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The truth about CalMac (short version)

Posted on June 22, 2015 by

The Mirror, the Daily Record and Scottish Labour are currently working themselves up into a shrieking froth about the SNP’s supposed plans to “privatise” the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services to the Western Isles, which are due to be put out to tender again for the first time since the SNP took control of Holyrood in 2007.

mirrorcalmac

It’s just possible there may be some hypocrisy on show.

Because the last time the same thing happened, the SNP (and the SSP and Greens) alleged it was a backdoor privatisation, while Labour furiously insisted that it wasn’t.

morrisoncalmac1

morrisoncalmac2

So far as we can establish, absolutely nothing has changed with regard to EU rules on tendering such services in the intervening period. But also, nobody seems entirely sure what those rules actually are.

When Nicol Stephen, Transport Minister of the Labour/Lib Dem Scottish Executive of the day, wrote to the European Commission seeking some clarification on the subject in 2005, the reply he got would have kept Alan Turing busy for a lifetime trying to decode it into some sort of comprehensible English.

So in summary: nothing has changed, nobody really knows what’s going on, the SNP and Labour have swapped positions so they can keep shouting at each other, and the media’s just parroting whatever Labour tells it to say, because journalism is hard.

(What we can say with some degree of evidence-based confidence is that whatever happened last time doesn’t now appear to be seen as having privatised the service, and if the same thing is happening this time – which it seems to be – then logically it won’t amount to privatisation this time either. The SNP’s U-turn at least appears to have acknowledged the reality with the benefit of hindsight, while Labour seem to have been telling the truth in 2005 but have now reversed that position inexplicably.)

We hope that helped.

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    158 to “The truth about CalMac (short version)”

    1. tommy kane says:

      It was the same issues when the tender for new ferries was being progressed and why Calmac bought them from Polish yard

    2. james says:

      Funny but I have just cancelled my RMT membership this morning after reading a similar rant about BADSNP in their April issue regarding Calmac. Even had the cheek to quote Brian Wilson.

    3. Andrew Haddow says:

      Was it not Nicol Stephen who wrote to the EC?

    4. David says:

      It was ferry good of you to write this!

    5. Ken500 says:

      MSM are liars. They do it all the time, trying to blame SNP for UK/EU policies. They did it on the rail franchise as well. SNP were obliged to give it to lowest bidder as it is Westminster/EU policy. Road deaths increased in Scotland – blame SNP. They increased in the UK. SNP lower drink/drive policies have not yet worked through.

      Every time they blame SNP, has to be checked, and is false.

    6. Macart says:

      Nothing new under the sun then.

      At some point the media may just catch on to the fact that their current strategy is driving people away from them and their party affiliations in droves…

      … or maybe not.

    7. Al-Stuart says:

      As someone brought up on the Island of Arran, I, and likely many islanders have a strong affinity to CalMac. However, there is a BIG issue about why we have no competition on the island. Just look at what Andrew Banks has achieved with his Orkney island based Pentland Ferries. Mr Banks has built a new ferry at NO cost to the taxpayer – when CalMac have a £40,000,000 to build a new ferry each year or two in Poland. Furthermore Pentland Ferries receive NO operating subsidy, saving the taxpayer £25,000,000 every year.

      Why oh why is CalMac afraid of some fair competition?

      If it saves the taxpayer a lot of money to have some competition, and also gives islanders freedom to travel after 6pm at night rather than be kept in like bad kids of a night, then what is wrong with that?

      Time to end the dogma about islanders receiving fair ferry competition, especially if it saves the hard pressed taxpayers tens of millions of pounds each year.

    8. Ken500 says:

      EU countries get round it by claiming their ‘Constitution’ outweighs EU Laws. An Independent Scotland could have a ‘Constitution’ and do the same.

    9. K1 says:

      Nicola addressed this in FMQ’s last Thurday:

      20 mins in, Rhoda Grant asks the question, and Nicola more or less confirms what the Rev has just outlined. I believe she did that in under 300 words too…though I’m open to being corrected on this 😉

      http://www.scottishparliament.tv/category.aspx?id=34

    10. andy nimmo says:

      I can guarantee that the Scottish Government are unhappy at being forced by EU Law to award the tender to Serco (god even typing that word makes me shiver)

      Alas you can bet your bottom dollar that to refuse would invite legal challenges that would cost millions to fight with no chance of victory.

      The Daily Record and especially the featured scribe Johann Lamont (who) must be well aware of this.

      Tis yet another example of Media/Labour lies and mischief making.

      Even as I type, I discover there’s a legal challenge taking placr.

      No wonder the Record didn’t invite the SG to comment.

      Lets not let the facts get in the way of a good Nat Attack

    11. How will this affect the steak pie & chips on the Ullapool – Stornoway route, at the moment the brown sauce sachets are free?

    12. msean says:

      Don’t know a lot about this,but I’m pretty sure that the SNP didn’t negotiate the treaty that lets this be tendered. That would be the main three unionist parties,and in particular,the ones who have formed all UK governments pre 2007.

      Scottish Government have to follow the rules that Labour and the Tories agreed to on behalf of the electorate in Euopean treaties.

    13. steveasaneilean says:

      Stu – the crucial statement is here:

      http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2010/06/17134612/7

      “The European Commission has taken an interest in the arrangements for ferry subsidies in Scotland over a number of years, including the issuing of a ‘pre-infraction letter’ to the Scottish Executive in June 2005, relating to the Commission’s view that the subsidy arrangements for the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services (including Gourock-Dunoon) did not comply with EU law.

      The Commission has also taken an interest in successive Northern Isles ferry services contracts awarded since 2002.

      A formal investigation into the compatibility of these subsidy arrangements with the EU State aid rules started on 16 April 2008 when the Commission wrote to the UK Government following a number of complaints that it had received from interested parties alleging that these subsidies were illegal.

      We understand that the core issue underlying those complaints was that public subsidies for Gourock-Dunoon and under the Clyde and Hebrides and Northern Isles ferry contracts were perceived by the complainants to be anti-competitive and commercially damaging.

      We co-operated fully with that investigation and the Commission’s Decision was published on 28 October 2009

      The Decision found that Scottish Government subsidies for the Clyde and Hebrides and Northern Isles ferry services were compatible with the EU State aid rules and that the subsidies for Gourock-Dunoon would also be compatible, providing an open, transparent and non-discriminatory public tender was launched for this route”

      Th last sentence is crucial – “providing and open, transparent and non-discriminatory public tender was launched for this route”. In other words to ensure the £1 billion pound subsidy paid for lifeline ferry services by Scottish Government is legal under EU rules the services have to be put out to tender.

      They really have no choice and there really is no confusion.

      http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Tendering-for-Clyde-and-Hebrides-ferry-contract-underway-1606.aspx

    14. Sinky says:

      Remind Brian Wilson and other Labour apologists that it was the SNP that introduced and extended Road Equivalent Tariff
      following a pilot beginning in 2008 which cut car fares and boosted tourism in many of Scotland’s island communities.

      http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/water/ferries/road-equivalent-tariff

    15. Genghis D'Midgies says:

      Thanks Ken500, You comment has been duly nicked an tweeted 🙂

    16. Bob Mack says:

      It is like playing 3D chess,after turning the boards upside down

    17. G H Graham says:

      So the SNP & Labour (North British Accounting Unit) have traded positions of authority & both have declared a policy U-turn?

      And when we apply a British National media filter, the outcome is, Labour = GOOD & SNP = BAD, right?

      Which is the same outcome before the transition occurred; Labour = GOOD & SNP = BAD.

      I am delighted to see that the British media chooses to adhere to the principle of journalistic consistency.

    18. Luigi says:

      Macart says:

      22 June, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Nothing new under the sun then.

      At some point the media may just catch on to the fact that their current strategy is driving people away from them and their party affiliations in droves…

      … or maybe not.

      The Gods have deserted them. They are completely insane!

    19. Connor McEwen says:

      Neverendum attackum as the Daily Tonto wid say.
      SNP ,the Lone Ranger

    20. frankieboy says:

      There is no Scottish Labour, only a British Labour.

    21. June Maxwell says:

      Nicola tweeted this morning that Cal-Mac was NOT being privatised.

    22. HandandShrimp says:

      Labour had the same problem when tendering for the Fisheries protection vessel. The first one was built at Fergusons but the second under EU competition laws went to Poland.

      If you put these plums contracts out to tender there will be interest and not taking the vfm bid will result in legal challenges. Re-nationalising may be a possible option but what would the cost be and is there the budget to do it – also, is that the Labour party policy? If so why did they only privatise during their 13 years in charge?

    23. Dalí Llama says:

      BBC 1 9pm tonight: The Fall of Scottish Labour

      Get the popcorn ready folks…

    24. ronnie anderson says:

      O/T.

      http://www.parliamentlive.tv

      IDS in for ah barra load of Questions from SNP MPs Chris Law/ Tazmina ect.

      2.30 pm

    25. Doomchops says:

      can anyone explain why there is a passenger only service between Gourock and Dunoon. A huge breakwater and new linkspan was built but it has never been used for loading cars on to a ferry. The town has been greatly affected by this and something should be done by the Scottish government to remedy this situation

    26. heedtracker says:

      Christ Kevin Macguire’s not pulling his punches is he

      “Bus and train baron Brian Souter is a close buddy, while the red carpet rolled out for Aussie-­American media billionaire Rupert Murdoch would make Tony Blair blush.”

      Rupert Murdoch’s a media billionaire! shock. What a bunch of lying clowns these guys are. But at least SNP bad gets a mention by Mirror twerps because its a total SNP blackout on BBC England/Britain,

      Lunchtime BBC politics show did give nonentity SLab leader candidate a warm welcome today. Jo Coburn’s letter box lips pouting away at one more weird unionist proud Scot but cringer, peddling usual SLab fraud, passionate about devo but not too much now, work cautiously with vile separatists but you know what they’re like robbing 130 thousand Scots of further ed, autonomy for SLabour but really none and all of it falls apart into usual SNP bad, UKOK wonderful, pool share resources. Autonomy for SLabour’s his biggest silly hoax.

      Or just another day in teamGB media land. Actually shills like MacGuire probably get more media work actually monstering SNP Scots.gov as much as humanly possible now.

      So much for Bettertogether’s vote NO for equal partnership in this farce union.

    27. Valerie says:

      The SG has no option but to tender services over a certain financial threshold, and this EU regime has been in place for a very long time.

      The Services are open to the EU to bid, and of course the UK is able to bid on any European tenders. Describing the services, the quality measurements, billing etc is all tedious and detailed and largely d out in directives, it’s almost an art form.

      Its despicable that any political party would seek to misrepresent what is happening, in the hope that the public are too stupid or confused to understand the process.

    28. Peter Brown says:

      It is my understanding that if Calmac had submitted to complete transparency in their operations, subsidies and cross subsidies then tendering would not have been demanded by Europe. But they were reluctant to submit to such close scrutiny, and as some routes are undoubtedly profitable and others undoubtedly loss-making, they were probably fully supported in this by the government of the day. It is indeed likely that whichever party happened to be in power would be reluctant to open such a major political can of worms by exposing which islands subsidise others and by how much.
      The penalty for non-transparency was to be tendering the service, whether as one bundle, or as individual routes or groups of routes.

      What is indeed the case is that as with rail services, the government retains overall control over service provision, fares, vessels and policy. The operator merely operates.

      To me a far more important question is this: Abellio have undertaken to move their operating HQ to Scotland on takeover of the Scotrail franchise. Why is all the real employment still centred on Gourock? Not only are all the HQ and office functions on the mainland, but crew changes take place on the mainland, automatically disadvantaging Island employees. In other words if you live in Oban, Ullapool or even Perth you will be home at the end of your duty long before your island colleagues. And you will have to leave home up to a day earlier to rejoin the vessel at the end of your duty. So islanders lose as much as four days a month over their mainland counterparts. Indeed many islanders starting to work with the company move to the mainland shortly after starting, thus draining the island economy of yet more employment and income, in many cases taking whole families to the mainland.

      So a major part of the contract should refer to the tenderer’s policy on basing employment in the islands. Some of the larger vessels would become the largest single employer on some of the islands they serve, giving a massive economic boost to the areas they serve, and at absolutely no cost to the government.

      If there was one single thing the government could do to improve the islands’ economies this is it.

      We must not allow the artificial storm being blown up about “privatisation or not” to obscure the main issue- island economic stability. The subsidy currently paid to”island ferry services” ends up largely in pockets living on the mainland. And that is very poor use of government support.

    29. Kevin Evans says:

      I am not an islander but I use calmac a lot with my work – this is a very good and interesting debate.

    30. CameronB Brodie says:

      Valerie said
      Its despicable that any political party would seek to misrepresent what is happening, in the hope that the public are too stupid or confused to understand the process.

      This has been British Labour’s modus operandi for a very, very long time.

    31. DougtheDug says:

      This is the motion that Alasdair Morrison and the rest of Labour voted for on that day.

      http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S2M-03253&ResultsPerPage=10

    32. Willie John says:

      Does this mean that if Davie boy drags us out of the EU we will no longer be required to go to tender?

    33. Dr Jim says:

      Because of cutbacks there is slightly less for swimming lessons in some primary schools
      So John Beattie decides to announce that the SNP are happy to see children drown

      He might have given a thought that if they unfortunately did fall into the sea they’d drown whether they could swim or not
      but at least they’d drown on a full stomach thanks to the SNP

      As one who knows a little about swimming learning in the baths is one thing swimming in the sea is an entirely different matter, if you fall from a boat have a flotation device

      Maybe Mr Beattie would like the SNP to provide those as well, although they would probably be not up to Labour party standard rendering them BAD

    34. Joemcg says:

      It’s getting pretty tedious now,they will be blaming the SNP for the pish weather next. Even the most loony Brit Nat zoomer is probably bored with the propaganda.

    35. Susan says:

      Alasdair Morrison was The Labour Party’s candidate in the recent GE, he fought his campaign on Ferries and lost. The Labour Party just is incapable of learning.

    36. Macart says:

      @Luigi

      Maybe just me, but I’d have thought that if I keep repeating a strategy and formula which brings negative and indeed harmful results time after time, I’d probably start to question both the formula and my strategy at that point.

      ‘Course no one ever accused our media of being overly self critical. 🙂

    37. Maggie says:

      What a crock of sh*t from Labour (yet again).

      Take it from someone who has done a lot of work in the public sector over the years (for my sins), EVERY public sector tender over a certain amount has to be undertaken under very strict EU Procurement legislation (current threshholds are here http://www.ojec.com/threshholds.aspx).

      Any politician who claims not to understand this really ought to find themselves another career.

      I’m sure we’ll help a good number of them on that first step come 2016.

    38. Phil Robertson says:

      If you regard privatisation in this context as government outsourcing of services or functions to private firms, you don’t need to go back as far back as 2005 for an interesting volte face.

      Nicola Sturgeon spend much of the GE campaign bemoaning the increasing privatisation of the NHS in England. Then, last week, she said at FMQs that transferring the lifeline ferry services from a state owned company (CalMac) to a private company (Serco) was NOT privatisation.

    39. Findlay Farquaharson says:

      ma heed hurts

    40. wingman 2020 says:

      Don’t offer me a tin foil hat… there is no need.

      I am convinced now that there are a number of hacks engaged by MI5 to keep the propaganda coming. Just like there are paid tweeters and bloggers.

      Of course it sounds far fetched. Is it?

    41. steveasaneilean says:

      @Phil Robertson 2:56 – the tendering of ferries is not privatisation for the very simple reason that the SG has promised to subsidise the service regardless of who wins the tender and to the same tune.

      Whoever runs the service will still have to do what has always been done – set and collect fairs, directly employ staff, pay for repairs, determine infrastructure and so on.

      That is completely different to the NHS privatistion in England where private companies are being handed a pot of money to provide a specified service but don’t have to raise any funds directly from service users or even provide the necessary infrastructure or staff.

    42. jackie g says:

      Maggie says:@2.50pm

      What a crock of sh*t from Labour (yet again).

      Maggie,

      if you think that’s bad wait till you hear them all blaming each other for the mess they are in.

      BBC Scotland 9pm

      Just seen some of the transcript, Ian Gray’s tuppenceworth is comedy gold as usual.

      🙂

    43. hamish says:

      The boundary between MI5 and Journalism is indeed a very fuzzy line.

    44. CameronB Brodie says:

      wingman 2020 said
      I am convinced now that there are a number of hacks engaged by MI5 to keep the propaganda coming. Just like there are paid tweeters and bloggers.

      Of course there are. To expect anything else would be naive in the extreme.

      As Roy Greenslade, media blogger at the Guardian, and editor of the Mirror at the time of the Gulf crisis in 1991, commented: “Most tabloid newspapers — or even newspapers in general — are playthings of MI5”. Spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has even claimed that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press — just as they may do today.

      http://www.the-latest.com/uncovered-british-reporters-who-are-spooks

      Hi guys. Gives one finger salute to GCHQ.

    45. Iain More says:

      EU Rules. Oh well? But then the electorate did hand Mr Morrison his scrotum on a plate for self consumption at the GE. Come to think of it isn’t the first time they have handed him said bodily parts for chewing on and ingestion. It appears he hasn’t learned his lesson yet?

      MSM and Brit Nationalist Politicians are just compulsive liars. What is the bet that the BBC/STV will parrot the Brit Nat Labour position on this if they haven’t already done so.

    46. Dal Riata says:

      In 2012, there was an article in Bella Caledonia entitled, Serco in Scotland.

      Regarding the offering of Ferry-operating contracts to Serco, for those needing clarification read the enlightening BTL comments from Doug the Dug and learn the position of the Scottish government and the situation they are in.

      http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2012/05/15/serco-in-scotland/

    47. Petra says:

      @ wingman 2020 says at 3:13 ”Don’t offer me a tin foil hat… there is no need. I am convinced now that there are a number of hacks engaged by MI5 to keep the propaganda coming. Just like there are paid tweeters and bloggers. Of course it sounds far fetched. Is it?”

      No it’s not far-fetched at all wingman 2020. We’re a threat to the State and there’s loads of evidence on-line that highlights that MI5 agents are hacking into computers and infiltrating social media sites.

      @ hamish says at 3:44 pm ”The boundary between MI5 and Journalism is indeed a very fuzzy line.”

      A number of ex / currrent journalists have been / are employed by MI5.

      Apologies for not posting some supportive evidence for this. I’m using my Ipad right now.

    48. G H Graham says:

      As with all capital intensive services; gas, electricity, water & yes, ferries to remote, sparsely populated islands, it is simply not possible to have multiple private competitors operating in a true, free market.

      For example, there is only ever one cable connected to your house to supply electricity, connected to one transformer, which is connected to one grid. And there is only one pipe connected to your house through which, water is supplied or taken away.

      The reason is obvious of course; it is simply cost ineffective & indeed wholly impractical for multiple delivery routes.

      And of course, it is uneconomic for every company to dig up roads to install their own cables & pipes when you might end up choosing someone else’s service anyway.

      It is largely the same with Hebridean ferry services. Few have the resources to build their own boats on the off chance that they can show up at the port & invite passengers away from another operator, like a taxi driver can with say buses or private cars.

      But Britain’s political establishment is addicted to the public private enterprise model so creates artificial constructs like Public Private Investment (PPI) partnerships from which private operators can operate a monopoly of service while actually getting subsidized by the public through their taxes.

      And of course, within some arbitrary limits set by government, they can set whatever price they think they can get away with, regardless of performance. That’s why train fares remain very high despite negligible, if any improvement in performance.

      A true, free market doesn’t work like this. And neither does a nationalised one. These state subsidized models are a middle ground. Gordon Brown embraced them when he was Chancellor because it allowed him to get these costly investments off the books.

      The consequence though, is that the payback for these PPI initiatives is many times greater than if it were funded from purely public or indeed private money. That’s because the private business receives the financial reward while it is the tax payer who takes all the risk.

      In my opinion, all major infrastructure should be in public ownership with rigorous oversight from bodies staffed by people, not influenced by political corruption.

      Thus, in my opinion, the ferry companies operating all across our many islands in Scotland should be owned by the taxpayer.

    49. heedtracker says:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-33198969

      No mention of the awful BBC Vote SLab Scotland, by BBC Vote Scotland in this SLab downfall wheeze, concocted by said creep show.

      It’s endlessly sleazy and creepy how this rich and mighty outfit excludes its own catastrophic establishment politicking in their Scotland region or normal service from UKOK propagandists.

      eg this rubbish

      “The referendum campaign

      Was the referendum the cause of Scottish Labour’s problems or did it just expose them?
      The Better Together Campaign, which included Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems, was supposed to show a united, pro-unionist front against independence.

      However, it meant Labour being yoked to a party that had very different notions of society and what Scottishness should be.”

      BBC vote NO Scotland was/is their tv and radio version of BetterTogether and yet not even a modest mention.

      They hope we’re all a bunch of dafties.

    50. velofello says:

      Heavens this is like taking candy from a babe, as the Americans might say.

      A big international arms supplier, utilities service provider – and whatever else, decides to bid possibly – at breakeven or less, to secure a shipping contract in a wee country against a small local company. Any losses in the contract will be “chicken shit” for the big company and can be covered, in the short term, by accounting services inter-company.

      Once the contract is secured, and after a settling in period, the stream of extra charges for “unforeseens” will no doubt start to flow from the big international company, if considered necessary.

      Or,

      Why would a big international,arms supplying company want a contract for inter-island shipping services in a wee country, strategically placed whose population is a reluctant host to nuclear weapons and has nuclear submarines in its territory?

      Regards Serco, hasn’t Serco a contract to provide security at UK military facilities?

      I smell shite.

    51. Desimond says:

      @CameronB Brodie & Wingman 2020

      ‘You dont need the KGB when you have the BBC’ – Ken Loach

    52. Robert Louis says:

      Am I alone in longing for the day when sanity is restored, and all this tendering nonsense, costing millions of pounds each time, is put to an end. Can we not just have Calmac state owned and run, providing the ferry services for the benefit of Scotland. It seems like common sense.

      Same thing with the railway. Abellio have just taken over Scotrail from the First group, the only difference is new stickers on the same tired old trains, saying ‘abellio’. What, honestly is the point of these franchises? It just makes rich private (or in the caseo of Abellio, Dutch Government owned) companies lots of money, at tapayers expense.

      It just seems like such a waste of time and money.

      Oh, if only we could have things run by the Government again, instead of SERCO (or similar), and its shareholders, looking for profit, with no competition.

      Oh, and I do know the Scottish Government have no say in the matter. If only people had voted YES.

    53. tartanpigsy says:

      Wiki page on Serco for those interested, it’s quite some list, and gives an idea as to how headless, or multi headed big corporations have become. their range of interests really is mind boggling

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serco

    54. heedtracker says:

      O/T or another UKOK media creep out, A. Hitler’s auction landscapes look very much like rancid The Guardian’s S. Bell’s ghastly Scotland region landscapes.

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/21/hitlers-art-of-flowers-and-fairytale-castles-sells-for-280000-at-auction#img-1

      and

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/jun/02/steve-bell-on-charles-kennedy-cartoon

      S.Bell’s/The Graun is even creepier when you watch the racist plaster swastikas all over Sturgeon.

    55. Capella says:

      Lobster can usually be relied on for stories on the intelligence service infiltration of politics.
      http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/articles/rrtalk.htm

    56. osakisushi says:

      The nonsense which the SNP Govt inflicted on the Dunoon / Gourock run directly effected me. The previous car ferry service had a consequence which didn’t become clear until I took quite seriously ill.

      When our SNP Govt delayed their decision on binning the car ferry until after the Scottish elections, they became directly responsible for the panic introduction of a couple of toy boats which were unable to make the crossing comfortably (for passengers) in rough weather.

      We live in Scotland…

      A course of aggressive chemo, blood transfusions, etc etc meant I needed cross the water once or twice a week. Normally, I used Calmac but the toy passenger ferries became useless. Either being utterly terrified due to lumpy seas or unable to exit the boat due to the ridiculous angle of the ramp at low tides – severe nerve damage from chemo meant steep hills were and remain out of the question.

      Long story short, Calmac to Gourock, then the shuttle bus to Inverclyde Hospital was not an option and I’d to use the excellent Western Ferries and take the car.

      In plain English, this cost me an additional £700 in ferry fares in the course of 18 months. Even now, thankfully still alive, I will not use the dreadful passenger ferries if the sea is choppy. As a sailor, I know they are not in danger but as a passenger with hypertension (violin time) they scare the heck out of me.

      Our SNP Govt have proven utterly incompetent on the subject of ferries locally in Argyll, possibly accepting Civil Servants interpretation of EU rules at face value. Locally, the Calmac passenger ferries are referred to as Bathtub Boats yet local politicians continue to duck the issue of a literal lifeline service being trashed in the face of Euro rules – or rather some civil servants interpretation of same.

      When Argyll & Bute voted No, I wondered how much damage to the cause of YES had been due entirely to our Scottish Govt’s utter incompetence and cowardice.

      Finally, we DO NOT need a vehicle service between Gourock and Dunoon.
      Western Ferries already operate a perfect service. We NOW NEED a passenger service between the two towns with adequate boats and landing facilities.

      I voted YES, I voted for our shiny new MP but I wish some of the morons who caused this local shambles would actually use the toy boats on a choppy day.

      Locally, Calmac rebranded the ferry service as Argyll Ferries, presumably to attempt to insulate their reputation from the damage done by crap toy boats and landing facilities which were designed for cars!
      But if you’re in a wheelchair or disabled, you need to use Western Ferries.

      Rant finally over.

    57. @Robert Louis
      Just wait till TTIP kicks in,everything that was/is publicly owned will be opened up to not just European bidders but Americans also.

      Governments will be sued if they try to interfere in any of the contracts.

      American Oligarchs are salivating over the thought of all the European state owned utilities/services that they will plunder when TTIP gets signed off.

    58. Capella says:

      And there are journalists who are trained by global corporations and organisations, such as the IMF, in selling their policies to unsuspecting home audiences. Here’s a Global Research article on Greek journalists fooling the Greek people into believing the Goldlman Sachs debt schemes were sustainable.
      http://tinyurl.com/pcxo6sv

    59. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      I just wanted to see if I could get “John le Carré” to appear correctly.

      John le Carré

      John le Carrè

      One of them must be right… Aren’t Macs the bee’s knees?

      8=)

    60. Famous15 says:

      Prepare for a big SNPbad onslaught on reporting Scotland.

      Major crash on A9 at Aviemore. Lack of dualling to blame but no mention of Labour’s trams which stole the cash for dualling.

      Major increase in housebreaking in Edinburgh.No mention of cuts in benefits increasing poverty. The ex police inspector with the Dugdale face decrying Police Scotland is a Tory councillor called Cameron Rose. He was a useless cop but is now an expert!

    61. CameronB Brodie says:

      Brian Doonthetoon
      Tech snob. 🙂

    62. Craig says:

      O/T

      Cheers Rev for the Wee Blue Book, it looks amazing.

    63. galamcennalath says:

      I was on a CalMac ferry this morning! I rate their service highly. Well organised, very obliging, great staff. It would be a shame if the tendering process effected things adversely.

      I remember last time when the tender came up, a good few European ferry companies showed interest. In the end there was no competition, it appeared.

      As for SLab and the so called media. On past record they talk shite all the time, end of.

    64. caz-m says:

      Playing catch up. Good to see Wings was well represented at the Austerity Rally at the weekend.

      We just need to convince all those “No voting” Trade Unions (e.g. GMB), that campaigning for a “YES vote” would have been the better option.

    65. ALANM says:

      Don’t forget to tune in for BBC Scotland Investigates…

      how Scotland was duped into voting for the SNP

      (tonight at 9)

    66. caz-m says:

      Three reasons I WON’T be watchin a programme that is being aired tonight on the BBC asking why Scottish Labour is finished are:-

      1/. Jackie Burd is presenting it.
      2/. BBC Scotland are producing it.
      3/ And It’s about Scottish Labour.

      BBC Scotland will try to make out that Scottish Labour can change, just give them a bit of time. Well you’re not on Jackie.

      I have a fair idea why Scottish Labour are finished. For two years they teamed up with the Tories and told us all that we were Too Wee, Too Poor and Too Stupid to run our own Country.

      And that’s just for starters. The list is endless.

    67. jimnarlene says:

      When are the shysters going to get it, the SNP bad thing; it disnae work.

    68. ALANM says:

      @caz-m “BBC Scotland will try to make out that Scottish Labour can change…

      Hate to disagree with anything you’ve said but I reckon that’s being a tad optimistic. More likely they’ll insist that Labour is good, SNP is bad and it’s the voters who must change.

    69. tartanpigsy says:

      Both the last two comments deserve a ‘like’ button, and….

      The WBB does look amazing…

      Nice One Stu

    70. Clootie says:

      osakisushi says:
      22 June, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      I use Western Ferries on a regular basis – excellent service.

      My recollection of the period
      a) EU rules permitted subsidy by a state operated company for a passenger service only.
      b) Gourock pier was unsuitable for vehicles without major expenditure.
      c) The repairs to Gourock pier could not be justified on the basis of the Western Ferries service/schedule and frequency.

      What had any of that have to do with the Scottish Government?

    71. caz-m says:

      Ken MacIntosh, the Sottish Labour Leader candidate, just admitted today on the Daily Politics Show that he would rather see Scotland stay as part of the UK, no matter what, than see Scotland become an Independent country.

      So, he would rather be ruled by Westminster Tories for years to come, than have the chance to be the leader of a Scottish Labour Party in an Independent Scotland.

      Just one more reason why Scottish Labour are finished in Scotland.

      Link: The bold Ken starts at 44mins.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b060kpj1/daily-politics-22062015

      Notice how the studio guests disappear when Ken starts talking. (One of them was a London Labour MP). They are not interested in what is going on up here.

    72. Clootie says:

      osakisushi says:
      22 June, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-13551733

    73. heedtracker says:

      C4 news right the now with Dave Milliband explaining how US watched Britain dice with disaster at last years Scottish independence referendum, its Russian roulette as far as the clever Milliband says. Otherwise chunters on about stuff but he’s got more to say he says.

    74. osakisushi says:

      Clootie says:
      22 June, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/u etc

      Not sure why you posted that link from 2011. The reality we have suffered since has been two small boats unfit for purpose in the unlikely event Scotland suffers bad weather.

      And they still land passenger traffic on the old car ramps!

    75. Smout says:

      Apologies O/T but just received my Wee Blue Book. Have not always agreed with everything but this time I think the Compliments (enclosed card) belong to you.

      Love the very last quote

    76. Petra says:

      Jackie Bird hosting the BBC programme ‘The Fall of Labour’. You couldn’t make it up, lol.

      Jackie the BBC mouthpiece, Devomax liar, exaggerator and manipulator, as an example ‘Jim Murphy has been mobbed and egged by a crowd of SNP supporters’.

      The BBC and people like Jackie Bird will go down in history as contributing greatly to Labours downfall.

      @ Robert Louis says at 5:30 pm ”Am I alone in longing for the day when sanity is restored, and all this tendering nonsense, costing millions of pounds each time, is put to an end. Can we not just have Calmac state owned and run, providing the ferry services for the benefit of Scotland. It seems like common sense.”

      You’re not alone Robert Louis. I’m pretty well sick and tired of companies ripping us off, putting profit before care / security and so on. The crew that worry me most of all are the companies that are maintaining and securing Faslane and Coulport. Westminster has even agreed to limit their liability to £100,000 (anything over that amount gets passed on to the tax-payer). Where’s the incentive in that to ensure that there are no accidents / incidents? McNeilly highlighted what’s going on (what he knows of) and the Sunday Herald, via the FoIA, has reported over 300 incidents including 71 fires over the last 5 years (what the MoD have admitted to).

      Then we’ve got the energy companies paying mega- bucks to their shareholders. I was just having a look at how their returns have gone right through the roof over the last 5 years or so, as our bills have risen dramatically.

      Foreign companies controlling some of our whisky industries (employing people on zero hour contracts) …. the oil companies. The list is endless.

      You could go on and on and it seems to me that absolutely everything you can think of is turning to sh*t.

      @ heedtracker says at 7:46 pm ”C4 news right now with Dave Milliband explaining how US watched Britain dice with disaster at last years Scottish independence referendum, its Russian roulette as far as the clever Milliband says. Otherwise chunters on about stuff but he’s got more to say he says.”

      That’s another reason for Labours profound unpopularity: the constant very public backstabbing even between brothers, the spite, the lies, vengefulness, indecision, laziness and so on. They’ve basically had it.

      An interview of two very elderly women was reported on STV news tonight. They were asked if they’d ever vote for Labour again. They said ”NO NEVER in unison …. not Labour, the Tories or Libdems. We vote for the SNP.”

      Anyway I’m off to have a look at Nana’s Tommy Sheppard videos to cheer myself up.

    77. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      osakisushi at 5.57

      Sorry to disagree strongly. We do need a vehicle carrying service from Dunoon to Gourock.

      It is economic and political illiteracy to put a lifeline service into the hands of a greedy private monopoly which has happened at Dunoon. Have you any idea how expensive it is to cross the two miles that WF travels with commercial vehicles.

      Their fares for buses, lorries etc means that nearly all commercial transport,especially local business transport, takes the 80 mile road over the Rest and be Thankful rather than pay WF’s ridiculous charges which defeats the purpose of the ferry (which we were told was put on against Calmac to take heavy pressure off Calmac’s commercial vehicle custom).

      The new linkspan to Dunoon was built by the previous Labour/LibDem executive which promised two new car ferries for it. I have the cuttings (from 2003)with those promises.

      The fact is (as established by two separate and very detailed consultations by successive Holyrood regimes)if you design and build boats suitable for the frequently stormy Dunoon/Gourock crossing they are of a size that sensibly carries vehicles.

      If they carry vehicles they run at a profit. If they do passenger only they run at a substantial loss and can’t operate in even mildly stormy weather.

      The Dunoon/Gourock crossing which leaves the centre of Dunoon connects at the railhead with the Glasgow train in the centre of Gourock
      The WF service is miles out at either end.

      The SNP Government when it came in 2007 inherited a shambles of a route with vessels (which were supposed to be replaced by the Labour/LibDem government) at least 15 years past decommissioning date.

      There is however no excuse whatsoever for then then Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson completely ignoring the findings of both consultations and an SNP promise repeated at every election for over twenty years.

      European procurement rules means that the Scottish Government cannot purchase new vehicles against a private operator.
      Nicola Sturgeon however has persuaded the EU to lengthen the tender period from six years to twelve years which makes it possible for a private company to build suitable vessels for a route that is highly lucrative.

      You are perfectly correct in the description of a tourist town seriously damaged by the removal of a traditional ferry service into the heart of it. Previously all vehicle travel, including large numbers of visitors, came into Dunoon and Cowal in the centre of the town. Now most of it comes nowhere near Dunoon as the road to the rest of Argyll and northwards is in the opposite direction as you come ashore with your car.

      Significantly this is the only crossing in Scotland showing diminishing custom.

      I have rarely been ashamed of the SNP in my half century in the party but this betrayal of a much repeated promise to Dunoon is
      disgusting. Lord George Robertson, on the board of WF, is of course delighted.

    78. msean says:

      £1m houses? Sounds more a Tory area than a labour one.

    79. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Clootie at 7.39

      Vehicle service on the Dunoon/Gourock crossing needed no subsidy. It was in fact the only substantially profitable route Calmac had on what was about the busiest crossing in Europe.

      It was steadily destroyed by Government dictat which in face of hugely increasing traffic didn’t allow it do two sailings an hour or evening sailings while Western Ferries were increasing to to two and then to three and then to four sailings per hour and then sailings up to midnight. This was Tory privatisation of a route gone mad and continued by the Labour/LibDem executives

      Western Ferries does indeed provide a very good service. It is about the most profitable company in the UK however and its commercial vehicle rates are extortionate.
      Both government initiated consultations said very clearly indeed that the public interest should be served by competition on the route.

    80. heedtracker says:

      Petra, “That’s another reason for Labours profound unpopularity: the constant very public backstabbing even between brothers, the spite, the lies, vengefulness, indecision, laziness and so on. They’ve basically had it.”

      The thinks bubble over my head watching Dave Milliband put the boot in from NY NY on C4 news was “you’re exactly the type of spacecadet we’re trying to get away from.”

      Tonight’s vote SLabour or else blast on BBC Scotland will be the start of their come back, then down the drain for good, unless one of them, Ian Davidson maybe, says the sweaties know they got shafted by THE VOW fraud, so we paid for robbing them even of that, its what we do, we’ll do it again and again and again because we are proud Scot buts and British, but not nationalists, where’s my fee, cash only…

      Not holding breath here though Petra.

    81. Grendel says:

      Calmacs bid for the Shetland route was (according to RMT) returned unopened. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the accuracy of that?
      http://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-demands-inquiry-into-letting-of-northlink-ferry-contract/

    82. Terry says:

      Bayonet the wounded Davidson is now sticking the knife into Donald dewar. The death of labour on the BBC. Hmm. Shouldn’t really waste time on this but entertaining to find out if they’re still living in that big blue river in Egypt – de nile.

    83. Joemcg says:

      BBC now-It’s hilarious listening to all their historic predictions turn to shite!

    84. msean says:

      Lords and Ladies all over the place.

    85. Brian MacLeod says:

      The ferry services should be owned by the island communities.

    86. msean says:

      Bettertogether had loads of Tory money to spend during the indyref,and Labour had loads as the official opposition and wealthy donors I’m sure.

    87. mr thms says:

      I watched BBC Scotland Investigates – The Fall of Labour and it came across as an obituary

    88. Famous15 says:

      The fall of the Labour Party on BBC ended to the strains of the Red Flag.

      I sang along but out of nowhere I heard the words “The working class can kiss my arse,i have an ermine robe at last”

    89. Mealer says:

      I watched the Labour show.Nobody mentioned the elephant in the room.9 out of 20 voters voted for independence.How does a staunchly unionist party persuade independence supporters to vote for it? Especially now it’s shown itself to be anti Home Rule too.

    90. HandandShrimp says:

      I watched the BBC thing, it was quite interesting. It skimmed over a lot in an hour but there were some very telling comments (apart from the one Jim Murphy supporting spad whose name escapes me who is still set to SNPbad)

      It is pretty clear that there is a fair amount of disagreement (and that is on a good day, to steal Johann’s line) between various people in the party. Surprisingly candid, and surprisingly gloomy for Labour especially coming as it does from the BBC.

    91. Mealer says:

      I don’t think there was any mention of the slump in Labour Party membership.

    92. Sassenach says:

      Well, I certainly don’t think the BBC programme will do Labour a lot of good – it was like a Service of Remembrance for me.

      Famous15@10.07

      I much prefer your words to the original Red Flag!

    93. Marcia says:

      mr thms

      I thought the same. An obituary with some talkative undertakers. That Whitton chap must be related to McTernan.

    94. CameronB Brodie says:

      HandandShrimp
      Probably setting up a bait and switch. The BBC can not be trusted.

    95. G H Graham says:

      There was nothing to learn from watching a BBC program about Labour so remain puzzled why so many people still pay for propaganda to be broadcast into their homes.

      We already know the BBC is the propaganda channel for the London Establishment which Labour fully endorses and supports.

    96. Iain More says:

      Well I didn’t watch The Burd Investigates tonight. I kept to my promise to boycott anything churned out by the Brit Nat Brainwashing Corp.

      To those that did watch, pour yourselves a nip or whatever you consider a treat, watching the BBCs Brit State Propaganda fro an hour then you have earned a treat.

      I heard that witch Liddell was going to be on it and it only aided my decision to boycott it. She reminds me of a Ghoulish Character from a post apocalyptic PC game.

      Pour yourselves a second nip folks.

    97. Joemcg says:

      When are we getting an hour long programme on the SNP at peak time?

    98. Stoker says:

      Famous15 wrote:
      “The working class can kiss my arse,i have an ermine robe at last”

      And there you have it folks, all you need to know about Slabber and why they are where they are, all summed up brilliantly in that one wee quote. They sold their sole to the devil many moons ago.

      btw: I didn’t watch it, hopefully the Rev did. I’ll wait for his dissection of the latest BBC Slabber pish.

    99. Stoker says:

      @ Lollysmum.

      Just in case you haven’t seen it there’s a message for you here:
      http://counterpropforum.com/

    100. heedtracker says:

      How come all those SLabour dinosaurs suddenly developed 20-20 hindsight tonight? What a load of BBC bleh. If just some of the Slab crew had supported and developed THE VOW from 19 Sept 2014 onward, they’d have probably still lost but they wouldn’t have been wiped out.

      SLab didn’t just fight joyfully alongside Bettertogether’s cabal of tories and Libdems, they then worked with the Smith Commission con artists to make sure their THE VOW is the biggest shyste on Scotland ever. And their only come backs been, Swinney signed Smith shite too.

      So no, they’re all lying still, right up to the next sap Kezia who’ll bomb even harder next year, no matter how hard the BBC/Record morons work to brain wash their Scotland region.

    101. Almannysbunnet says:

      Watched the party political party broadcast on behalf of the totally dysfunctional labour party, Scottish branch. It was very enjoyable from a schadenfreude point of view. Should really have been on the history channel though.
      “Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.”
      ? Mineko Iwasaki
      The problem for labour is they injured Scotland’s heart during the referendum.

    102. K1 says:

      Almannysbunnet, Aye yer right about that, problem is they have no heart themselves and therefore just don’t get it. I didn’t watch it either, have absolutely no interest in listening to any of them, they crapped on the people of Scotland and continue to do so to this day. While they navel gaze wi the help of the media, we have moved on. Don’t look back…ever.

      They erred not us.

    103. caledonia says:

      The unionist partys ARE anti Scottish
      They are also anti the truth
      That is all

    104. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      I’ve watched the BBC Scotland prog and what stood out for me was that the programme had no interviews with former Labour voters, as to why they were an ex-Labour voters.

      It was entitled, “The Fall Of Labour” but didn’t question the people who caused Labour’s downfall, by switching to the SNP.

      Perchance, the programme makers feared what they would be told, compared to the internal ‘conflicts of interest’, would hang the Labour Party in Scotland out to dry?

      I experienced this on Saturday evening, after the George Square rally. A bunch of us retired to a pub at the entrance to the railway station, where, eventually, we were drawn into conversation by a couple of guys, who had been attending a Scottish Amateur Football Association shindig.

      One of them was well merry (he accused Ronnie Anderson of being an intellectual!); the other was a tad more lucid. He said he had been a life-long Labour voter and “it was with a heavy heart” he voted SNP for the first time in the GE. (We didn’t ask how he had voted in the referendum; remiss of us.)

      His reason was that over the past year or three or more, he had seen Labour looking more and more like the Tories, forgetting their roots and taking the voters of Scotland for granted.

      I think Labour is going to have a hard job converting back the 1000’s of voters who came to the same conclusion as that gentleman – who was an official of the Amateur Football League. He went away with a “Red Tories out” sticker and one of our “Bairns Not Bombs” badges (for his daughter).

      Those are the sort of people that the programme should have been eliciting comments from – not the party mandarins who filled the show, with their ‘Look at me! I’m important in the scheme of things!’.

    105. caz-m says:

      Next we will be having forty ex-Scottish Labour MPs doing a farewell Tour of Scotland.

      Sponsored by the Daily Record and filmed by BBC Scotland.

    106. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      That tour could be as successful as Murphy’s appearance in Dundee, just before the referendum.

      BTW: the video is erroneously captioned as being in Fife, but that is DEFINITELY the front of City Square in Dundee.

      BTW: the guy that rips the $h!† out of him is Bob Costello, the leader of Team YES Bus, who also provided the coach for ‘Business For Scotland’, and restored Chris Law’s ‘Spirit of Independence’ green goddess in his workshop.

      Also in the video is Professor Tony Cox (History, Dundee Uni), who is up on a charge of DARING to represent someone who was being sanctioned at Arbroath Jobcentre.

      We are documenting our history…

    107. markewan2001 says:

      All sorts of reasons were offered in the programme to explain the collapse of Labour – organisational weakness, Westminster labour interference with Holyood labour, complacency – except the real ones.
      The fact is the Labour Party has jettisoned its founding principals and gives nobody any reasonto vote for it. Is not coming back. It is dead

      The seed core – the new young members it needs started joining SNP, not Labour, 20 years ago. Its branches across the country are empty. The SNP isn’t beating Labour. It has replaced it.

    108. Iain says:

      interesting that the Daily Mirror thinks you can get a ferry from Oban to Tobermory. I’m sure that stopped in the 1980s. Try to keep up!

    109. ronnie anderson says:

      @ BrianDTT ah hud tae change ma troosers when ah goat hame PMSL (Intelectual Language) an thats oan Soda Watter n Lime.

      Nae mair discussions oan Ice age & Volcanic Rock fertilisers ha ha,well no in proximity of others.

    110. Tam Jardine says:

      Haven’t caught the Fall of Labour… still trying to process Nick Robinson’s piece in the Guardian.

      I understand the phrase ‘mea culpa’- I want to say ‘you-a culpa’ but my Latin is shit. I have watched the footage of the international press conference again and enjoyed it tremendously.

      I will look back on Alex Salmond at the absolute height of his powers cheered on by journalists and party members delighted to see the BBC bias skewered and ground into the dust.

      I was struck by how calm and reasoned Salmond came across and how hysterical, demented and absurd Nick Robinson came across as he had his arse handed to him. My indyref highlight. Remind me again – with Salmond driving it forward, how in the name of God did 5% of my countrymen not come to their senses and push the button?

    111. K1 says:

      Well to be fair caz-m they kinda did the farewell tour during the ref and we did give them a good send off on the 7th May. We just don’t want a encore which is what the Record and the BBC keep repeating over and over…same old song; Nobody’s Child…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pNf771GtKI

    112. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Caz m I dont think they,ll be touring Scotland,might be Tour guides at Westminster lol.

    113. Macca73 says:

      Is this the same Mirror group who own the Daily Record and who’s staunch Labour standpoint just uses it’s reporters to print verbatim anything that Labour does or says as a good thing despite being destroyed at the ballot box in the GE or in Scotland.

      What happened to the Daily Records call for more powers that it printed in the VOW front page then has over the last 3 weeks cowardly hid it’s political opinions away if only to attack the SNP as we can see here.

      I hope to god that people are getting to grips with this and the readership numbers don’t just fall next time they are collated. I hope the plummet. These papers are sheer garbage

    114. Wee Jimmy says:

      So basically this is a storm in a tea-cup. A contract has come to an end and is being re-tendered for – as is required under EU Law. Big wals!

      You can learn a lot just by reading the WikiPedia page on Calmac:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caledonian_MacBrayne

    115. thedogphilosopher says:

      The Rise of the SNP: 30 minutes
      The Fall of Labour: 60 minutes

      Go figure.

    116. Crash says:

      The letters seem clear to me although it was accurate to query the word ‘best’, however it was only a manner of writing that the author used. Best in fact meant only in this instance. Therefore any any public service route of cabotage over 100,000 passengers needs to go to tender and best price wins.

    117. john king says:

      BDtT says
      “(he accused Ronnie Anderson of being an intellectual!); the other was a tad more lucid.”

      aw Ronnie whit are ye like?
      ya wee bourgeoisie ye
      Mair champagne socialists!
      yer a scunner soinyeare 🙂

    118. john king says:

      caz-m says @11.54
      “Next we will be having forty ex-Scottish Labour MPs doing a farewell Tour of Scotland.

      Sponsored by the Daily Record and filmed by BBC Scotland.”

      Whit?
      like this ye mean?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy9_lfjQopU

    119. john king says:

      “Nae mair discussions oan Ice age & Volcanic Rock fertilisers ha ha,well no in proximity of others.”

      Hey dinnie try blamin me ya wee Bohemian ye
      Noo shoosh am sittin oan the steps o Montmartre paintin ma favourite view o the Sacre Cour, but am beginin tae wish a hud sat oan the steps o Sacre Cour and painted Montmartre, the wine oot o the local vineyards pish 🙁
      Waurs BtP when ye need him eh?

    120. scottieDog says:

      @famous15

      “The working class can kiss my arse,i have an ermine robe at last”

      I just spat my tea out. That’s hilarious!

      Very much worth a tweet.

    121. gerry parker says:

      @ John.

      You’re up early.

      Thinking of starting another local paper letter writing campaign, you want in the circulation?

    122. Cactus says:

      James Horner dies in California plane crash, dedication

      For The Love Of A Princess
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQuaUR7nX8U

    123. ALANM says:

      I hear that following the success of last night’s documentary, BBC Scotland is about to commission a new series of “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?” Jim Murphy plays unemployed layabout, Terry and Ed Miliband his well-to-do former workmate, Bob.

    124. Grouse Beater says:

      The Dog Philosopher: BBC documentaries –
      The Rise of the SNP: 30 minutes – The Fall of Labour: 60 minutes. Go figure.

      English propensity to rank heroic losers higher than achievers.

    125. Clootie says:

      Brian Doonthetoon says:
      22 June, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      An excellent point well made.

    126. ronnie anderson says:

      @ cactus fitting tribute to James Horner beautyfull music.

    127. Lollysmum says:

      Stoker
      Thanks for the message at 11.14pm, I hadn’t seen scunterbunnet’s message on the forum. Email sent now.

    128. BJ says:

      The ferry service is an essential lifeline and a very important issue to many Scots. Everything, from food to building supplies is delivered by ferry and food is always more expensive and with fewer choices than the mainland.Islanders pay the same taxes and Vat as people on the mainland but have poorer access to hospitals and fuel is always more expensive.

      Cal macs staff and services are always excellent as are the meals but there has to be some sort of competition.

      Political parties who shout at each other or try to score points are not “listening to the people” or their needs.

    129. ronnie anderson says:

      @ John King SacreBleu jist as weil BtPs no there, there,s communion in the Basilica, an you know whit he,s like oan that Rid Biddy lol.

    130. Ken500 says:

      How have countries in the EU got strong State owned companies, that provide services in the UK. If every service has to go to the lowest tender. Are they better run or have State run services in the UK been ideologically been sold off?

    131. Anagach says:

      Grouse Beater says:
      23 June, 2015 at 7:21 am

      The Dog Philosopher: BBC documentaries –
      The Rise of the SNP: 30 minutes – The Fall of Labour: 60 minutes. Go figure.

      English propensity to rank heroic losers higher than achievers.

      English propensity to rank heroic gentleman losers higher than plebeian achievers.

    132. ronnie anderson says:

      Greek Tragedy avoided, but as with the Marx brothers we have other Farce Dates.

      Stick it to them Greece.

    133. Petra says:

      O/T

      I watched ‘The Fall of Labour in Scotland’ last night and reckon that programme must have lost them another few thousand voters.

      It commenced by mentioning Keir Hardie and his values and then worked its way through the 20th Century outlining the rise and fall of Labour Party popularity.

      More than anything it highlighted backstabbing, infighting, Westminster ruling the roost, corruption at local level, complacency and constantly trying to get one over the SNP.

      Reasons given for the ‘fall’ were the death of Donald Dewar, the shift from its core values, poor decisions that were made, complacency and the Iraq War, although as per usual they were all still disagreeing with each other on key issues.

      The following are just some examples of what was said:

      Infighting: Helen Liddell stated that ‘’Labour could start a fight in an empty house.”

      Backstabbing: When Johann Lamont was questioned about the backstabbing and infighting she said ‘’that was on a good day’’. She also said she was ‘pushed’ to resign.

      SNP Bashing: Susan Deacon was totally honest and said that most of the time was taken up with trying to get one over the SNP and ensure it made the headlines.

      Complacency: Jack McConnell said that from 2007 on ‘’there was anger that the voters had done the wrong thing, how dare they?”

      Better Together: Henry McLesh was adamant that ‘’the Better Together campaign was created in London, and was delivered to Scotland to be implemented by the Labour Party.’’ Johann Lamont has no regrets about cosying up to the Tories.

      Westminster: Was calling the shots. FMs such as McLeish and McConnell were said to be incompetent and couldn’t stand up to Westminster.

      Iraq: Some said it had been crucial to Labours downfall. Lord Falconer, Tony Blairs pal, wasn’t sure if the Iraq War had damaged Scottish Labour more than English Labour. Aye right!

      Fiddling the books: Henry McLeish was mentioned as was Wendy Alexander.

      Donald Dewar was said to have been manipulative by using his authority to block some talented people from being at the forefront of the Party. When he died a year later they were left with a bunch of numpties running the show and the situation went from bad to worse.

      It was quite telling that Ms Bird didn’t speak to any former / Labour supporters. That may have enlightened them all to some extent.

      What really annoyed me was the lie that they continue to perpetuate and that is that Labour Party was conducive in bringing about the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament: glorifying Donald Dewar and Tony Blair the two men who were secretly involved in depriving Scotland of 6000sq mls of Scottish Seas and 7 oil fields. No mention that the Labour Party was forced to form the Scottish Parliament due to threats to remove the UK from the Council of Europe / EU if they didn’t comply.

      Too bad Ms Bird didn’t mention our oil, the McCrone Report, that our Parliament isn’t permanent, our stolen seas and so on. If she had we’d be calling for another Referendum next week.

      The programme was a damning indictment of them all from start to finish. Now I’m getting paranoid! I’m wondering about the BBCs motives. What are they getting up to?

    134. Tam Jardine says:

      I see the Herald is reporting that the ‘no detriment’ clause is being removed from Smith- I didn’t really understand why it was there in the first place – to mitigate Scotland undercutting or outperforming the rUK I think? The conservatives are the ones removing it so that means it is almost certainly a nefarious move.

      A ‘detriment clause’ sounds more like the Osborne way.

      If anyone wanted to archive the piece so it can be read that would be great. There is a strange picture of Kate Devlin on it – she looks… different

    135. Luigi says:

      Well, I missed The Fall of Labour last night, but I watched something on the same subject (but slightly more realistic and a lot more entertaining):

      Jurassic World

      Well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

    136. Macart says:

      @Petra

      No, they were never going to be honest in their self critique. If they think their stock is low now, can you imagine the backlash if the media started highlighting the issues you raise in your last few paragraphs. Never mind closer examination of ALEOs, the PFI schemes, expenses, the never to be seen minutes of Labours initial devolution meetings from cabinet level on down.

      Bottom line? Parliamentary Labour are out of a job because they betrayed their electorate on every level.

    137. Legerwood says:

      Ken 500 @ 8.56 am

      In answer to you question, I suspect that the companies in EU countries may be owned by the state but not run by the state.

      In the UK whichever party was in power they could not sdtop themselves interfering in the running of the nationalised industries. The decisions they made were politically based rather than commercially based.

      In short the nationalised industries were used as political football’s by the political parties with the result that decisions were short-term and based on how it would play at the next election.

      I should imagine that that would still be the case if they are renationalised.

    138. Welfare Reform Commitee,
      ATOS and SALUS are in front of the cttee this morning at 10.30am. Watch it live on SPTV http://ow.ly/OFk3d

    139. galamcennalath says:

      Petra at 10am

      Your overview is spot on.

      I was surprised by how much did come out and how poor a picture of Labour it painted.

      Like you, I was very aware that they didn’t interview Labour voters who have turned away. Their reasons matter more than any!

      Also, on omissions, the EBC failed to express the real situation in Scotland regarding demands for big constitutional change. Labour are in the wrong side of the debate as far as the majority are concerned. They are neither DevoMax nor Indy and together those cover three quarters of voters. So why would they consider voting Labour now?

    140. caz-m says:

      K1 12.74am
      John King 5.33am

      Great videos of what is really happening to Scottish Labour.

      One thing that Scottish Labour have brought to the people of Scotland is comedy. You have to admit that the world would be very sad place if we didn’t have Scottish Labour to laugh at.

    141. Karmanaut says:

      Re: Removal of no detriment clause from Smith.

      If I wanted Scotland to be poorer and to create a situation where I could argue that it would struggle with independence, I would give the Scottish government control of income tax. But then, crucially, I wouldn’t deduct the actual amount Scotland raised from the block grant. Instead, I would deduct Scotland’s population share of UK income tax.

      Higher wages in the south.

      Keep the taxes where Scotland contributes more than its population share and let it control taxes where it contributes less than its population share.

      But in order to do that, I’d need to remove the “no detriment” clause from Smith.

      Then again, I might be totally wrong on this.

    142. caz-m says:

      This Budget on the 8th of July will be a game changer. It will surely be the boot in the chuckies that a lot of “NO Voters” have been needing, to finally get them to see that voting “NO” was probably one of the biggest mistakes they ever made in their lives.

    143. Robert Peffers says:

      O/T

      Don’t know how many wingers know that the link : –

      http://www.scottishparliament.tv/

      Gets Holyrood TV and it not only covers the main chamber but all six committee rooms. The problem is that there’s usually too many interesting committees sitting at the same time. The evidence from ATOS is just one on the Holyrood Parliament site today.

    144. Luigi says:

      So, let me get this right, the BBC spent an hour analysing the fall of Labour, but not one single traditional Labour voter who recently switched to the SNP, was interviewed?

      Incredible.

      Perhaps they were afraid of the answers they would get. How about making our own documentary about the fall of Labour, asking “real” people why they deserted the “people’s party”, instead of the usual out-of-touch suspects?

    145. Catriona McLintoch says:

      Overall crime has fallen by 4.7% this year.

      First, congratulations to Police Scotland and other agencies involved in fighting crime and supporting victims.

      Second, will liberals, tories and labour apologise for all the scare stories and mischief they have caused. Doubly annoying as the centralisation policy was imitated as a response to austerity cuts brought about by labour incompetence and then tory vindictiveness.

      Third, how can the bbc negatively report this issue – I look forward to it!

    146. Petra says:

      O/T

      @ James Caithness says at 11:31 am ”Found this.

      https://jockscot.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/how-the-uk-will-end/

      Well Labour are all but gone now.”

      James I see that Jockscot speculates that Scotland will acquire Independence on April 6th 2016.

      Now I know that many on here will probably think that astrology is a load of old codswallop however I’ve got a friend who’s a well-known, well-respected predictive astrologer. She says that we’ll have our Independence by the end of 2018 / beginning of 2019.

      If she’s right it’s not as soon as I’d like to be but I reckon I can just about put up with this for another three and a half years or so. Roll on the day.

    147. @Petra – sooner the better. either date. Kind of reconciles with what Robert has been saying to.

    148. K1 says:

      I hope she’s right Petra, soon the better 🙂

    149. Will Podmore says:

      So your argument is that the SNP is as bad as Labour? I tend to agree!

    150. Fred says:

      Will Podmore, still lurking & talking pish I see.

      “What went wrang wi Slab?” step forward the lord McConnell (bought & sold for English gold) of Glenscoradale, he of the velvet & dead ferrets, to give his opinion on the matter. They don’t do irony!

    151. Fred says:

      Lord Podmore of Pimlico has a certain ring Podders!

    152. Robert Kerr says:

      Let’s play them at their own game.

      A formal complaint to BBC re lack of forensic analysis. No former SLAB voters interviewed.

      Therefore not doing their job!

    153. Robert Peffers says:

      @Will Podmore says: 23 June, 2015 at 4:19 pm:

      “So your argument is that the SNP is as bad as Labour? I tend to agree!”

      Well I suppose that’s a step in the right direction as you’re usually a disagreeable c** – Err! Err! chap.

    154. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      JEEZ! Just refreshed this page on my Mac at home (from this morning) and I found out that my post at 12.21 this morning was mince!

      Why? Because I referred to a video – then omitted to give the link to the video! And nobody flagged up the omission, to save my embarrassment! (Too many “!” Brian!)

      So, although this page is floating out on the tide, here’s the link I forgot to post this morning.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux1I8P9zMWA

      It starts off with the ex-MP for Dundee West…



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