ‘BT Broadband Security’ scam works – a victim’s narrative
    Men in dark coats and glasses, shutting down the free media who dare question the Dear Leader and her Apparatchiks. Zero tolerance of those “not on message”. A poor day for democracy and free speech if it is a gag. Is this a foretaste of an independent Scotland?
  • Here’s how the ‘BT Broadband Security’ scam works – a victim’s narrative
    Has ForArgyll officially died?

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