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

Thursday, December 01, 2011


The announcement of the extension of RET  to inter-island ferries was well signalled by our MP and MSP allegedly writing to the Minister just a few weeks ago.  Never was a planted question ever so obvious.

With our two Parliamentarians (sic) never scared to ask a planted question, the impending good news was transparent.

The Comhairle had lobbied for this for years, with MacNeil and Allan refusing to make the case on many occasions.  This is a Council triumph that we should applaud.

So what was the catch.

Well, I was a bit astonished - given the inside information I had - that MacNeil was kicking up a stink about CalMac (prop A Salmond) about 5m commericals facing higher charges from CalMac.

Now the truth is out and it will no doubt suffer from an absence of analysis from the local rags.

Yes: inter-island ferries will get RET.

NO: the introduction of inter-island RET will be 'over time'.

No: RET is not permanent. It is a 'long term feature'.  Which in a marvellous break with spin and a deep descent into honesty, means that it can be withdrawn as easily as it can be applied.

No: Ferry fares increase by 5%, making them even less than the promised RET than when they were announced.

No: The savings to the local communities will be offset by higher charges to commercial, meaning it is a zero sum game.

The losers will include Barratlantic with exports from Barra causing much more, so our fish and shellfish exports will now become less competitive.  Our imports of food, building materials and household goods will also become more expensive.

Nevertheless, lets all be grateful for the slight of hand than mugs Peter to rob Paul.

Now the real question: there was never a logical argument for not having RET on inter-island ferries.  Why is there any argument about not having ADS on inter-island flights?

And why have out Parliamentarians been so quiet? (Apart from the fact that they have been told to be so quiet about these issues).

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