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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A void in search of a policy

Remember way, way back in 2009 when the bill to protect rural schools was launched to great fanfare?
The SNP Government has today launched plans to protect Scotland's rural schools from closure. [...]

Dr Allan, who has campaigned successfully against rural school closures in the Western Isles (I think that this might be a fib) said; “I believe that access to a local school is particularly important in rural communities, not least in places like the Western Isles, where schools are at the very heart of a community.

"This bill will help enshrine that principle in law and I am pleased that it is an SNP Government which is delivering this policy.
 Roll forward to a fortnight ago when the protection offered by the bill was unveiled to an unsuspecting public.
Alasdair Allan MSP said he would back the community’s submission asking the Scottish Government to call-in the Carloway closure.
So, the protection of the "heart of the community" now extends to backing a letter asking the Government to do something.  Is this what passes for successful campaigning?

It certainly isn't leadership.

Today, we see the press releases which talks up what was actually written (if anyone has a copy of the original, please send it on);
Western Isles SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has written to Education Secretary, Michael Russell, to ask him to consider whether he has legal grounds to "call-in" any of the school closure decisions recently made by the Comhairle.
Not - one should note- asking Mike Russell to actually call in all the decisions.  Not asking the Minister to meet with the Comhairle to discuss the wider issues of education provision in the Western Isles.  Not asking for more money to allow some of the schools - Carloway, for instance? - to stay open.

In case you were unsure of the serious and intensive lobbying going on on our behalf, the press release - and remember, this is putting a positive spin on the whole matter - continues:
“I accept that some schools will close..."
Argument lost, presumably on instructions from his former boss Mike Russell.

Which schools does he accept will close?  Carloway? Lionel?  I'm sure the parents are interested to know.

Mike Russell's reply will be that HMIE have studied the reports and will either agree that the consultation was correct and the schools will close; or, that the consultations were flawed, and that there should be new consultations before the schools close.

That's all the power the wonderful and hugely trumpeted bill gives to schools.

Alasdair Morrison and Calum MacDonald were defeated at the elections in a large part because they misinformed the public about their non-existent right of veto over any windfarm decisions.  The same ignorance of the legal position is evident here.

It's not just that, but the decisions were taken a long time ago, and the time to protect the schools was when the new schools project was being negotiated, and the consequent rural school closures approved by, err, the SNP Government.

Leadership would be demanding meetings between the communities and the Minister.  Leadership would involve looking at funding packages jointly with the communities, the Comhairle and the Government of which he is a member.  Leadership would be discussing with the Comhairle how the policy will be implemented.

Writing banal, pointless, and useless letters is the mark of a lapdog and party political place-man doing what he is told is best for the party, not the community.


Anonymous said...

Some of the local Nationalists make excellent lap-dogs. There's a beauty on the Hebrides News website from a fenzied Doctor with a house address relating to some extremely high cliffs in Orkney.

He goes on to jump off these high cliffs upon poor Donald Crichton whose letters he clearly finds unacceptable. The reason? He supports Labour and is employed by a Health organisation.

This - apparently! - is enough to deny his right to express his opinion. One wonders why he didn't find objectionable the endless epistles sent by a particularly useless Parliamentarian when he was employed as a teacher in Barra and Fort William.

Is the Doctor only in favour of freedom of expression when people agree with him? I think we should be told.

The tragedy is that there are too many members of the SNP like the gentleman from Yesnaby. Isn't the time the local party took some action against people like him? If they are members, do they have any place in a democratic party?

Anonymous said...

Confirmation - as if it were needed - from the Scottish Government policy on protecting rural schools has failed.

A review to revise the guidance. but not actually affect the decision.

Useless shower.

Expect press release from Bayhead saying how wonderful this is.

Anonymous said...

Guidance Review! What a load of absolute b*llo*cks - the whole lot, CNES and Scottish Government are just ridiculous. What a waste of time, energy, money, you name it. Does anyone think this is effective government at any level?

Anonymous said...

The more I reflect on it, Mike Russell's statement has to be the most empty, meaningless, dishonest drivel I've ever read in my whole life.

It's a prime case of a Government refusing to govern...

Being in Office but not in power...

Of doing the thing that people most despise in politicians - avoiding making a decision rather than having the courage to make an unpopular one.

No doubt someone will have the responsibility for the decision after May!