What an extraordinary month! There are 64 SNP members of the Scottish Parliament, out of 128 in all; then along came the General Election and 56 SNP members were elected to the UK Parliament, out of a possible 59. From a purely objective point of view, it seems that Scotland is the most united part of the United Kingdom and that the other members should maybe watch and learn.
Amidst all the excitement, it had been learned that Hebridean Air Services had been obliged to terminate their schedules and had refunded fares to pre-booked passengers. There had been a difficulty in agreeing details of an ongoing subvention via Argyll & Bute Council – happily, that problem was swiftly resolved and the invaluable service has been restored. To avoid doubt – air services to and from Colonsay are now operating as normal and are secure for at least three more years.
In April, the ferry services to and from Colonsay had been disrupted to an extent that was unprecedented since the Seamen’s Strike, some 40 years ago. Unsurprisingly, the community had been very concerned and – unhappily – had found it impossible to establish any meaningful communication with the operator. The Chief Executive Officer attended a meeting in Colonsay in May, at which various issues were raised – CalMac are preparing to bid for the retention of their business in competition with a rival contractor, SERCO (“the most powerful company you have never heard of”). The purpose of the meeting was to establish closer links between the company and its customer base and to clarify the relationship between the operating company (CalMac), the asset owners (CMAL), the regulatory body (Transport Scotland), the overall owners (Scottish Government) and the funding body (EC). From the Colonsay side, the community does appreciate that CalMac has established excellent methods of communication as regards specific ferry movements but made it very clear that an additional level of communication is required when any sort of extraordinary disruption arises; if any ongoing problem arises, management needs to communicate with ALL of the affected communities.