Anne, you talking about Mike Russel’s vis a …

Comment posted Council candidates, election battlegrounds and serious choices to be made by Simon.

Anne, you talking about Mike Russel’s vis a vis Robslee and Hillhead when he agreed that these schools should close??

Simon also commented

  • Yes I asked a question Crazy ( I might get more sense out of you despite your name)

    I asked Anne Baird an SNP candidate if she was thinking of extending the right to a veto (that she wants to give to rural porimary school parents) to other Council sectors? For example – would she agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?

    Or would she resrve that veto only for rural primary schools???

    Anne has so far refused to answer.

    Mibbie you can persuade her to answer Crazy??…

  • Morag, that is most unfair and quite rude of you.

    Anne probably just didn’t realise (because she didn’t think it through) the implications of her rather silly pronouncement. Obviously a wiser head has prevailled and pointed out to amatuerish Anne that she was very quickly digging a deeper and deeper hole for herself and the best course was simply to stop digging.

    As snp politico – looking to make the leap(!) from political groupie to political wannabe – that’s her choice. I will admit she is left looking lame because she cannot/will not answer a question about a topic she started.

    In turn it does mean rather that she looks somewhat stupid as well – but that’s still no reason for you to be personally abusive towards her by calling her a coward!!

    Have a nice day :)

  • Integrity, good morning, as you are aware our deal was that I would answer your question as soon as Anne answered mine. As I predicted however the aspiring politician Anne Baird has point blank refused to answer my question on a topic that she started. Whilst a simple yes or no would have sufficed – but Anne simply abdicated responsibility for her own weasel words.

    It should therefore come as no surprise to you to learn that our deal unfortunately no longer exists because Anne has singularly failed to answer the question.

    But, the deal can and will be right back on the table just as soon as Anne answers the question.

    See if you can persuade her ;)

    Have a nice day :)

  • Scruff – that’s strange I thought what I posted was crystal clear. Apologies if it wasn’t clear enough for you, however, I must confess that without the use of crayons I really can’t make it any simpler.

    :)

  • Scruff – as a concise working definiton of politics Lasswell’s is as good as I’ve seen*. That does not mean I agree with everything else he ever did or ever said.

    There now Scruff that clear enough for you???

    The rest of the comments were of course the boringly predictable posts from the usual suspects/snp groupies and not worth responding to. So, I haven’t bothered.

    As I’ve said have a nice evening y’all ;)

    *Scruff, please, feel free to provide you own definiton and share it. See it you can be as concise and do try work in Anne’s childish consensus thingy. I won’t hold my breath… :)

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102 Responses to Anne, you talking about Mike Russel’s vis a …

  1. A few interesting contests coming up. And they’re off and running! Sean Macintrye a distinct possibility in Oban along with Fred Hall, and Roy Rutherford!! Then theres Neil macintyre allthough i see no George berry.
    Maybe passing Cllrs Devon and Chalmers on the way out with some of the old admin. Any bets?
    Cllr McCuish a possible leader.

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  2. Great to see so many people in both the Oban wards it should make it interesting and hopefully bring more people out to vote.Best of luck to everbody.
    George and Caroline his wife were a wee bit worried about his health so he has decided to give it a miss this time.
    The George Berry Show will be back for an Election Special on the 11th of April in the Corran Halls from 7 till 9.
    All the candidates will be invited along with Oban F.M.,so please come along to help generate the debate and fire in the questions.
    Power to the People.

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    • I hope George’s health improves, allthough not sure if chairing a hustings at Corran halls will be good for anyones health!
      The SNP will be disappointed to lose George from their candidate list this time round, but appear to be well represented.
      Lots of popular candidates accross the board and as Neil says a good turn out is hoped for.

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  3. Donald Kelly has deserted Argyll First, John MacAlpine will get voted out so Dug Philand will be in a party of his own. Hope some other independents choose to form another party rather than take their orders from the Wee Dick (Walsh). Is Kelly going to stay a Conservative & Unionist or will he jump ship after the election? There is no option for real Conservatives at this election. Shame on you Donald.

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  4. For Kintyre Too, just to reassure you of the following ARGYLL First is a non political group of like minded individuals and is open to anyone from any political persuasion who is willing to agree and adhere to to the groups aims and objectives which have been well documented over the past 18 or so months .ARGYLL First have never been registered as a political group with the election commission and that if elected all three current members will continue as before putting the interests of the people of Argyll and Bute First.It is worth making the point that we three have never changed our political status
    Thanks

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  5. But Newsroom – you dont seem to apply the same strictures on Elaine Robertson ( a lady whom I like as a person ignoring her political views and actions) in Oban North as you do with the others who voted and pressed for the consultation and closures of schools. This voting for the “nice guy or lady” who doesnt stand with any commitment to a policy is what has got A&B into the mess of incompetence which you recognise everywhere else. Fine lady she certainly is, but she either agrees with Walsh and Clelland or didnt have the fortitude to vote against their proposals. Either way, in my view she has to pay the price.

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    • I have to agree with Gerry on this. Cllr Robertson was very keen to tell her local constituents that she would fight for her local school in much the same was as Cllr Hay, Kelly, Petrie and others did but when push came to shove she put on her herd coat and followed accordingly.

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      • We’d be happy for chapter and verse on this if there is something we cannot have known about – but to the best of our knowledge – including what we ourselves heard Councillor Robertson say to campaigners before council meetings – we have not known of her promising to support anything.

        All we individually heard her say, on various occasion, was that she would make up her mind on the issues.

        This does not excuse her for failing to acquaint herself properly with the the available and published hard factual evidence on those very issues – which none of her administration colleagues bothered to do either.

        In fairness though, we are not aware of her reneging on any promises given.

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    • See response to Integrity below, which helps to explain.

      What we are saying here is that we believe that Councillor Robertson has strong electoral support.

      We do not respect any councillor who votes without making themselves aware of the facts – and that means independent research and questioning – not simply accepting ‘facts’ provided by council officers (and Cleland Sneddon’s information has been shown on multiple occasions to be ‘unreliable’) or by administration leaders.

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  6. Councillor Philand I am not interested in voting for Argyll First as it is just a convenience for politicians without conviction and opportunists. Where are its manifesto and policies? I want to vote for a Conservative that will support Mr Cameron and the union. That you are answering for Donald says a lot. Donald can speak for himself, will he get elected on Conservative and Unionist votes but then turn his back on the party and those voters? Shame on Donald and also on the local Conservative party going along with this deception. Mr McGrigor are you part of this plot? A life long Conservative I will now hold my nose and vote for our junior partners in government instead.I hope other true Conservatives won’t be treated as mugs and will do the same.

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    • Kintyre Too: ‘Politicians without conviction and opportunists’ – this doesn’t describe Councillor Philand, but it does describe a fair few of the ‘camp followers’ in the ruling cabal that has brought poor quality local government in Argyll for quite a long time now. You do the Conservative cause no good whatsoever by such blatant distortion of the facts.

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      • Cllr Philand is head and shoulders above any current member, in principle, in consistency, accesability, and would make a fine and fair leader of this council some day.
        That members of differing ‘mainstream’ parties can agree on important Argyll issues is proof of that. Also many good causes have benefited from this grouping in giving up part of their salary. Not much wrong with that.
        I would hope that 4 or 5 years down the line that ‘Argyllfirst’ can build on their success and reputation with increased representation.
        Finally i dont think Donald Kelly would be standing under the Conservative banner if he were an opportunist. The opportunists are well known and move with the tide and will pay the price. Devon (twice) and Mackay.

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    • Will those, if they care, be able to identify Kintyre Too as the voter who is holding his/her nose as they perform the dastardly act?
      We should be grateful though, to be reminded of the complicity of the partners in the coaltion and the damage that they are wreaking on the country. When Big Brother star George Galloway, the uncritical friend of Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad and the ruling clique in Iran starts winning popularity contests the political structure has to start looking inwards. When George stood for the Scottish Parliament last year his party gained 3% of the popular vote.

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  7. As a Conservative I don’t have much interest in how independents when elected form political groups. If they were elected as independents they should stay that way. Councillor Philand has a good reputation and I am not accusing him of anything underhand except to be wary of associating with men of shifting principles. I am very angry that I don’t have the chance to vote for a Conservative & Unionist candidate that will be loyal to the party and be part of a united Conservative group on the Council. It is a trick by Donald just to get elected and all Conservatives involved should be ashamed. Conservatives hold your nose and vote him out.

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  8. Kintyre Too – you appear to be contradicting yourself, initially you criticise Kinniburgh & Mulvaney for following ‘the Wee Dick’ and now you are criticising a fellow Tory who had the strength of conviction to defend his local constituents and not follow him. So whose worse Kinniburgh & Mulvaney or Kelly?
    What are you trying to say, are you arguing that all Tory Councillors should put their party first and voters second?
    I’m sure Cllr Colville will appreciate your vote, remember though a vote for Cllr Colville will also be a vote for ‘the Wee Dick’

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  9. I just received a copy of Maurice Corry’s campaign leaflet. He is standing as a conservative in Lomond North rather than one of the Helensburgh wards where he lives.

    In it he makes great claims about what the Conservative & Unionist party have done for Helensburgh and Lomond. He conveniently omits that the two Helensbugh Conservative Councillors gladly pushed through Council attempts to close Rosneath, Luss and Kilcreggan primary school (let alone Parklands). In fact he doesn’t mention Rosneath once in his leaflet and only mentions Kilcreggan in relation to the fery service and Luss in relation to the national park.

    He does however bang on about Waitrose, the Helensburgh swimming pool, the council offices in Helensburgh. The only area in Lomond North he gives much credence to is Rhu which just happends to be on Helensburgh’s doorstep.

    The people of the Peninsula and Luss will not be taken in by this nonsense.

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  10. It gets better.
    I have just read the Community Advertiser and Cllr Kelly has an advert in it which lists six things under his name. One of them is ‘Schools’ – underneath it it says

    ‘Danny Kelly has secured almost ONE MILLION POUNDS (his capitals) for schools which educate pupils from Lomond North – the only candidate in these elections who can.

    Danny Kelly who blindly, and without question, happily took 26 schools toward closure (including two in his own ward).

    Once again we see politicians treating the electorate as if they are idiots.

    Maybe Cllr Kelly would like to come on here and explain why he is ‘the only candidate in these elections who can’ – whatever that means!

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  11. Hmmmmm, time to sharpen the claws me thinks…

    Caption competition time again, Ladies and Gents!

    Danny Kelly – ‘the only candidate in these elections who can’ …..

    Speak without moving his mouth.

    Be as much use as a fart in a methane tank.

    Not do any less than he has for the last 4 years ie nothing.

    Fit in Ellen Morton’s pocket.

    There I have started the ball a-rolling…

    Winner gets a free trip on the Kilcreggan Ferry

    Re: Maurice Corry – Rosneath – you are the Weakest Link! Goodbye! Only joking, maybe he thinks you are part of Inverclyde?

    Just what we need – another ignorant Tory. If we get enough, can we privatise them too? :lol:

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  12. For Kintyre Too, in your post N08 you state about me
    “be wary of associating with men of shifting principles”. Can you please explain to us all why Cllr Mulvaney and Cllr Kinniburgh both of the conservative and unionist party voted to close rural schools when in fact the national party backed by our MSP (with whom i have a huge respect for)Jamie McGrigor quite rightly stated to retain rural schools is this action by your councillors”loyal to the party” as written by you. Would love to know why the same “be wary of associating with men of shifting principles” is not so for 2 of your party members please explain.

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  13. And the question is not whether Elaine Robertson broke any promises or not – its the fact that she did vote for the 26 schools going out to consultation. Not about what she said but about what she did, for which she has to carry the responsibility, Incidentally she also approved of Clelands piece being put to the Rural schools commission.

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    • Agreed. Any Councillor who willingly condones bad practice, manipulation and deceit amongst Council officers, irrelevant of the topic for debate, is not an honourable Councillor.

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  14. Lots of scope for change in the new Council already. With the sad death of Alister McAlister, and the postponement of the election in the Dunoon ward, the new Council will be up and running for at least a month without Dick Walsh, whether he is eventually elected or not. The competition between the other “Independent” councillors to stage a coup will be pretty intense. Or will Dick still be pulling the strings? I wouldn’t put it past him.

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  15. If Donald Kelly is not going to be a Conservative if he is elected he should have been honest and stood as Argyll First. It is a shameful deceipt and perhaps the powers that be should stop it. The independents should also tell us which party they wil join if elected – one for Conservatives would get my vote because I don’t have a real Conservative option in Kelly.

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  16. Kintyre Too – I think Cllr Philand explained above that Argyll First members clearly state their intention to work together within the council, whilst retaining their respective party affiliations.

    If they are upfront about this before the election, then where’s the beef? The ‘powers that be’ in an election are the voters.

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  17. For Andy, perhaps forargyll could clarify this, but I thought in a council election that the sitting councillors would stay in position until any election in their ward, as they are councillors until a vote is held unlike parliamentarians who stand down at the beginning of the election process. So Walsh and mcqueen would remain councillors until the election in their ward.

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  18. Tim
    The Election Commission and the Conservative Party should be doing something about this election con. The beef is that a back room deal between Kelly and McGrigor has deprived me of a chance to vote for a genuine Conservative candidate. What has happened to the Conservative & Unionist Party that it lets its name and symbols be used in this deceit. Surely the Electoral Commission must have an interest in this misrepresentation. Let’s see if Donald can fool all the people this time.

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    • Kintyre Too, you persistently misunderstand Argyll First. I have no doubt that the Electoral Commission and the Conservative Party would have no such difficulty.

      I’m no Conservative, but I appreciate any honest politician and Donald Kelly is such. How about the guys who told their communities they’d back rural schools then took the money and voted for closures?

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  19. Anne, you talking about Mike Russel’s vis a vis Robslee and Hillhead when he agreed that these schools should close??

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  20. Simon, you’re another one that wilfully misunderstands. Michael Russell is on record as saying the current Act doesn’t work. It’s still what’s on the statute books however and it’s what he has to work with. If Ministers could disregard the law, however inconvenient it is, we’d be in a whole different and dangerous scenario.

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  21. Anne, pretty pathetic response TBH. Try asking Newsie or yon SRSN chappie (the one that walked out of your ‘working group’ thingy) if thye think either decison was rerasonable or even lawful. And of course if Mike Russell doesn’t like the Act then hell mend him as it was the snp that brought in this loose legislation in the first place.

    Funny though that not one snp apparatchik offered any defence of Mike Russels’s actions – especially with regard to the Hillhead decision….

    Have a nice day :)

    .

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  22. While her department staff is being investigated for at least malpractice. Is it proper and safe to have Sally Loudon in place as recording officer?. I assume her executive department will be in place on the night. God Help us.

    I am sure we can find someone whose hands are clean and can adequately count unlike the hapless CEO, who has a poor grasp of maths when charging vulnerable clients for service provision.

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  23. Apologies Anne, I had several things to do this afternoon so didn’t see your ‘respponse’.

    Your response is of course unadulterated mince, I might’ve described it as deflection, avoiding the issue, grasping at straws – or any any one of a hundred other things.

    But the reality is of course that it is just mince as it singularly avoids any constructive comments.
    And you seriouslty expect people to vote for you when you cannot defend snp legislation or policy?????

    Have a nice evening :)

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  24. Okay Simon, the legislation was defective only in the sense that it failed to predict council officers going to great lengths to circumvent both its letter and its spirit. That they do so is not an SNP failure. It’s a failure of the civil service and the culture it’s built up over the years. Those who vote for me will most likely do so because I see a very clear need in Argyll & Bute to fix that.

    SNP policy is clear and grew from work Michael Russell did a decade ago. If you can’t grasp the constraints he’s under as a government minister you should refrain from commenting. Peter Peacock was under similar constraint in 2000 and, though I wished it could be different, I wasn’t obtuse enough to chuck bricks at him for something his office prevented him from doing. Neither Peter Peacock nor Michael Russell has ever closed a school. It takes a council to do that.

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  25. Anne,
    I think I detect more deflection and at least a little squirming on your part.
    Despite your less-than-stout defence the reality is of course that loose legislation is loose legislation no matter how you try to dress it up. And there is no doubt that this snp Act was loose legislation – even Mike Russell admitted that! For you to then try to foist the blame for this loose legislation onto civil servants or council officials (who are unable to defend themselves against such malicious charges) rather than on the snp minister and government that signed it off is simply an abdication of resposibility on part played by the snp: perhaps you’ve put it more elequently but reallly for all your fine words all you are doing is invoking the classic Billy Connelly excuse of ‘A big boy did it and ran away’….

    The truth is that the snp made a bit of bourach of their own legislation. Surely they should just accept their own failings in this matter rather than try, as you do, to blame those unable to defend thenselves.

    In the interests of clarity and so that no one is in any doubt about your own position on these matters – can you tell everyone – did you agree with Mike Russell’s decision (to agree with the relvant local authorities) that these schools should close
    a) Robslee ?
    b) Hillhead ?

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  26. In the interests of clarity it is my personal belief that the closure of any school should be with the consent of the majority of parents. This has been achieved, using the existing act, by other councils which take the act seriously, explore all options with parents and achieve a consensus. Where parents are persuaded that a new or merged school is appropriate and beneficial, the school closes. Where parents remain opposed, the school remains open. Perthshire, for instance, is proof that the act can and does work where officials have no intent to either circumvent the act or treat communities with contempt. I am clear that Robslee and Hillhead have both been treated with contempt by their councils.

    And you will know, since you seem so interested in the detail, that the life of a government minister is not a simple one. Currently, two councils are taking him to court for refusing to allow school closures. If you’re on the side of the schools, you will see it one way. If you’re on the side of the councils, you’ll see it another. I endeavour to see both sides as it’s only when we understand the interaction that we can solve the actual problem.

    So I wish you luck with your SNP bashing. Myself, I prefer bashing Lib Dems, but we’re both entitled to that as partisans. When it comes to schools though, if you’re truly on side, then we’d be better finding common ground and working on that. Even those who are disagreed on detail can work together on a common aim as ARSN has proved by bringing disparate groups and parties together in Argyll & Bute. So what’s the aim Simon? To protect schools? Or to attack the SNP?

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    • Well put Anne. It is about finding common ground and not magnifying our differences.

      I feel in this discussion we are excluding special needs children’s educational support and that of their families.

      1). Has the teachers assistants posts been reduced in the closure process. Yes I have been told.
      2). Taking special children far away for schooling has a damaging impact, psychologically, especially on Primary School age.
      3). The pressures on families, both economically and socially is beyond the money and times of working class families and all family with a special needs child.

      Coming from a special school needs background I have experienced the lack of attention to these issues by council officers, who sacrifice the special needs of all sections from the womb to the tomb in order that their uncaring financial model is implemented.

      We need an educational system that is fully financed and resourced. That will attend to special needs closer to home and not “Neverland Dreams” of money suited council officers. The saying “If you think education is expensive. Try ignorance.” does resonate with school closures.

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      • Larry,

        The needs of all the potentially affected children were ignored, not just the special needs children.

        A&B Council made noise, and probably still are, that educational benefits were at the heart of their policy making but it is utter nonsense. Every argument they made to support their educational benefit statement was challenged througout the process and not once could they respond to the challenges with anything other than ‘because we say so’ and you’re wrong.

        Eventually we got to the rural education commission meeting in Lochgilphead where the commission members confirmed that the key arguments put forward by the Council were erroneous and unspportable. Campaigers had, of course, been saying this for 18 months and constantly ignored by the likes of Sneddon, Loudon, Walker, and all the Councillors in the administration.

        Sneddon was at the Commission meeting along with Walker and Cllr Hay so heard first hand that their educational benefit statement was, frankly, garbage yet we are still to hear an apology for the time and money they, and the rest of the ConDemAlls wasted by ploughing ahead with clearly flawed papers. Cllr Morton wasn’t there – despite being Education Convener she obviously had something better to do than be present at a meeting which was discussing the way the Council approached school closures under her direct guidance.

        As for the specific question about children with special needs you are right about they being ignored. The Council didn’t even bother to find out what special needs there were in the schools they recklessly pushed toward closure. There was a claim made by them that that was OK because they would do that ‘later.’

        As far as I am concerned it is much worse than ignorance on the part of the majority of the Administration Councillors. For a few ignorance may have been a contributory factor, but for a large number they knew exactly what they were doing and cared not about the damage it would do to communities across A&B – they cared only for the chink in their pocket kindly provided by Cllr Walsh’s appointments.

        Note Cllr Morton’s daughter is also standing in the upcoming election. Heaven forbid we end up with two of them!

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      • I’m totally on board with that Larry. My passion for rural schools began with my own special child who was drowning in a large school. Once in a small rural school, he thrived. I’m wholly convinced that rural schools have something in particular to offer to children with special needs and there would be some merit in specifically placing them if travel wasn’t a barrier.

        Proper screening, careful and appropriate support and planning and wholehearted investment in early years should mean that our special children cost less in the long run. It should also mean they leave the education system feeling that they’re a rip-roaring success!

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        • “drowning in a large school” my sentiments exactly, why the comprehensive system lets itself down here…children have to be cherished and inspired ,impossible in the environments that we are having to put them into.Too Big…and primary children need to be in their own community..they are babies

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  27. Well, been reading this and having a wee think (dangerous stuff, I know) and realised we all know plenty about what Simon doesn’t like, but not much about what he does.

    So Simon, out of all the candidates across the area, who would you recommend be elected – and why?

    Just being my usual curious self…

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  28. Anne, “the closure of any school should be with the consent of the majority of parents”. This is a most interesting point of view – giving the right to the majority of service users to veto any closure arrangements.
    Were you thinking of extending this right to other Council sectors. For example – would you agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?
    Or were you minded just to give this ‘right’ to parents of rural primary schools?
    Crazy, if you are a member of ARSN deciding who to vote must be pretty easy as preserving rural primaries seems to be your top priority. Well it’s more difficult for me as I don’t share that perpsectivre and therefore it’s not my priority. And it follows it won’t be the priority of the candidate I vote for. So I’ll read their literature and have a think before I vote.
    Have a nice day :)

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    • Isn’t what you are describing here “Simon” democracy? As Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”, Certainly sounds better than the alternative of a few people trying to impose service reductions in the face of the will of the majority.

      I presume you are not in favour of democracy in local government?

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    • Simon, you missed my point. If councils or other service providers engage with their clients, put all their cards on the table and give everyone an opportunity to contribute, the end result is often not contentious (see Perth Council). I don’t think Perth Council is in the business of pouring money down drains. It’s just listened to people and found that they sometimes propose things that work. One example of the schools they kept open has a parent council that’s brought down funding from sources the council couldn’t have accessed and the school has been repaired and expanded. Everyone’s happy and now the council is aware of other ways it can tackle problems in other schools.

      Genuine engagement works.

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    • ps. If you imagine ARSN has only ever thought of schools you’re much mistaken. Schools are a component part of communities, a fundamental part that’s crucial to children and parents, prospective parents or people moving into the area, but just one part of the jigsaw.

      Crazy will no doubt vote for whoever she believes will lead Argyll & Bute to a more prosperous future across the board. I know her well and call her my friend, but I wouldn’t venture to guess how she’ll cast her vote. She’s much too bright and independent for that. Whoever it is, it will be someone who’s cottoned on to the fact that schools are a litmus test for whether the community is thriving or not. It will be someone who can do more than merely watch the patient bleed to death and call it inevitable. The decline in Scotland’s population has ended and Argyll & Bute can expect better than an undertaker now.

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  29. Sorry “doc” -you’ve lost me. I’m not at all sure of the point you are trying to make. Enlighten me please.

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  30. It will be interesting to find out the candidtates’ views on the proliferation of wind farms across Argyll and Bute.

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  31. Anne, you seem to (deliberately?) missed my point – so I’ll ask you again – in terms of you giving a veto to service users

    Were you thinking of extending this right to other Council sectors. For example – would you agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?

    So, how about answering Anne – should ALL service users have an automatic veto? Or only the parents of rural primary school pupils

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  32. Morag – what are you on about? Why are you asking me questions??

    I’m not the one standing for election. Rather than do that you really should like me be pressing Anne Baird to answer the question that’s been put to her.

    ps My guess is she won’t ;)

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  33. Simon dear, I missed your post. The whole attitude to all service users generally stinks. Where possible, they should all be treated with the same respect, consulted in a genuine way, provided with all appropriate information and be given the opportunity to contribute suggestions and alternatives.

    Your fears are based on the notion that the public is thick and can’t understand budget cuts or realise when things need to change. I credit them with more sense and see evidence in other regions that good sense abounds.

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  34. Anne, again with the mellow-hug-a-tree-comfort-sounding-words but again you appear to have (deliberately?) avoided answering my question.

    So for the sake of clarity lets sure what what we are talking about here. This is NOT aobut ‘consultation’ – genuine or otherwise – but about your idea that service users (primary school parent in this instance) being given a VETO to prevent a school closing.

    Now a VETO is NOT consultation. It is excutive power being handed over by a council to an unelected grouping.
    All I am asking is were you thinking of extending this right of veto to other Council sectors? For example – would you agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?

    Now I don’t think the public are thick – they can probably spot a blatant piece of electioneering from 100yards – but for the sake of clarity, for the thrid time and to give the opportunity to spell out what you are proposing Anne – do all service users get this veto or just rural primary schools?

    Have a nice day dear :)

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    • Unless I have missed it, nowhere does Anne use the word “veto”. I have to be careful about saying what ARSN’s position is but at the risk of being contradicted by one of my colleagues here is what I think our position is:

      1: ARSN does not oppose the closing of empty schools where there is no realistic hope of population recovery in the short term.
      2: ARSN does not oppose the closure of schools where the parents and community are in favour of closure (obvious really but worth stating)
      3: Where the majority of parents oppose a closure then ARSN will support their campaign to retain the school and the school should not be closed against the wishes of the majority of parents unless there are compelling safety reasons to do so.

      You call this a veto and perhaps it is: why should parents and the local community just allow their school to be closed on the whim of Council officials who may have never visited it and on the bought votes of councillors who do not represent the area and who were not voted for by the local citizens?

      This latter point highlights the democratic deficit in councils where control is exercised by so called independents. In councils where control is by party related councillors then citizens can be pretty sure of what they are going to get in terms of policies and action and that this will be uniform across the county. Where independents control the council there is no uniform policy and the voters are faced with the proverbial pig in a poke. Worse, they can enthusiastically vote in local candidates who will act in their local interests but these councillors can be out voted by councillors from other areas who are immune to the (voter) consequences of their actions. This is a democratic deficit and is a microcosm of what happens in the UK where the Scots can vote in Labour until they are red in the face but still end up with a Tory government in Westminster (and other such anomalies). Where you have a party as opposed to an independent standing you can give them your vote knowing that their fellow party councillors from other areas will support the same policies: in this case an opposition to enforced closure of rural primary schools.

      Back to how the Council should act: the key to managing the school estate is to persuade parents and communities that the Council’s plans for schooling in their areas does deliver educational benefit to their children and thus have them agree to closures where this is necessary to achieve these ends. The fundamental problem in ABC was the intention to simply bulldoze closure proposals through in blatant disregard to either the wishes of parents and communities or indeed with any regard to the actual needs of these communities and the wider educational infrastructure of Argyll.

      And don’t start bleating about how we cannot afford rural schools: the current Administration found it easy enough to propose spending millions on swimming pools in Helensburgh and school building projects in their own backyards when an election looms.

      The public are indeed not thick and I hope the elections next month see us elect a Council that is fair, democratic and wise; a Council which will work for all the citizens of Argyll, wherever they are, young and old, rural or town.

      It’s a dream but one that merely takes some numbers on a bit of paper to make a reality.

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  35. Simon, just for you, since you seem to be the only person who is confused, I have never used the word veto. What I have said is that neither the council nor the public should be making major decisions without genuine, open and extended consultation. I have pointed out that where this happens, agreement can be reached. Now where in that agreement would you find a use for a veto?

    I should also point out that I’m not particularly in love with the whole concept of electioneering as it’s a long time since the public worked out what that was about. I believe it turns people off, so I don’t do it. I speak as I think.

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  36. Anne, apparently you don’t know what you’ve said – on April 2nd (above)you said “In the interests of clarity it is my personal belief that the closure of any school should be with the consent of the majority of parents”.*

    What part of your words do you not understand Anne??? What you’ve described is quite clearly a veto IE a school would ONLY close with the consent of the majority of service users – otherwise it stays open. Yep, that’s definitely a veto

    So, back to the question Anne ( and please stop wriggling dear :) )

    All I am asking is – were you thinking of extending this right of veto to other Council sectors? For example – would you agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?

    Or was this something you were reserving for the parents of kids at a rural primary school?

    Can we have a clear answer please Anne?

    *I’ve kept a copy of this entire section just in case it gets accidentally edited…..

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    • Now you are just badgering. Anne has now provided an answer regarding a “veto” several times and it is clear to us what she means.

      Since it is Easter and there has already been an outbreak of biblical quotes can I suggest that “Simon” is attempting the same ploy as the Pharisees in John 8:3-5 and Anne would be as well to follow Jesus’s response in John 8:6.

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    • Simon – ‘*I’ve kept a copy of this entire section just in case it gets accidentally edited…..’

      Oh dear, are you having to do your own secreterial work? Is the office a bit short staffed just now. I don’t suppose they will be able to do the usual monitoring and running/checking for you, poor soul.

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  37. Poor Simon, still struggling to understand …
    “In the interests of clarity it is my personal belief that the closure of any school should be with the consent of the majority of parents”
    Which is to say that most people are reasonable and a council that’s genuinely consulting can achieve this consent (see my comments about Perth, which I imagine you may have printed out and stuck to the wall with an array of little pins, strings and post-it notes). There is no need for councils to pit themselves against the people they’re elected/employed to serve as though they were the enemy and the only aim is to beat them.

    Except where I immediately spot a spelling error or need to add something within moments of posting, I have never edited a posting of mine. If I get it wrong, it’ll be there for all to see but I have no anxiety about that, never having claimed to be omniscient. Maybe you should try Rory Colville for that.

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  38. So all the other nonsense aside – you are still giving parents of rural priamry schools an executive power. Because under your masterplan if the majority do not agree the school should close then the school doesn’t close. That’s a veto.

    Dress it up anyway you want Anne, squirm, prevaricate, defelect, tell me again about how good Perth is – it’s still a veto.

    Now, will you for the fourth time answer the question? To assist I’ve even dropped the word veto (although that’s what it is) and used your words.

    Were you thinking of extending this right to other Council sectors? For example – would you agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?

    C’mon Anne stop messing around and just answer the question dear. :)

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  39. “Doc” you think this is badgering??

    Anne is a an election candidate who has come on and spouted an opinion aobut the rights of parent (service users) in rural primay schools.

    All I have done is ask – will you extend that right to all service users?

    Anne has been steadfast only in her refusal to answer this simple question. She’s is the one standing for election so a simnple yes or no from this budding politician would suffice

    Have a nice day “doc”.

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  40. “Simon” a badger?

    Nah, more like a weasel.

    I can just imagine the scene…darkened room surrounded by

    little cuttings from forargyll…….sad and pathetic.

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  41. I agree totally with Simon.

    Anne dear dont’t treat us (the public) like idiots, you are standing for office, you made the statement. Answer the questions posed. I suspect you wrote without thinking about the wider issues. Should you be standing at all?

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  42. Today I saw the latest version of the Lib Dems FOCUS pamphlet which is actually a leaflet written by the Aileen Morton to get people to vote for her.

    After reading it the only question is ‘Vote for what?’

    It makes major reference to the Helensburgh Pier Car Park ‘Masterplan’ , New Council Offices, money being spent on Kidston Park (which includes a reference to Al Reay and ‘other Lib Dem Councillors’ – a pretty embarassing attempt to make political gain from Cllr Reay’s recent passing) and the award of oney for Helensburgh’s winter festival. As a candidate who has not actually been a Councillor before I fail to see what any of this has to do with Aileen Morton (or if it does it isn’t explained).

    However all is not lost, turn over the leafelt and we discover the true strength of this candidate – here is what Aillen has done that should fill you with confidence that she is the person to vote for:

    1. Wrote a letter to Scottish Water about the condition of a building

    2. Wrote to the Council about some damage to the pier

    3. Encouraged people to donate unused bikes

    Well well well I take it all back – the future of Helensburgh is clearly in safe hands if Aileen gets elected!

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  43. Anne, What is the problem here??

    Why are you being so evasive??

    Why won’t you answer the simple question that your own post prompted??

    Nobody badgered you into this Anne – you are the one who volunteered the fine words ““In the interests of clarity it is my personal belief that the closure of any school should be with the consent of the majority of parents”

    So, the question which so far you have point blank refused to answer is are you thinking of extending this right to other Council sectors? For example – would you agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?

    This is an important issue – one you felt strong enough about to volunteer a view on on – and it’s not going away.

    So, please, just stop with all your evasion and just answer the question Anne!
    Have a nice day :)

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    • Simon,

      Anne is more than capable of speaking for herself (as she already has) and so I offer this as my take on the question rather than in support of Anne or as an ARSN member.

      Personally I don’t think any service should be necessarily maintained or terminated based on a simply vote which is engaged with by, relatively speaking, a limited number of service users. If for no other reason than the fact that not all service users will, engage and therefore any such method would not necessarily represent the full population of service users.

      However what is vital is that the authority responsible for the service, and potential removal of it, conducts itself in a way that is focused on quality of service delivery, parity for all rather than central hubs of populous (and hence voting power), compliance with legislation, honesty, and possibly even a little humility.

      This does include proper consultation, does include admitting when you have got things wrong and taking the appropriate steps to correct errors rather than deny them and it includes an administration that is prepared to challenge Council officers rather than bend over and accept that what they propose is beyond scrutiny and challenge.

      The way the Council (Officer and Administration Councillors) conducted themselves throughout the schools fiasco (proven once again by the Rural Education Committee as being flawed arguments for closure) should concern everyone irrespective of whether the school issue was a priority for them or not. If social care for the elderly is your priority what makes you think this administration and executive team will be any more competent and act with more integrity when it comes to cutting them. Why would they be prepared to trample all over schools with scant regard for quality of argument and not do so if it comes to libraries, or swimming pools, or third sector support? The answer is they won’t.

      So I don’t believe any service group should be given a power of veto however I do believe that every service group deserves a fair and honest ‘hearing’ and deserves to have their views respected and considered without a childish Council that responds with ‘we are right, you are wrong and it doesn’t matter if we can’t prove it’.
      And just to save you a post about flawed schools legislation – the argument about whether it was flawed, or extent to which it is flawed, is somewhat irrelevant with regard to A&B’s debacle – what is relevant is that it was the legislation in place at the time and the Council failed miserably to comply with the fundamental requirements of it.

      Your turn to answer a question Simon. Throughout the schools issue you found it near on impossible to accept criticism of the Council. Now that the Rural Education Commission have publicly stated that the Council’s arguments to support their educational benefit statement are without any foundation (something ARSN and others were telling them from day one) are you prepared to do what the Council won’t do and acknowledge they got it badly wrong and by ignoring clearly sound arguments wasted a whole stack of public money and resources? Hopefully you will answer this here so I don’t have to go around random threads posting the same question.

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    • What you mean by that is Anne answers your question in a manner you are happy with which is entirely different from her answering your question.

      Not sure why you need an answer to your query before you will answer a question about your own opinion but whatever makes you happy I guess.

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  44. Integrity that makes me happy so thank you. :)

    And to be clear Anne has of course NOT answered the question I’ve put to her many times now – “So, the question which so far you have point blank refused to answer is, are you thinking of extending this right to other Council sectors? For example – would you agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?”.

    C’mon Anne – JUST ANSWER!!

    Then I can answer Integrity’s question…… :)

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  45. Simon, by bringing it to a straight yes or no scenario you hope to circumvent the crux of what I’m actually saying. That may be entertaining but it doesn’t achieve anything except a win or lose for one of us. You don’t want to negotiate, comprehend, contribute. You just want to score a point and wave an anti-Anne, anti-SNP flag. I don’t see how that’s going to improve anyone’s life but yours (and I’m not even sure it would be good for you).
    You of course understand what I’m saying and I’m happy to say it till the cows come home. All change should be achieved by consensus and it should be the aim of the council to present accurate information that allows service users to join in the decision making process as partners. Where that has happened, the evidence is that either the council’s view is upheld and everyone is happy with that, or some alternative is proposed and everyone is happy with that.
    What happens in Argyll & Bute currently is what’s happening in this debate between you and I. It’s contentious, you’re not listening or engaging with what I’m actually saying and it’s clear you’ve made your mind up before we even started. That’s why people assume you’re either an administration councillor or work for the council.

    In the interests of achieving some better understanding perhaps you could have a look at this fairly simple explanation of consensus decision making. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making

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  46. Anne, come off it – you are now just bleating and blethering on and on and adding yet more mindless verbage to evade aswering a very, very simple question.

    You started this Anne. You posted the article stating that “the closure of any school should be with the consent of the majority of parents”

    You have avoided answering if that right of veto (and let’s be fair even “doc” and ‘Integrity’ agree it amounts to a veto) would be extended to other service users?

    And believe me I have listened to what you are saying – you are saying – very, very naively in my opinion – that all change should be achieved by consensus.

    But then as you well know that wasn’t the question.

    You want to give a right of veto to school parents in rural areas but not to any other section of the community who also face massive cuts and reductions in service

    Why?????

    Why are you prioritising rural schools over old people? Special needs adults? Museums? Sport clubs? Community centres? Libraries? Swimming pools? Etc, etc, etc,

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  47. Not wasting any more time on this one Simon. You clearly didn’t bother to read the wikipedia article or you’d know exactly what I’m saying. Consensus decision making should apply to all and if whole, prosperous nations can use it I think it will do fine for Argyll & Bute.

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  48. Just more and more evasion from you Anne. I find it quite breathtaking that you the aspiring politician are refusing to answer a political question on a topic that you started!!

    Breathtakingly naive of you Anne. And favouring a vocal minority with rights you would deny any other group whilst bleating on about consensus….??? That is just so childishly silly because of course the reality is that you simply cannot achive overall consensus when money is tight and priorities have to be identified.

    Want a lesson in politics Anne? Well here’s a hint from Harold Lasswell “Politics is who gets what, when, and how”.

    Your priority seems to be rural primary schools. That’s fine but you should at least be honest about it – especially to the other groups, old folks, museums, communinty groups, that you would deny the right you want to give rural primary school parents.

    Have a nice day dear :)

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  49. Oh dear, “Simon” acts like he’s won something…….but he

    just looks like a fool!

    I have shown these comments to friends and they managed

    quite easily to understand what Anne Baird is saying.

    Maybe “Simon” has lost his bit of paper?

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  50. ‘By the end of the 1930′s, pessimism about the future of democracy was widespread. Most members of the old-line elites were convinced that totalitarianism couldn’t be stopped. They pointed to theories like those of Lasswell and Lippmann as proof that average people could not be trusted’

    Extract from ‘Mass Communication Theory: foundations, ferment and future’ 5th edition (2009) by Stanley J et al.

    Is that your view Simon, that average people can’t be trusted?

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  51. Are you lot seriously trying to suggest that Anne comes out of this with any credit whatsoever??

    She’s squirmed, evaded, prevaricated, deflected, lectured, pontificated, postulated, quoted…. when all the time all she had to do was say yes or no.

    If I were in the SNP I would be embarrassed – an SNP politcal candidate refusing to answer a question on an issue she herself raised?? Nobody badgered her, nobody tricked her into her pious comment – she volunteered it!

    And remember this is an ambitious SNP group politico, appointed to a national working group by an SNP Minister, who has posted umpteen times but still refused to answer a simple question.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. Anne. A very poor display from an election candidate.

    But just before I go here’s a thought (and I know you will read this Anne ;)) if your childish,cosy consensus politics is going to resolve everything….why then do you feel the need to give rural primary school parents the right to veto a school closure??

    Have a nice evening y’all. :)

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  52. Scruff – as a concise working definiton of politics Lasswell’s is as good as I’ve seen*. That does not mean I agree with everything else he ever did or ever said.

    There now Scruff that clear enough for you???

    The rest of the comments were of course the boringly predictable posts from the usual suspects/snp groupies and not worth responding to. So, I haven’t bothered.

    As I’ve said have a nice evening y’all ;)

    *Scruff, please, feel free to provide you own definiton and share it. See it you can be as concise and do try work in Anne’s childish consensus thingy. I won’t hold my breath… :)

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    • Simon – no it’s not clear enough. In your post no.50 you said ‘Want a lesson in politics Anne? Well here’s a hint from Harold Lasswell….’

      What you didn’t say was ‘Laswell once said ….’ or ‘although I don’t agree with all his views, Laswell said…’. You specifically said ‘Want a lesson in politics Anne?’

      So exactly what lessons in politics should we take from Laswell? Are you advising a potential Councillor to be guided by his opinion on the use of propaganda and the masses? Are you just saying the words “Politics is who gets what, when, and how”, stikes a certain political note with you. But there just words, what do you define as the meaning behind them?

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  53. Scruff – that’s strange I thought what I posted was crystal clear. Apologies if it wasn’t clear enough for you, however, I must confess that without the use of crayons I really can’t make it any simpler.

    :)

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  54. So do I get my answer now Simon? Whether you like her answer or not there is no doubting Anne has given you one.

    So, in true Simon fashion, here is the question repeated.

    Throughout the schools issue you found it near on impossible to accept criticism of the Council. Now that the Rural Education Commission have publicly stated that the Council’s arguments to support their educational benefit statement are without any foundation (something ARSN and others were telling them from day one) are you prepared to do what the Council won’t do and acknowledge they got it badly wrong and by ignoring clearly sound arguments wasted a whole stack of public money and resources?

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  55. Integrity, good morning, as you are aware our deal was that I would answer your question as soon as Anne answered mine. As I predicted however the aspiring politician Anne Baird has point blank refused to answer my question on a topic that she started. Whilst a simple yes or no would have sufficed – but Anne simply abdicated responsibility for her own weasel words.

    It should therefore come as no surprise to you to learn that our deal unfortunately no longer exists because Anne has singularly failed to answer the question.

    But, the deal can and will be right back on the table just as soon as Anne answers the question.

    See if you can persuade her ;)

    Have a nice day :)

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  56. Morag, that is most unfair and quite rude of you.

    Anne probably just didn’t realise (because she didn’t think it through) the implications of her rather silly pronouncement. Obviously a wiser head has prevailled and pointed out to amatuerish Anne that she was very quickly digging a deeper and deeper hole for herself and the best course was simply to stop digging.

    As snp politico – looking to make the leap(!) from political groupie to political wannabe – that’s her choice. I will admit she is left looking lame because she cannot/will not answer a question about a topic she started.

    In turn it does mean rather that she looks somewhat stupid as well – but that’s still no reason for you to be personally abusive towards her by calling her a coward!!

    Have a nice day :)

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    • LOL! You’re wandering into the realms of complete fiction now Simon. I answered you copiously and, since there’s little hope that you’ll vote for me, I’m busy talking to the people who will. Lovely day for it too!

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  57. Yes I asked a question Crazy ( I might get more sense out of you despite your name)

    I asked Anne Baird an SNP candidate if she was thinking of extending the right to a veto (that she wants to give to rural porimary school parents) to other Council sectors? For example – would she agree that Libraries or swimming pools won’t be shut or hours cut without the consent of the majority of service users? Or Old Folks Homes won’t be shut the consent of the majority of service users? Or voluntary organisations or museums where their grant won’t be cut without the consent of the majority of service users?

    Or would she resrve that veto only for rural primary schools???

    Anne has so far refused to answer.

    Mibbie you can persuade her to answer Crazy??…

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    • Could it not be more of a case of her answer not being the one you wanted to hear?

      Where do you stand on the whole Vivien Dance/I saved Parklands issue, which is as we all know an absolute out and out lie?

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  58. Today I saw the most disgusting lie of the campaign so far. In the Helensburgh Advertiser this week the Helensburgh candidates each got a slot to promote themselves. Vivien Dance lowered herself to claim she deserves credit for saving Parklands School. Anyone who was in any involved in the schools closure issue will be more than aware that she lied through her back teeth about the Parklands parents and it is utterly abhorrent that she now claims to have supported the school.

    That one claim alone makes her an entirely odious human being and even more devoid of human decency than she was when she betrayed the most vulnerable children in the ward she is supposed to represent.
    She has no place in local politics and, to be frank, no place in a decent society.

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  59. I have two words for the electorate “Castle Toward”, I was thinking of two words for the Councillors but thought better of it!
    I think and others feel there is still a very bad smell about what happened at Castle Toward, and if it where up to me I wouldn’t vote any of the former council back in. Please note the council officials that have lost their jobs recently with regards spying on social networking sites, we have suffered because of this underhandedness and I expect a full public enquiry.
    I really hope that the good folk of Argll & Bute vote morally!

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