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Thread: Another Disappointment

  1. #1

    Default Another Disappointment

    Disappointing but not surprising to learn that two new ferries are to be built in Turkey, not in the state owned shipyard.

    Good news for the islanders though as they will hopefully get them sooner rather than later.

    In the meantime 801 and 802 continue to be delayed.

  2. #2

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    Would it not be better in these rather depressing times to look for good news stories rather than latching on to the usual SNPBAD stories from the MSM? Most of the time they are just regurgitated press releases from Labour and the Tories where the facts have been spun in an attempt to discredit the SG. Here is a good news story that, for some reason that escapes me, didn't make the headlines:-

    A recent report from the Child Poverty Action Group entitled "The Cost of a Child in Scotland" stated:-

    ‘The combined value of these factors (Scottish Gov't initiatives) will reduce the net cost of bringing up a child by up to 31% (nearly 24,000) for low-income families, once all announced policies are in place.'

    ‘This report has shown that in Scotland, families are sigificantly better off in this regard, as a result both of Scottish government policies seeking to address the problem and childcare costs that have not risen as fast as in England. It is important to emphasise that this does not mean that families in Scotland escape hardship, and benefit levels remain well below what families need. However, it is encouraging to observe that policies at the Scottish level have made a substantial and not a negligible difference.'.

    It is easy to feign disappoinment when the true emotion is actually schadenfreude.

  3. #3

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    Watched the report on STV News.

    "This report has shown that in Scotland, families are sigificantly better off in this regard, as a result both of Scottish government policies seeking to address the problem and childcare costs that have not risen as fast as in England. It is important to emphasise that this does not mean that families in Scotland escape hardship, and benefit levels remain well below what families need. However, it is encouraging to observe that policies at the Scottish level have made a substantial and not a negligible difference.'.

    Looks like the SG have a good way to go, judging by this quote.

    I know that the SG want to improve exports to other parts of the world but I didn't think it would include the jobs of Scottish shipbuilders.

    Well paid jobs would go some way to helping to reduce child poverty etc, so it is genuinely disappointing to see a missed opportunity.






  4. #4

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    I am not trying to dismiss the disappointment of this order going to Turkey. All I am trying to say is that I am fed up with the negative spin I see the MSM putting on stories about events happening in Scotland. I cannot think of another country where the media is so anti the country they operate in. A lot of good things happen in Scotland. We are praised around the world for our actions on, for example, renewable energy; alcohol pricing; reducing knife crime; social care and child poverty yet our MSM twists these positives into negatives by lying. I merely urge you to exercise caution when reading articles about Scotland in the MSM. There is nearly always a hidden agenda.

    I don't know the ins and outs of this particular ferry tendering deal but since it involves spending public money I am sure the SG would have been aware of their obligation to get the best value for the taxpayer. You never know maybe the Scottish yard will be given the job of building a new royal yacht even though HMQ doesn't want one.

  5. #5

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    Hi,
    I have watched The Replacement of the Scottish Ferries for many years.
    After The Glasgow Shipyards fell apart, the Unions being blamed, all ship building went abroad.
    Simply is is cheaper…..yes much cheaper to build them abroad.
    And yes there have been problems with some from the East, but they are the ‘lowest bid’.

    Now there is a ‘Caveat to that’………Holland, Belgium, and that ilk, do build amazing boats. Just look at the Fishing Boats. But they are expensive! Ask one if the Fishermen who had one built in Scandinavia. And they bring them back there every few years to have then re—furbished.
    And when I came to Canada in the 1970’s, after the shipyards had fallen apart, you would find many Scottish Union Reps running the Unions here…..Commonly called ‘The SCOTTISH MAFIA’!

  6. #6

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    Looks like this subject will take some sorting out, a lot of questions to be answered by the SG.

    If I was working at the shipyard I would already be looking for a new job, as after this, who would place an order for any boat or ship at that yard ? The end for the Clyde and unfortunately not a very distinguished one considering it's history.

    Horseman, I have seen the "Scottish Mafia" in action here and suffered as a result of their actions. I will leave it at that.

  7. #7

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    Ok, I'm going to be accused of deflection here but I always find it strange how hot under the collar and dare I say it, self-rightous some people get over matters like this. There have been calls for questions to be answered; for heads to roll and for an inquiry into political opportunism. But, I find it equally strange how these same people appear remarkably unconcerned by Westminster scandals which dwarf anything that has ever occurred in Holyrood.

    Let us take just one example: The Ministry of Defence and its Ajax Programme. If you have not heard of it that is no surprise. It is a national embarrassment and has been such an unmitigated disaster from conception onwards that it has cost the UK billions of pounds for virtually no return. In essence, it is a programme to supply the army with a new range of armoured fighting vehicles called Ajax. HMG have entered into a contract with GDLS UK worth 5.522 billion for 589 of these Ajax vehicles. So far HMG has paid GDLS UK 3.167 billion and has got 26 vehicles and a gigantic headache because they are virtually useless. You can read the NAO report on this fiasco here - https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/up...-programme.pdf

    If that's not enough to convince you of Westminster's incompetence then maybe these matters will:-

    a) The Public Accounts Committee have said the total UK tax debt is 39bn. In other words, HMRC has allowed 39 billion worth of tax to go uncollected. That sum is considerably greater than the entrire annual budget given to the Scottish Government by Westminster to run Scotland. Just think what could be done with that money to alleviate the many social and cost of living problems currently affecting large numbers of the population.

    b) Increases in NI and other taxation to make you pay for their mistakes. To really rub it in, those of us in Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland are having to pay this increased taxation to improve social care in England.

    c) Brexit and all the associated lies that went with it - 350 million a week for the NHS; how simple it would be to get a trade deal, etc, etc.

    d) Incompetent Covid 19 response included wasting 37 billion on a useless test and trace app' and at least 150 million on useless PPI equipment.

    e) London is the Russian money laundering capital of the world and is so because HMG have been complicit in allowing it to happen. By all accounts the Home Office has awarded over 2,500 investor visas to Russian citizens many of whom have links to organised crime. Lord knows how much dirty money has been swilling around Londongrad these last 30 years or so.

    I could go on and on. The amount of money wasted by the current UK government is staggering. In addition, HMG continue to make fools of themselves and lie to us all over their response to the war in Ukraine.

    So, yes have a go at the SG. But for goodness sake have a sense of proportion. I am not excusing what has happened at the shipyard but it pales into insignificance when compared to how much of OUR money Westminster has squanderd.

    Might I suggest you direct your ire to where the real criminals and incompetents are.
    Last edited by Corky Smeek; 28-Mar-22 at 11:56.

  8. #8

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    Corky…You are so correct..
    Incompetence and ‘Quid…Pro…Quo’!

  9. #9

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    I am well aware of the amount of incompetence and double standards within the Westminster Gov, once more we are reminded of that fact with the issuing of fines as a result of law breaking in Downing Street.


    The Ajax programme should never have been started, it has been long thought that armoured vehicles have had their day on a normal battlefield. This theory has been proven to the cost of the Russian forces in the Ukraine where well equipped infantrymen can decimate tanks and APC's. Hopefully the MoD will not make any more payments. If you can find an MoD contract that went according to plan then please let me know.


    With regard to: point A, the uncollected tax figure pales in to significance when you look at the UK National debt, have a look it will make your eyes water. I suspect that the Tax Office will eventually get round to chasing the uncollected tax along with the huge amount of furlough money lost to fraud when they restaff post Covid.


    Point B if you believe that the NI levy is to be used for social care etc anywhere, then Sunak may have been successful in his deception. My feelings are that the NI levy is just his way of clawing back the money spent on the furlough scheme and the "eat out to spread it about" scheme, he just hasn't got the guts to admit it. That is my opinion, having said that this comment from Audits Scotland's Social Care Report is interesting: Moreover, the UK Government’s announced increase in national insurance contributions will provide an estimated additional 1.1 billion to Scotland by 2024/25, some of which will go towards funding social care.


    The response of the SG to the pandemic was little better than the UK Gov, both parties made mistakes. There were three pandemic response exercises carried out in previous years but the SG failed to implement the recommendations and so got caught out when Covid arrived. Audit Scotland also noted that the NHS and Social Care had problems obtaining PPE and the SG had to take out contracts from unknown suppliers as competition for PPE massively increased globally. Audit Scotland noted the lack of transparency in SG records on spending during the pandemic. The subject of discharges to Care Homes to create empty beds also gets a mention, although the Public Health Scotland report states that risk of infection to homes was small, also that there were discharges to homes that already had outbreaks. Nevertheless the risk was taken.


    I note that Yousaf had to explain why over 500,000 face masks and nearly 90,000 litres of sanitiser had to be removed from the NHS stockpile. These will probably be recycled as will the massive amount that Westminster have hidden somewhere, what a waste.


    AS for the UK's response to the Russian invasion I haven't heard Zelensky criticising the UK, his criticisms fall mainly on the EU. Patel's visa scheme has been a disgrace.


    Back to Ferry Gate:
    I had to do a double take when I watched Sturgeon squirming during a TV interview regarding the situation. Sturgeon's answer to the most important question by an interviewer the other day which was "Did you give the go ahead for the ferries ?" Sturgeon's reply was "Well, I didn't tell them not to go ahead". Classic Sturgeon gobbledegook. Recently Forbes and Sturgeon have, not for the first time, tried to deceive the public, claiming that the procurement procedure had been followed fully and that Audit Scotland had reported so -not true. They have made themselves look foolish and have chosen to play the blame game. I see that Mackay wants to appear in an inquiry for whatever reason but I suspect it will not happen. I am not a fan of inquiries as they tend to be just another waste of taxpayers money just as Salmondgate was. The end game of this incompetence will probably be that the jobs that were saved will be lost as the reputation of FMPG is now worthless, even the SG didn't order further ferries from their own yard.


    The other consequence is that the islanders will now have to wait even longer for new ferries.


    You make comment on "keeping things in proportion" the reality is that the UK Gov appears, due to it's large budget to be able to absorb the massive cost of mistakes like Ajax and others (unacceptable) but due to the small SG budget, the SG can not afford to gamble with taxpayers money like the UK Gov do. For example, if the income of the UK Gov was 900 million and the SG annual income was 300 million, then which Gov would miss 150 million the most ?


    Below is a section from Audit Scotland's Consolidated Accounts which shows the SG history on business interventions.


    Financial support to private companies
    27. In recent years, the Scottish Government has taken a direct role in
    providing financial support to private companies in addition to support provided
    through its enterprise agencies; Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands
    Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise.
    Prestwick Airport
    28. In November 2013, the Scottish Government purchased Prestwick Airport
    for a nominal price of 1 with the stated aim of protecting jobs and safeguarding
    what it considered to be a strategic infrastructure asset. The total level of loan
    support provided up to 31 March 2021 is 43.4 million although this was valued
    at 11.6 million in Transport Scotland’s accounts at the financial year end
    following an independent valuation. A further 1.2 million interest charges have
    accrued during the year resulting in total accrued interest of 6.3 million. In
    keeping with Transport Scotland’s approach in previous years, the interest on
    these loans has been impaired to nil.
    29. In June 2019, the Scottish Government announced that the sale of
    Prestwick Airport was being progressed, in keeping with its long-term objective
    that the airport should be returned to the private sector. In October 2020, the
    Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity confirmed to
    the Scottish Parliament that the preferred bidder, selected earlier in the year,
    had withdrawn from the process considering the global impact of Covid-19 on the aviation sector. Transport Scotland is still looking to sell Prestwick Airport once a buyer is found.


    Burntisland Fabrications Limited (BiFab)
    35. In 2018/19 the Scottish Government converted 37.4 million of commercial
    loans it had advanced to BiFab into equity in the company representing a total
    equity stake of 32 per cent. In the 2019/20 Consolidated Accounts, the Scottish
    Government’s equity stake was valued at nil to reflect expected losses in line
    with accounting requirements.
    36. During 2020/21 the Scottish Government provided further loans of 4.5
    million to BiFab to help the completion of outstanding contracts. In December
    2020, BiFab went into administration due to its challenging financial position.
    There was no legal route for either the Scottish Government or the UK
    Government to provide further financial support to the company in the current
    situation and the loan of 4.5 million was fully written off in year. The
    Consolidated Accounts (page 54) refers to the subsequent sale of the business
    in February 2021 and that the Scottish Government will continue to work with
    the administrators to maximise the recovery of public money.
    Lochaber Aluminium Smelter – Liberty Group
    37. In December 2016, the Scottish Government issued a 25-year financial
    guarantee contract to SIMEC Lochaber Hydropower Limited. This contract
    guarantees the power purchase obligations of the Liberty Aluminium Lochaber
    Limited smelter if the business does not fulfil its obligations to pay for contracted
    power. The Scottish Government receives an annual fee in return for the
    guarantee.
    38. The annual exposure to the Scottish Government is between 14 million
    and 32 million, over the lifetime of the contract. At the start of the contract in
    December 2016, the total potential financial exposure to the Scottish
    Government was 586 million. To reduce the exposure of the contract, the
    Scottish Government created a security package which includes first line
    security over the hydro plant, the smelter and land which formed part of the
    original purchase of the smelter by the GFG Group.
    39. In March 2021, Greensill Capital (UK) Limited, a major provider of working
    capital to GFG Alliance, went into administration. This impacts on the Lochaber
    smelter as it is a subsidiary of Liberty Industries UK Limited, alongside Liberty
    Steel Limited, under GFG Alliance. The situation is further complicated as the
    hydro power station that supplies the smelter is owned by GFG Alliance through
    its other main group of companies, SIMEC.
    40. With the ongoing uncertainty regarding the financial stability of the GFG
    Alliance group, the Scottish Government reviewed the level of provision
    required with regards to their guarantee. The provision in the Consolidated
    Accounts increased from 37 million in 2019/20 to 161 million as at 31 March
    2021. I have concluded for 2020/21, the Scottish Government’s approach to
    setting the level of provision against the potential exposure through the
    guarantee is reasonable.
    The strategic approach to financial interventions
    41. In my 2019/20 report on the audit of the Scottish Government’s
    Consolidated Accounts, I highlighted the need for the Scottish Government to
    clearly outline its plans for future investment in private companies to ensure
    there is greater transparency over financial support provided and the value of
    public funds committed. The Scottish Government had already recognised that
    there were a range of risks, for example, EU exit and Covid-19, likely to have a
    business impact and which could potentially increase the number of distressed
    and restructured businesses.

  10. #10

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    @ Tom Bowler. Thank you for providing such a well researched response.

    My main point in contributing to this thread was to point out the ridiculous disparity in outrage that seems to exist in the MSM when things go wrong in Scotland. I am not trying to defend the SG who have clearly not covered themselves in glory so far as the shipyard is concerned however well intentioned those actions may have been. Their actions in this regard are certainly deserving of scrutiny. But, the level of malicious glee exhibited by the BBC, STV and the print media is quite unashamed. I cannot help but think that the MSM, who are virtually all anti-SNP and anti-independence, have jumped upon the issue and whipped it up into a storm in the hope that they can influence voters when they go to the polls in May.

    The shipyard issue is newsworthy and the SG's actions should be subject to public scrutiny. I fully accept the doctrine of public accountability for government actions. What I find hard to swallow, however, is the double standards. The level of faux outrage and the sadly inevitable use of the "ferrygate" epithet smack of interference from political sources closely aligned to sections of the MSM. I strongly suspect that the media departments of other political parties have been working overtime providing press releases which are re-printed almost verbatim.

    And yet, the scandals which mire the government in Westminster are mostly ignored; brushed aside as being of little consequence or given mass coverage because of their "sensational" aspects, i.e. the downing street parties. A cynical person might even suggest that some of the more salacious scandals have been given excess coverage to distract from more serious ones.

    Where is the same level of outrage, in the MSM, at HMG's seemingly never-ending list of sleaze, scandal, and corruption? The influence of Russian oligarchs over UK national affairs; the elevation of one of these (Lebedev, who incidentally, owns a large chunk of the MSM) to the House of Lords and the extent of donations from these oligarchs to the Tory party and what they were promised in return. And then of course there are all the financial and organisational scandals where vast amounts of public money have been wasted; contracts awarded to close associates of the Tory party and individual MPs engaging in and getting away with very dodgy activities which would have got the rest of us jailed.

    So, I re-state my wish for a sense of proportion when it comes to dealing with government failings. By all means call out any possible scandals. Demand to know what went on and even ask for heads to roll but always bear in mind that the MSM in Scotland is peddling an agenda and mis-informing you for political reasons.
    Last edited by Corky Smeek; 06-Apr-22 at 11:08. Reason: Futher info'

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