Scottish Labour Leader insists Scottish Government keeps west coast ferry services in public hands

Following obediently in the wake of the RMT union’s robust campaign in support of the Scottish Government-owned ferry operator, CalMac, in the tender [now in its closing stages] for the west coast Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services [CHFS] contract, Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale is now sloganising: ‘Keep ferry services in public hands’.

Ms Dugdale has attacked the SNP for failing to support the campaign to keep CalMac’s Clyde and Hebrides ferry service in public hands.

In this she could not be more mistaken – or more knowingly misleading.

For Argyll has serially published on the often incomprehensible  ways in which the SNP Scottish Government has behaved in ways appearing to be complicit with the RMT [and CalMac] in overt and specific management of the requirements of the tender in matters that push up costs into the future. These developments to the tender could only advantage CalMac and disadvantage a private sector operator, like CalMac’s sole competitor, Serco.

Ms Dugdale travelled by CalMac ferry to Arran today to talk to business leaders on the island and carry out a number of visits. While on the island, the Labour Leader toured a number of local businesses, including Arran Aromatics and the Isle of Arran distillery.

She also criticised SNP MSPs for their failure to sign a Scottish Labour motion backing a campaign organised by the RMT union, whose members are employed by the ferry operator.- hence the Union’s various exercises to compel the Scottish Government to do as it demands. These included

Ms Dugdale said: ‘We need a guarantee from the SNP Government that these vital services will remain in public hands.’ [That has tacitly been delivered in the concessions made to the RMT in additions to the tender specifications.]

‘The ferry industry not only provides valuable jobs for people on the islands, they are a lifeline for local businesses bringing in goods and tourists. [ [CalMac does not operate a local crewing policy. Crews from wherever, sometimes offshore, live aboard the vessels.]

‘CalMac doesn’t just provide a ferry service they also engage with the local communities that they serve and that support for local events is worth thousands of pounds, money that would be at risk if the service was privatised. Over the past two years they’ve also returned just under £4 million to Transport Scotland, which proves this is a profitable route.’ [If the Arran route is profitable – and the return of monies to Transport Scotland does not necessarily demonstrate that – as opposed to demonstrating performance above contract datum, which is not the same thing, no other routes are. It is widely known that no CalMac routes make money.]

Ms Dugdale highlighted a report from the Fraser of Allander Institute which estimated that CalMac‘s support for island tourism enabled 3,247 jobs, worth around £53.4 million in wages. [This is so – but the same would be the case with any operator of the services. It is the service, not the operator, that supports tourist access.]

An economic impact study carried out by the RMT supported the claims that there was an economic benefit to the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service staying in public hands. [Hardly an objective source of such a survey.]

Scottish Labour’s Transport spokesperson David Stewart, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has also exposed the SNP Government’s failure to use European legislation which would prevent the need for the Clyde routes to be put out to tender.

The Scottish Labour leader added: ‘Last November, the SNP voted against Labour’s call to halt the CalMac privatisation process, despite previous promises they would not put the services out to tender.

‘Not one SNP MSP attended the briefing held by the RMT when they published their study in Parliament this week and not one SNP member has signed Labour’s motion. The SNP cannot pretend they are trying to save CalMac services when clearly they are not.

‘It’s not too late to act. The SNP Government could suspend the tender process while they investigate the European situation and they could guarantee the Clyde and Hebrides services will not be privatised.

‘Those who live on Arran and the other islands deserve to know these vital services are safe.’

Ms Dugdale has absolutely no need to fabricate this level of political aeration.

Anyone who has closely followed the moves in this pantomime – and is capable of reading them,  can bet their proverbial shirts that CalMac will emerge the victor, with an early post-election announcement.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Ms. Dugdale knows,or more likely doesn’t,that any deviation to EU tender regulations would result in legal challenge from losing Tender.
    Easy to spout crap when you know you will never be in power!!
    Everybody I know are behind CALMAC anyway.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

    Hugh Jazz March 4, 2016 9:28 pm Reply
    • HJ, It is very questionable as to whether there is any requirement for this contract to be put out to tender under EU law, our transport minister seems unable to justify it and many have questioned it including the unions.
      There is a very nasty cloud hanging over this including why is the decision not being announced before the election

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

      Richard March 5, 2016 10:59 am Reply
  • Ms Dugdale is clearly struggling to establish a raison d’être for Scottish Labour. She is the Don Quixote of modern politics. So many windmills to attack; but no sense of national purpose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

    Graeme mccormick March 4, 2016 9:48 pm Reply
  • Ms Dugdale knows nothing about west coast ferries as she was a pupil at Harris Academy in Dundee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

    Treble T March 5, 2016 12:25 am Reply
    • And where did you go to school?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

      Robert Wakeham March 5, 2016 10:44 am Reply
      • Robert.
        I attended Morgan Academy Senior Secondary School in Dundee.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

        Treble T March 6, 2016 1:57 pm Reply
  • What’s magic about public ownership? The Noggies manage without it for ferry crossings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    db March 5, 2016 2:08 am Reply
  • The ignorance on this subject from people I have spoken to is, frankly, breathtaking.

    I had a conversation with someone just the other day who was telling me what would happen if Serco won – he was talking absolute baloney, but even trying to counter the basic mistakes, this fellow simply was not interested.

    There are far too many entrenched view – and I say that as someone who 5 years ago was completely opposed to the concept of putting this out to tender and bringing in the private sector if they could run it more efficiently.

    People do not understand what Serco would be obliged to deliver – that’s the first mistake.

    Scotland is being robbed in broad daylight currently – money squandered with absolutely NO incentive to get even semi decent value for tax payers money (much like the NHS incidentally).

    The SNP could have announced CAlmac as the winner by now if they had the will – read into that what you will. There is no benefit for the SNP of announcing Calmac afer the vote.

    What the SNP are doing is right, but sadly, didn’t really go far enough. You’ve got to laugh sometimnes – I recall being told time and time again how an independent Scotland would do things differently – yet here any attempt bring in competition (under duress from the EU), not to cut costs or improve services bring howls of protest across the board…

    So bring it into context – how many who oppose the tendering of this route will accept that this situation is forced by the EU. The Scottish Governments hands are tied…

    Hugh Jazz – you can add this to yet another reason for you, a hardened Nationalist, to vote OUT…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

    JB March 5, 2016 8:08 am Reply
  • My goodness but has Kezia Dugdale just realised that the ferries are a lifeline bringing in goods for local businesses and tourists. She really is on the ball on that one. No doubt she’ll be spouting soon that shipbuilding like Ferguson’s Marine that the SG helped save is important to the Scottish economy. Not that her waste of space party did anything to support it. She really is an empty barrel making a noise.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

    willie March 5, 2016 8:17 am Reply
  • And is this the same Kezia Dugdale whose waste of space Labour Party howled in opposition to Nicola Sturgeon’s government bringing the struggling Prestwick Airport into protective public ownership. Seems that our waste of space Labour Party were not too concerned about the 3,200 jobs that rely on Preswick. And of course the WoS windbag party can’t see the potential benefits that the SGs joined up thinking of reducing APD.
    In fact, objectionable as Mr Trump is, Kezia Dugdale’s party even objected to Transport Scotland talking to the Trump Organisation about how Prestwick could be utilised as a feeder airport to the Trump Organisation’s golf and hotel interests. No wonder these windbags will be annihilated come May.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

    willie March 5, 2016 8:53 am Reply
    • How much profit did Prestwick Airport contribute to the Scottish Government coffers in their last financial year.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

      Treble T March 6, 2016 1:59 pm Reply
  • And lastly but not least but with the Labour Party heading for extinction would there be merit in stuffing some of the specimens and putting them on display in some kind of museum. Some might joke that this would be a modern day Hammer House of Horror as opposed to the a museum of latter day dinosaurs. Like the dinosaurs and Dodos, we should commemorate their passing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

    willie March 5, 2016 9:01 am Reply
  • Does Kezia Dougdale realise that ferry services are in public hands and will remain so? They are not being sold off, or made commercial, or left open for any operator to run any service they want. They are Government contracts, specified by Government, for a defined period set by Government, using Government assets and managed by Government civil servants.
    If doesn’t matter who the managing company is. It should be any Government’s objective to make best use of taxpayers money and to specify the service it wants to have delivered and ensure this is delivered.
    Part of this is to make sure if things get out of control, some is held to account and it is not the taxpayer who picks up the bill.
    Of the two bidders, Serco shareholders have to pay up if they get their numbers wrong, thats the risk associated to getting the reward of opportunity to make a profit. If David MacBrayne get their numbers wrong, their shareholder picks up the bill. Their shareholder is the taxpayer.
    There is zero incentive with a state operator to be in any way efficient, they carry no risk or penalty for doing so.
    Thats why RMT are so afraid. The state funded gravy train is under threat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

    Jerry McIver March 5, 2016 10:16 am Reply
  • Don’t know if many would agree with the statement that there is zero incentive for a state operator to be in anyway effective. This is a Tory policy that is applied to the the NHS, the school system, fire services, police and in fact all public service. It is however a policy rejected by the vast majority of people in Scotland who know only too well what privatisation would do to these public services. Indeed, already the people in rural areas are fearing the changes that Royal Mail privatisation is bringing and of course in England they are already well down the road towards privatising the NHS, fire brigade and police. Private company crime investigation officers instead of pokce – it’s happening with senior Tory (and Labour) MPs on the payroll of the companies involved. And indeed which corporate champions do the men of the people Messrs Brown, Blair, Mandelson and Darling work for now – and in whose interest?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

    willie March 5, 2016 11:07 am Reply
    • Willie, what has anything you accuse the tories in England of got to do with this subject, when it comes to the NHS it is fully devolved and has been underfunded by the SNP by not using the consequential money received every time Westminster has increased the funding in England, Sir Tom Hunter has been recommending school systems and funding that he looked at in London.
      The changes to the Scottish police has been a disaster and the fire service not much better, before you start shouting VAT the Scottish government and the two services were aware of the fact they had to pay VAT and have been criticised in Audit reports for ignoring the advice given by HMRC.
      The dark cloud and secrecy by the SG over this contract and the refusal to announce who will have the contract makes many of wonder why the lack of transparency.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

      richard March 5, 2016 12:35 pm Reply
      • Dick,your hatred of all things SNP have become tedious and banal.The SNP Government have a record they should be proud of.Certainly,in my lifetime,I have never seen progress in the general betterment of Scotland,and to prove my point,since the SNP gained minority power in 2007,we have witnessed an increase in Scotland’s population.Argyll and Bute council ,they are decreasing the population,as did the Yoonionist parties throughout Scotland before SNP power.
        Do you not see the correlation ?
        For the sake of us all in A&B,we better pray for a SNP Majority Government in May.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 10

        Hugh Jazz March 5, 2016 4:57 pm Reply
  • Kezla D ,and the SLP, have obviously not read the tender terms.

    The CHFS tender poses NO threat to service provision, as it stipulate NO diminution in current service provision.

    Other than Acts of God, the RMT has been the sole recent threat to service provision.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    SCOTNAT March 5, 2016 11:19 am Reply
    • Are RMT going to call for nationalisation of Western Ferries and Pentland Ferries as well? They must not like it when they continue running during RMT’s strikes.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

      Lundavra March 5, 2016 1:26 pm Reply
      • What crap Lundavra posts,
        .
        Calmac and the RMT obviously have a responsible relationship.
        There has been, one single strike of one day in over 30 years.
        When SERCO took over the northern isles routes there were two major disputes in the first 6 months.
        Congrats to Calmac and the RMT

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Keitho March 8, 2016 11:11 pm Reply
  • Why would the people of Arran not think their services are safe? All that says to me is that the people of Arran have no idea on what basis their services are delivered and what mechanisms and contracts sit behind the services.
    The vessels and services are specified by Transport Scotland and any amendments and alterations have to be approved by Transport Scotland. The operator can’t unilaterally change things. Its never been the case and I doubt will be the case in the new contract either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    Jerry McIver March 5, 2016 4:41 pm Reply
  • The sooner RMT realise that the SNP are the party defending CALMAC,the better.
    They think Kez and her red Tory chums are working for them,but I would wager, Brown and darling would buy and trade Serco Shares if they won the tender.
    Liebour,conning the people of Scotland since 1979.
    No more hard labour!!
    Incidentally,if Woofie got power ,she would scrap the Ferries and order amphibious Tanks. She loves straddling these big Chieftains!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    Hugh Jazz March 5, 2016 5:06 pm Reply
  • Can’t quite believe that anyone would say that the Tories are over funding Scotland with the SNP underfunding Scotland.
    Best unionist – better together fairy story I’ve heard for a long time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

    willie March 5, 2016 7:01 pm Reply
    • Willie.
      You obviously think that the SNP are doing a wonderful job running Scotland. Therefore I suggest the SNP run Scottish Government be allowed to use their preferred option of funding namely Full Fiscal Autonomy (FFA) and get rid of the Barnett Formula. It would interesting to see how John Swinney would able to balance the books using only the income from FFA.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

      Treble T March 6, 2016 2:06 pm Reply
      • You’re a dependent type of chap,aren’t you Treble b?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

        Hugh Jazz March 6, 2016 2:32 pm Reply
        • I certainly know my facts and how Full Fiscal Autonomy instead of the Barnett Formula would affect the Scottish public.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          Treble T March 7, 2016 1:43 pm Reply
  • Willie, nobody has used the phrase overfunding Scotland except you but it is a fact that if Westminster decides to spend more money on the likes of health then under the Barnett formula Scotland will get extra money on a proportional basis. This is established fact.

    The problem is that JS does not always allocate the extra money to health. Where does it go? I have no idea.

    You guys are incredibly willing to do and say whatever your masters tell you to. Classic cult activity.

    Getting back to the subject matter – I expect Serco to take over the management of all the ferry services quite soon after the election. Supporting Calmac? Extremely unlikely in my judgement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

    JimB March 5, 2016 7:57 pm Reply
  • Serco currently operate a far superior service on Northlink compared to Calmac with the fares reduced for Island residents compared to the “one size fits all” RET which the SNP run Scottish Government have imposed on the Calmac sailings.
    If you do not believe me then I suggest that you take a look at the enclosed Northlink ferries website http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/ and look at the small print at the foot of the page regarding “Offers”.
    Islanders receive at 30% discount on all fares (40% if aged 60 and over) for BOTH foot passengers and cars. The most expensive fares are in the High Season with reduced fares for Mid and Low season departures. Islanders also receive a 20% reduction on meals and drinks purchased on board the Northlink ferries on production of their Islanders card.
    Incoming workers living on the islands served by Northlink also qualify for the Islanders discount.
    I have calculated the Northlink fares structure for Islanders compared to the 2012 Calmac summer timetable fares structure for Kennacraig to Islay run which was the last period prior to the introduction of RET on the Islay route and the Northlink fares structure is far cheaper than RET especially during the Low and Mid season rates.
    Finally, I have known about the Northlink fares structure since December 2012 as I know someone who went to work on Shetland but surprisingly nobody on Islay or Forargyll.com seem to anything about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

    Treble T March 6, 2016 2:37 pm Reply
    • Passenger fare -Low season£27.00{Con£24.30} Car £109.00 no concession. Northlink prices. Wee bit dearer than Calmac.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

      James Walsh March 6, 2016 4:41 pm Reply
      • Which Calmac route is as long as Aberdeen – Lerwick, the one you quote.

        Oban – Castlebay is probably Calmac’s longest route and seems to be £66 for a car. Aberdeen – Lerwick looks about three times that distance so better value?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

        Lundavra March 6, 2016 8:14 pm Reply
        • Lundavra.
          Please read my post again.
          You will read that I am not comparing the current cost of the fare from Oban to Barra against Aberdeen to Lerwick.
          I am advising that the Northlink fares structure is far superior to the Calmac RET scheme.
          To make it a level playing field I used the Kennacraig to Islay 2012 summer timetable fares which was the last season prior to the introduction of RET on the Islay route.
          It would have been very easy to compare the current RET fares and what they would be using the current Northlink fares structure. That would not have been fair as it would not been “like for like”.
          Incidentally, the Islay residents are still complaining about the loss of the 6 journey tickets for both car and passenger journeys with the introduction of RET in October 2012. As a result they received the princely sum of a 50p reduction on each car journey compared to their 6 journey ticket (£3 per 6 journey book of tickets) whilst holidaymakers received a 44% reduction on the cost of their return sailing by car to Islay.
          RET was supposedly introduced to help reduce the cost of living for residents of Scottish islands served by Calmac and NOT for holidaymakers who come once a year.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          Treble T March 7, 2016 2:17 pm Reply
          • I was replying to this post

            ‘Passenger fare -Low season£27.00{Con£24.30} Car £109.00 no concession. Northlink prices. Wee bit dearer than Calmac.’

            Without allowing for any concessions, Aberdeen – Lerwick is about twice the price of Calmac’s longest (I think) route even though it must be at least three times the distance.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

            Lundavra March 7, 2016 4:32 pm
      • James.
        Once again you have not read my post correctly.
        I suggest that you get yourself a copy of the Calmac 2012 summer timetable for the Kennacraig to Islay route. You can obtain this timetable under Freedom of Information from Calmac or call in at a local Calmac office where they will probably have a copy.
        What I said in my post was that I used the current Northlink fares structure compared to the 2012 Calmac summer timetable for the Kennacraig to Islay run which showed that the Northlink fares structure is far cheaper than RET and most importantly the Islander discounted fares are for people living on the Islands served by the Northlink sailings. It is not for holidaymakers travelling on the Northlink sailings unlike RET which is a “one size fits all” for BOTH Islanders and holidaymakers.
        If you cannot understand that then there is little point in me wasting my time posting on Forargyll.com

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

        Treble T March 7, 2016 1:54 pm Reply
  • The SNP government cannot back the Calmac tender. The risk of long term legal challenge if it does sees to that.
    I do not know of one SNP MSP who wishes SERCO to win this contract.
    Calmac have supplied a good service all these years, a service which has steadily improved. Calmac are a government company answerable to a robust regime of public scrutiny.
    SERCO are a private company answerable to their shareholders.
    These shareholders are in the business of making profits.
    The RMT union have been a responsible union highlighted by there having been only one day strike in over 30 years.
    Calmac and the RMT have a respect for each others needs. They both have a respect for the needs of the ferry users.
    This is one “union” I dearly wish to continue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

    Keitho March 6, 2016 8:50 pm Reply
    • Keitho, I assume you will be supporting the SNP’s decision when the contract goes to Serco.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      Richard March 6, 2016 9:06 pm Reply
      • Richard the ass who does not have a clue.
        The SNP Government do not choose who gets the contract.
        If any party interferes with the process the legal eagles will have a ball.
        Maybe the ass Richard has a clue and just chooses to misrepresent as usual, just more of his lies
        The union that seems to work, Calmac, RMT and the Islanders served.
        No politics just the way it is. Keep this union going.
        .
        SNP 1 and 2
        ..
        .

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

        Keitho March 6, 2016 11:47 pm Reply
        • The question is better put, if after setting up the tender that included specifications and criteria it has established as being important and having a clear and fair scoring process to evaluate both tenders against, if Transport Scotland through this evaluation finds through this objective scoring mechanism that Serco will deliver overall a better proposition than has been put forward by Calmac, will Keitho support the decision.
          It is a public tender. It should have no political interference. If it does it calls into question the probity of every public tender and starts to stink of corrupt process. I don’t think SNP are corrupt.
          It doesn’t matter what the islanders, what politicians, what the unions, what anyone in here thinks should be the answer. Scottish Government has set a specification and two bidders have proposed their solution. One will be measured as being better than the other in the evaluation. Emotion, history, personal politics, gut feeling, fear of the unknown, comfort with the familiar are all totally irrelevant to the scoring and the decision making process.
          Whoever wins, the same boats will run the same routes, using the same staff and there will be the same fares as before.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          Jerry McIver March 7, 2016 7:30 am Reply
        • The SNP Government do not choose who gets the contract.

          Really? well well well – that’s interesting! Nothing to do with the SNP then?!

          I think someone knows Serco are on the way in but just won’t say it.

          EU, Ferries, Fracking, council tax – the SNP are an absolute mess. 2 months for the people of Scotland to wake up and realise how they are being diddled by the SNP. Failed promises all over the place, fracking happening once the science proves it okay (recall how the banning of GM crops didn’t require any scientific evidence), council tax policy copied from the Tories commission, ferry services farmed out to a private operator after the election…and an SNP arguing to stay in a union that is less democratic, less beneficial and less stable than the 30 year union that has stood the test of time – note how Sturgeon(and Hosie, Grant and the rest) keep calling on everyone else to make the positive case for the EU – whilst their own positive case usually takes about a paragraph of unsubstantiated supposition.

          Chickens coming home to roost – as predicted.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

          JB March 7, 2016 7:32 am Reply
          • *300 year union

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

            JB March 7, 2016 7:34 am
          • What an utterly unrecognisable diatribe of political piffle from JB.
            Pure Alice in wonderland stuff.

            ‘ I think someone knows Serco are on the way in but just won’t say it. ”
            No one knows you idiot.

            TOTAL LIES FROM JB

            fracking happening once the science proves it okay (recall how the banning of GM crops didn’t require any scientific evidence)”

            MORE LIES FROM JB
            Go on enlighten us what is the Tory policy on “Fracking”?
            I know, but it will be better coming from you.

            ” council tax policy copied from the Tories commission,”
            .
            The SNP policy of freezing the council tax for 9 years was copying the Tory policy was it?
            Don’t be such a fool

            MORE LIES FROM JB

            “ferry services farmed out to a private operator after the election”

            REPEATED LIES FROM JB

            “…and an SNP arguing to stay in a union that is less democratic, less
            beneficial and less stable than the 30 year union that has stood the test of
            time”
            .
            How long is your nose JB?
            You are sounding more like Jackie Baillie with every post.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

            Keitho March 7, 2016 9:29 am
          • You’re sounding rather hysterical keitho – a common modus operandi amongst the SNP faithful when someone speaks a truth that is uncomfortable.

            You say I’m lying – but not why. So let’s take one at a time. Why would you be so keen to dissociate the SNP from the decision making process on the ferry tender? Ultimately the SNP will sign it off – to try and suggest otherwise is odd to say the least.

            You say I’m lying by suggesting that fracking will happen post-May – time will tell. But you know as well as I do that Nicola Sturgeon is misleading the public, and her pathetic performance on Thursday only proved that she WILL NOT rule out fracking. Why can she not state, on record, the under the SNP fracking will NOT happen? As you missed earlier, telling us there is a moratorium is almost irrelevant. And let’s not forget what she’s been saying to Jim Ratcliffe in private.

            With regards to council tax, the SNP have failed to deliver what they promised (reform)- or anything like it. Here’s exactly what Ruth Davidson said about the SNP proposals and how they compared to the Tory instigated tax commission recommendations “It called for a reformed council tax, a more progressive multiplier, protection for low-income households and an end to the freeze but with a cap on any tax rises. All of these recommendations have been adopted by the SNP today” Not only have the SNP failed to deliver what they promised, they copied the Tories!

            You can call me a ‘liar’ all you want keitho – but your accusations might have slightly more credibility if you could explain WHY – which you completely failed to do. You make accusations without basis. I’ve explained why I think the SNP are duplicitous – you explain why I’m wrong.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

            JB March 7, 2016 9:58 am
    • I understand that both Serco and Calmac are currently operating the same laid down Scottish Government contract on their current respective routes.
      The main difference is that Serco give discounts to Islanders whilst the SNP MSP’s are looking for cheap holidays on the Scottish islands served by Calmac as they cannot claim their holidays on expenses!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

      Treble T March 7, 2016 2:22 pm Reply
  • you continue with your nonsense JB
    debate is healthy, repeating earlier lies is worrying.
    do you have regular health checks?
    eg
    “You say I’m lying – but not why. So let’s take one at a time. Why would you be so keen to dissociate the SNP from the decision making process on the ferry tender? Ultimately the SNP will sign it off – to try and suggest otherwise is odd to say the least.”
    .
    Wrong wrong wrong repeated lies…..and you know it JB
    .
    the SNP ARE NOT INVOLVED IN CHOOSING THE “WINNER” FOR THE FERRY TENDER.
    .
    The next elected government will implement the decision of an independent commission who will have decided the’ WINNER’
    .
    The people decide who the elected government will be.
    .
    Don’t hold your breadth too long, especially with a nose as long as yours.
    Does your nose return to normal size when you start telling the truth JB.
    It could take some time I suppose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

    Keitho March 7, 2016 10:34 am Reply
    • You are right – the next elected government will choose – and I think we can safely assume it’ll be the SNP. You say the SNP are not involved – why then were the SNP head honchos wading in at the behest of the unions and under duress of strike action – and after getting involved, the unions seemed happy – a stitch up one would say.

      but seriously keitho – is that the best you can do? You sit behind your keyboard and call me a liar and yet offer no justification for it? When I provide further real debate and views to support my claims, you simply come back with the same childish retorts?

      What about the EU? Fracking? Council Tax?

      The reason is obvious keitho – you’ve lost the argument on all these subjects. The SNP have run out of steam and grievance. You know it, but can’t contemplate the alternative. The SNP are still benefitting from the indy campaign, but people are now realising – but with Labour out of the running for now, and the Tories not an option for the embittered left, of course the SNP will romp May. But after that, they can no longer blame others for their mistakes. IF Sturgeon tries to point the finger at SLAB during a future FMQs, she’ll get laughed out of the chamber (well, she does a lot already, but in a third term to blame the previous administration would be farcical).

      The SNP are being found out – you just don’t want to hear it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

      JB March 7, 2016 10:45 am Reply
      • is there any point debating with you?
        You repeat your lies like a mantra, even after having these lies exposed.
        You have an inability to debate using truth as a base line.
        You are Jackie Baillie aren’t you?
        You should re-read your last post, I quote you
        .
        “You say the SNP are not involved – why then were the SNP head honchos wading in at the behest of the unions and under duress of strike action – and after getting involved, the unions seemed happy – a stitch up one would say.”
        .
        This is just re-wording of your repeated lie and you are so indoctrinated you can’t see it
        .
        Nose still growing then is it?
        .
        Please tell us, What is the Tory policy on Fracking, go on tell us?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

        Keitho March 7, 2016 11:22 am Reply
        • Have a lovely day keitho. The sun is shining, there’s work to do.

          When you work out these supposed lies, please share with everyone on this forum – doubtless they are as interested as I am.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

          JB March 7, 2016 11:53 am Reply
          • What is the Tory policy on Fracking JB ?
            I reckon you don’t want to answer
            .

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

            Keitho March 7, 2016 12:38 pm
          • You’re right – i’m not. Try work out why for yourself.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

            JB March 7, 2016 1:47 pm
          • Keitho, just what has the Tory policy on fracking got to do with Scotland, they will not be governing after the election, theSNP will be.
            The balls squarely in your court and the smell of double dealing and secret promises is hanging over Bute House.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

            richard March 7, 2016 6:55 pm
        • Keitho – help me out here please, what lies do you think JB has told?
          Who will make the final decision on the ferry contract?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          John M March 7, 2016 8:42 pm Reply
    • Keitho somebody has certainly rattled your cage.

      I think you will find that the “Scottish Ministers” will evaluate the two companies’ tenders and then award the contract to the successful bidder.

      Who are these Scottish Ministers? Are they not part of the SNP government?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      JimB March 7, 2016 10:08 pm Reply
      • Why doesn’t John M, Jim B and JB do some research on how the contract is awarded before commenting on here?
        Regular rubbish from regular rubbishers.
        Go on do some research.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

        Keitho March 8, 2016 12:41 pm Reply
      • keitho, have a look here. Who announced the preferred bidder for two new CMAL ferries? Nothing to do with the SNP eh? LOL! Away hame, you’re clutching at straws buster.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

        JB March 8, 2016 12:50 pm Reply
        • Hi JB
          .
          Now I am convinced, theres only one Jackie Baillie and your it?
          Surely there can’t be two?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          Keitho March 8, 2016 2:17 pm Reply
  • The slim possibility of fracking contaminating the Scottish Water supply with eventually become the least of their problems at Holyrood. Chernobyl has caused a lot more damage to the water supply especially throughout the West of Scotland!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

    Treble T March 7, 2016 2:31 pm Reply
    • The above post should read:
      The slim possibility of fracking contaminating the Scottish Water supply will eventually become the least of their problems at Holyrood.
      Chernobyl has caused a lot more damage to the water supply especially throughout the West of Scotland!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

      Treble T March 7, 2016 2:35 pm Reply
      • Treble T, please could you provide a reference or two to your claim that “Chernobyl has caused a lot more damage to the water supply especially throughout the West of Scotland”. Thanks.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Alex McKay March 8, 2016 1:38 pm Reply
        • Alex.
          I suggest that you read the enclosed article which is freely available on the internet. Most of the land in the West of Scotland is peat and the rainwater soaks through the peat into the water courses which lead into the lochs which are owned by Scottish Water who provide the public water supply. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scottish-sheep-farms-finally-free-of-chernobyl-fallout-2020059.html

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          Treble T March 8, 2016 8:57 pm Reply
          • Treble T. I read the original report from the FSA, on which that article is based, when it came out getting on for 6 years ago. Neither the FSA report nor the article say anything to support your claim that “Chernobyl has caused a lot more damage to the water supply especially throughout the West of Scotland”. So, perhaps you would now be good enough to offer me a reference or two with evidence for your claim about the damaged water supply, e.g. some information on levels of caesium-137 in the water supply in the west of Scotland since 1986.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            Alex McKay March 9, 2016 9:15 am
  • Slightly off topic – with RET now covering all routes (I think) apart from Argyll Ferries, Western and Pentland Ferries, does this now mean that it would not be financially viable, for a private company to start up a new service alongside an existing service in competition? The reason I ask this is, that there may be a future development of the former MacAlpines oil rig yard at Ardyne, Toward, near Dunoon. Plans have been submitted (numerous times, over numerous years) which include residential, commercial, hotel, and a ferry terminal. The ferry terminal would be a short service to the Port Bannatyne area or nearby, in Bute. Western Ferries were interested in starting a service here (pre RET) There already is a service from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay, and a very short ( 3 minutes or so) service from Colintraive to Rhubodach. Just wondering if a private service could compete with either of these existing services. Think there is support on Bute for such a service, which islanders hope would provide them with a late service linking them to Western’s existing Dunoon to Gourock service.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Dunoon Lad March 7, 2016 4:42 pm Reply
    • RET surely involves government subsidy to the ferry operator – and should apply to any operator, in the interests of fair competition

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Robert Wakeham March 7, 2016 8:36 pm Reply
  • If Serco win the contract all the Calmac staff will TUPE over to Serco.
    Some Calmac staff may of course decide to take early retirement or voluntary redundancy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Treble T March 7, 2016 9:07 pm Reply
  • FAO Lundavra.
    I enclose the following figures which you should find very interesting.
    The fares for the Kennacraig to Islay sailings for the Calmac 2012 Summer timetable were as follows.
    Single journey foot passenger; £10.20
    Single journey car; £55.00
    5 day return foot passenger; £17.30
    5 day return car; £94.00
    6 journey tickets foot passenger £43.00
    6 journey tickets car; £192.00
    Therefore using the 6 journey tickets equates to £7.17 per ingle foot passenger crossing and £36.50 per single car journey crossing.
    RET was introduced at the beginning of the 2012-13 Calmac winter timetable on 21st October 2012. The cost of a single journey for a foot passenger under the RET scheme was £6.30 a saving of 87p and the single car journey was £32.00 a saving of 50p. Hardly a fortune for the Islay residents who were very disappointed to discover that the 6 journey tickets had ended.
    Using the Northlink formula and as I am aged over 60 I have based my calculations on an Islander discount of 40% (30% plus 10% for everybody aged 60 and over).
    A single car journey in Low season would have cost £24.75 and for a foot passenger £4.04.
    In Mid season a single car journey would have cost £31.35 and £5.08 for a foot passenger.
    In High season a single car journey would have cost £33.00 and £6.12 for foot passengers.
    In the Northlink formula had been applied to 6 journey tickets the following amounts would have been;
    6 Journey tickets for car in Low season £86.40 (£14.40 per sailing).
    Mid Season £109.44 (£18.24 per sailing).
    High Season £115.20 (£19.20 per sailing).
    6 Journey tickets for foot passengers in Low season £17.03 (£2.84 per sailing).
    Mid Season £21.41 (£3.58 per sailing).
    High Season £25.80 (£4.30 per sailing).
    Although the cost of a car journey in High season is £1 per sailing dearer than RET every other sailing is cheaper. Serco also give Islanders a 20% discount on food and drinks purchased on board the Northlink ferries on production of their Islander card.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Treble T March 7, 2016 10:26 pm Reply
    • I am very disappointed that there has been no comments from Lundavra and James Walsh to my post quoting the fares on the Kennacraig to Islay run using the Northlink formula instead of RET.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Treble T March 10, 2016 1:00 am Reply
  • FAO Alex MCKAY,
    I suggest that you read the undernoted article which was published in the Daily Record. It explains how rain water percolates through the peat and ultimately into the lochs supplying the water for the Scottish Water public water supply. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/business-consumer/summer-drought-forces-famed-malt-1063989#V2qiJGRQliI8hM5e.97

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Treble T March 9, 2016 5:43 pm Reply
    • My dear TTT. I have now asked you twice for evidence to support your claim that “Chernobyl has caused a lot more damage to the water supply especially throughout the West of Scotland”, and twice you have produced newspaper articles, both some 6 years old, which contain no such evidence. The first was about the effect of Chernobyl on sheep farming and the second merely stated what anyone living in the west of Scotland knows, which is that peat acts like a sponge through which rain water percolates until it reaches something impermeable like rock. So, for the third time, please produce actual and relevant evidence to support your claim about Chernobyl and “damage” to the water supply. For example, how much caesium-137 is there or has there been in the west of Scotland water supply? You have made a very definite, and indeed very serious, claim, but so far you seem unable to back it up with any evidence. I hereby offer you a third chance to do so. Have you got that evidence? If so, produce it, and if not, why are you making that claim? Over to you – for the third time.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Alex McKay March 9, 2016 8:12 pm Reply
      • In the 2013 calendar year (1st January to 31st December) 15 people living on Islay died from cancer out of a total number of 45 deaths. Source Freedom of Information.
        This is almost three times the national average.
        Everybody living on Islay knows that there is a cancer problem on Islay but nobody is prepared to ask the relevant authorities to investigate the cause.
        There is a cancer cluster around Bruichladdich Distillery. In 2013 3 people living within 100 yards of the distlillery were diagnosed with cancer and are now in remission. In 2015 another resident was diagnosed with a brain tumour and he sadly died last December.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

        Treble T March 10, 2016 12:55 am Reply
        • Treble T, you appear to being deliberately evasive, while spouting apparently false claims and now meaningless figures. You have yet to produce the slightest scientific evidence for any contamination of the west of Scotland water supply by caesium-137 from Chernobyl. I ask you again for that evidence. And now, as a diversionary tactic, you are trying to pretend that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between Chernobyl and the proportion of deaths from cancer on Islay 27 years later, which is, to be polite, pathetic, revealing, among other things, your total ignorance of statistics. Somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 people die in Scotland every year. To try and build a case on a sample of 45 in a single year, without regard to, for example, age, sex, genetic susceptibilities and past working environments is not just meaningless, it is a very stupid nonsense. And does Bruichladdich Distillery know that you are linking them with the occurrence of cancer? An apt description is that you are wading into very dangerous waters indeed.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

          Alex McKay March 10, 2016 11:33 am Reply
          • Alex.
            The management of Bruichladdich Distillery were present at the Argyll & Bute council planning meeting where I made my statement and none of them accused me of telling lies. In fact since the meeting nobody from the distillery has been in contact with me regarding my comments. Therefore it is obvious that they know that there is a problem but they hope that it will just go away because the Ileachs never complain or speak out.
            After our West Highland Terrier dog aged 10 was put to sleep
            in June 2014 suffering from Lymphoma I was determined to find out what caused him to be put down suffering from cancer, hence my investigations.
            Instead of stating that between 50,000 and 60,000 people die each year in Scotland from cancer the public health authorities should be finding out what causes it. Perhaps they are frightened to do so as it may open up a can of forms.
            In the meantime you are safe to drink Bruichladdich Botanist Gin as it has recently came to my attention that the spirit which is made from wheat is imported to Islay by road tanker.
            It is only the 22 wild foraged botanicals which are picked by hand that actually come from Islay. If people are daft enough to pay £33 for a bottle of Botanist Gin then good luck to them. A bottle of supermarket gin would be good enough for me especially if your are putting tonic water in it.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

            Treble T March 10, 2016 12:34 pm
          • TTT Before you go any further with ‘pointing the finger’ at Chernobyl you should be aware (if you’re not already) that the incidence of cancer in both Islay and Kintyre was causing concern years before Chernobyl (to my recollection), and at the time there was growing disquiet about radiation pollution from Sellafield creating a plume in the Irish Sea that dissipated out through the North Channel past Kintyre and Islay.
            Disquiet that was found to be justified.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            Robert Wakeham March 12, 2016 8:36 am
  • Serco this, and CalMac that ….. The onus is on the government to draw up contracts which prevent a subsidised operators from feathering their own nest, and enforce them. It would also be a welcome change to open the bidding to local as well as national operators, with some of the responsibility for efficient operation brought closer to the users, who currently can demand or object without much thought being given to the economics, or the practicalities of operation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Arthur Blue March 9, 2016 6:33 pm Reply
    • Arthur.
      If we vote to leave the EU then the Scottish Government will never again need to put the Calmac and Northlink contracts out to tender.
      It is thanks to EU laws that the current tendering process is currently ongoing.
      Perhaps this is why the Scottish Government are stalling in announcing who has been awarded the Calmac contract as they are hoping that the UK electorate vote NO in favour of the UK remaining part of the EU. Then there problems would be over as the status quo could remain!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      Treble T March 10, 2016 12:40 pm Reply
  • More evasive action from Treble T to avoid producing one iota of evidence for his claim about Chernobyl and west of Scotland drinking water, just adding that he blames it for his dog’s death. I also noticed the non sequitur between his first and second paragraphs. Making links without producing any evidence for them seems to be his modus operandi. The man appears to have no understanding of science and certainly no understanding of spurious correlations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Alex McKay March 10, 2016 2:05 pm Reply
    • Are you the Alex MCKAY from Edinburgh who writes letters to various national newspapers.
      You quoted between 50,000 and 60,000 deaths from cancer each year in Scotland. Is cancer the primary cause of death or secondary cause of death.
      The 15 deaths from cancer on Islay in 2013 was the primary cause of death.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Treble T March 10, 2016 4:23 pm Reply
      • No. Treble T, I am not that Alex McKay and I don’t write to national newspapers. I live in Argyll and am seeking some evidence from you for your claim that the west of Scotland water supply was damaged by fallout from Chernobyl. Have you, as I have suggested, enquired about caesium-137 levels in the water supply, or, as you seem obsessed by a tiny number of cancer deaths in one location, sought information on possible cancer clusters in other localities, e.g. Cumbria and North Wales which I believe were affected more than the west of Scotland, or looked at the cancer deaths on Islay before Chernobyl and in the 30 years since? And if not, why not? At the moment, all you have is one piece of information relating to one small area in one year and, through ignorance of sampling and statistical significance, have published a completely spurious correlation. Friends who read the Ileach tell me that you regularly run down Islay, constantly criticising and carping, and here you are doing it again. You clearly have no attachment to the island. Why do you stay if there is so much wrong with it? As for your question about primary and secondary cancer, look it up, and while you’re about it, look up a lot more as I have suggested.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

        Alex McKay March 11, 2016 4:18 pm Reply
        • We are just going to have to disagree on this subject but time will tell who is correct.
          I am prepared to write letters to the Ileach telling the truth whereas the average Ileach will not complain until something has happened and it is too late to complain.
          My father volunteered to join the Merchant Navy in 1943 aged 16 and served on board a Liberty Ship on the Atlantic convoys escorting fuel tankers from Halifax Nova Scotia to give us free speech, even on Islay!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

          Treble T March 12, 2016 12:10 am Reply
          • Ah yes, “free speech” which does indeed allow you to spout nonsense. Lots of us have fathers and those old enough have/had fathers who served in the last war, but don’t feel the need to call them in support of our views. We can stand on our own feet. Your father, if he had an ounce of intelligence, would realise that you are ignorant of sampling and statistical significance, and would be ashamed of the way you criticise the place where you have chosen to live.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

            Alex McKay March 12, 2016 7:18 am
          • TTT – Whilst not wishing to denigrate your father’s bravery and dedication to the cause, can I point out that Liberty Ships were a standard design of freighter and not part of the Escort of a convoy.

            I only point this out as you seem to claim ownership of “The Truth” at all times.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

            JimB March 15, 2016 9:23 am
  • There are always problems no matter where you live as to date no one has found utopia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Treble T March 12, 2016 6:52 pm Reply
    • A friend on Islay said to me just the other day: “I don’t think Douglas Tott has ever written to the Ileach saying anything positive about Islay, only negative”. Was he right?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Alex McKay March 13, 2016 3:23 pm Reply
  • It would be interesting if you could quote your friend’s name who lives on Islay.
    I think that your unknown friend is giving you duff information.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    Treble T March 14, 2016 11:44 pm Reply
    • I note your ploy of attacking the integrity of my friend instead of answering my question. I have a number of friends on Islay, TTT, and a common theme when your name crops up in conversation is a rolling of the eyes and/or a groan. I’m told that your constant letter writing to the Ileach is greeted with either yawns or laughter, or both. You’ve mentioned Islay on these pages a number of times, contrasting it unfavourably with your home town of Dundee. In one comment here, you wondered why you stayed on Islay. So, have you ever written anything positive about the island?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Alex McKay March 15, 2016 7:32 am Reply

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