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I am always impressed by the postings of …

Comment posted on Misleading journalism from Dunoon Observer by Mick Rice

I am always impressed by the postings of Dr Douglas Mckenzie – however, this is not a game of “Chinese Whispers”.

The hustings was videod and is available at:

Readers can judge for themselves. The relevant section is after 47 minutes in.

With regard to the improvements needed to the primary schools in Dunoon I am glad that Sandy Longmuir has confirmed that the Scottish Futures Trust will allow this money to be used for refurbishment purposes and not just for “new build”.

In the circumstances, a “Planning For Real” exercise run by the Scottish Rural Schools Network would offer a way forward.

Parents, teachers and the wider community could meet together to determine optimum solutions.

As long as these were kept within the financial envelope that is already available there should be no problem with: Argyll and Bute Council, The Scottish Futures Trust, The Scottish Government, Mike Russell, Mike Breslin and ForArgyll.

If elected, I will campaign for this outcome. If I am not elected, I will also campaign for it. I believe in involving the parents at the start and not at the end of the process and would have preferred for this to have happened in this case.

Mick Rice also commented

  • At the Dunoon hustings meeting I attempted to put Mike Breslin on the spot with regard to the proposed new super campus.

    I said that he should get a commitment from Mike Russell, the Cabinet Member for Education, that the Scottish Government contribution to the project should be retained for alternative proposals. The hustings was videod by the Cowal Courier and the relevant section is around 47 minutes into the meeting.

    I meant by this that Mike Breslin should give a commitment that, if elected, he would seek to obtain this assurance.
    However, he responded that this wasn’t necessary as he had this commitment already.

    I assumed that his professional role in education gave him an awareness of Scottish Government educational policy and he had read some public document that I had not seen.

    However, the Council Leader, Dick Walsh, who is also a candidate, said that he had not heard of this before! The proposal is a joint scheme to be funded by both the Scottish Government and the Council.

    Does this mean that Mike Russell has broken the ministerial code and given a commitment to a fellow party candidate when he has not shared this with the Council?

    I am indebted to Sandy Longmuir for his clarification that the funding can be used for refurbishment. Is this confirmed with regard to Dunoon’s primary schools?

Recent comments by Mick Rice

  • Dunoon Observer invites voters to pick their ghoul
    I respect Dave McEwan Hill as he has criticised his own party when he believes that it is wrong. He isn’t like some of the SNP Uber Nats who support the SNP line regardless of the issue.

    If he wasn’t in Scotland, I think he might have made a good Labour party member.

    However, his reference to my “colourful past” is unworthy as this clearly provides encouragement to those who want to have a personality contest rather than an election on policies.

    Argyll and Bute Labour Party has published its manifesto and this can be accessed online at www.ablab.org.uk. I note that the SNP has a manifesto but I have not yet seen it online.

    Apparently the electorate can get a copy by writing to an address. Perhaps ForArgyll can help us by obtaining a copy and publish it as I am yet undecided on how to cast my seventh preference.

    As new Councillors, if we are lucky enough to get elected, we will not join the administration.
    Argyll and Bute Labour Councillors will support any group, including an SNP administration, on the basis of agreement to our manifesto.

  • Latest Argyll Ferries Gourock-Dunoon scare story is mischievous untruth
    Hi George
    Someone using your name posted the following. I am going to presume that it really was you and that someone else is not masquerading as you on ForArgyll. But you never know.

    Recent comments by Councillor George Freeman
    Latest Argyll Ferries Gourock-Dunoon scare story is mischievous untruth
    Given the latest information relating to the totally false claims that passengers were asked to lie on the deck on one trip, how do we know that the text messages listed by Mike Rice in a comment attached to the same report (Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure to invite Dunoon ferry interests to meeting) and taken from the text service provided by Argyll Ferries for passengers using the service, were not all generated by one or two mischievous and irresponsible individuals?

    Incidentally you refer to me as “Mike Rice” whereas, much to my mother’s annoyance, I generally refer to myself as “Mick Rice”. She used to complain that she christened me “Michael” and that for all time everyone must call me by the name she gave me! In memory of my mother you can call me “Michael” if you want. In fact you can call me anything you like as long as it is not libellous, or otherwise actionable.

    My wife gets text message alerts from Argyll Ferries as she uses the service every working day. Well, perhaps that ought to be – she uses the service every working day that Argyll Ferries are working. Because obviously Argyll Ferries are not working every working day! She is a bit of a hoarder and doesn’t delete anything, including text messages, unless she has to.

    Now I tend to trust my wife – I find that it helps our relationship. The thought had not occurred to me that someone else might have been sending her text messages pretending that they were from Argyll Ferries. Come to that I can recall the wedding when we got married. However, I suppose that I may be living in a dream world, and if I pinch myself very hard, I might wake up in another dimension!

    Of course, one can end up with all sorts of weird and wonderful scenarios if we imagine that nothing can be taken at face value.

    As far as I am concerned I am going to assume that I am married, that my name is Mick, that Argyll Ferries did send my wife text messages and that she has faithfully recorded these on her mobile phone.

    I shall also assume that information posted on ForArgyll is correct – from whatever source – until someone can provide evidence to the contrary.

    Do you agree?

  • Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure to invite Dunoon ferry interests to meeting
    Hi George
    Someone using your name posted the following. I am going to presume that it really was you and that someone else is not masquerading as you on ForArgyll. But you never know.
    Recent comments by Councillor George Freeman
    Latest Argyll Ferries Gourock-Dunoon scare story is mischievous untruth
    Given the latest information relating to the totally false claims that passengers were asked to lie on the deck on one trip, how do we know that the text messages listed by Mike Rice in a comment attached to the same report (Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure to invite Dunoon ferry interests to meeting) and taken from the text service provided by Argyll Ferries for passengers using the service, were not all generated by one or two mischievous and irresponsible individuals?
    Incidentally you refer to me as “Mike Rice” whereas, much to my mother’s annoyance, I generally refer to myself as “Mick Rice”. She used to complain that she christened me “Michael” and that for all time everyone must call me by the name she gave me! In memory of my mother you can call me “Michael” if you want. In fact you can call me anything you like as long as it is not libellous, or otherwise actionable.
    My wife gets text message alerts from Argyll Ferries as she uses the service every working day. Well, perhaps that ought to be – she uses the service every working day that Argyll Ferries are working. Because obviously Argyll Ferries are not working every working day! She is a bit of a hoarder and doesn’t delete anything, including text messages, unless she has to.
    Now I tend to trust my wife – I find that it helps our relationship. The thought had not occurred to me that someone else might have been sending her text messages pretending that they were from Argyll Ferries. Come to that I can recall the wedding when we got married. However, I suppose that I may be living in a dream world, and if I pinch myself very hard, I might wake up in another dimension!
    Of course, one can end up with all sorts of weird and wonderful scenarios if we imagine that nothing can be taken at face value.
    As far as I am concerned I am going to assume that I am married, that my name is Mick, that Argyll Ferries did send my wife text messages and that she has faithfully recorded these on her mobile phone.
    I shall also assume that information posted on ForArgyll is correct – from whatever source – until someone can provide evidence to the contrary.
    Do you agree?
  • Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure to invite Dunoon ferry interests to meeting
    ArgyllFerriesPerformance
    History
    of Argyll Ferry performance over the period 21 October 2011 to 14
    December 2011 on the Dunoon and Gourock route.
    Analysis
    In the 45 days that this monitoring period covers 21 days (43%) were
    disrupted.
    The reasons for cancellation of the ferry service was WEATHER (77%) on
    17 occasions and TECHNICAL (23%) on 5 occasions.
    This data was collected by the text messaging information service
    provided by Argyll Ferry for passengers using the ferry from
    Dunoon/Gourock route.
    Editor’s note: Mick Rice’s material could not be displayed in tabular form because of Word Press, the web platform we use.
    We are therefore trying other ways to help him publish this. This link may work: file:///Users/lyndahenderson/Library/Mail%20Downloads/ForLyndaArgyllFerriesPerformance.html
    If it doesn’t, we’ll try again.
    UPDATE: It doesn’t – but this should: http://forargyll.com/2011/12/mick-rice-argyll-ferries-performance-data/
  • Scottish Labour chooses ‘steady as you go’ Leader – that’s downhill then?
    The Labour Party in Argyll and Bute is prepared to work with other political parties. We look forward to working constructively for the good of the whole community. We do not believe in opposition for opposition’s sake.

    However, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are likely to take a less than robust approach in campaigning for local needs if these are at odds with the wishes of the Westminster government.

    Similarly the SNP are unlikely to campaign for local needs when this clashes with the views of the Scottish Government. It is clear that the SNP Council group pay close attention to the wishes of our local Cabinet Minister.

    Of course there are honourable exceptions. David McEwan Hill, a well known local SNP member, has publicly disagreed with the SNP over the Dunoon Gourock ferry service. I very much hope that the SNP Council group will support him and not maintain an eerie silence on this issue.

    There are major problems with infrastructure in Argyll and Bute:
    • Who will pay for trunking the A83 from Kennacraig to Campbeltown?
    • Who will pay to upgrade the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful to ensure that it is not subject to continuing closure?
    • Who will investigate the potential for a resumed ferry service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle?
    • Where will the money be found to bring our roads up to an acceptable standard?

    All these issues require financial support from the Scottish Government.

    However, the £60 billion capital plan does not mention them. Indeed, I wonder just what Argyll and Bute is set to receive from the Scottish Government’s capital plan. It appears to me that there is an east coast bias in their proposals.

    No local council would want to be at war with the Scottish Government. But we need a robust approach to secure the resources Argyll and Bute needs. Will the local SNP campaign for the needs of local people or will the SNP Council group be the Cabinet Member’s poodles?

    Roll on the local SNP local council manifesto. I shall be delighted to work with Anne Baird and other SNP supporters on these issues.

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