How argyll & Bute Works: The fightback begins

Late yesterday Michael Russell MSP, Mike MacKenzie MSP and Brendan O’Hara MP issued a document that sets out a radical alternative to the cuts proposed by the council. In so doing, they were very critical of the current administration and, in particular, of Cllr Dick Walsh.

They were right to be so critical because Cllr Walsh is a serial failure. They were also right in offering an alternative to the cuts which appear to be aimed at the least well paid council staff and which will affect services for the most vulnerable people.

Their document is available at this link: Council Cuts Briefing Document October 2015

I fully support any alternative to the proposed cuts and there are plenty of them. I have already set out some of my views in previous blogs. Have a look here and at some other posts on the same subject.

For any challenge to Walsh and his nodding head supporters, we need the community to support alternatives, not simply oppose what Walsh proposes. Opposition on its own won’t work so please read this and pass on to try and gather as much support for an alternative as possible.

More soon.


  1. Mike,
    Very interesting comments but the briefing from the parliamentarians is long on analysis of what’s wrong but the scatter-gun approach to how it is remedied largely fails to cost these initiatives and how they will transform the political and public financial landscape and most importantly secure and enhance the quality of life for folk.

    the council needs to set goals and based on these the council backup will be determined.

    I’d suggest the goals should be:

    A lifting people out of poverty.
    B repopulation
    Tackle these and the strain on public services is reduced or the per capita cost is reduced.

    Re A: this shouldn’t cost the Council much because the Council pays the Living Wage and none of its employees should be poor. Likewise other public sector workers should not be poor. I think around 20% of the working population are paid below the LW. The council must lead a campaign to create a culture where it is unacceptable for any employer to pay below the LW.

    Big employers are amongst the worst offenders. piggie- backing the Living Wage Foundation campaign public pressure could turn A&B into Scotland’s first LW area. Just imagine the pressure on business owners if every time a customer or client asked them if they paid the LW? I’ve tried it and it works!

    On B: the National Planning Framework does A&B no favours and the Scottish Government needs to be tackled on it.

    However meantime there are initiatives the council could put in place:

    A. Identify the area’s strengths: high worth tourist destination; good air; quality of life if u can afford it; space; a lot of intelligent folk prepared to help their communities.
    B hanging fruit: attract those who work in the area to live in it: there’s 2500 service folk at Faslane who don’t live in the area. That’s a huge economic loss of £64m per annum based purely on their salaries .

    C remove all planning restrictions but give community councils the de facto right to decide what’s approved. Those ccs which are encouraging of development will see their communities grow. Those which are an impediment to growth will fall behind.

    D. Give every farm deemed time limited planning permission for 4 homesteads of about 2 acres each to develop, sell or whatever . This needs to be done as a block consent with a strict time limit.

    Ps. More to follow but I’m off to catch a flight


  2. The only reason that excuse of a man is still there is how he shakes hands and kisses behind,s and trying to make changes in Argyll is similar to the analogy of immoveable object ,v, unstoppable farce.

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