Council cannot say HOW they decide on media accreditation

For Argyll will not be at tomorrow’s first meeting in the new session of Argyll and Bute Council.

Since 11th May we have been trying to resolve the situation which began with our sudden and vindictive exclusion just before the start of the crucial specially convened meeting on 5th January 2011. This was the occasion where Sandy Longmuir of the Scottish Rural Schools Network talked elected members through this report on the evidence of the unsoundness of the Cleland Sneddon case to close 25 of Argyll’s rural primary schools. The administration was determined to progress this proposal.

We had previously attended a variety of council meetings before and during the confrontation over proposed school closures. We had been invited to a variety of press briefings and received regular council press releases across the full spcetrum of issues.

We had had our film unit present at the counts for both the 2009 European Elections and the 2010 Westminster General Election.

But on 5th January 2011 as we attempted to go in to the chamber we were stopped by Charels Reppke who informed us that we could not do so as we were ‘not accredited’. We simply said we would attend as a member of the public, at whiich point Mr Reppke said that this would not be possible either as there was no room.

There had never been any mention of ‘accreditation’. This was clearly a move concocted to exclude us in retribution for our criticism of the failures in competence and procedural integrity by the administration and senior officers in the cases prepared for the proposed school closures. And, for the record, we were right on every count – on the evidence we showed from the outset.

Following this juvenile incident, we took a strategic decision to attend meetings as members of the public when we wished and not to pursue the business of our exclusion from having a media presence until the 2012 local elections were over. Our thinking was that we would use this ritual separation to see if due professional relationship mioght be restored.

We met with:

  • unanswered and unacknowledged emails to the CEO;
  • eventual delegation of the matter by CEO Sally Loudon to Jane Fowler in her personal office;
  • a bizarre and unexplained recall of Jane Fowler;s first email to us;
  • an equally unexplained email frm Ms Fowler recalling the recall and reinstating her first email;
  • a fatuous query today from Ms Fowler over a straigtforward request of ours – a query which appears to have had no other purpose than to waste time;
  • a total failure to reply to our consequent response to this.

Crucially, we had asked to be informed on the detail of the criteria for media accreditation Ms Fowler had herself mentioned earlier; and we had asked for confirmation, so much time having passed and with the council meeting tomorrow morning,  that, as a holding operation, our representative would get in as a member of the public.

He lives in Cowal and cannot waste working time to drive to Kilmory on spec.

We will still have coverage of the meeting – not being easily lamed  – so watch this space tomorrow.

Here is the full exchange of communications between For Argyll and the Council on this matter of our media presence.

Communications with council on this matter

First email from For Argyll to CEO Sally Loudon

From:     lm.henderson@powdermills.com
Subject: For Argyll media presence
Date:      11 May 2012 16:01:24 BST
To:     Sally.Loudon@argyll-bute.gov.uk

For Argyll wishes to attend all council meetings, be on the press list for press releases and attend election counts.

Can you please confirm that we will be registered and admitted on all circumstances of official press interest forthwith?

We look forward to hearing from you on this as soon as possible and before next Friday – 18th May.

With best wishes,
Lynda Henderson
For Argyll

This received no response of any kind.

Second email from For Argyll to CEO Sally Loudon

From:     lm.henderson@powdermills.com
Subject: For Argyll media attendance at council meetings.
Date:      18 May 2012 00:59:39 BST
To:      Sally.Loudon@argyll-bute.gov.uk
Cc:      Roderick.McCuish@argyll-bute.gov.uk

We are disappointed to have had no response from you – not even an acknowledgement – of our straightforward request of a week ago for your confirmation that no obstacle would be placed in the way of our return to attendance at council meetings as an established  news and information service.

We had addressed this to you, as line manager of the Communications Department which, as we understand it, currently has no operational departmental manager.

In the absence of any response of any kind from you, we are now writing to you more fully; and are copying this to the Leader Elect of the Council.

As you will be aware, For Argyll was excluded without warning from the council meeting on 5tth January 2011 – on the grounds that we were ‘not accredited’. We had attended previous council meetings and had had our film unit at the counts for both the European election and the Westminster election. No one had mentioned ‘accreditation’ to us until the moment of our exclusion.

You will be aware that this was a procedurally improper action and, in the circumstances obtaining at the time, could be argued to have been a politicised decision.

Some time after this, Communications Manager, Jo Smith, invited us to ‘apply for accreditation’.

We were given to understand from within the Communications  Department that this ‘application’  for ‘accreditation’ would involve us being asked if we were NUJ members and/or an NUJ accredited organisation and that,  since we have chosen not to be, we would be excluded on those grounds.

We accept that this information may not have been accurate but since we were also given it from other sources, it would seem not to have been without substance.

Should this have been the case, we would point out that the position of the NUJ as a closed shop is legally very long gone. There is no legal requirement for any journalist or any media service to be unionised or union accredited.

For that reason, any attempt to exclude us on such grounds from our former normal media presence at council meetings and election counts would be unlawful and a restraint of trade. We would challenge any such restraint in law.

We have chosen to leave this matter alone since 5th January 201, resolving that when the 2012 local authority election was over, whatever its result, we would use that pause and separation to establish normal media access.

We understand that there is an operational logic in the Communications Office maintaining a list of media services with an interest in the council’s affairs – which would, for one thing, lead to a circulation list for all council press releases.

We would suggest a simple Registration procedure which would not involve any sense of ‘approval’.

It is our wish to normalise relations between the council as a corporate entity and ourselves as a media service.

Were there to be the straightforward Registration procedure we suggest, we would be happy to register.

It would be constructive to have this matter resolved in time for us to take our place normally in the council chamber for the meeting on 22nd May 2012.

We look forward to your timely response on this.

Regards,
Lynda Henderson
News Director
For Argyll

First response from Council – from Jane Fowler

From:    Jane.Fowler@argyll-bute.gov.uk
Subject: FW: For Argyll media attendance at council meetings.
Date:     18 May 2012 17:19:45 BST
To:     lm.henderson@powdermills.com

Dear Ms Henderson

The Chief Executive has asked me to pick up your emails of 11th and 18th May, on the basis that the Council’s Communications Team is part of my service.

In responding to the specific matters you raise, I think it would be helpful if I confirm, at the outset, that the public and the press can already attend meetings of the Council and its Committees. There are, of course, exceptions to this – for example where matters of a commercially sensitive nature, or which deal with sensitive personal information are being considered.  Therefore it is open to you, or any other representative of For Argyll to attend public elements of Council meetings as is the case for press and public.

Regarding the issue of accreditation, I can confirm that the Council does have a procedure to cover this. I have attached a copy of the Council’s Media Accreditation form, as I am not sure if this has previously been provided to you.  The form requests information on a National Union of Journalists (NUJ) membership number; however it is not a condition of accreditation that any member of the press requires membership of the NUJ.  If you or any other For Argyll representative is not a member of the NUJ, you can complete the form on that basis.

You will also see there is a reference in the application to organisations being bound by particular codes of practice.  I am not sure if For Argyll would fall under the jurisdiction of either of the codes mentioned. If you do, then there is no difficulty.  If, on the other hand, For Argyll is subject to regulation by some other organisation, with a code of practice, I would be pleased to hear from you with details.  I look forward to hearing from you if this is an option you would want to pursue.  All media outlets are asked to supply information on the code of conduct they comply with.

I am pleased to note that you wish to normalise relations between the Council and For Argyll and would welcome further thoughts from you on how this might be pursued.

I hope these comments are helpful, and will look forward to hearing from you further in due course.

Regards
Jane Fowler
Head of Improvement and HR

Before For Argyll could respond to this, the following odd email arrived

From:     Jane.Fowler@argyll-bute.gov.uk
Subject: Recall: For Argyll media attendance at council meetings.
Date:     18 May 2012 17:23:51 BST
To:     lm.henderson@powdermills.com

Fowler, Jane would like to recall the message, “For Argyll media attendance at council meetings.”.

For Argyll, bemused, decided to hang cool and wait for more. This was it:

From:     Jane.Fowler@argyll-bute.gov.uk
Subject: RE: Recall: For Argyll media attendance at council meetings.
Date:     20 May 2012 13:30:43 BST
To:     lm.henderson@powdermills.com

Dear Lynda

Please ignore the recall – sorry about that.

If you would prefer that I resend the email – that’s not a problem. There would be no change to it – the communication from the council is as per the email. This is the approach that we take with all media operations, so we are keen to apply it fairly and consistently.

I look forward to hearing from you on your position.

Regards
Jane

Jane Fowler
Head of Improvement and HR

For Argyll’s reply

From:     lm.henderson@powdermills.com
Subject: Re: Recall: For Argyll media attendance at council meetings.
Date:     20 May 2012 17:31:59 BST
To:     Jane.Fowler@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Don’t worry, Jane. These things happen.
We had no idea why the first email had been recalled but imagined you’d be in touch some time o the matter so are quite cool about that.

We’re quite happy to go on the basis of your first email and you do not need to resend it.

We are mindful that this week’s council meeting is almost upon us. The delay in resolving this issue has not been of our making – nor yours –  with the lack of any response to our original email.

The system now in place appears to have some sort of criteria governing it. Normal professional practice in any sphere is transparent about such criteria so it would be good to know what they are.

Best wishes, Lynda

This seemed a clear request to us – but not, apparently, when there is time to be played for.

From:     Jane.Fowler@argyll-bute.gov.uk
Subject: RE: For Argyll media attendance at council meetings.
Date:     21 May 2012 12:22:36 BST
To:     lm.henderson@powdermills.com

Dear Lynda,

Further to your email of yesterday – could you clarify if you are asking for a response on the statement that you make below (highlighted)? Are you referring to our Media Accreditation form and request to complete it as ‘the system’?

Regards
Jane

We are mindful that this week’s council meeting is almost upon us. The delay in resolving this issue has not been of our making – nor yours –  with the lack of any response to our original email.

The system now in place appears to have some sort of criteria governing it. Normal professional practice in any sphere is transparent about such criteria so it would be good to know what they are.

Best wishes, Lynda

Understanding then that nothing has changed and the game continues, we replied:

From:     lm.henderson@powdermills.com
Subject: Re: For Argyll media attendance at council meetings.
Date:      21 May 2012 12:33:08 BST
To:     Jane.Fowler@argyll-bute.gov.uk
Cc:     charles.dixonspain@gmail.com

Jane – (wearily) yes.

Of course we are asking what criteria are applied to the process of media accreditation.

It is strange that these are not already public.

With regard to tomorrow and with the continuing and incomprehensible but unhelpful obfuscations – with delayed then recalled responses, then not recalled and then this sort of time wasting query, I suggest the following as a holding operation.

Charles Dixon-Spain will attend for us, as a member of the public – but we would like confirmation from you as soon as possible that he will have a seat.
He has a considerable distance to come and is under pressure of work.

He will micro-blog from the meeting – a silent and unobtrusve procedure now generally accepted in the public sector, in government and in courts.

I look forward to hearing from you on this as soon as possible and immediately in receiving the criteria involved in the media accreditation process, which must be to hand.

Best wishes, Lynda

There has been no response to this at all – by 23.50 21st May.

The outcome

For Argyll will not be present at the meeting, we cannot justify Charles Dixon-Spain traveling to Kilmory with the lively possibility of being refused entry on some pretext. They do, as above, have considerable form in this respect.

We do though hope to have c0verage of the meeting as it progresses, so check in with For Argyll tomorrow.

The meeting is due to start at 1.00om, leaving time for horsetrading – or horsecoping – in the morning.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Dear oh dear, How much longer must this desperate game take before it is played out?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Ken MacColl May 22, 2012 12:04 am Reply
  • I wonder if Jane Fowler, Head of Improvement and HR – while apparently the line manager for the council’s communications team – is perhaps really quite unfamiliar with protocol for dealing with the press? Without wishing to make excuses, this would rather seem to be par for the course for our council, where senior management responsibility for a quite remarkable number of council functions has been in the hands of people with no experience or qualifications whatsoever in the specifics of those functions, for many years now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Robert Wakeham May 22, 2012 12:38 am Reply
    • CEO Sally Louon is line manager for the communications office which is why we addressed our first emails to her. There is no operational communications manager at present.

      Mrs Loudon delegated the issue we raised to Jane Fowler, whose job description and presumably experience is no great fit for such responsibility.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      newsroom May 22, 2012 12:51 am Reply
  • I do wish that you get someone to the meeting. If only to have the Leader of the Council countermand any attempt by any of the staff to exclude your representative from attending.
    It would be a first test of the new administration’s determination to run things properly at Kilmory – hopefully a successful test.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Gerry Fisher May 22, 2012 12:49 am Reply
    • Is there a Leader of the council at present?

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      Robert Wakeham May 22, 2012 1:16 am Reply
  • From Young Pretender
    How does Argyll & Bute get any information if For Argyll are excluded , nonsense ; get there early so you can be a member of the public and take a Thermos.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    J D MacDonald May 22, 2012 8:29 am Reply
  • It would seeem that there is a news embargo within the council. For Argyll must not be the only agency deprived of news. The Council’s own website is bereft of any information about the new administration.
    In an age of easy communication this is most unsatisfactory

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Ken MacColl May 22, 2012 3:33 pm Reply
    • Noticed that to Ken. They were always quick enough to update it before – or is it just because there are no staff left in the media section?

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      Crazy She-Bat May 22, 2012 3:46 pm Reply
  • I don’t see any problem with ForArgyll attending as any other member of the public, is there?

    However if they attempt to go as members of the press then surely they don’t have any more right that I or you do, do they?

    ForArgyll does not claim to report evenly and give an unbiasedly record events (the opposite in fact), it sounds as if they are not members of any press association, nor it appears do they follow any professional code of conduct.

    So yes they have a blog, so do lots of people, but are they the press – no more so that anybody else it seems.

    Shall we all wear press badges and attempt to gain access to meetings with cameras and microphones – why not, what is the difference?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    ferryman May 22, 2012 8:01 pm Reply
    • We are very happy to attend as anything. The issue is that if we revert to our proper and former status as a news and information service, we are guaranteed a place. We cannot afford to drop a day to get to Kilmory and find that we are told there is no room in the public spaces – as has happened before.

      You are behind the times in terms of the nature of journalism today – and I speak as someone with 20 years of experience as a journalist, feature writer and editor, watching and moving with profound change.

      The power of the internet as, by far, the major news source is that what you call ‘balance’ – which was often little more than an irresponsible failure to discriminate between the evidentially substantial and the empty sound bite – is now achieved better and differently.

      We are free to come to judgment (on evidence, which we always provide to support our positions) BECAUSE anyone of a contrary view is free to express that view (evidenced or not) alongside the article in question and published by us. We are unaware of any other news organisation which has as open and inclusive a policy of comment publication as we do.

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      newsroom May 23, 2012 7:59 am Reply
      • “The issue is that if we revert to our proper and former status as a news and information service, we are guaranteed a place”.

        So if I setup a blog, upon which I soapbox my opinions, and I turn up at a meeting with a microphone and camera why should I not be guaranteed a place?

        What would make me any less a “news and information service” than ForArgyll?

        I can see why ForArgyll should not be regarded as a news and information service. It does not differentiate opinion from factual information and the opinions expressed often seem poorly supported by or even at odds with what information content there is.

        Entertainment and opinion yes, news and information no.

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        ferryman May 23, 2012 1:34 pm Reply
        • You’re happy enough to participate in what you criticise so strongly, aren’t you?

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          Robert Wakeham May 23, 2012 1:42 pm Reply
          • I am participating to counter what otherwise might be mistaken as news and information.

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            ferryman May 23, 2012 9:03 pm
          • But, ferryman, in countering what you term ‘otherwise might be mistaken as news and information’ you seem to be lacking in balance, as it seems to me that – by and large – it really is news and information.

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            Robert Wakeham May 23, 2012 9:16 pm
  • Do any of the people writing articles on ForArgyll have NUJ memberships?

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    Struan May 23, 2012 12:48 am Reply
  • I hope the new council administration opens up the meetings at the council, so all in Argyll and Bute are made aware of what is discussed and more important what decisions are arrived at.
    As far as the comments above are concerned ‘For Argyll’ is no different from these other bastions of balanced journalism whose staff are NUJ members, ‘The Scotsman’, ‘The Herald’, the ‘BBC’, ‘STV’, not to mention the’Daily Record’,’The Sun’, ‘The Express’, and the ‘Daily Mail’.
    For Argyll at least is interested in our local area and provides a first class service . Then I suppose you can always resort to waiting for the ‘Oban Times’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Robert Allan May 23, 2012 8:11 am Reply
    • When it comes to being “regulated by (someone)”, I believe that Express Group Newspapers do not subscribe (wrong word but I can’t think of a better at the moment, will edit later if poss) to the Press Complaints Commission and therefore is not “regulated by it”. So the Express would be excluded from Kilmory on that ground.
      I cannot imagine that all Sky and News International journalists are required by their employer to be members of the NUJ. So they would be excluded on that ground.
      I support the comment by Robert Allan.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      HMF May 23, 2012 2:41 pm Reply
      • Express Group journalists might be excluded from Kilmory on the grounds that they work for Richard Desmond – and you could be searching for a while to find the right words to describe his relationship to the Press Complaints Commission.

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        Robert Wakeham May 23, 2012 4:19 pm Reply
  • I don’t see what all the fuss is about. If you want the privileges of the press then all you have to do is fill in a form. Until you fill in the form and then they decline your accreditiation you don’t really have an argument. Filling in press accreditation forms is pretty run of the mill stuff – few organisations admit press without it.

    Surely you are easily able to meet their criteria and your editorial policy covers any code of conduct which the council might need? And even if you can’t obtain press privileges you can still attend as a member of the public. I believe the council applies a policy of first come, first seated so make sure you’re there early!

    As i understand it, the communications team has reported to Jane Fowler for more than two years, albeit under the suffocating direction of the chief executive. I don’t know if she has the skills and experience mentioned here but under her management the communications team is currently manned by two temps and a trainee. Perhaps if she’s questioning your credentials you could ask about hers?

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    Michael Banks May 23, 2012 2:01 pm Reply
  • A pragmatic approach is needed on the part of the council. ForArgyll provides a pretty much unique service in terms of breadth and immediacy of coverage of stories relevant across Argyll. As such it has built up a sizeable community of regular readers and commentors.

    That fact should be recognised as reason enough for accreditation and guaranteed accommodation at meetings. There should be no need for membership of official bodies or unions.

    In the longer term, hopefully the council will be able to put live video internet streaming facilities in place, so that meetings can be ‘attended’ by the public across Argyll without having to incur the enormous time and fuel costs of travelling to Lochgilphead.

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    Tim McIntyre May 23, 2012 4:01 pm Reply
    • So fill the form in, simple

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      Michael Banks May 23, 2012 4:40 pm Reply
      • Exactly, fill in the form.

        Newsroom wrote “He will micro-blog from the meeting – a silent and unobtrusve procedure now generally accepted in the public sector, in government and in courts.”

        In some cases it is accepted that accredited media can communicate live. However Joe public cannot. Try as a member of the public to tweet or blog from Court and see where it gets you. This is another example of misleading information from the newsroom (aka soapbox).

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        ferryman May 23, 2012 9:10 pm Reply
    • Tim hits the nail on the head. A council confident in its actions and prepared to accept challenge would welcome an open door policy to reporting.

      One thing I can guarantee is that if FA were fawning over the previous administration they would have been allowed into every meeting regardless of accreditation.

      They were not banned due to not having the appropriate membership or forms signed (or whatever it is that is required, something the Council should know if they are going to use it as an excuse to restrict access). They were banned because the Administration, and CMT, didn’t like what they were saying.

      All press are born equal but some are more equal than others appears to have been previous administration’s mindset.

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      Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll May 23, 2012 6:45 pm Reply
      • The Scottish Parliament does not have an open door, why should the council?

        The Scottish Parliament will allow websites to report but before accrediting them it requires that “Such website should provide sufficiently balanced, regular coverage of the work of Parliament with the right to reply within reporting.”

        Note the word “Balanced”, and the right to reply within REPORTING.

        ForArgyll editorial policy states “Our general policy is to back the case with the greatest merit, noting any significant contra-indications but not attempting to construct an artificial ‘balance’”.

        So ForArgyll supports a position which it prefers and does not attempt to strike a balance, it is a blog not a news and information service. One reason they are perhaps trying to avoid completing forms is because they might, with cause, be rejected.

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        ferryman May 23, 2012 9:49 pm Reply
        • For someone who argues that forargyll is biased

          etc. you have been yacking here for quite some time!

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          morag May 23, 2012 10:06 pm Reply
          • I am not arguing that they are biased, I am pointing out that ForArgyll says they are biased – they state their opinion.

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            ferryman May 24, 2012 10:59 pm
        • I’m surprised you grace us with your presence.

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          Robert Wakeham May 23, 2012 10:20 pm Reply
          • So as a reader of ForArgyll when somebody is critical of it rather than defend the objectivity of the news and information source you begin to attack the critic?

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            ferryman May 24, 2012 11:07 pm
        • Do you read the loca lnewspapers?

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          Ken MacColl May 23, 2012 11:15 pm Reply
          • I read various Scottish and Argyll newspapers and also web content such as the Cowal Courier. The content is not perfect but it can be called news and information.

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            ferryman May 24, 2012 11:03 pm
        • All the proceedings of the Scottish Parliament including the Committees, other than when Committees work in closed session, are televised and verbatim reports are “on the record.”
          May we hope that this will occur at Kilmory?

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          Ken MacColl May 23, 2012 11:19 pm Reply
          • I am sure they could if you wish to pay for it.

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            ferryman May 24, 2012 11:08 pm
  • Hmmmm, you would need to play by the rules then. Web-blogging allows for unfounded accusations to be thrown about without recourse which isn’t uncommon on this site. I suspect the reason FA isn’t aligning itself to official media protocols is something to do with the potential legal implications associated with that and I suspect that you are already fully aware of that! i.e. publish an unfounded article /accusations /comment on a web blog and really there isnt much anyone can do about it however publish it on the basis of being an official news forum and then your into a different legal position. As Michael Banks states -simply fill in the form and ignore the NUJ member no request if this isnt the case.

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    JayC May 23, 2012 8:05 pm Reply
    • I think FA has an over exaggerated view of it’s own self importance at times when it comes to reporting. It is NOT an official media outlet, just amateur wannabe journalists. Why should a council change its policy just to suit FA’s needs. FA does indeed throw accusations around, in certain stories somewhat factually inaccurate. Now that is probably because someone is feeding them little chunks, but good journalists double check their sources. FA seems to have a bit of a vindictive streak at times and could possibly be accused of helping to blight the careers of council staff by painting an unflattering portrait of their behaviour. But that’s a different story.

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      Michael Banks May 24, 2012 2:47 pm Reply
      • A little harsh Michael, but certainly some truth in there.

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        Paula Jones May 24, 2012 3:17 pm Reply
      • Michael – don’t you think that obstructing access to council meetings just encourages suspicions that there’s skulduggery at work? Surely the more access to council deliberations, the less room for assumptions and suspicions. My impression is that we’ve had years of cosy limited-access deliberations that wouldn’t have borne close scrutiny when it’s a question of open and fair administration. Behaviour hardly likely to protect council staff from criticism and innuendo, justified or not.

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        Robert Wakeham May 24, 2012 3:24 pm Reply
        • It would be helpful if Michael Banks could direct me to an OFFICIAL media outlet reporting the deliberations of A&B Council and, for that matter, the Scottish Parliament, that is not selective and partial in its reporting.

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          Ken MacColl May 24, 2012 4:53 pm Reply
        • Why should OUR council staff suffer criticism and innuendo at the hands of a blog?

          Is this news reporting;
          “X delegated the issue we raised to Y, whose job description and presumably experience is no great fit for such responsibility.” ?

          To be critical of an organisation or a post within an organisation is one thing but to name individuals who are simply performing their job is quite another.

          Lets hope the new administration is supportive of its employees and takes vigourous action against people who cause them stress and perhaps libel them.

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          ferryman May 24, 2012 11:35 pm Reply
          • Ferryman: then let’s hope the new administration also make the staff accountable for their actions.
            I personally don’t like the implied class term “employee” “employer” they are both equal as Representatives of the company, Council or corporation

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            Keith McMillan May 24, 2012 11:52 pm
  • I have to say I am as surprised and astounded as Newsie tha tthey have not yet received their media accreditation from the Council newco.

    After all FA has been so far up the ‘rag-bag Alliance’s’** collective bottie that it would require an operation to extract it.

    **Copywright Newsie

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    Simon May 24, 2012 5:30 pm Reply
    • And presuming FA does receive media accreditation – you have your script prepared, Simon?

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      Robert Wakeham May 24, 2012 5:38 pm Reply
  • “you have your script prepared, Simon?”.

    This wee dig from the man who has a comment and an opinion about ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

    Gawd save us! You open the Oban Times and THERE HE IS AGAIN!!!!!

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    Simon May 24, 2012 6:02 pm Reply
    • I’m sorry, I don’t prepare scripts and I haven’t read the Oban Times. ‘Absolutely everything’? – not by a long chalk.

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      Robert Wakeham May 24, 2012 6:10 pm Reply
  • Robert, if you cannot remember (your name and your address – remember now?) your uttterly boring snorefest of a letter about ‘5.5 metre roads’ in the OT – thank Gawd that you and me appear to be on opposite sides.

    When your full faculties return – don’t hesitate to post again… 🙂

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    Simon May 24, 2012 11:18 pm Reply
    • That’s the old Simon.

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      Robert Wakeham May 24, 2012 11:28 pm Reply
      • Just read my letter in the OT, Simon, and you’re lucky – it’s been ‘condensed’. Something that happens rarely, if at all, to comments in FA. If you want to see my letter in all its glory, Simon, the unexpurgated version is available in today’s Squeak – and will presumably afford you even greater cause to demonstrate your outrage. Enjoy.

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        Robert Wakeham May 25, 2012 9:35 am Reply
        • Your observations are correct. We do not edit comments in the normal sense of what that means.
          All we do is either remove unacceptable material (very rarely necessary) or remove entire comments in this vein (very rarely necessary).

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          newsroom May 25, 2012 9:48 am Reply
  • Nah. You’re ok Robert I’ll steel myself to forgo the pleasure of reading the unedited version of your epistle to the squeak.

    Have a good day. 🙂

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    Simon May 25, 2012 9:55 am Reply

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