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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My useless politician is better than your useless politican

The claim, reported by Hebrides News, that the Council knew about the plans for reassessing the Range, with the possibility of job losses, is shocking.

Sadly, it is as believable as it is unbelievable, and with a disgraceful inevitability it would appear that culpability for the debacle lies as much with (at least part of) the Council as it does with the MP and MSP.

Although the claim is that all Southern Isles Councillors were notified about the plans at the time poses all sorts of questions But questions must also arise about exactly who in the Council knew about these proposals, what decisions they took, and what did they actually do?

In a seeming desperate dive for the moral low ground, the ferrets are fighting in the sack; and I feel an FoI coming on to separate truth from press release.

It seems undisputed that the Southern Isles Councillors knew and did nothing. Why?

With Councillors basic salaries trebling to £15,000 in May 2007, a certain increased responsibility naturally came with the pay rise, and that means they are going to have to justify their inaction to their communities.

Just what did you do when you were told the news in the Summer of 2007? What exactly were you told (send me a copy of the email/letter, please)? And why did you act surprised when the news became public six months later?

That is what you are going to have to answer on the doorsteps, whether you like it or not.

None of that excuses the failures of MacNeil or Allan, but it puts into context a seeming culture of inability and failure to identify priority issues by our elected representatives.

The Council, meantime, needs to give the public full clarity about its own actions.

And Mr MacSween needs to confirm exactly when he knew about the Qinetiq/MOD plans or he will be tarred with the same brush that he is wielding.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Education policy

It is just me, or did your jaw drop when you read the latest news about Scottish education policy?

The education secretary has admitted he does not expect teacher numbers to return to the level the SNP government inherited from the last administration.

Mr Russell's predecessor Fiona Hyslop pledged three years ago that teacher numbers would remain at 53,000, but since then they have fallen by 2,000.

I find it utterly astonishing that we are promised that Councils will meet the policy objective of reducing numbers of pupils in each class whilst there are huge constraints also applying.

There is much less money to spend on every sector, and education as one of the biggest spenders must face those cuts too, meaning err... more pupils per class.

Rural school closures have been dramatically curtailed by the new legislation introduced by the Government, meaning that there are higher hurdles for Councils to jump to rationalise the school estate. This results in us spending money on half-empty schools, dilapidated buildings and composite classrooms, when the pupils and the education system would be better served by centralising educational provision in newer schools.

Not that every small school must close, but neither must every one stay open.

We face the situation in the islands where we have three primary pupils in a Gaelic medium school at an eye watering cost, whilst a perfectly good new school 30 minutes down the road runs grossly under capacity.

With falling school rolls seeming to be a perpetual feature of the Western Isles, and the change to the Curriculum for Excellence (sic) appearing to have caused more problems than it has solved; with trainee teachers unable to get jobs and with schools unable to afford sufficient teachers for the school cohort, then just where is the delivery of education going?

Education has been poorly served by successive Governments and by the failure of Councils to take difficult decisions (and the understandable refusal of communities to accept closures), and the crunch is now coming. Rationalisation of schools - and hence some teachers and support staff, and perhaps even some Council admin staff - is long overdue to ensure that the remaining school estate and the current and future school pupils are best served by the new structures.

Not that any of this is easy, not in the slightest, but without a coherent policy both nationally and locally then we all face the prospect of wasted money and a poorer legacy for our children and grandchildren.

Done, totally done!

What a year, what a month!

After lodging 400+ UK tax returns and another 50+ foreign tax returns, we were clear of everything by close of business yesterday.

Today was tidying our desks, filing, and dealing with the three people who emailed their tax information and the one walk-in, before filing these returns and closing the doors at 3pm: and off for a glass of wine.

Utterly knackered, it is going to be a quiet couple of days at home to gather our breath and get ready for the next onslaught!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Signing the wrong EDM

Hebrides News are carrying a Labour Party press release about Angus MacNeil signing the wrong Early Day Motion.

MacNeil claims that he signed the right EDM, and that it was a 'clerical error' and that he intended to sign the EDM below.

As you can see, Mr MacNeil signs a lot of EDMs and the one that is the subject of dispute has now disappeared from the list.

Just so you understand the situation, EDMs are pinned to a notice board, and then each MP can append their signature in the space below. They are then typed up and presented to the House.

The 'clerical error' excuse is vaguely similar to the excuse for the cock-up on the expenses front, previously reported here.

The reality is apparently much more mundane. I am told that our MP was tired and emotional after a hard day in the offices and other facilities of the Parliamentary building, and simply signed it without reading carefully.

Incompetence, stupidity or laziness?

I have received an email bundle of FoI requests, which I am still working my way through.

The bundle contains some very damning correspondence relating to the Rocket Range, and appears to depict both the MP and MSP as liars.

But, I'll let you be the judge of that.....

In July 2007, Mr MacNeil received a letter from Lord Drayson about the review, which contains the key phrase:
If all these proposals were taken forward there could be a significant impact on the number of jobs at the range. However, I would stress that, at present, these are no more than proposals.
and later:
I am writing in similar terms to the constituency MSP, Alasdair Allan.
Six months later Mr MacNeil sprung into action, at the request of staff who were hearing rumours about the plans, and arranged a visit to the site.

But look at the terms of the memo that resulted from that meeting.

MacNeil was concerned about "stemming the rumour mill", and then made it very clear just how serious an impact any closure of the facility would have.

And then did nothing, as far as we can tell, except - as requested - to be kept informed.

Of course when the solids hit the fan and the Council set up the Task Force there was a sudden burst of press releases
mock-outrage from MP and MSP, who have repeatedly tried to claim their lack of advance knowledge of the situation.

There was a fourth option that I didn't have space for in the headline, and it appears to me to be the real story of these emails.

I believe that the workers in Uist were to be sacrificed by our MP and MSP to score a party political point, and it was only due to the massive, intensive and successful intervention of the Council that this was avoided.

I'll be posting further on this later today, work permitting.

(Link to pdfs now fixed - thank you for pointing this out)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lewis Mountain Rescue Team

Mountain Rescue TeamUnimpeded by the shortage of mountains in the Western Isles, I understand that the proposal for a Mountain Rescue Team is being worked up by all the agencies, primarily on the grounds that if one life is saved then it is justified.

This is the public sector precautionary principle in action.

Whilst no-one in the emergency services is going to publicly criticise such a proposal, there is a certain amount of disbelief at the budget being put aside by the Health Board to pay for this.

With cuts expected across the whole of the public sector, are there better uses of a sum believed to be around to £600,000?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Child poverty

There is perhaps no policy failure of the Labour Government that is more damning than their failure to properly address child poverty throughout the UK.

The policy started with a vague and unattainable* to abolish child poverty (by 2020?) in one of those moments where a sound-bite beats intelligent thought.

Then, in a half-hearted and uncoordinated fashion a series of policies were bolted together in an attempt to create a coherent strategy.

As the pledge wasn't really sincere, the policies were themselves untargetted and the consequences were an inevtiable failure of the policy.

Labour has presided over a dramatic increase in income inequality in the UK, and it seems quite unperturbed by their obsession with the rich and famous. Now there is nothing wrong with supporting economic growth and lauding these who create jobs and national wealth, but where this is augmented by policies that reduce the levels of tax paid by the very richest, whilst penalising the very poorest, then truly have they lost their way.

The effective marginal tax rates in the poorest are very high - up to 70% in some cases, whilst top tax payers face much lower rates, and with the best advice they can reduce these rates to negligible levels.

What we have in the UK is a dramatically stratified society where the extremes are polarising further and where the tax and benefits systems defines the new class structures, and mitigate against movement out of your strata.

Gordon Brown's obsession with micromanagement of policy has blinded him to the big-picture impact, and whilst each step may in itself make sense, the cumulative effect is enormously different.

It will require to be undone and replaced; and the question has got to be just how the Tories will do this without causing further polarisation.

It cannot be done without causing pain as the rules change, but it needs to be done to change society if there is any real desire to reduce child poverty.

* 'Poverty' is a relative measure of income compared to the average. As the income of the poor increases, the average increases and the threshold for stopping being 'poor' increases. You can never abolish poverty, you can only minimise the number of people in that category.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Highland Airways

With the website down, and the BBC reporting an urgent meeting between staff and management it appears that my prediction was right, although I deliberately did not identify the firm.

Phone calls and emails over the weekend updated me on the position, and I am told that the administrators are being appointed this morning, after last minute negotiations over finance stalled.

What will happen to the scheduled flights, and especially the vital hospital shuttle between Benbecula and Stornoway?

I understand that the flights will continue to be run by the administrators in the short-term until the company's situtation is fully understood, but I also understand that the expectation is that the route will be handed to another operator as soon as it practicable.

Sad news, which reduces our choices for travel.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Windfalls and f'ups

Isn't it a wonderful feeling when you realise that you have got a very good deal on a purchase?

Don't you have this frisson of joy when you realise that the goods you ordered from the mainland were never charged on your credit card?

Have you ever had that sphincter-tightening realisation that you have forgotten to issue an invoice, or request payment, and you just know that the customer will never pay your bill?

I am told that there is a collective case of sphincter-loosening at the COU with the realisation that they failed to complete the necessary paperwork and hence failed to issue invoices totalling about £500,000 in the Summer of 2009.

The customer who will not now have to pay for this work is believed to be the Hebridean Housing Partnership.

Negotiations between the parties are understood to have started, but with the Bank of Taxpayer underwriting the COU, what's the urgency?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Contaminated land

If the Council are to buy the lease of site of the former oil depot on North Beach quay, then have they done a full contaminated land survey, and have they provided in full for the costs of cleaning the site, surrounding area and as far down into the ground as any contamination goes?

I really - sincerely - hope so, as reports I have seen indicated the extent and cost of the likely problem on that site were huge.

Just what is the budget for the works, and how much is for clearing the contaminated land?

And later, lets find what it really cost......

Monday, January 18, 2010

Council deficit

Today the Councillors were told that the shortfall for next year (and this before the real deep cuts kick in) of £2m.

Given that the perceived wisdom (sic) was that it takes 6 months to implement any cuts, that means a 1% saving in the first six months and about 3% in the last six.

These are deep cuts, especially where the major cost is payroll.

And it will only get worse, before it gets better.

Suggestions for cost savings; other than taking the bacon roll van to the COU rather than Mohammed MacLeod to the mountain?

Taygran Trader

Taygran Trader
She may not have been the prettiest vessel to ever ply the route between Stornoway and Ullapool (seen here in her TT years), but the introduction of competition on the route was one of the best things to happen to the islands.

Without the ruffling of feathers that she brought, we would not have got the cargo ferry, or indeed I suggest, the recognition of the importance and significance of the route to the islands.

Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the introduction of RET is a direct consequence of the very brave decision by the owners to run the route.

In other fields, many have tried to upset the apple cart and challenge an established operator with varying degrees of success, but each and every attempt has improved the future for the islands.

It is with some despair that I hear that one of the revolutionaries may not last the course, and if this is true it is going to be a very sad day later this week when the announcement is made. Despite an initial campaign against them by (or perhaps pro-incumbent) by some Councillors, they are now a vital and integral part of the community.

Possibly until as early as tomorrow; when we will all mourn their passing.

I hope I am wrong, but my sources are such that I have little doubt as to the accuracy of the information.

Doggedly pursuing important issues

Hats off to the Councillor at the recent informal and unreported meetings who raised the most important issuing that has deeply affected all the public.

I refer, of course, to the impact of the gritting issues on the public of the Western Isles.

Step forward, Nobel nominee Cllr Murdo Maroot who alerted members to the most serious of all the issues.....that the gritting was causing problems for the paws of small dogs.

Cllr MacLeod An important constituent

If the sniggering behind the hands of the Councillors is anything to go by, then he certainly has impressed his colleagues with his grasp of the priorities.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Child labour abuses backed by Government

A report in the weekend Financial Times makes depressing reading, as Peter Mandelson (for it is he) seeks to change the rules governing the insurance of foreign deals by UK companies.

For the past few years, the policy has been that the Export Credit Guarantee Dept would not provide any assistance where there was any forced labour, or where children were involved in the production process to the detriment of their health, education etc.

That policy is now been abandoned relaxed to allow companies themselves to determine the best policy to apply in each country.

And how about this for a typical piece of doublespeak:
The department said its policies reflected those of Britain's fellow OECD members, adding that it was better to raise standards multilaterally rather than unilaterally.
Apparently our 'ethical foreign policy' is only appropriate if everyone else is doing it. Forget about being the first to try and improve the lot of the oppressed, by embarrassing the rest of the world, our proposed policy is now not to interfere with the companies that must know best.

So now we are accepting the use of slave labour in Burma, or small children working 16 hour days sewing clothes in a factory in India, as a necessary element of UK economic policy.

Next time you buy a nice new shirt it could by stained by the blood of the poor and oppressed, working for a pittance or less, and being kept in that condition with the tacit approval of our Government.

This is a scandalous and disgraceful act of mendacity by a party that is blinded by its adoration of the multi-nationals and is desperate to ensure that there is no impediment to the exploitation of the poor in third-world countries.

I recommended that Lord Mandelson read Mark Thomas' excellent book "Belching out the devil" to understand just how the big companies disregard each and every rule that they can.

If this were the 1860's you can just imagine Mandelson opposing Unions in favour of a 'consultation on a unilateral solution to be devised by the employers'. The man has sold his soul and is moving the Labour Party into the policies bequeathed by Thatcher in a desperate attempt to impress his rich business acquaintances.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Inappropriate headline

...on the Gazette website:

SCIAF urges Islanders to dig deep for Haiti's earthquake survivors

How long before it is amended?

Eishken wind farm

I am really pleased to see that this has been given approval by Jim Mather, although his bathetic comment almost makes me want to cry or throw something through the computer screen:
"The study the Scottish Government published last January showed that there could be further renewable energy development in the Western Isles. This could just be the start."
Preceded only by the incredible:
"Since the first proposals for a wind farm on Lewis were put forward, I have maintained that the Western Isles must be able to play its part in harnessing and benefitting (sic) from our vast green energy potential. Today, we are making that reality."
FFS, if you are going to tell a lie, make it a big f'ing whopper!

Now the inter-connector and cabling need to be resolved, and as per Beauly-Denny undergrounding doesn't seem to be a matter for Government, which is - in my view - unacceptable.

Those who supported the application will be wearily glad; those who opposed will be livid, not just for the application itself, but for the implications for other applications.

And what does the press release from our MP and MSP say, given they will have been told about this a few days in advance?


I've quickly read through the Consent letter and I'm pleased to see that most (all?) of the concerns were fully addressed by the conditions that the Comhairle recommended (paras 42 onwards), which I think just shows that the hard work the Officers and the Committee put into the applications was an excellent piece of work, and one I remain very proud of having been invovled in.

However, para 54 refuses consent for 6 turbines, which seems completely contrary to the Beauly-Denny stance of "I don't have the power to...." and concurs exactly with what I blogged yesterday about Ministerial powers.

(Back to work, I'll read the rest later)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mather unplugged

At the weekend I was speaking to another person who had been a very strong and vocal supporter of wind farms in the Western Isles, and like me he was totally disillusioned with the theory and practice of the Scottish Government energy policy.

I have been particularly bemused by the claim by Jim Mather, restated today, that the Government could not force the Beauly-Denny line to be undergrounded.

At the time that the various windfarm applications came to the Council, we were clearly told that the Council could impose any conditions they saw fit, and that the developers could either challenge them as being unreasonable, or accept them (or walk away). For that reasons a large number of mitigation measures were insisted upon, including undergrounding part of the overhead lines, especially around Barvas.

We were also clearly told that when the application went to Government for a decision, then Government could still impose, modify or remove any conditions that they saw fit. This was stated at the public meetings by the Civil Servants and made clear to us in discussions with the Government.

Obviously, they don't want to do that if they can, and it was clear that they would either be major decisions - for instance a big block of turbines not being allowed - or trivial matters - such as amending membership of one of the working groups.

It appears that there has been a fundamental change in the interpretation of the Planning Legislation leaving the Government (a their own desire) with a simple Yes/No option, and all the power to decide upon terms and conditions with the Councils.

Is this better?

No, I don't think so, as the ability of the Government to satisfy wider strategic objectives or simply ensure consistency by amending individual applications can only be to the ultimate benefit of the process.

What we have here is a piecemeal approach of dealing with each issue as it arises, irrespective of how it fits into the bigger picture, and that doesn't benefit anyone.

It is all very cackhanded and bumbling, and does nothing to dispel the impression of a very difficult decision avoided, and the easiest decision taken without sensible justification.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Council tendering processes

No, I'm not going to mention that instance again (just yet) for reasons that will become apparent at the next series of Council meetings.*

I'm trying to be helpful here, but one major cost that the Council incurs has not been the subject of tendering for a huge number of years.

I believe that putting this out to tender would save money, by getting a better price (perhaps 10% lower), and by allowing better monitoring of costs which I believe are running wild and uncontrolled.

So why has this £500,000 pa cost never been put out for tender?Petrol pumps Western Isles

It nearly was, but the last report around 2006 which was originated by Council Officers and demonstrated huge potential benefits never made it to the Committee. Apparently, it was blocked by more senior officers and not by Members, who never knew anything about it.

Why is the usage of petrol and diesel by Comhairle vehicles not the subject of tendering and consequently more tightly controlled?

To do so - perhaps by the use of fuel cards, which could benefit other business on the islands - would also allow the Council to monitor usage and consumption per vehicle, and it should reduce the number of Council vehicles doing the 'bacon roll' run every morning.

The narrower financial issues make it a matter for Commercial Operations Board; the wider economic impact issues make it a matter for Sustainable Development; and the broader policy issues make it a matter for Policy and Resources.

Although the Chair of P&R would have to declare an interest and step aside, there is nothing to stop his firm tendering in a fair and open process.

Just what is the downside to this proposal? Nothing. So why is it not on any agenda?

* Councillors: you will be asked to take a decision that has already been made for you, and is already being implemented. The justification for the decision is entirely false, and is about getting very senior officers out of the mess they made for themselves. More details to follow when I see the report, which will be taken in private and probably given to you at the last moment.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Did no-one think......

...that the fleet name might just cause some mirth?

Titan Uranus vessel
Infantile I know, but you need some light relief on a Monday morning.

Grit or gravel?

In the absence of grit, the Council put down a lot of gravel on the pavements.

Scottish Water are furious about this, as the gravel is blocking the pipes and the filters and giving them huge maintenance headaches.

The emergency grit supplies arrived today, just in time for the thaw to start. The main roads are very good, but side roads and especially pavements and parking areas are nothing but compacted ice, which I don't think that the grit will make any difference to.

Many pedestrians are finding the roads the safer option, and until the temperatures rises and some sunlight falls on the iced areas, this is going to persist. My back garden is a good weather vane, as it is sheltered from the sun in winter, and the snow is still lying thick and deep over the lawn, with the drive thawing slightly and then freezing into lethal ice. Hopefully the warm rain on Wednesday will melt the ice and let us all back to normal.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Construction sector

The impact of the economic slowdown is starting to further affect the construction supply chain, with news that Bardons have laid-off all their employees at the quarry until further notice.

The staff expect to be taken back on again in perhaps a month or two, and there is no doubt that the weather has played a small part in the whole affair, but it is significant that the impact is now moving up the supply chain, as well as down.

I probably keep sounding like a doomsayer, but the signs I am seeing are not good at all. I treat the construction sector as a leading indicator for the economic health of the islands, and it certainly impacts across a wide range of goods and services.

With some (major) contractors doing work at cost, just to keep their employees in jobs, then the seriousness of the impact cannot be understated.

No-one can point to any significant construction work in the pipeline, and this is simply removing any security that the employers and employees may have had.

We have escaped the worst of the recessional to date, but I think the impact will be in 2010.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

An energy policy in search of logic...

Can anyone give me any logical and rational explanation of the SNP energy policy?

I tried to influence one, by attempting to bridge the different shades of the spectrum, but sanity was discarded in favour of meaningless and ill-though out platitudes. And these are coming back to bite with a vengeance.

Today saw the long awaited, long foreshadowed, and expensively prevaricated decision to approve the Beauly to Denny power line.

The decision in itself makes sense and I approve of it, but the context is so perverse that it almost defies belief.

The good news (1 cheer) is that it will be the basis for extending the power network to the Western Isles which gives the possibility of the early-stage wave power developments having some chance of coming to fruition and being commerically viable, irrespective of the OFGEM charging regime.

Where it all goes horribly wrong for the SNP is that having tried to play the anti-wind farm card in the Western Isles and elsewhere, they are also simultaneously granting permission for extensive developments in less commercially viable locations. Whilst stressing their green credentials by promoting renewable energies, they are also allowing 200ft pylons to run through the centre of Scotland.

It looks, smell and tastes like they have tried to face both ways at once, by trying to avoid taking a position until they realised that they had no option but to do so, when they then tried to avoid responsibility (cf Sunday ferries and letters from the Churches).

Actually what they have done is to piss off both sides in this debate by their attempts to be two-faced and the attempts to avoid the question:
  • Pro- campaigners are appalled at the delays and refusals of large schemes with huge community benefit
  • Anti- campaigners are now appalled at the permission for the towers and for the implications for large scale developments in the Highlands and Islands
Most people can guess where I stand (or more accurately stood, as the debate has moved on), and what I particularly take umbrage at is that many of the key reasons for approval of Beauly-Denny were ignored when it came to the Lewis Wind Power project. Some of these were hard fought for, and approval of the LWP scheme was only recommended with these conditions as part of the package.

They have no-one to blame but themselves, as they were warned about this on many ocassions, but the sheer lack of understanding of the issues at local and national level was startling. Lack of understanding and an unwillingness to hear other arguements.

I'd like comments on this post to avoid the detail of the LWP scheme which I used as an example, and concentrate on the wider policy implications eg a cable into Gravir is now much more likely and there will also be an incentive to develop mixed renewable schemes in the Highlands and Islands.

Bad weather planning

It is good to see that the Health Board are taking the winter weather seriously and are planning accordingly. (Original doc turned into pdf).

Look carefully at what is being said...
There is a possible delivery of salt/grit due to take place on Monday [11th] by bulk cargo container.
Planning assumptions....
Gritting will continue only on a minimum of roads until Friday/Saturday after which no gritting will be carried out.


From Friday/Saturday evening until stocks are replenished and gritting restarts, it can be assumed that road surfaces will remain frozen from 1700hrs through until 1200hrs the following day and thawing will only take place after this time for a period of daylight hours should sunlight directly hit the surface.
Can anyone tell me what the Council have planned (prepared for?) or do they intend to decide the plan for this next week?

It is good to see that at least one public body is thinking in advance (but what does this mean about the effectiveness of the Community Planning Partnership?)

H/T to my correspondent.

A new Broadband provider

I have been given details of a new broadband provider for the Western Isles; a story that is due to be announced in detail in the next month.

Luathnet are planning to provide a full service via the normal telephone lines and by satellite - but not through the Connected Communities network - as part of the Local Loop Unbundling.

Full details of the plans (and the prices) will be announced in February, but it looks like we are getting another local challenge to the service provision. Hopefully they can cover most of the islands from day 1; or at least the majority of residents.

I'm hopeful that this will provide the competition that is desperately needed to drive forward the internet community and intent usage in the islands, and I for one will be studying the offer very carefully to see how it could benefit my business and my domestic provision.

More to follow.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Ice and snow in Winter shocker!

The headline in Hebrides News says it all:
Ice shuts schools as salt supplies almost run out
Having got the kids back into an early-bed routine in preparation for what is for us the busiest month of the year, the Comhairle have managed to ensure that the Primary School and the Nursery are closed tomorrow; and I guess Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, given the forecasts.

With something like two months work to be packed into January, it is all going a bit mental in the Nicolson residence tonight.

The office phones are diverted to the mobile, if they are not answered within a number of rings (which also acts as an answering machine), and we had about half-a-dozen calls from Englandshire today, but the emails and calls will start in earnest tomorrow. Past experience is that the first day back is normally utterly crazy, and tomorrow will be no exception, only even worse as we will not be able to access the files and we will be working from two locations, or possibly exclusively from home.

Looking out the window at 6:30pm, there is no traffic moving; the snow is falling and lying heavily on the roads; no-one is moving - if they dare to risk life and limb; and the weather forecast has just confirmed the adverse outlook.

#Things can only get better#

Gritter crew at workGritter crews hard at work in Stornoway