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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Trouble in Barra

CalMac have made available on their website the details of the tenders which they submitted for the Lochboisdale-Mallaig route, and lo and behold it matches with everything I was told and has been claimed here.

The full FoI request has not reached any of the parties who submitted it. Yet.

The FoI requests came from Cllr Donald Manford and Stòras Uibhist.

The fall out in Barra is - I am told - horrific, with questions about who was doing what behind whose back; and accusations about the MP and MSP are flying around.

No doubt they will make a full and detailed comment in due course, but I am told that details of their meetings and calls will be made available if they try and wriggle out of their actions.

(Details of those who requested the FoI added at 11:30)


Anonymous said...

I think you are talking bollocks here. The document proposes for a new ferry route to go between Mallaig and lochboisdale twice a day in Summer and once in Winter. The existing Castlebay to Lochboisdale service will be scrapped and the Oban to Castlebay service will continue with more socially convenient times.

What is wrong with that? It seems pretty reasonable to me with better ferry times all around.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agreed with anon 11:34.

Why on earth would the Barra based MP and Councillor,and the MSP, do anything to make existing matters worse. What would their interest in doing that. Do they not want to be re-elected? Of course not.

Anonymous said...

From Hebrides News - the source that the SNP always tell us is so reliable.

The secret submission to ditch Oban as the main port for the Barra ferry has been revealed in documents released today (Wednesday).

It follows revelations on Hebrides News which exposed the hidden proposed move by Caledonian Macbrayne. As reported by Hebrides News and verified by the documents, the ferry company planned to make Mallaig the principal port for the lifeline Castlebay ferry.

The MV Lord of the Isles would operate a triangular run to provide Lochboisdale with a direct sailing to the Lochabar port. On Tuesdays in the summer, Barra would be tagged on the end of a lengthy sailing taking in Coll and Tiree to and from Oban. A direct sailign to Oban would only occurred on Wednesday in the summer.

The Barra community are furious at the development and the revelations challenged reports that the Lochboisdale to Mallaig option would have no disadvantages.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth would the Barra based MP and Councillor,and the MSP, do anything to make existing matters worse. What would their interest in doing that.

Politics? back room deals? who knows but reading the documents and what Calmac themselves have admitted on their own website, it looks as if Angus is 100% correct.
Maybe it simply comes down to the fact that there are more voters in South Uist than Barra.
I think you need to take Manford out of the accusations as it would appear that he has been kept completely out of the loop, why else would he be the one with the FOI request.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth would the Barra based MP and Councillor,and the MSP, do anything to make existing matters worse.

Incompetence, stupidity, niavety, stupidity, dupliciity, stupidity, lack of ability, stupiditiy, lack of experience or possibly stupidity.

The proof of the pudding is the absence of any form of denial or ridiculling of this story.

Appears Manford was totally out of the loop as he knew it was wrong.

Anonymous said...

To anon 5:35pm

My goodness what venom - you're obvioulsy hurting really badly.

Anonymous said...

Quote from the Gazette: THE campaign to restore the ferry link between Lochboisdale and Mallaig has gained more support, this time from the UBC Group which employs 150 people in the Western Isles.

Doesn't our former MSP now work for UB's? So that's who's stirring things up in Barra.

Anonymous said...

From the documents in the public domain, it would appear that:

- the South Uist communities argued that they would like to boost development;
- having more ferries operating from Lochboisdale would help them achieve this;
- as a result, Cal-Mac produced their "The optional variant bid", which sought to see whether this was possible.

As they have made very clear, Cal Mac have tried to find an innovative solution which would have allowed more sailings to Lochboisdale.

They have acknowledged the impact on each of the island communities (positive or negative) and have recognised that the appropriate consultation would have to take place before the proposal could have been adopted.

What's all the fuss about? If this is about egos, because some people weren't told about the proposal, then that's a poor show. Surely they realise that nothing could happen without consultation.

Anonymous said...

To anon 8.09PM

Good to hear a bit of reason at last.

Anonymous said...

Having read the Calmac proposal on their website, I don't see what's wrong with it. I think the MP for Barra & Tangasdale should look before he shoots. His guns tend to point at his feet, as was shown in the Cash for Honours debacle and certainly the Heavy Petting with Two Pretty Girls in Lerwick saga.

Anonymous said...

To anon 11:23PM

Our MP exposed the whole cash for honours fiasco and only 'the establishment' prevented Blair and his Labour fund raisers from being jailed. The police investigating the case are adamant there is a case to answer - and Harman, Hain and Bendy Wendy just keep the funding disceptions going. You should be ashamed of your party and do as others are doing throughout the UK who are leaving Labour in droves.

Anonymous said...

I agree with ano 9:23.

If Labour can't retain an MP and MSP in the Western Isles in what was a Labour stronghold since the days of Donald Stewart, how on earth are they going to retain control at Westminster and ever regain control at Holyrood. His fear of losing was why the PM had to pull the plug on the election which was due to be held a few months ago.

Anonymous said...

Where is the controversy? Both documents lay out proposals to provide a ferry service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig. In one they say that a new ship would be required and the other requires consultation with the communities concerned and could be introduced next year. What is not in the documents is a proposal that would provide a Lochboisdale Mallaig service and keep a Castlebay Oban service without the need for a new vessel which was what the WHFP had splashed across its front page in December in a poor effort to attack the SNP. The WHFP, like the Labour party have to learn how to be an effective, will have to find a way of reporting NEWS without taking pathetic swipes at the SNP which are full of lies and distortion. And some bloggers have to figure out how they can report on issues without doing what the WHFP do!

Anonymous said...

Cllr Donald Manford, Chairman of Transportation on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, believes communities will find it difficult to trust Caledonian MacBrayne in the light of proposed changes to Barra ferry routes that were put to the Scottish Government with no consultation.

Cllr Manford made a Freedom of Information request to obtain the tender documents.

Caledonian Macbrayne had been asked to include an option for a Mallaig Lochboisdale service in the tender bid document but it was also stated that services must be maintained at current levels at least. However the tender document then suggested that the Oban-Castlebay-Lochboisdale service be changed to become a Mallaig-Lochboisdale-Castlebay service, adding hours to the journey.

Cllr Donald Manford said: “Reviewing routes had the potential to provide better services. However, crass, and possibly deceitful, incompetence has jeopardised the whole process and the community of Barra feels it has been treated with contempt. It is almost unforgivable that this was not discussed with the community in an open and honest manner.

It is now difficult to see how our communities can have trust unless those who were responsible for bringing this forward consider their position. We can then move forward with the important task of improving services for our communities”.

Cllr Manford also called for the Mallaig Lochboisdale route to go out to open tender.

Cllr Donald John MacSween, Vice-Chair of Transportation said: “The two communities concerned have been treated shamefully and I would now ask Caledonian MacBrayne to assure the communities it is supposed to serve that in future full consultation procedures will be followed in an open and transparent manner”.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, the hairy malcontents are at it again! If I were Angus Brendan, I would stop over at one of his many mainland mansions until the row blows over, say sometime in 2010......

Anonymous said...

The statements by Councillors Manford and Macsween are hardly constructive.

The 'proposal' appears to have been an investigative attempt to solve a particular problem, namely getting additional ferry routes to South Uist.

Cal Mac have made it very clear that no change to their timetables can take place without consultation.

The fact that Cal Mac did NOT undertake the required consultation indicates that they weren't attempting to change the timetable using underhand methods.

If Councillors Manford and Macsween (Chair and Vice-Chair of Transportation) do not appreciate that consultation has to take place before changes to timetables can occur, perhaps it is they who need to consider their positions!

Anonymous said...

This blog is following a predicable path and demonstrates exactly why we cannot reach common agreement on anything in the Outer Hebrides.

Anonymous said...

Cam Lac what do you mean that Angus Brendan should stay at one of his mainland mansions?
Do you mean that Abscent Brendan is a man of many mansions?

I also hear he has also been stabbing Donald Manford in the back.

Well well his guru the councillor of many mansions has taught him well.

Anonymous said...

Manford- "It is almost unforgivable that this as not discussed with the community in an open and honest manner."
Macsween- "I would now ask CalMac to assure the communities it is supposed to serve that in future full consultation proceedures will be followed in an open and transparent manner"
the call for those involved "to consider their positions" is clearly aimed at Angus B.Macneil, MP,and Alastair Allan, MSP, since they were the ones, along with Mather and Ewing, leading the negotiations with the Minister.
The tangled web of deception is unravelling.

Anonymous said...


Completely agree with you. Too many people ignore the facts - what exactly are Councillors Manford and Macsween getting so excited about, in this case? - and revert to the black/white mentality of local politics.

It is also very disappointing, but utterly predictable, that some contributors on this blog add nothing constructive to the discussion, instead turning to cheap, cowardly, anonymous attacks on certain individuals.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing like an informed debate. The coments on this page are nothing like informed debate! If any of the responders on this page that believe there is an SNP conspiracy going on to prevent there ever being a Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry they have not read the documents released by Calmac. If they have read the documents then they have failed to understand them - this could be because their preferred reading matter would be comics like the Star or the Sun or the Record (or the West Highland Free Press). And on the subject of the WHFP if you check their website and read the original report they had (on the front page) in December where they claimed that Calmac had offered to provide a Lochboisdale Mallaig service for £600k extra subsidy. What the WHFP did not reveal was that the route offered meant that Barra would have to accept Mallaig as its mainland destination - something that has been opposed in Barra. Never in its follow up stories has the WHFP acknowledged that it misled its readers. So the question is: Just who are the idiot judges that decided this rag was Newspaper of the Year??

Anonymous said...

The Cal Mac "proposal" clearly states that, were it to be implemented, it would seriously affect the Oban business community.

So, why has have the Argyll Council not generated the same degree of bluster as Councillors Manford and Macsween?

Probably because Argyll Council understands that full consultation is necessary for a change to the Cal Mac timetables.

Therefore, the "proposal" is simply an investigative piece of work and not an underhand move by Cal Mac to change the Barra timetable.

It would appear that the Argyll Council's lack of outrage leaves Councillors Manford and Macsween looking slightly isolated. Considering their position, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:57 "Never in its follow up stories has the WHFP acknowledged that it misled its readers. So the question is: Just who are the idiot judges that decided this rag was Newspaper of the Year??"

Well, compared to the Stornoway Gazette?! But true enough, the Free Press never was very good on retractions.

I agree with previous comments on the nature of the many anonymous postings like the really stupid one at 12:07. 'S beag a tha agaibh ri dheanamh! Some of these people seem to have a part-time job here, with the sole purpose of denigrating the MP and MSP (and occasionally Maroot too). Throughout this blog their bitter attacks have the effect of disrupting threads and diluting the well-constructed and relevant comments of others. A bit like pissing in malt whisky.

Anonymous said...

"A bit like pissing in malt whisky."

Sorry to interrupt, but that is one classic simile, and well applied in this instance!