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Everything posted by petergear

  1. Is the "business plan" available for download yet so that we can all have a look?
  2. Talking purely from the perspective of the world of "girse", and I must confess this is probably a slightly unfair example, but the Amenity Trust ran a rather inefficient service cutting grass for the elderly and disabled for a number of years. It was taken off the Amenity Trust's remit eventually (much to the Trust's relief I am sure), and farmed out to the private sector (one of our rival firms); this cut costs AND resulted in a much higher level of service provision. The cost of staff's wages "on the ground" in any organisation are always a mere fraction of the overall running costs - think of your premises, insurance, admin, management, etc etc - all these are included in sub-contractor rates. Sub-contractors can offer savings by spreading the burden of these overheads between a number of clients, instead of having to have dedicated resources - the economy of scale. The likes of the Trust run something like a 37 hour week or thereby. Their working day is so short that by the time they have travelled back and forth to the site (they work in all manner of remote locations), and had their alloted breaktimes, there's hardly any time left in the day to get on with some work. I have no doubt that their staff are genuinely diligent and conscientous, proud of their work and so forth but I totally disagree with you when you say that this can't be found in the private sector... you're wrong there Njugle, simple as that, there are equally conscientious people working for building firms all over Shetland, hardworking and diligent tree surgeons (Stevie Jay for example), and earnest and hardworking truck drivers (I'm sure you know one or two! ). The private sector is much more competitive for a myriad of reasons, this has been proven time and time again, which is why local authorities contract out all kinds of work, under Best Value, to the private sector.
  3. When I was in the top primary, I think my class was among the last to be read the "Lowrie" stories by my midder (who was teacher). The generation before us apparently enjoyed the Lowrie stories immensely; the classes would apparently always respond with up-rorious laughter at all the humorous subtleties. However, she found that as the years progressed, the classes were struggling more and more to follow the dialect; to end up with, no-one was "getting" the funny bits any more. Living language is an ever evolving thing. Unfortunately the greatest enemy of dialect is television (...gets onto soapbox and clears throat). The broadest accent of any youngster I know is a certain young Burra boy, whose wholesome parents and grandparents limit the amount of TV he is exposed to quite severely, and instead, get him to join them in their day to day activities. He wears a peerie boilersuit and spends all day doing things, instead of being abandoned to the non-world of television. He has a broader accent than me. I heard tapes my parents made of me when I was just a peerie toot, and blimey I spoke like a right yokel. Not only that, so did they.... Times have changed and that's that. Get rid of your TV's!
  4. Mind you, and not meaning to sound like an alarmist loony, but I do think that with rising sea levels, if it's going to be built at the North Ness, we'll end up sitting through performances in wir rubber boots, snorkels at hand. Is there an alternative site?
  5. The complaint that there is nothing for them to do, and nowhere for them to go, is something that young people have been stating, time and time again, over the decades. Music, and the arts in general, is something which young people become passionately involved in. It is a fantastic way for youngsters to develop socially, getting them participating in group activities, travelling abroad... there are so many opportunities. I think this project can only encourage this further. I do believe that business plans have to be taken from a very pessimistic perspective, to err on the safe side, and if that is the approach that they are usually reasonably realistic - if you take a worst-case scenario it is most likely to turn out that way! However, personally, I think that £80K per year is an investment with returns which are, although difficult to put a "price" on, worthwhile. Public money has always been contributed into projects which appeal to very narrow groups of people, with specialised interests (think of any club who've had premises built for them, and need ongoing subsidy), and although funded by the many for the benefit of the few, this is a principle which has always been accepted, and rarely resented by the wider community. Music and the arts in general unarguably appeal to a vast range of the population, compared to most specialist interests, so I personally think that it is worthy of such funding. No-one wants a "white elephant", or anything which is going to whittle away our childrens' nest-egg, but, taking even the most pessimistic figures, I believe that it is a figure worth spending, in consideration of the likely benefits. And as Marvin has pointed out, not a penny of it comes out of our council tax, so what are we all arguing about anyway? I sat "on the fence" about this venue for a while. Many years ago I thought it was exactly what Shetland needed, and it didn't happen. Then I thought, "hm, downloads, home cinema, the garrison's doing a good job, maybe Clickimin is all we need", but having read the full debate on this forum, which has been most informative, I am now persuaded that it is very much a good thing, and I give it my full support. I understand the concerns of local businesses, and if there is a threat to them then it is vital to avoid damaging livelihoods, but personally I think that, as this venue will be built in Lerwick rather than "out in the sticks", that it will only attract more business to town pubs rather than less, with pre and post "gig" drinking likely (this has proven to be the case at similar projects elsewhere). Hopefully the "outreach" element will help stimulate good nights out in the wilds too, where the real fun is had anyway
  6. A link to an article, detailing comments made by our MP, Alistair Carmichael, in relation to Dounreay: http://www.shetland-news.co.uk/pages/news%20stories/03_2006/nuclear_waste_warning_from_mp.htm
  7. Whit's dat? Investment in the music industry and Shetland's future more worthwhile than GIRSECUTTING??! Ower my dead body
  8. Blimey Distortio, you've come up with a real conundrum! This is going to keep me awake all night. Hmm.... ......blimey.
  9. My personal opinion, is that the anonymity of a "pseudo" cyber identity is plenty-fine. Ha! You all thought I was Peter Gear! You're wrong! I am an evil arch criminal megolamaniac, poised to rule the GALAX-YYYY! Na na no reely, I actually am Peter Gear. Mwah-hah-hahhhhh. Anyway, er, I think people should have to register to post, just seems right, but it's no exactly problematic if dat doesna happen, so nae hurry, whatever you think. The site certainly seems to be gathering popularity.
  10. Incidentally I found it reassuring, whilst in conversation with John Aberdein pre-election time, that he endorsed Alistair Carmichael as "the other good candidate". Mr Aberdein's opinion, coupled with the first-past-the-post electoral system, and my desire to diminish the chances of the Tories winning our seat, largely influenced the way my vote was cast at election time.
  11. Dear "guest", I had a quick look at your website link to our MP's "top-trumps" statistics. I couldn't find anything damning, his overall "performance" seemed to be admirable enough. Maybe I'm missing something? (Perhaps my intellect isn't up to it after all, must be old age creeping in) Who should you suggest as a preferable alternative?
  12. With reference to the article linked to by PeerieBryan above, I have read that the utterly reprehensible tactics employed by these two Tory MP's (Eric Forth and Christopher Chope) have succeeded in delaying the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill. They "filibustered" or "talked-out" the Bill, which is vital to the progress of renewable energy in Scotland. They blocked the vote, by literally talking for hours on end about nothing in particular. Horrifyingly, there is nothing which anyone can do about it, not the speaker, not another MP... no-one is allowed to interrupt them, according to Paliament's rules. But because Parliament runs to a tight schedule, this Bill will not get the opportunity to appear again until at least May. Aaargh! Jess informs me that there are a whole range of other bizarre antics which MP's can get up to in order to disrupt and time-waste, to try to defer or prevent the passage of Bills. These particularly nasty tactics never usually see the light of day because Parliament's time is too precious. But apparently these Tory MP's had decided otherwise. Whatever their motives were I have no idea. Maybe they belong to the mentalist anti-windfarm lobby - does anybody on this thread happen to know? Hopefully they'll be voted out next election.
  13. I hit the "green" button on this poll. They would get my "proportional representation" vote but Alistair Carmichael gets my "local first past the post" vote because he's an excellent MP, who works very hard indeed for his constituency (he has one of the highest attendance records in Parliament). He is a very active and scrupulous MP. Jess says she was canvassed by the Green candidate for her area once, in London. She said to the candidate that she would love to vote for them but that she felt it would be a wasted vote, because they didn't stand a chance of getting in. Much to her later embarrassment, the candidate actually WON the seat.
  14. I know this is pedantic but the 9.1million in your poll question above is considerably higher than the total estimate of costs. Besides, the SIC wouldn't be paying the total cost anyway, as some funding would come from elsewhere - 2.2million external funding has been offered by the Scottish Arts Council. I'm not decided either way whether it's a good idea or not to go ahead with this project. I can see it from both sides. There were a few "pro-venue" letters on the Shetland News website, dated 15 March (I'm not sure how long this link will work): http://www.shetland-news.co.uk/pages/Letters/letter_page.htm
  15. Better unblock dat lums an' get castin', boys and lasses!
  16. Yes, quite. I wonder why the planning authority didn't "knock-back" Cumbria's massive nuclear power station (Sellafield), for exactly the same reasons that they DID knock-back the wind-farm?
  17. (Just to say, the lines of blue text in Njugle's contribution immediately above are both links to relevant articles. I'm sure you mostly sussed that out for yourselves, but I'm just adding this for the sake of anyone who didn't. The articles are about: 1) A wind-farm project in Cumbria which was knocked-back by the planning authority, and 2) Bush's nuclear deal with India.)
  18. The key is definitely freshness, and never overcook! By better-half's midder got us catching loads of teeny-tiny green crabs along the shore one time (you find them under rocks). She stuck them whole into a big bowl of batter, where they crawled around looking confused, then she picked them up one by one with chopsticks and deep-fried them. You eat them whole, shells and all. Incredibly tasty, like fishy crisps. How about fresh monk's tails, seasoned breadcrumbs, butter & a frying pan, just barely cooked... yum, best ever!
  19. Estimates were, for fourteen cameras, between £130,000 to £200,000, which works out at about £10,000 per camera. I'd imagine that on top of that, such a system would have fairly significant running costs. I guess that the expense is due to the cameras having to be very good-quality ones in order to be able to pick out useful details. Also, if it saves someone's life, then I'm sure that almost anyone would consider it money well spent. However, I must say I was a little taken-aback by the price-tag. I wonder if there are any cheaper or better ways of improving safety & security on the street? I heard a very strange thing on the radio a few weeks back, some bloke in England had become so annoyed at being picked-on by the "youths" who hung around outside his local corner-shop, that he invented a high-frequency audio-emitter he calls the "mosquito", which only young people can hear. They find the noise so completely irritating and unbearable that they "move along" elsewhere. "Old codgers" (ie anyone over 23 or so) can't hear the high frequencies, and are quite happy to stay in the area. It apparently really works, and he's set up in business selling the things. I am NOT suggesting that the council invests in fourteen of these devices, but this is the first time I have heard of an age-ist "pest-control" deterrent for humans. Very bizarre. I wonder what varied uses such a device could be put to? I'm sure you'll all have some very imaginative suggestions.
  20. A link to a reasonably optimistic article on the BBC website. Not sure about the slightly dubious sub-heading but the article is interesting enough. Highlights the fact that renewables are reliable and economically preferable - worth a read: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/4693600.stm
  21. "Loyalty" cards. Don't you just love carrying them around with you? Ah, the savings... the exclusive savings that they simply wouldn't be able to offer you, if you didn't carry the mystical card of discount. The rush of trying to fish out the appropriate one from amongst the expanse of credit-card sized slivers of plastic in your pockets, while everyone waits behind you in the queue, the checkout operator getting impatient... MWAHH HAH HAAA! THE POWER!!! ("Ah here it is.... no sorry that's my Shetland Smartcard. Hold on... no, that's the Dividend. Is that it? No... I'm sure it's here somewhere) Do loyalty cards fill you with enthusiasm to return to the shops that have such schemes? Or not?
  22. The Queen's Hotel is THE BESTEST if Fat-Man is cheffing. Otherwise don't bother. Expensive but worth it if you're 'celebrating'. He's creative, exceptionally good at his job... superb seafood, incredible menus, fantastic selection. Best chef in Shetland? Can anyone out there nominate another? Sunday dinner (if you want to treat your good lady but you don't have time to put a roast on yourself), has to be the Carvery at the LK Hotel. Or if you're with the lads, it'll be curry. Spice are good at mains, Raba good at starters. Sarmile excellent allround. Wind Dog; well, I await this summer's takeaway fare now that they've gone into partnership with Margaret. You never know, we can but live in hope. Andy's an excellent chef, but I agree that in the past his takeaway buns were somehow less edible than petrified poo and deserved to be thrown over the side of the ferry - thank goodness for the Skibhoul shop's bakery. Shame the management didn't perpetuate the "local history" table-spreads of the Haroldswick shop when they moved the facility to Baltasound. Anyone ever experienced the eat-in facility in Fetlar's shop? Then of course there's always the Hilltop
  23. Thanks for that McFly, enjoying the Medialens site, lots of good material. 8O
  24. Yup, agree wholeheartedly with you there Njugle! Am busily fitting insulation (or should be if I'd drag myself away from the internet) as we speak. Was considering getting in the District Heating, but am weighing it up against heatpumps.... I wager that the heatpump comes out cheaper? I'll let you know. It could be argued that the heatpump is "greener", as well. I hope to practice what I preach regards the ventilation system too, might be a year or two down the line, but should save me a fortune. Just a pedantic and minor word of caution - to draw heat from the roofspace would lead to temperature drops, which could lead to condensation. However if the roofspace is properly ventilated, this shouldn't be a problem, and I agree, it is a very, very clever approach indeed. Help me here: How can we dress-up "pumping" and "heat" into some kind of sexy marketing campaign? I am at a loss.
  25. Well-known local musician, John 'O Da Burns' Hutchison, is fitting BOTH heat-exchanger ventilation AND a heat pump into his new house! (If you're not sure what these are, scroll a little further back up the page and have a glance at the 'article' I wrote previously). This is an example of someone who has the wit to realise that implementation of 'Green' technology doesn't necessarily come with a huge capital outlay, AND, it saves a fortune in the long run. People unfortunately tend to follow the herd, even if it's at the cost of their hard-earned savings. I'm certain that to swing the tide in "renewables" vs "traditional", the key is getting people to realise that "Green" doesn't equate to "So Bloody Expensive It's Not Worth Considering". If enough people hear about the success of John's scheme then they might be inclined to follow suit. I mean, who'd even heard of these technologies before? Moreover, even if you'd heard of it, would you have thought of putting it in your house? It's all to do with marketing, branding, advertising. It has to be approached from a hard-selling capitalist viewpoint, brands have to be trusted before people buy a product. The German government seems to be taking a good lead, by enforcing energy-saving at a basic legislative level. It has led to a massive boost in the German economy, with a huge new growth industry (unlike the flagging US economy). "Green" technology is the Next Big Thing, and they're getting a jump on us all. I'll ask Jess what we need to do to get this government to look at the options. Or maybe we're better trying to lobby the likes of BP and Hydro Electric, and ask them why they're still pushing electric storage heaters and oil fired heating when it's possible to use heat-moving technology instead (both heat pumps and exchangers operate on the principle that energy is not created from chemical sources, eg coal / oil / nuclear, but simply moved from A to B instead directly as heat - an outrageously efficient system, 'producing', in John's case, four times as much energy as it takes to run). Meanwhile folks, spread the word. Heatpumps! Heat-exchanger-ventilation! (sausage, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?) Aaaargh, one final point, my in-laws recently installed oil.... this was part of a bloody government-funded scheme to give huge grant assistance towards insulating homes and fitting new central heating systems for the elderly (they were amused at being considered elderly, but they weren't going to turn down a freebie). They were not given an option, it was oil, or nothing. The upside was, that the same scheme did insulate their house for them, which was splendid, and it is VERY cosy..... but the fact that a completely Un-Green technology was installed as part of a "Green" scheme COMPLETELY winds me up, especially as the whole house had to be plumbed for it, from scratch. Why oh why oh bloody why
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