FERRY INTERESTING!

The Pentalina ferry that serves Orkney.

A week or so ago I reported on this site that Jim Sillars had written to Scottish Police requesting they carry out an investigation into the “missing” documentation into the Ferry Fiasco.

No sooner had my feet touched earth back home in Scotland and miracle of miracles “some” of the documentation was found in the form of emails. My first point is that contracts worth way over £150 million do not rely on emails to register the decision. They are formally recorded and proper contracts are drawn up. There are, as Jim Sillars pointed out to Police Scotland well established legal requirements to do so. When potentially hundreds of millions of taxpayers money are involved, the Scottish Government must follow those procedures.

I quote from Jim’s statement “There are three Acts of the Scottish Parliament which place a solemn duty on accountable officials and ministers to minute key decisions, and to safely store the documents recording who was there, the subject matter, and the decisions taken.  It is inconceivable that was not done by a professional civil service and ministers with long service in government. Indeed the First Minister confirms that there was a written record taken. 

Jim went on “Where are the documents?  Who was responsible for placing them in the records?  Who failed to do so? Did they fail to do so? Were they destroyed?  Why, among all the documents relevant to this fiasco are these ones, the key ones about who made the contract decision, not to be found?

So a partial discovery is not good enough, not nearly good enough. This has giant cover up written all over it.

I don’t have a lot of time for Douglas Ross but even he scored points at FMQ’s even though he missed the best opportunity to really take a bite out the First Minister. The email that was “discovered” and handily put all the blame on Derek Mackay was heavily redacted to disguise the clear involvement of John SWINNEY in the decision. Now you would think that a Government that had huge experience of redaction would be quite proficient at it. They had loads of practice as they worked overtime during the Salmond Enquiry to disguise and hide enormous amounts of dubious practice but now even Douglas Ross using simple cut and paste techniques was able to uncover the redacted sections. Like the entire ferry debacle even the cover up is littered with amateur failure.

There are still documents missing, we have a partial picture, nothing like the full story. The Sturgeon Cover Up Government continues to hide and conceal. Websites like this will continue to pursue and uncover on behalf of the hard pressed taxpayer.

Now in contrast to the sorry tale of the CMAL and Scottish Government failure I had the pleasure to attend an excellent presentation at the Innovation Centre of Strathclyde University of the comparisons between modern Catamaran designs for Ferries that offer much superior service performance at much lower capital and operating costs that the Ferries that the SG have ordered.

The presentations came from Dr Stuart Ballantyne, a Scot based in Australia who is internationally recognised as a world leading ship designer of ferries, Professor Alf Baird who until retirement a few years ago was the Professor for Maritime Studies at Napier University, and Professor Dracoss from Strathclyde University who has been involved in developing Stuart’s most recent development, an ingenious unsinkable ferry. Professor Dracoss is a internationally recognised safety expert.

Interest in this presentation was substantial, the room was filled with people and companies with interests in ferries either as providers or consumers of the final product. Nor was interest limited to Scotland, zoom links allowed another forty people, in countries all round the World, to view these latest developments.

Stuart has offered his designs free to the Scottish Government if they are interested in trying to rebuild a competitive shipbuilding industry in Scotland. His designs are used extensively all over the World and have a track record of excellent delivery. Because of the lower cost, greater speed of these ferries his designs could provide a much superior service to the Scottish Islands. He argues they could provide a much improved, more frequent ferry service rather than the one or two sailings a day currently on offer. This would have a dramatic impact for the better especially for island tourism and business.

It is tragic his designs were not considered properly by the committee due to a blunder by who? Another mystery as yet unsolved ,when Stuart’s proposal was being considered an “error” in supplying the correct information to the committee in providing a comparison with CMAL’s monohull design allowed his designs to be discounted. While the SG and CMAL accept the error was made nobody has taken responsibility or explained how it could possibly have happened.

This is not going to go away, instead of supplying our island communities with a much improved service, at much lower cost to the taxpayer, operating costs would also be a fraction of CMAL’s outdated designs we have also, so far, lost the opportunity to regenerate a shipbuilding industry, building very competitive ferries that are in demand not only in Scotland but all over the World. 

Instead we have opted to build outdated, inefficient ferries in Turkey that even if they arrive on the planned timescale will arrive years late and at more than double the capital cost, near enough double the operating cost of a catamaran design, and that also require tens of millions of improvement works at ports to allow these outdated ships to dock.

It is a very sad story that still has the potential to get worse. A huge missed opportunity which even now could be rescued if only those responsible for these mistakes would accept that they are mistakes and change course before they lumber our islands and taxpayers for the next twenty five years with the wrong ferries.

That is the best way forward. The alternative is to spend money on training staff on redaction and concealment and hope that works better next time. Without big changes there will certainly be a next time, perhaps lots of them.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland

BEAT THE CENSORS

Sadly some sites had given up on being pro Indy sites and have decided to become merely pro SNP sites where any criticism of the Party Leader or opposition to the latest policy extremes, results in censorship being applied. This, in the rather over optimistic belief that this will suppress public discussion on such topics. My regular readers have expertly worked out that by regularly sharing articles on this site defeats that censorship and makes it all rather pointless. I really do appreciate such support and free speech in Scotland is remaining unaffected by their juvenile censorship. Indeed it is has become a symptom of weakness and guilt. Quite encouraging really.

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36 thoughts on “FERRY INTERESTING!

  1. Jim Sillars complaint to Police about missing records has certainly yielded some movement in the miraculous finding of an email that appears to finger the discredited departed Derek MacKay, or is it the hapless John Swinney.

    His complaint to police must have yielded panic in Queen Nicola House. The complaints of bad governance and criminality just keep coming, and make no mistake, despite having dodgy police and an even dodgier COPFS on her side, our Queen Nikola cannot and will not avoid all of the criminal charges that are building up. And this is why this particular email was miraculously found. But is it enough to halt the complaint. One suspects very very much not and the call for a criminal investigation has not gone away.

    And it’s all part of a picture. The Alex Salmond attempted stitch up, the other malicious court cases, the missing £600k, lying to parliament, leaking to the press and the latest no records for the Ferry Fiasco, they’re all piling up.

    Well done Jim Sillars. They still haven’t found or provided the required records but Sturgeon nows know through your complaint what’s at stake.

    Funny that, it was a complaint of malpractice that ended her career as a lawyer.

    Liked by 12 people

  2. Got to wonder if those dodgy redactions wrre by design. Make Swinney the sacrificial lamb, he steps down and Daddy Bears new hubby stands in his seat. Further securing the lineage to the throne and GRA control of SNP.
    Swinneys been front & centre of too many redactions of late. His time may have come.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. When two parties negotiate and sign a contract, both parties are given a copy of the signed contract and terms and conditions. Emails and letters would have been sent between both parties, so both parties would have copies. All those present at the meetings would have received a copy of the minutes of the meetings.

    UK civil servants working in the Scottish government and Scottish government officials may be incompetent and have lost ALL this documentation. But what about the copies of the documents that should be held by the other party in the negotiations? What about the copy of the minutes of the meetings handed over to all the attendees to the meetings? Where are those?

    I mean, the ferries have not been delivered yet, so where is the contract signed by the party producing the ferries and terms and conditions? Surely the company that was handed the contract to build the ferries will know who was the person who agreed to those ferries being built, who agreed to the deadline of delivery and who agreed to the costs. They must have that in writing to protect themselves. Imagine that in 2021 another party had won the election and turns round and say, as we don’t have any documents to prove that there ever was an agreement by a government official or a signed contract for that project to commence or for that amount to be paid, we are not paying. Surely it stands to the obvious that the company will have records of everything and proof that this and that government official on this and that date agreed in writing to their construction of the ferries on this and that condition and under this or that price. This is basic administration.

    On the other hand, drafting and agreeing a contract takes far more than simply writing one version of the document. . For instance, how many “drafts” of the unlawful complaints procedure were generated by the UK civil servants working for the SGov before the final copy was signed? And that complaints procedure did not involve a expenditure of hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ funds like this situation does.

    The ridiculousness of all this is that both press and Sturgeon’s handlers are expecting the public in Scotland to believe that it is not only Nicola Sturgeon’s government and the UK civil service working in it who are complete overpaid and overpromoted incompetents who have no clue as to how to file and preserve confidential documents and who have a tendency to press the on button on the shredders more often than they should. We are expected to believe that this rogue government only establishes deals with equally corrupt and incompetent companies who can also be trusted to lose on demand all legally binding documentation and will not have the basic judgement of protecting themselves by filing a copy and keeping it at least until the ferries are delivered and the payment has been made.

    What will be expected from us next? to remove our brains so we cannot think when Sturgeon’s government tell us again that something “cannot be found”?

    After the catalogue of blunders, and frankly, what looks like active suppression of information from the public, why is this woman still in power? What is the SNP playing at by keeping this superlative “incompetent” in control of government, its shredders and the party?

    I think there is a serious ground for disabling all the shredders and the “delete” key from all IT devices in Sturgeon’s government and the SNP. It is becoming increasingly obvious they cannot be trusted with them.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. The process on the award of the contract would not have been shared with any of the bidders, other than at a high level so they understood the process. What would have happened in this instance is that a procurement project was set up. That project board would then make a recommendation based on a robust evaluation of the bids. The evaluation of all the bids can take months and is an art in itself. There should be a mountain of project documents that show how this procurement was carried out and evaluated and the decision to make a recommendation for contract award will have been discussed at a project board meeting. A paper with that recommendation then goes to a minister for approval. There are many many documents that can shed light on the contract award decision, the SG cannot say they have lost them all. Internally the SG use an electronic records and document management system. Minutes of meetings internally should no longer be copied to everyone, rather they are shared via a link to where the documents sit securely and safely, protected by access rights, in the eRDM. Decisions like this are not made in emails.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. On a project of this scale it is possible of course that there were several projects managing different areas of the procurement…but in the end it all comes down to a recommendation being made after due process has been followed. They cannot have lost it all, it’s just impossible and the overarching project sponsor will know who he/she/they/it/whatever, discussed the recommendation with. Its actually laughable that the SG does not know who agreed to spend all this money…of course they do and I am afraid that the answer is probably John Swinney.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Lulu – Audit Scotland are not accepting the risible explanations given by the SG. Auditable financial records are required of government and finally someone will be held accountable. There is a precedent in history – Capone was brought down by tax evasion. COPFS would be biting off more than they can chew if they attempt to blow hot air up Audit Scotland ass. The unlikely heroes of Scotland in our darkest hour look to be our auditors.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Can this lot do anything right? Hopefully soon, wee non-sticky Nicky will get her just desserts. A clueless charlatan presiding over a shower of glaring incompetents.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. “Can this lot do anything right?”

      Oh they can. They just don’t want to. Because if they did, Scotland would have been independent since 8th May 2015 and brexit would have been just a good script for a decent Hollywood political thriller. Instead, “this lot” have allowed it on their watch to become the biggest assault on Scotland’s interests and democratic rights since 1979.

      Liked by 12 people

  5. Hi Ian, I live on Isle of Arran and the frustration and anger with what is going on is very real in the community.The initial plan put to the residents were that that were going to build two smaller ferries which would take 60 to 70 cars each which would give us double the amount of crossings, simultaneously leaving Brodick and Ardrossan. When that plan was changed in favour of one large ferry,and by whom,nobody seems to know. Every time someone comments they look at it from a business and tourism angle and forget this is a lifeline service.People have hospital appointments etc. Many of which have to be cancelled at short notice due to the very unsatisfactory running of the ferry.School children cannot participate in courses or sporting events run by various organisations.etc. It is all very well pushing the tourism aspect, which I admit many people rely on for their livelihood but there is a limit as to how many tourists you can cope with. It is almost impossible at times to get a car reservation and I am talking months in advance. The whole Cal Mac organization is needing a complete overhaul.Ran t finished

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Campbell as far as I’m concerned it is anything BUT a rant , it is a SERVICE that islanders should have faith in , it is a SERVICE that is an INTEGRAL NECESSITY , it is a SERVICE that can mean life or death , it is another BETRAYAL by sturgeon and her morons to ACCEPT BLAME for their ineptitude and LIES
      As a independence supporter I am incensed at the MONUMENTAL WASTAGE of millions of hard earned tax payers money and the total contempt shown to the fear and frustration of the islanders by not only sturgeon but by the incompetent QUANGO running OUR ferries
      We Scots are outraged at the despicable shower of clowns in WM making the uk a worldwide laughing stock , we have a FM and her cabal of MORONS VYING with tories to see who can make the biggest corrupt lying mess

      Liked by 7 people

  6. I was a very junior civil servant fifty years ago and it was drummed into me that everything I did had to be recorded and kept. It is inconceivable that today’s civil servants can lose so many essential documents. This whole mess is either the result of a catastrophic failure of process perpetrated by several civil servants and some decision-making politicians, or an attempt to cover up malpractice by the politicians.
    Can I ask if an invitation to attend the Presentation was extended to civil servants or politicians from the Scottish Government? If an invitation was sent did any representative of the Scottish Government attend? I am really interested in the answers to these questions.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. . . . . or an attempt to discredit the whole Scottish Government system by persons unknown.

      Like

      1. I am afraid that one way or another, it always goes back to Nicola Sturgeon and her leadership incompetence.

        If I am not mistaken, this project was signed back in 2015. By 2017 they were already delaying the delivery of the vessels. THAT was the point where something had to be done to revisit the project to put it on the right course, revamping the whole thing to make it viable if necessary. Mr Yousaf was the Transport Minister at the time. He wrote a letter in November 2017 and mentioned he had visited the building yard several times and was on top of it. Funnily enough, he was quickly moved to another ministerial position soon after.

        We have had a total of 5 Transport ministers since the time the contract was signed. The white elephant, growing in size with every year that passes by, got passed from minister to minister, yet the saga continues with increasing delays and increasing costs. I totally accept that it might be that the totally wrong specification might have been sought at the beginning, but there has been plenty of time and plenty of ministers’ eyes to look at this, take control of the project, seek the right advice from the right people and correct the problem. This has not happened, and instead, they are creating two new problems: one the costs to taxpayers spiralling out of control and the second, the current ferries in use becoming far too old to be reliable.

        How many multimillion pounds projects like this do Transport Ministers have under their watch? I may be mistaken but surely this has to be one of the biggest ones they have, aka the elephant in the room they cannot escape from.

        As Sturgeon has said in more han one occasion, the bucket stops with her. She is ultimately responsible for what happens under her administration, being that due to the incompetence of the ministers and civil servants, or due to malicious interventions. She is also ultimately responsible for who she appoints to the post of Financial Minister or Transport Minister. She leads a pro independence party, for goodness sake. If there was any hint, any hint whatsoever that the Uk civil servants were trying to jeopardise the project, she would have been given the golden opportunity to kick a massive stink and demand immediate parity with NI and a civil service that is totally devolved to Scotland. Have you ever seen her doing anything like that? Even any attempt to demand a devolved civil service? No. Not once. What I have seen her doing is the precise opposite, extending their contracts, raising their salaries and uniting with them during the Salmond case and the unforgivable wastage of taxpayers’ funds that resulted from it.

        A decent manager and leader would have immediately taken control of this and nipped it on the bud a long time ago before there was any opportunity for bigger damage. Either she is the one that is keen in destroying the reputation of the Scottish government, she is completely out of her depth and has been over promoted beyond her abilities, or she is totally useless as a manager and as a leader. I am sorry but there is no way she will walk out of this with an innocent face and smelling like roses. Not after they have had 7 years to deal with this,

        Liked by 8 people

  7. They have got to be feart of something or hiding something. The decisions made regarding contract award would be made on what information they had at that time. If it was all above board then there will be evidence to support the decisions. It might be obvious it was the wrong decision now, but at the time if they made the best choice possible based on the correct process then they have nothing to fear.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. With Natalie McGarry being found guilty of £25k embezlement of Indy funds she looks set for pokey.

    Wonder if Queen Nikla and her Rasputin might be having thoughts about the £600k of hypothecated Indy funds gone walk about.

    Birds of a feather get shot with the hounds – or is it the sword of damocles glistens – mnnn?

    Pokey for you First Minister? – or have you had your chips.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. STOP wae raisin people’s hopes , and just think about sequestrating all those houses and bank accounts to pay back the public purse for the SQUANDERED MILLIONS these crooks have wasted and misused , then when they come oot the pokey they will be homeless and down tae the bones of their erses , then they might know how much they are DESPISED

      Liked by 3 people

  9. What a story! Channel 4’s man-in-Scotland, Kieron Jenkins. must be covered in deep lesions and welts given the number of big stories he’s tripped over since his appointment up here. Or, is it simply that he’s been captured by the local scribbler establishment and plied with drugs and strong drink? Whatever the problem is, Kieron is pretty damn useless at what, we’re told, he’s supposed to be doing in Scotland, even by London-based media standards.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Channel 4 in the shape of Alex Thomson was nobbled recently at the gates of Holyrood Palace.

      They/he had the temerity to film Gordon ‘Culpability’ Brown’s Range Rover convoy on route to discuss saving the union with temporary resident William Saxe-Coburg Gotha. One of Brown’s minders/handlers emerged from behind the tinted glass to tell him that he couldn’t film there.

      Thomson took the line of least resistance and the footage was pulled. Other footage, shot from afar, of the ‘incident’ was broadcast.

      Several questions arise from the above ‘incident’. I don’t expect a cello-playing aesthete like Jenkins to go anywhere near them.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Nah Willie, PM Sturgeon – wasn’t there; can’t recall, hasn’t any notes of meetings about boats.And moreover isn’t PM Sturgeon off to the USA, and so leaving MSP Swinney in charge of the excrement fan switch

    Liked by 6 people

  11. I don’t understand why the MSM and the Scottish unionist parties have not made a big fuss about this. Could it be they want the SG to appear as incompetent and corrupt as the Westminster Government?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sturgeon is a trans activist. Being FM is only a stepping stone to her job with the UN, promoting trans issues. This job requires the agreement of the UK PM. How anyone in the nuSNP can believe Sturgeon will stand up for Scotland when it puts her coveted global trans activist role at risk is beyond me. Her last act of treachery? Lose a referendum and agree to no more for 50 years.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. This is most interesting, Lulu Bells, thank you for that insight. It is clear there is something big they are trying to hide. Perhaps there might be more than one minister involved in this fiasco.

    In March 2022, Tom Martin, quoted Mr Salmond in The Scottish Daily Express as saying:

    ““I think it’s very convenient to lump everything on Derek Mackay…I know for a fact that when the key contract was signed he was on holiday… It was another minister, his boss who signed it. A contract of that size would require the say so of the finance minister and the First Minister. So I think this shovelling of all the blame on Derek McKay is totally unfair.”

    In that article from Tom Martin mentioned above, also on typical Sturgeon’s style attempting to shift the blame on somebody else, she was quoted as saying that “her Cabinet is one of “collective responsibility” . I guess the generosity of sharing the accountability for your mistakes with the rest of the cabinet is a very convenient way to escape scrutiny and having to resign.

    It was obvious they were trying to ping down the blame on McKay. But Mackay left the post in May 2016. It was not until November 2017, more than a year after Mackay left the post, that it was revealed that the first vessel’s delivery would be delayed from summer to winter 2018. This first delay happened under Mr Yousaf’s watch. In August 2018, it was announced that the first vessel’s delivered would be delayed further to the summer 2019. In April 2019 it was announced a further delay. These later delays happened under the watch of Mr Wheelhouse. FMEL filed for administration in August 2019, also under Wheelhouse watch. On December 2019, a further delay was announced. In March 2022, another delay until 2023 was announced. This time under Gilruth’s watch.

    From 21 November 2014, when Nicola Sturgeon took over the post of FM until today, a total of 5 different people have held the position of Transport Minister: Mackay, Yousaf, Wheelhouse, Day and since January, Gilruth. Surely it is not possible to ping on Mackay all the blame for this fiasco because it is obvious this astonishing failure to manage this beast has spanned several ministers. Mr Day lasted only 8 months in the job. He resigned on health grounds. Maybe the scale of the mess dumped on his hands made him ill. Let’s see how long until Gilruth gives up too.

    Confirming Mr Salmond’s suspicions, Mr Swinney has been quoted on BBC news as acknowledging he approved the budget for the ferry contract (“John Swinney – I only gave budget approval in ferry deal”, article published in BBC News yesterday 12/05/2022).

    The article in the BBC says he “only” approved the budget. But one questions that if Mr Swinney, as the senior minister in control of the budget, had scrutinised the project properly and not granted the budget for it, this would have ever gone ahead. Could a junior minister have ever signed such a huge contract of an almost 100 million pound if the budget for such project had not been first approved by the Finance Cabinet Minister?

    Liked by 10 people

    1. I have heard her say many times that the buck stops with her or words to that defect! Describing Johnson as a ‘greased piglet’ leaves me scratching my head for a similar one for the F.M and her crew.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. The bullets are only for the flying monkeys. Sturgeon is teflon plated protected by the British establishment MSM who have recently been bought of for 9 million pounds of Scottish taxpayers money . 9 million pounds to keep the Narc in power and their zombie Union alive . That money could have been used to alleviate child poverty. The misappropriation of taxes and blatant subversion of law comes part and parcel with this time expired dud Leader. It’s time the SNP, MSPs and MPs got some balls and emptied her. Show her the door before we show you the door.
    Desolve the Union.

    Liked by 8 people

  14. If douglas ross can copy and paste emails and see the redacted bits on the ferry scandal is it possible to do the same on the salmon scandal. Could bring her down?

    Liked by 7 people

    1. That’s the trouble Clootie , many of us are getting depressed and disheartened and that ends as apathy and an inability to be stirred into action.

      Liked by 6 people

  15. I live on Mull and yesterday the ferry on the Craignure to Oban route broke down again and had to be unloaded. Mull is lucky in having an alternative route onto the island a luxury a lot of other islands do not have. I see Pete Wishart seems to think the ferry mess is a storm in a tea cup and with all his sneering charm dimisses it which is just one reason why he is unfit for office. The ferry service is our lifeline and as the fleet ages the problem will only get worse and it needs sorting now. If a few heads have to roll to get it sorted then good but please get it done.

    Liked by 6 people

  16. If, as seems likely Nikla and co are being run by the BritNat Establishment, then I feel sorry for the Civil Servants caught up in this. There is no way they can blow the whistle and not get roasted.

    Thank you Mia for calling out what I’ve been thinking, that Calmac will have copies of the e-mails and contract, along with minutes of meetings and roll call of those present. It might not be the whole story re how they qualified to get the contract, but it would ID those at the top who signed off on it.

    And while Mr Swinney is in the spotlight, let us not forget, that he went from finance, to Education…. just in time…. for Stonewall and co, to start getting all those tax payer grants, and ‘educational’ contracts.

    If Nicla succeeds in getting a wee job in New York with the UN, I don’t believe there are any extradition treaties in place whereby we can get her back, are there?

    Anyway, off to the march on the Yes Bus, I must not wind up the SNP, I must not wind up the SNP, all together now…

    Oh ye canny shove your gravy off the bus,
    oh ye canny shove your gravy off the bus,
    oh ye canny shove your gravy, singing IndyREf2.. Maybee,
    canny shove your gravy off the bus,

    Singing Aye, Aye yippee, yippee, yippee Aye… No we oor wee Nippy, Aye, Aye Yippee, Yippee Aye,

    She’ll be wearing some white powder on her nose…. when she goes.

    Liked by 3 people

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