Listing To Port

Some of you will have noticed I haven’t been blogging much of late –n o cheering at the back. There are a few reasons for this. First, the weather has been lovely and the chance to make the most of it when I no longer go to work is overwhelming – you should see my legs.

Second, I’ve spent the last week on jury duty at Glasgow Sheriff Court. This is known as hingin’ aboot. Fifty good citizens and true turn up every day expecting to sentence a miscreant (in my case a Unionist) to death. While we wait around looking glum the fiscal negotiates with defence lawyers to see if a trial will proceed. Why they can’t do this before we give up our time, nobody explains. On Thursday we waited two hours in the morning and had to take a lunch break before they actually tracked down the defence lawyer who hadn’t bothered to turn up. Then we were sent home. Heaven help any accused who goes to trial on a Friday after a week of this…

Then, instead of writing, I opted to bite my lip. So much misdirected bile has been spilling out since the election that I couldn’t write without expressing some of my own. So I kept a lid on it. There is a wider interest in shared objectives in the long term that is worth sustaining. Nor am I going to rehearse old arguments now. I stick by the case I made before voting – that everybody should vote the way they wish and do it with pride. That’s what I did and I am proud. I have no regrets about supporting the party that encapsulates my priorities best.

What I truly can’t stand is hearing anyone say a vote was wasted. No democrat can make that claim. Every vote counts and every vote is equal. The only vote that is wasted is the vote that isn’t cast.

Anyone who doesn’t get elected failed by not getting enough votes – just like the indyref. Blaming the voters is facile.

It’s clear there are interesting things going on at Holyrood while the boys and girls settle in. I laughed at the irony of the old guard who can’t get used to change. The SNP were rightly criticised last time for appointing their own Presiding Officer. Yet when they back a Labour candidate, it’s a Nat conspiracy. Well, maybe it is. Like the ferry contract going to Cal Mac because the SNP were intimidated by Torquil Crichton into breaching EU law and discriminating against Serco. (Who were of course their preferred bidders because the Nats are Hell-bent on privatising ferry services, as everybody who reads Brian Wilson knows.)

This is an extraordinary story which says so much about our small country and the influence of a handful of extremists whose hostility to the elected government is obsessive. From what I saw, the ferry row was started by Brian Wilson and taken up by his mini-me’s at the Record and Kevin McGuire of the Mirror who seems to simply copy down and reproduce what Wilson says.

Wilson is highly regarded by the remaining Labour diehards searching desperately for something to campaign on. The myth of privatisation was pushed as if it were an SNP policy position instead of a bidding competition demanded as an EU legal requirement and confirmed by the previous Labour/Lib Dem Executive which got clarification from Brussels (against SNP objections). It was still being reported that way today across the old newspapers and even given credence by Common Space which headlined it as Victory for the Campaigners. Technically, it is. It’s a ‘victory’ for all of us who prefer Cal Mac. But the implication that a campaign swung the decision is as inaccurate as it’s insulting. The law demands, among other things, transparency and absence of discrimination in public contract bidding. Any evidence – as opposed to emissions of lie-infested hot air from Crichton and Wilson – that sentiment or politics played a part in denying Serco a fair hearing could provide grounds for an appeal. It won’t happen of course, as Serco knew their bid was ruled incompetent in any case – the real and openly-declared reason they lost – but the outpouring of mendacity by the unions and Labour praising themselves for their campaign theoretically threatened the Cal Mac success…a success achieved by Cal Mac staff who were the last to be congratulated by the Labour drones.

Serco failed because their bid was non compliant. They sought changes to commercial terms aimed at striking a balance between the risks and rewards involved. It seems they couldn’t make the numbers work to squeeze enough profit out of the deal prepared by the Transport Scotland – the very opposite of Wilson’s windy claim that the government’s plan was to privatise.

Labour voices are now claiming it shouldn’t have gone to tender at all – relying on the short memories of a public sick of lying politicians. It is also clear that the very fact of competition helped to drive up the quality of the Cal Mac bid resulting in a better deal for the customer and the taxpayer.

Within this scabrous little affair we see how damaging to the public interest and how corrosive to the body politic the scheming and destructive anti-Nats can be. A straightforward tender process is subverted by unprincipled politicos and a complaint media.

There is no reason why a campaign in favour of Cal Mac should not be run to make clear public opinion – although care is needed not to assume there is 100 per cent approval in the Western Isles for MacBraynes. Like so much else with the defeated Left, this turned out to be a false flag campaign with dishonesty at its heart.

When we look at Labour and try to divine what went wrong for them, this case offers evidence. There is a bitter resentment at unending defeat, a curdled sense of entitlement, belief that the bigger the lie the more chance of success and contempt for the people…yet with tentacles reaching across civic Scotland that are still capable of doing damage.

I am very happy Cal Mac won and can’t wait for my next trip but I will never associate the red funnel with the red rose of the corrupted Labour party. Cal Mac belongs to Scotland.

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34 thoughts on “Listing To Port

  1. The behaviour of Messrs Crichton and Wilson is little less than shameful – but it’s aye been.

    They are best treated as “trolls” and should be firmly ignored.

  2. “yet with tentacles reaching across civic Scotland” – I sincerely hope the SNP are working on a decapitation strategy for every Labour run local authority come 2017 elections.

  3. I remember a remarkable radio interview Brian Wilson gave while Tony Blair’s Special Envoy for Reconstruction in Iraq. There was so much he was going to do. Then, suddenly, he was gone.

  4. The full account of that 2005 tendering debate is here:
    Basically Tavish Scott herded willing SLAB MP’s like sheep, whilst dishing out insults to the SNP

    Check out those who voted for the tendering process that day, including Johann “calmac twibbon” Lamont.

    Alexander, Ms Wendy (Paisley North) (Lab)
    Arbuckle, Mr Andrew (Mid Scotland and Fife) (LD)
    Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
    Baker, Richard (North East Scotland) (Lab)
    Barrie, Scott (Dunfermline West) (Lab)
    Boyack, Sarah (Edinburgh Central) (Lab)
    Brankin, Rhona (Midlothian) (Lab)
    Brown, Robert (Glasgow) (LD)
    Butler, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (Lab)
    Chisholm, Malcolm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab)
    Craigie, Cathie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (Lab)
    Curran, Ms Margaret (Glasgow Baillieston) (Lab)
    Deacon, Susan (Edinburgh East and Musselburgh) (Lab)
    Eadie, Helen (Dunfermline East) (Lab)
    Ferguson, Patricia (Glasgow Maryhill) (Lab)
    Finnie, Ross (West of Scotland) (LD)
    Gillon, Karen (Clydesdale) (Lab)
    Glen, Marlyn (North East Scotland) (Lab)
    Godman, Trish (West Renfrewshire) (Lab)
    Gorrie, Donald (Central Scotland) (LD)
    Henry, Hugh (Paisley South) (Lab)
    Home Robertson, John (East Lothian) (Lab)
    Hughes, Janis (Glasgow Rutherglen) (Lab)
    Jackson, Dr Sylvia (Stirling) (Lab)
    Jackson, Gordon (Glasgow Govan) (Lab)
    Jamieson, Cathy (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (Lab)
    Jamieson, Margaret (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (Lab)
    Kerr, Mr Andy (East Kilbride) (Lab)
    Lamont, Johann (Glasgow Pollok) (Lab)
    Livingstone, Marilyn (Kirkcaldy) (Lab)
    Lyon, George (Argyll and Bute) (LD)
    Macdonald, Lewis (Aberdeen Central) (Lab)
    Macintosh, Mr Kenneth (Eastwood) (Lab)
    Maclean, Kate (Dundee West) (Lab)
    Macmillan, Maureen (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
    Martin, Paul (Glasgow Springburn) (Lab)
    May, Christine (Central Fife) (Lab)
    McAveety, Mr Frank (Glasgow Shettleston) (Lab)
    McConnell, Mr Jack (Motherwell and Wishaw) (Lab)
    McMahon, Michael (Hamilton North and Bellshill) (Lab)
    McNeil, Mr Duncan (Greenock and Inverclyde) (Lab)
    McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow Kelvin) (Lab)
    McNulty, Des (Clydebank and Milngavie) (Lab)
    Morrison, Mr Alasdair (Western Isles) (Lab)
    Muldoon, Bristow (Livingston) (Lab)
    Mulligan, Mrs Mary (Linlithgow) (Lab)
    Murray, Dr Elaine (Dumfries) (Lab)
    Oldfather, Irene (Cunninghame South) (Lab)
    Peacock, Peter (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
    Peattie, Cathy (Falkirk East) (Lab)
    Pringle, Mike (Edinburgh South) (LD)
    Purvis, Jeremy (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale) (LD)
    Radcliffe, Nora (Gordon) (LD)
    Robson, Euan (Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (LD)
    Rumbles, Mike (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) (LD)
    Scott, Tavish (Shetland) (LD)
    Smith, Iain (North East Fife) (LD)
    Smith, Margaret (Edinburgh West) (LD)
    Stephen, Nicol (Aberdeen South) (LD)
    Stone, Mr Jamie (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (LD)
    Wallace, Mr Jim (Orkney) (LD)
    Whitefield, Karen (Airdrie and Shotts) (Lab)
    Wilson, Allan (Cunninghame North) (Lab)

  5. Bang. On. (applause)

  6. When labour tries to divine what went wrong for them, it is simply this: there is no sewer they won’t crawl through in their bid to throw muck at the SNP. This behaviour has turned them into a seething ball of hatred and made them unelectable. They didn’t just get beaten by the SNP, they got their arse kicked by the Tories! They got outfoxed on the right by Davidson and kicked out of the left by Sturgeon. Yet it does’t register with them at all. They are so self absorbed, they literally can’t see how ridiculous they look. But what is far more serious is the MSM constantly mopping up after this cartoonishly inept and incontinent party.

  7. On Twitter last night, Murray Foote of the Daily Record was trying to make a case that pressure from his paper and the unions got the terms of the bid changed in CalMac’s favour.

    Interesting to see what Serco make of that.

  8. Back to the MSM and its attempts at manipulation, its tacit support for Labour, and the real thing people should understand.

    We need to nullify the MSM, to offer a better alternative, and to get it out there (save the National).

  9. Scotland’s tired old traditional media [including the bbc] has given up on any concept of balanced reporting. They are concentrating on trying to keep their core britnat support. Thankfully that core britnat support is fast diminishing. God bless the internet.

  10. Very well said on all counts Derek and couldn’t agree more.

    As for Messrs Crichton, Wilson and the Record? Utter guff on their part and thoughtless, moronic guff at that. I’m hopeful that both SERCO and the EU tendering watchdogs will think so too, though if they felt like throwing a strop, the bullshit fired off by the Record and Labour would probably be enough to warrant a challenge.

    Were I a Cal Mac employee I’d be firing off the odd terse phone call to those concerned, politely asking them to keep their faces shut and not ‘rock the boat’. How and ever, it is so very clear that after the Record’s VOW catastrophe and Labour’s disembowelment at the hands of the public, both are desperate to claim any victory, no matter how implausible. Even if that false claim is at the expense of others apparently.

    And they wonder why they find themselves in their current sorry position?

    On the whole legs thing (cough)? No, yer fine.

    We’ll take your word for it. 🙂

  11. Given that these are both blatant and dangerous lies would there be a case for taking this to the Press Complaints Commission or whatever is currently in place?

    • Press Complaints Commission? Sounds good to me.

      Thanks, Derek. Interesting to go through the list of those who voted for the tendering process and note the few who recently had the decency to keep their heads down. Not many!

      As for Wilson……….. totally without morals.

  12. Robert Graham

    Well its good to see Derek Bateman returning to the scene of his previous , ok spill the beans I gather the Judge relented and waved his right to doth the dreaded black cap or are you indeed out on licence ?.
    The Cal-Mac non story is just another phase of project crush the SNP ,This ongoing relentless UK Government funded project that is intended to keep the 55% in the fold its whole object it to keep the SNP Government on the back foot by constantly providing pointless distractions, Like the Forth bridge closure and all the time that wasted .It is becoming a little tedious this game because thats what it is a pointless bloody distraction .

  13. Hands up, who would like to see Derek as an elected member of holyrood?

    • Better than seeing his legs.

    • douglas clark


    • No. I don’t want to see Derek as an elected member of Holyrood.

      We need a diverse and varied challenge and we need strong leadership in every area of battle. Derek in Holyrood would simply become another SNP MSP target of bitter mendacity and bile, a ‘he-would-say-that’ Daily Record page-filler; and, his excellent and very crucial literary contribution would be lost in a key area of struggle for independence – information and slant

      One of the reasons we’re winning this is our New Media, bringing us the facts, showing us how we’re being fecked-over when no other msm outlet is prepared to do this. I don’t want Derek suddenly disappearing, sitting 4 rows behind our FM in Holyrood, his talent glaringly missing from the arena of words and writing. We have around five or six absolute and staunch supporters of SNP and independence who write on our behalf, all with their own unique, diverse, informed and intelligent approach – I don’t want to lose any one of them.

      Derek continuing to write-up a storm is for me.

  14. Great to see you back Derek hope you enjoy your retirement but don’t stop writing here please, I would love to enjoy my retirement but dodgy dave and his cohorts have stolen my pension for 6 years so I’m slogging on working as a Care Assistant in a Residential Centre for vulnerable adults with extreme dementia by the time I’m allowed to retire I will possibly just have to check in as a Resident, I hope we get Indy within this period and a more approachable govt which understands the dilemma the Tories have placed us in WASPI CAMPAIGN

  15. douglas clark

    Though he’d have to stand on the list. My MSP is Nicola Sturgeon.

  16. From what I’ve read both Servo and Calmac have grounds for legal action against the Record. As do the Scottish Government. If only they would collectively sue the DR back into the primeval mire. . .

  17. What really rips my p**s is these scumbags are being paid my hard earned coin to waffle this tripe and outright LIES . The liebour party for approx 20 years or more has been INFESTED by these self serving deluded corrupt disgraceful clones .They keep saying that they understand why the voters are disappointed in them FFS they haven’t a clue , the lot of them need to disappear up the wazoo and start again with REAL people.
    I read somewhere, on WOS maybe an idea that the SG should appoint an official spokesperson to respond to these continuous lies and smears pushed by the MSM and other liars , I would like to propose either Derek or Rev Stu or both for that position . We need someone to officially publicly and vociferously hold these arseholes to account and expose their deliberate misinformation lies and obfuscation

    • Well and truly said 100% with you there.

    • Gordon Wilson suggested a “propaganda” unit / Think Tank to do just this, and I’ve suggested it several times but the idea hasn’t taken off. The major problem is that the MSM and BBC won’t use anything which doesn’t fit their agenda. Robin McAlpine (of CommonCause) described how they issue press releases followed by a deafening silence from the msm.

      Also the alternative media is on a shoestring. I see Bella seems to be struggling to raise funds to continue.

  18. I will wager when Taigh an Ròid starts it’s first bell of SNP bad within the chamber on this, all the LIES will be exposed by the SNP government to sink the lot of them once and for all. One thing I have learned about the SNP is they are very patient and well organized when it comes to responding to such comedy as the red and blue Tories.

  19. We have the Tories in Scotland openly courting the Protestant loyalist vote. We have the Labour Party in Falkirk buying the Orange Order’s votes by paying towards the costs of the Order’s march. They overtly play the sectarian bigot card and, it seems, are proud to gloat over it and rub our faces in it.

    Scotland’s Unionist politicians leave a very great deal to be desired. They are totally contemptuous of the electorate and prove time after time that there is no level they will not stoop to in order to further their own narrow political interests.

    Sadly, to the rest of the world, these Unionist party hacks give the impression that Scotland’s politicians and people are not so civilised or politically sophisticated as they like to pretend to be. These imbecilic Unionist politicians who clamour for the knuckle dragger’s votes shame our great country. And, if we were to be brutally honest about them, Scotland’s Unionist politicians couldn’t run a fucking banana republic with no inhabitants but themselves.

    Rant over!

  20. Unionists and MSM (Auntie Beeb included) still screaming “Wolf”! Who will believe them when the SNP government actually do fcuk-up? Well there goes any rationale for a government being held to account by a credible opposition and an objective media. Labour in particular fail to realise they are shooting their own messenger. Too much reliance on a theory proposed by the Third Reich’s propaganda minister. There was no internet in 1933 and no state will tolerate gangs of thugs wearing shirts of a certain colour. Footbal shirts excepted obviously.

  21. At least in my jury service a few years ago now I was picked fairly first thing on the Monday morning for a week long trial. I was last person picked out of the hat. We even got bussed to the Hilton for a secluded lunch. Not that the trial was held at more than a snail’s pace. The lawyers went very slowly indeed, paid by the hour, aren’t they?

    I now know far more about dry risers than I ever wished for. We were instructed in their importance by the Dundee Chief Fire Officer in full uniform, with diagrams.

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