Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Wait for the cycling activists and naysayers to ignore Glasgow’s Transport Strategy

This will be interesting to watch in the coming days and weeks (and probably even longer).

I’ve recently become completely unimpressed by cycling activists in Glasgow, whose one job in life seems to be to ignore any positive developments, claim nothing is being done, and whine loudly while demanding that…. something be done to improve their lot.

This development clearly reaches a wider community than cyclists, but I really have been irritated recently, as I’ve read some of the utter nonsense those who fall under the umbrella of ‘activists’ spout about how nothing is ever done to improve their lot.

I suspect the only day they will say something that suggests they are even remotely pleased will be the say a wall is built around the city with gaps only about 1 metre wide, so bikes can pass through, but not cars.

They’ll still be unhappy though, as nasty pedestrians will still be able to walk through those gaps, and get in their way!

I wonder what their response will be to…

GLASGOW City Council has secured £3million to develop strategies for better connectivity, city centre transformation and improving the attractiveness and accessibility of neighbourhoods.

The council say the three inter-related projects will significantly shape the transport network, active travel choices, the liveability of neighbourhoods, and the cultural vibrancy, sustainability and inclusive economic growth of the city centre.

Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction said; “The Connectivity Commission has set out clear recommendations to improve transport in our city, and we agree that we must be bold in our ambitions.

“Without strategic thinking in our city centre we will not unlock the potential for inclusive economic growth and increased city centre living that Glasgow needs.

“We also acknowledge that we must look even further than the recommendations of the Commission, to tackle the transport needs of all our communities, and improve connectivity across every neighbourhood in Glasgow.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce that with an investment of £3 million of Scottish Government funding in partnership with Sustrans, we’ll be able to start work on these three significant projects.

£3MILLION Towards Setting Out 10-Year Transport Strategy For Glasgow

It’s becoming apparent, to me at least, that there are some people you just cannot satisfy, no matter what you do, and others who are simply selectively blind to anything that does not precisely match their own narrow definitions. They just seem to completely ignore or dismiss anything that doesn’t measure up to their demands.

The council statement added…

“We’ll develop an overarching transport strategy for Glasgow with sustainability at its heart, as well as setting out how we’ll transform movement around the city centre and address many of the challenges we’ve been set by the Connectivity Commission.

“We’ll also produce a Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan, a blueprint for improving every neighbourhood in the city through a range of interventions to make them more pleasant places for people to live, work and play.

“Over the next 18 months, through these projects, we’ll set out our 10-year vision for a transport system that will address inequality, connectivity and climate change. The development of these three plans will ensure a more sustainable, healthy, liveable, connected and inclusive thriving Glasgow for all.”

I wonder if ‘activists’ even know they could pick Falkirk or Loch Lomond for a wee Sunday run, on cycle paths/routes, if they were in Glasgow?

Or just like to moan about having nowhere to go without some evil driver mowing them down?

Forth And Clyde Canal Signs

Forth And Clyde Canal Signs

12/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Honour for veterans of Arctic convoys

Cargo shipThe opportunity to mention those who took place in the Russian Arctic convoys has arisen more than once, the last time being to note that their last gathering at their Scottish departure point may be their last occasion to do so, Arctic veterans may be making last march.

This time, it’s to note the presentation of a medal marking the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. Thirty convey veterans will receive the honour, described by Consul General of the Russian Federation, Sergey Krutokov, as a “sign of appreciation for their heroic deeds during the tough years of the war”, at a ceremony in Edinburgh. The Consul General said that the Russians had the same warm feeling for the veterans as the British.

Jock Dempster, chairman of the Russian Arctic Convoy Club, said, “This event marks a very special day for us. The long-standing bond of friendship which existed between the Russian people and the veterans during the war has become even stronger since. The medal is much appreciated for adding formal recognition of the critical role we played in shipping vital supplies to Murmansk and Archangel. The Russians have never forgotten the ultimate sacrifice made by the 2,800 seamen who never returned to our shores”. Between 1941 and 1945, the convoys transported some four million tons of essential supplies and munitions to Russia.

With Norway occupied, the ships had to travel the treacherous northern route to the Russian ports, enduring the freezing conditions and Arctic ice floes. Churchill described the convoys as ‘suicide missions’, and in the years they sailed, they lost a to of 104 Merchant ships, 20 Royal Navy ships, one submarine, and two armed whalers, while Germany lost 31 submarines.

24/04/2010 Posted by | World War II | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arctic veterans may be making last march

Sea Hurricanes

Sea Hurricanes

We mentioned the forthcoming tribute to be hosted at the Pool House Hotel in Poolewe, scheduled to take place on October 9, 2008, a few days ago, and this has been followed up by another story relating to the veterans.

This relates to the Armistice, and the day when those involved parade together at London’s Cenotaph. Jock Dempster, one of the Scottish veterans, has suggested that this could be the last year they march together, as old age and ill health catches up with the those who took part in the Arctic convoys. Mr Dempster is the youngest of those, at 80, while the average age 86. The number attending has fallen from almost 70 six years ago, and only 13 were in attendance last year.

He remembered the bravery of the Hurricane pilots who accompanied the convoys to provide air defence. The aircraft were launched by catapult, and there was no way for them to return to the ship once they had left on their mission. They had to ditch into the freezing sea and hope that they survived not only the ditching, but the intense cold, long enough to be found and picked up. At those temperatures, and without modern survival gear, they could lose their lives in the water in only a few minutes.

An estimated 3,000 men lost their lives on the Russian runs, which involved Britain, the United States, and Canada in shipping supplies to Russia, with destinations in ports such as Murmansk and Archangel.

02/10/2008 Posted by | World War II | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remote and out of touch politicians

bute ferryWhen running a business, one of the things that I find extremely irritating is the board of directors that sits in a room remote from the sharp end where the work is done, and issues decrees and opinions which the staff are to follow. While this may be acceptable at the level of setting the strategic aims of the business, it means that the lofty few are not in touch with the detail of the day-to-day operations, or what the little people are doing. This means that most tactical directives they issue sound good, but lack any practical understanding of their implications or feasibility. They do, however, provide ample opportunity for criticism of their minions, and shifting of blame for any failure from the board room to the shop floor.

I was reminded of this when I read a BBC Scotland news item regarding a call by MSPs for “‘urgent’ action to improve ferry services to deliver a modern, efficient network”. That introduction corresponded with the board of directors issuing their “wisdom from on high”, and was expanded with:

Holyrood’s Transport Committee said government-owned operator Caledonian MacBrayne should extend the sailing day to help commuters.

Its report also called for improved co-ordination between ferry arrivals and rail and bus services.

The Scottish Government said the findings were a welcome contribution to its forthcoming review.

The Ferry Services in Scotland report said a long-term strategy was needed.

The report said: “The committee believes that a situation where a train departs as ferry passengers walk down a station platform to get onboard is completely unacceptable.”

It carries on with more of the same, which is detailed in the original item.

I don’t want to quote or analyse the rest, since analysing the detail isn’t really the aim of this post.

What is relevant is the observation that anyone who does not live on one of Scotland’s islands, and is not dependent on the lifeline ferry services connection them to the mainland, will think that that this report is full of wise words and sagacious advice for the ferry operators, passengers, and associated transport providers – and in many ways they would be right.

What they will not realise however, and only those of us that depend on the ferries and follow the endless to-ing and fro-ing of claim and counter-claim by operator and passenger, and the (currently) practical impracticality of integrating the ferry, train, and bus timetables in the real world, is that all the fine proposals made in the report have been bouncing back and forth between the various interested parties for years, and are currently being revived in various forms at the moment. Although it has to be said that the result is little different from past confrontations, and those on each side of the table seem to be doomed to remain hostile to any proposals made by the other, and have already seen one recent meeting end with one of the parties walking out of the meeting.

Unless the Scottish Governement does something more useful to change the operating environment and rules, then this report is little more than a paper exercise, and nothing will change.

I’m not knocking the report, it’s probably full of good ideas. The problem is that anyone who’s watched the ferries for the past few decades will have seen it all before, and nothing’s really changed – same complaints, same solutions, same endless debate.

28/06/2008 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK union to decide on Scottish spending?

steam trainThe UK’s largest union has called on the Scottish Government not to award a multimillion-pound train carriage contract to a foreign manufacturer.

Unite said the Nationalist administration was “intent” on handing the £150-million deal for 120 carriages to German engineering giant Siemens. The company builds trains in the Czech Republic and fits them out in Germany, the union said.

Instead, the contract should be awarded to rival company Bombardier to safeguard jobs in England and Scotland, the union argued.

If Siemens were to win, it would be “a travesty for UK manufacturing” and lead to job losses in Britain, a spokesman said.

A Scottish government spokesman said it would be “premature” to say who might be awarded the contract while the tendering process was under way.

If the contract was to be awarded to a non-foreign manufacturer, will Unite cough up any premium to Scotland, from its reserves of members’ dues, so that the Scots are not out of pocket for taking the union’s advice?

Maybe Unite will call the rest of the UK out on strike if the Scottish Government doesn’t comply with its directive, and the contract goes to Siemens.

26/04/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment


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