Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Apparently you can escape laws by breaking them in a car

This is really just one of those posts I occasionally make just to help stop scratching my head (where there’s a high risk of skelfs), and to clear ‘boiled snow’ out of it if something has caught my attention, and won’t go away.

I recall reading an article some time ago, by someone who presumably had access to the relevant data, and was pointing out the insane number of laws being created in recent years, as if this was going to somehow stop people from doing the things they applied to.

Back then, I had been wondering why laws were being introduced (in some countries, not the UK as far I’m aware, BUT the term is in general use) for ‘Road Rage’ offences.

Like many of these ‘subject specific’ laws that seem to be conjured up in order to allow tougher sentences to be applied – think of ‘Racist Crimes’ in the UK, if that aspect can be added, then tougher penalties can be applied for a given crime – they’re simply not really needed.

For example, Road Rage (and many Racist crimes) involve assault and violence, aspects which already have existing criminal legislation on the books, and could be addressed by that, all it needed was a sentencing review to add tougher criteria.

My head developed a bad case of ‘Boiled Snow’ when I saw this…

Ministers are planning new laws to make it illegal to throw litter out of cars on Scotland’s roads.

Some 1,300 bags of rubbish, weighing almost seven tonnes, are collected from the sides of the M8 and M9 each month.

New rules making it an offence to litter from vehicles is to be included in a new circular economy bill.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said “mindless behaviour” from drivers dropping litter creates a “significant cost to the taxpayer”.

New law to crack down on roadside littering in Scotland

I’m sorry, but this just seem daft and pointless.

We already have litter laws, even if it could be argued few are ever enforced (and there is usually some newspaper ready to jump to the defence of the poor victim, claiming some overzealous officer ‘Picked on them to make up their quota’.

Although I don’t know this for a fact, I’ve been warned not to throw litter from a car as there are increased penalties for that, compared to just dropping litter.

So, one has to ask what the point of these new rules are.

And…

Does that mean I’m currently free to throw litter from my car at the moment, as these rules are yet to be introduced?

If so, I (and everyone else) should get out there now, and make the best of this freedom, before it is taken away!

Littering

Littering

I’d like to see anyone try it – I’m pretty sure they’d end up at least with a fine, if not something more serious.

We don’t need MORE laws.

We just need the existing ones enforced (which tells you how much use any now ones for the same thing are likely to be).

Or import some Russian girl bikers…

I’d have included the Russians shooting each other for littering, but those videos are always being taken down – just imagine someone emptying a hand gun into the side of a car, you won’t be far off.

Or some Asians?

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06/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Coincidentally, I just saw some electric scooters in Glasgow

Possibly surprisingly, I’m in complete agreement with the folk who see items such as electric scooters as a problem on our roads, and other routes.

I’ve tended to think ‘The authorities’ were being heavy-handed as they continually refused to allow anything other than the long-established types of motor vehicles and cycles on our various roads and paths.

But (as usual) the behaviour of the few spoils things for the many, and the mad and careless antics of those who take (non-road legal) quads, dirt bikes, and assorted electric vehicles onto our roads just makes the current position of outright bans of all these vehicles inevitable.

Already…

A 15-year-old boy had six penalty points imposed on his future driving licence last October after being prosecuted for riding an electric scooter at high speed in a public place.

The past weekend was the first time I ever saw electric scooters on our roads AND pavements, and the behaviour of the users was far from acceptable, safe, or even considerate.

Every one of them was speeding through pedestrians on the pavement, then they would just veer off and scoot onto the road as and when it suited them, also crossing the road wherever they liked.

It’s a shame that those who can afford these things don’t appear to have brains that match their disposable income – their behaviour (which will be seen on traffic cameras, and recorded) can only ensure nobody will want to approve them for legal use.

There also seems to be an unfortunate ‘knock on’ effect from the arrival of electric scooters – as legislation is filed to control them, it often seems to be extended to include electric bikes in countries where this has already become an issue.

There’s more on this subject in this article.

Electric scooters on British roads would create ‘dangerous cocktail’

Unfortunately, from the behaviour I saw over the weekend, this sort of story can’t be far off from arriving here. of nothing is done.

Collision between e-scooter & double-decker bus leaves rider, 52, dead

E-scooter rider arrested for knocking down 11-year-old girl in Pasir Ris

Good luck escaping damage even at low speed if coming off an e-scooter dressed like this – and they are maybe limited to 15 mph if legal, but can be had with no limiter and able to reach anything up to 35 mph.

At least Scottish weather means we’re likely to be wearing something a little more robust – unless we’re used to the weather, then we’re already in T-shirts and shorts!

e-scooter

e-scooter

26/03/2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill will criminalise abusive behaviour

As far as I’m aware, there hasn’t been anything that would amount to ‘domestic abuse’ in my family’s past, so I’m really just mentioning this to give it some publicity, as it should be all it can get.

Looking at what it covers, I also doubt any of the women (although the legislation refers to ‘partners’) would have stood for any sort of abuse against themselves, or anyone else within the family, and would have seen to it that the abuser was dealt with, be that by legal, or any other means.

A new bill is set to be introduced next week which is being hailed by the First Minister as a “landmark moment” for Scotland.

As reported by Glasgow Live, the The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill criminalises abusive behaviour towards a partner or ex-partner.

The ground-breaking legislation, which was passed by Holyrood ministers in 2018, creates a specific offence of domestic abuse for the first time.

As well as covering physical abuse, the law refers to psychological and emotional treatment and coercive and controlling behaviour, where abusers isolate their victim from their friends and relatives or control their finances.

And for the first time in the UK, it makes the impact domestic abuse can have on children an aggravating factor, which could lead to courts handing down tougher sentences as a result.

The law will be used to prohibit subordination, humiliation, isolating a partner from friends, relatives and sources of support, and controlling or monitoring their day-to-day activities.

Scottish Women’s Aid chief executive Dr Marsha Scott said: “What an opportunity stands in front of us as our new ‘world’s gold standard’ law goes into effect.

“Women and children have been telling us for 40 years that it is the emotional abuse and controlling behaviours of domestic abuse that have the most traumatic effect, that trap them in dangerous relationships with abusive partners and ex-partners.

“Now these behaviours will be crimes in Scotland and how well we police and prosecute them will say much about our commitment to ending domestic abuse.”

New domestic abuse law Scotland – First Minister hails ‘landmark moment’

I couldn’t find a neutral graphic or pic that represented domestic abusers (or concentrated only on domestic violence, neglecting all the other options) – like the latter part of the excerpt above, the vast majority are still single issue and mainly portray women as being abused, then children, while almost completely ignoring (or not realising) abuse of males is not really all that far behind if more recent research is correct. The general claim is that 1 in 4 women, 1 in 5 children, AND 1 in 5 men, will suffer domestic abuse.

So, lacking a decent image, I thought I might as well go with something based on that nice Mr Trump, also known as the Orange Moron, who really cares about (some) victims of domestic abuse.

Orange Emergency Mysogeny Technician

Orange Emergency Mysogeny Technician

25/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

The Cats Bill 2017-19 could make drivers take more care

Most drivers (apart from the ignorant or those who just don’t care) know that under current UK law there is a requirement to report to police or local authorities when their vehicle collides with a dog, or they risk a hefty fine if they drive off without reporting the incident. Other animals to which this legal requirement to declare collisions include horses, cattle (cows), pigs, goats, sheep, and donkeys (but fortunately, apparently NOT DEER).

There is now a Bill proposed which will “require the driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to a cat to stop and give information or report the accident to the police” according to the Parliament’s website,

The legislation was first read on 23 July 2018 and still requires a third reading in the House of Commons and approval from the House of Lord before it becomes law. If passed, the new law would also require owners of certain cats to have their pets microchipped to make identification easier in the event of an incident.

It used to be argued that dogs were included in such a requirement due to the existence of a dog licence, and the benefits brought, but that was dumped years ago, the reporting requirement stayed, and I thought cats were getting a fairly raw deal as a result of that imbalance. Either add cats, or remove dogs from the legal demand.

On the other hand, unlike dogs, cats think they own the road – just let one drive your car, and…

Cat Road Rage

Cat Road Rage

Then there’s the size aspect.

Most drivers aren’t intimidated by cats in the UK, and are probably not worried about any cat they might hit getting upset – and sitting on them!

Cat Sitting on road

Cat Sitting on road

Is that some sort of deer relative being used as a cushion by the cat?

So, they DO have a use.

25/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Only in Glasg… Oh! Australia

Apparently this pic came from a shop in Australia.

Australian Knives

Australian Knives

It’s just interesting to consider how badly crafted legislation catches the wrong subjects.

And I extend that comment to refer to how it affects generally law-abiding people, but does little to restrict the actions of those who hold the law in contempt, and just carry on regardless.

I don’t know if the law referred to actually applies to the kind of ‘knife’ shown.

This isn’t new, and if I recall correctly was ‘collected’ in Rutherglen.

No Knives Pavement Sign

No Knives Pavement Sign

Given the recent cases in the news where blind people have revealed that they are being illegally barred from shops and taxis because of their guide dogs, I think the awareness level and attitude of many staff is questionable nowadays.

Or they are just little people who believe they have power over others, and are only too keen to wield it, and show how ‘BIG’ they are?

09/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Parking? Legislation? Enforcement?

I must clear some old stuff I have cluttering my desktop, which has been trapped there by lack of time, or other developments not in my control. Just saying this in case some stuff seems really odd – compared to usual oddness.

I keep looking at this damned image I created almost exactly a year ago to the day, which was inspired by spotting the scene in a local street, and being very irritated by some people who want to waste everybody’s time by creating MORE parking laws.

As usual, I expect to be misrepresented, since I am (apparently) actively failing to support people who (claim to) want to ensure free passage for pedestrian, pram-pushers, and wheelchair users (it’s great to be able to claim to be standing up for those groups, isn’t it).

But the sad reality is that we ALREADY have an assortment of laws governing parking, and even when vehicles may or may not be on the footpath.

The problem is not a LACK of legislation, but a failure to enforce what we already have.

Having more/new laws introduced may allow some smug activist to stand up and say “LOOK WHAT I DID!”.

But it will NOT improve anything as they will not have improved enforcement, or advice.

Like 90 out of 100 people driving with a mobile phone in their hand while driving, only the 10 who are caught are affected by the law, and things carry on just as before, no matter how the law is toughened.

In this case, we have very narrow streets in this community, even though it was designed in the 1960s and built in the 1970s.

Despite this, most folk manage to get on and make it work.

Normally, as per the car on the left and bus on the right, residents use the pavement(usually after their drives are filled), which still only leaves enough space for traffic on the road to move in single file.

Imagine if tough new legislation confiscated vehicles or imprisoned drivers unless they parked with all four wheels on the road.

Thanks to the road planners and designers, there would be no space, unless more legislation was brought in to enforce parking on one side of the road only.

The only time we tend to see any real difficulties here are not from selfish residents (and there are sadly some), but when traders, delivery drivers, and visitors arrive, as per the white van on the left (a stranger who I would happily see being issued with a fine for blocking almost the whole width of the footpath – driver has parked facing oncoming traffic, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, and has not even been considerate enough to fold in his mirror, thereby effectively blocking the WHOLE footpath for some) and the lorry at centre rear, but I wouldn’t want to see him fined for just doing his job in difficult circumstances – he will be gone after a short delay.

I guess I’m just saying ‘Knee Jerk Legislation’ is not a solution. Ever. (Then again, ever seen a politician think?)

In fact, as a solution, it’s about as useful as our local MP making an appearance and knocking on doors at election time, then vanishing again. (I’m not kicking our local MP, who is accessible, I just find the ‘meet and greet’ aspect during elections to be a laughable and pointless custom).

Parking

Parking

05/01/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Drone rules and regs set to be ramped up with apparently more police powers

There’s a sad irony (for me at least) as I watch the development of drones (and arguing about the meaning of that word makes no difference, language changes to meet the needs of the day, get over it), having been a radio-control modeller in the past.

For pure fun, I jumped in with both feet almost the first day serious electric buggies arrived, starting with completely sealed waterproof ‘go anywhere’ chassis (which was soon stripped down to almost nothing as I didn’t go anywhere wet), that I probably doubled the intended speed of, and advanced to a 4-wheel drive beast with differentials, and souped-up with high power motor, extra cells to increase the drive voltage, and electronic speed control to dump the mechanical thing that came in the box. Sadly for the maker’s good efforts, I made it 2-wheel drive, as drifting it was a LOT more fun.

Then I got hooked on the start of decent radio-control helicopters, but that never went really well, as I was forever suffering technical issues that meant more time on the ground than in the air, but I did learn the basics, and never crashed.

The irony is that in those days, RC helis cost way more than drones, and did not fly themselves in any way. We were lucky to have one gyro, compared to the multiples fitted to drones.

Cost and ability kept the sky clear in those days.

Today, drones are relatively cheap (a fraction of the original RC helis) and need no skill to fly.

But they do need common-sense – and sadly, that’s a rare commodity.

Look no further than the issues around increasingly powerful laser pointers.

Is the instance of morons who think it is a ‘Good idea’ to park themselves near an airport rare to nil?

Sadly, looking at the news and incident reports, anything but!

The same people can go out and buy any drone they like, and fly it where they like.

I could waffle on about ‘Why we can’t have nice things”.

I could list many items I am not allowed to buy, or even OWN for that matter, having been restricted by legislation in recent years.

I could probably even point out that relatively responsible (such as me) are restricted by the law, while criminals care not one jot about the law, and carry on unaffected, fairly safe in the knowledge that they will not be caught.

That’s not my imagination or an unjustified claim. Look at gun crime for example, or even vehicle excise duty evasion, now growing even though it should be easier to catch offenders by number plate recognition, as opposed to eyeballing ‘tax discs’.

I can’t afford a decent drone, so this has no impact on me now.

But it’s just such a shame that what should be both a fun recreational item AND a superb tool for serious users, has become demonised and targeted by legislation that is really more ‘knee-jerk’ (to keep uneducated members of the public appeased) than effective regulation.

See details here: Police to be given powers to ground drones in UK crackdown

There’s also a clear media trend – maybe intentional, maybe not – to ‘talk up’ stories about civil incidents involving passenger aircraft.

This usually comprises a story about a ‘ near miss’ involving a drone a few feet from the aircraft, and reports of drones being spotted by aircrew, often at extreme distance, and so far (despite the number of claims/reports) no actual collisions, or even video to support the stories.

There’s been more evidence of UFOs near aircraft than drones.

That’s not to be misrepresented as my wanting to see such an event, but evidence and fact would be better.

As it is, these sighting have about as much credibility as UFO sightings, which aircrew generally stopped reporting once their bosses began to drop their names off the promotion ladder.

Reading the media, one could be forgiven for thinking that a drone sighting involved something more like…

Predator And Hellfire

Predator And Hellfire

Than this…

Drone

Drone

I’m just having a bit of a waffle, since I’ve largely avoided throwing anything into this particular pie.

But most of the so-called ‘power’ are largely contained in existing CAA rules, and sadly, from comments that can be found in other forums, those currently ignoring those are unlikely to change their habits, especially as they can disappear long before any police with ‘powers’ can arrive.

Fly safe if you’re lucky enough to get a serious drone for Christmas.

28/11/2017 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Who gets fined for this blocked pavement?

Tottering along the street on my way to the shops, I came across the scene below, and having just read about proposed new laws aimed at ending irresponsible parking, pondered on how they would be applied in such a case:

Pavement Parking

Pavement parking but NOT obstructing

Before considering this, I have to say that the current Government’s track record on legislation is poor. For some reason, rather than using perfectly good existing legislation to deal with many offences, it enacts ‘new’ legislation, aimed at specific offences. I can only assume the reason is to “be seen to be doing something”. There’s little or no media coverage for simply telling authorities to do their jobs and apply existing laws. But, if a new laws can be created, and headlines grabbed by saying they will deal with something, then points can be scored and claims that “We did something!” can be made.

These new laws, if passed, could lead to the end of ‘Common Sense’ policing.

For example, there’s a massively wide pavement across from houses in the area of Battery Place in Rothesay, but the road is narrow and vehicles can only park on one side. For as long as I can remember, cars (belonging to residents and guests staying at hotels) have parked on the pavement, with all four wheels on it, not just two. But the pavement is so wide, people, wheelchairs, and prams can still pass without difficulty. A few weeks ago, police on Bute announced a clampdown on bad parking (using existing laws – no new ones needed!), but said they would not be ticketing cars on the pavement in the area of Battery Place, unless they were actually causing an obstruction. See ‘Common sense’ say police over Rothesay pavement parking – Community News – The Buteman

So, according to the police on Bute it’s already an offence to park on the pavement, let alone cause an obstruction. Why do we need more laws?

The case pictured above is intriguing…

I walk this road almost daily and the scenario is an exception. It’s unusual for cars to be on the pavement (see the van and car in the background, they’re always there), and although it is 50% on, there is still space to pass. What confuses this situation is the wheelie bin, placed so as to block the pavement, even to a slim walker. A wheelchair user or pram would be forced on to the road. It may be a quiet road with few cars, but that’s not the issue. The car is not causing an obstruction, despite being parked well onto the pavement. There’s sufficient space to pass between it and the wall, and it is only the introduction of the wheelie bin into that space that causes the obstruction.

It’s kind of hard to see why a driver would park like that if the wheelie bin was there on arrival. Even if it was, they’d probably shove it to the side, as it is blocking their way into the house.

But it’s hard to see why the home-owner would place the bin there instead of at the kerb, if the car was there when they put it out.

It could have been kids, just wanting to make a nuisance.

However, I’d like to see how the ‘New’ legislation would deal with this.

Just ticket the driver, since the motorist is now always seen as guilty and a soft-target, and a handy source of a few quid?

How about the home-owner? With no video record, who’s to say they did just shove the bin in the street without taking care, and were the ones that blocked the space after the car was parked?

And of course, if it was just kids up to no good, then the law would take no account of that, and the soft target motorist would be ticket just for being there.

Responsible Parking (Scotland) Bill

You can read the proposal for the new bill here:

Proposed Responsible Parking (Scotland) Bill – 20120328_Responsible_Parking.pdf

I’m afraid I find it rather poorly drafted and even confusing in places, as it seem to be determined to show the existing legislation is inadequate.

For example, it states:

At present, any pedestrian whose path is blocked by a parked vehicle must telephone the police, show to a police officer that their path is obstructed and wait for the individual police officer to decide that action should be taken. The official police view has been characterised thus: while it is an offence for any person to drive on or to obstruct the pavement, to take enforcement action, the police require evidence of the vehicle being driven. This lack of clarity is unhelpful to police, drivers and affected pedestrians.
That seems inconsistent to my simple mind.
On the one hand it clearly states that “it is an offence for any person to drive on or to obstruct the pavement.”
The it states: “to take enforcement action, the police require evidence of the vehicle being driven.”
Why?
It clearly states “or to obstruct the pavement.”
Not “and to obstruct the pavement.”
So, why do they state the officer requires evidence of the vehicle being driven? If it’s on the pavement and an obstruction, by their own definition, the officer can issue a ticket. No need for evidence of it being driven. Not unless they have reason to believe it was deposited there by a passing flying saucer!
And, referring to my earlier observation above, police on Bute do not seem to need any evidence of the vehicle being driven, so even the official line is ambiguous and inconsistent.
I’m afraid the rest of the proposal is similarly ambiguous, and should probably be revised to be consistent and accurate,

20/07/2013 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Scotland gains seal killing legislation

Seal faceWhile the mainstream media concentrates on handing out beatings to our various Governments over headline articles (stuff like recession and inflation), it’s nice to get a reminder that some departments are still ‘getting on with the knitting’, and raising legislation on matters that still… er… matter.

While I am not a ‘seal campaigner’ or suchlike, and wonder if there would be so many people up in arms about the seal killings if they look more like man-eating alien spiders, I still take on board the apparent cruelty and barbarism that seems to abound in those that have previously believed they has some sort of right to go around killing seals for a variety of reason.

Scotland now has legislation in place as part of the Marine (Scotland) Act, which will issue licences which specify the maximum numbers of grey or common seal which each licensee may shoot. Offender face a penalty of up to six months in jail or a heavy fine. 66 licence applications are reported to be under consideration.

Conservation areas in Moray Firth, Shetland, Orkney, Firth of Tay and the Western Isles are designed to protect local populations of common seals.

Previously, cases could be brought to court and offenders charged with cruelty to animals, as in the case of a fisherman who clubbed 21 grey seal pups to death on the remote Shetland island of East Linga, and was jailed for 80 days for ‘mutilating, beating and crushing’ the animals.

31/01/2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | 1 Comment

Rothesay pier fence farce trundles on

The farcical story of the fence on Rothesay’s pier has now swung all the way from legal necessity demanded by current legislation relating to shipping and anti-terrorism measures, all the way to being completely unnecessary – other than as a temporary erection when the occasional cruise ship visits the Isle of Bute.

In between it has involved definite statements from councillors claiming the fence is a requirement, is not a requirements, is never going to happen, and was always going to happen.

Whatever else, they’re going to be able to claim they made the correct statement – even if it was just the luck of the draw as a result of multiple choice.

Reading back issues of The Buteman will even show that while it may not have descended to the level of name-calling, it may as well have given the acrimonious exchanges and back-pedalling that have arisen latterly.

This week has seen Alan Reid, Westminster MP for Argyle and Bute visit the offices of the local newspaper.

Last week, Councillor Robert Macintyre had harsh words for the island’s MP, who, he said, was guilty of making “ill-founded” and “unhelpful” comments on the subject of the fence.

Mr Reid provided the newspaper with a reply he had received from Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, which stated that the only fencing that the Department for Transport requires at Rothesay Pier is temporary fencing during the occasional visit from a cruise ship. He went on to say, “Jim Fitzpatrick’s letter shows that all the talk from the council about the Westminster Government requiring a two or three metre high permanent fences at Rothesay Pier was complete nonsense. A three foot fence to stop people falling into the water makes sense, but higher permanent fencing is not a Department of Transport requirement. The council were aware of this in July and said then that no permanent fencing would be put up, so I don’t understand why they’ve done a U-turn since then and now want to build a two metre high fence on part of the pier.”

I’m tempted to add a comment, but I’d better not, and will just sit quietly and await the next act.

No, on second thought I will add a short comment -this is really sad.

31/10/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rothesay pier fence farce

In what seems to have become an almost classic example of why you should never listen to or believe anything that anyone involved in any sort of politics tells you, the story of the fence for Rothesay’s pier looks set to become a benchmark.

We first noticed this beginning of this epic fantasy tale towards the end of June, when See Rothesay, See Alcatraz was noted. At this stage we noted:

Now, it seems that Rothesay pier is to be permanently closed to the public by an eight foot high security fence topped with barbed wire, and it’s due to be installed mid-August, the busiest time of the year as the Bute Highland Games take place then. The fence will stretch from the Albert Pier to the moorings, with gaps for passengers and vehicles.

The fence will be supported by 3-metre tall steel posts, spaced at 3 metre intervals, carrying welded mesh steel sheets 2.5 metres high, and topped of by three strands of barbed wire.

The fence is said to be needed to comply with the Department of Transport’s ‘Transec’ policy on the protection of passengers, ports and shipping.

The question of Planning Permission for the installation was raised, but brought the response that it would probably be classified as “permitted development”.

Councillor Isobel Strong added: “I think this is security gone mad. Do the powers that be think that Rothesay is in the forefront of international terrorism, and that a high fence with barbed wire is necessary?”

A few day later, at the start of July, we followed up with Rothesay pier security fence on temporary hold, when a delay was announced in order for further consideration of the design and necessity for the fence to be given by those responsible.

A few days later it seemed that Alcatraz on the Clyde may be curtailed, when we observed:

Bute councillor Robert Macintyre perhaps summed things up more tactfully, “I think the regulations have been somewhat misinterpreted by our officials”, when quote in this week’s Buteman. Councillor Macintyre was further quoted as saying, “At this stage I would say there is some dubiety about the height of, and maybe even the need for, a fence”.

After the passage of another few days, we had made it past the middle of July when we announced Escape from Alcatraz, and the following quotation:

“I confirm that there is now no question of our erecting a permanent structure – it simply is not going to happen.”

So said councillor Duncan MacIntyre, Argyll & Bute Council transport spokesperson, as quoted in this week’s Buteman article on the subject of the proposed 3 metre steel security fence and its topping of three strands of barbed wire.

The fence was initially claimed to be needed to comply with the Department of Transport’s ‘Transec’ policy on the protection of passengers, ports and shipping. Then, in the face of the resultant outcry, it transpired that things might not be quite right and that this insanity had been dreamed up by someone who had been reading the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, which applies to ships larger than five hundred gross tonnes in weight, and making voyages in international waters. Quite which of their brain cells was responsible for equating this code to the likes of Bute ferries will probably never be known, but it should be pensioned off sharpish if it is ever found.

While the news is welcome, after reading the carefully chosen words of the authority, I find myself remaining concerned about the future for free access to the area of Rothesay pier by members of the public – that’s you and me.

I dislike articles dependent on carefully selected short quotes, generally taken out of context to change their meaning, and commend you to read the full article to confirm that while I am indeed making a few carefully selected quotes, these are only for the purpose of review.

From the first quote given above, we have a specific reference to “no question of our erecting a permanent structure”, which leaves the door open for temporary structures.

That looked like the end of the matter (if the statements were to believed) but I wasn’t holding my breath in anticipation, and sure enough, at the beginning of October we were able to roll on the fence story again with It’s Health & Safety madness time again, and this pulled the famous H&S card out of the pack as we observed:

After reporting that some sort of Common Sense had miraculously taken over from the insanity, it seems that those in power have taken umbrage, and are determined to see a fence installed on Rothesay’s pier “By any means necessary”.

Having failed to achieve their initial aim of a three metre steel fence topped with barbed wire, necessary to meet the increased threat of terrorism, the new plan is to install a mere two metre fence, and forget the barbed wire – and it seems it will be a nice, calming blue.

This seems to contradict the last report from a few weeks ago, where we were quoted:

“I confirm that there is now no question of our erecting a permanent structure – it simply is not going to happen.”

So said councillor Duncan MacIntyre, Argyll & Bute Council transport spokesperson, as quoted in this week’s Buteman article on the subject of the proposed 3 metre steel security fence and its topping of three strands of barbed wire.

Councillors defend fence

After all the above, all three councillor have now joined to defend the installation of the two metre fence on Rothesay pier, as reported in this week’s Buteman article.

Reporting on last week’s community council meeting, we are told community councillor Peter Lingard said it was his clear impression that the fence was "not going to take place".

But Councillor Len Scoullar replied: "I always knew there was going to be a fence. You couldn’t have youngsters playing about in there while the boat is docking – it’s dangerous. Look at Wemyss Bay. All the working area there is restricted too."

Cllr Isobel Strong added "whatever regulations there have been in place before have now been superseded", while Cllr Macintyre added: "I can’t imagine the pier not having any means of regulating where cars can go and where people can go.  I just don’t understand all the hullabaloo about a fence of a similar height to the one that has always kept folk walking in the right place. I can’t understand why certain people seem to think that it’s absolutely abhorrent to have any type of fencing down at the pier. Remember that it is the year 2008."

Comment

I could go on endlessly about this now, but think it may be more pertinent to observe that the issue now is probably less about the fence, and more about the credibility of those who are supposed to represent the wishes of the people they are supposed to represent.

Having gone first from a fence proposal, to a proposal consideration and withdrawal, we are now in a position where we have a no proposal, a fence under construction, and an appeal from Councillor Macintyre:

“I would ask people to give it a chance. See what it looks like and make your views known then – don’t add to the storm in a teacup some people are making at the moment.”

So we have to go to the expense of building the fence, then deciding whether ot not we like it, and if not, having it removed – who’ll pay for that then? The councillors? The taxpayers?

Time to get get used to the new fence I think, like it or not.

Maybe someone will come up with the bright idea of extending it and adding barbed wire in a few years “For security purposes”.

26/10/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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