Professor Alf Baird’s presentation on Orkney Ferries Replacement impressed us so we sent it to the OIC’s leader James Stockan. His abrupt response shocked us. So, Robert Leslie, our press officer sent this letter to the local media.
Robert’s Letter to Local Media
“When you take away the personalities and the political persuasions, regardless of that, it’s really important for each community and particularly for Orkney to engage with government so that we can get the best deal we possibly can for our islands.”
“Politics is becoming so divisive and people are getting so entrenched in positions and stopping listening to each other. And I hope that Orkney never becomes so divided that we can’t coherently work together for a better world.”
These are two direct quotes from OIC leader Councillor James Stockan, in an online broadcast on the evening of the recent visit to Orkney of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
I find it hard to believe that this is the same Councillor Stockan who, when he was sent a presentation by Alf Baird on Orkney Ferries replacement and funding options, comparing catamarans very favourably with monohull replacements, replied:
“Dear Alf, Until your SNP friends guarantee the capital funding don’t bother us. James”
This does not sound like someone who wants to engage with anyone to get ‘the best deal we possibly can for our islands’, or who wants to ‘coherently work together’.
The Orkney SNP branch has seen Alf’s presentation and it is very persuasive in terms of the savings it could make on replacing our ageing ferry fleet and on the improvements to efficiency and environmental impact.
As Alf Baird commented at the time, “I would have thought OIC might be interested in saving £50m in capital cost whilst at the same time doubling ferry vehicle capacity.”
It was “Tongue-in-cheek”, really?…
The idea that James Stockan’s retort was tongue in cheek is laughable. Does he expect the Scottish Government to dish out a load of cash without knowing what it’s for? If he’d read the presentation before responding he would have found it offered considerable savings and better ferries. Instead, we got a knee-jerk, “SNP Bad” comment.
Perhaps this is why this has dragged on so long without a resolution in sight. Instead, we get yet another, no doubt expensive, consultation.