Friday, January 18, 2008

Three men in a newspaper...

Today's Hootsman carries three stories that RRR thought worthy of comment.

First, the great whinge by everyone's favourite pundit, Dougie Donnelly - recently removed Chairman of the Scottish Institute of Sport. A full 2 pages worth of interview, plus great big happy photo. My sole question in all of this national wailing and associated carfuffle about Dougie's dismissal - and one that has not yet been addressed - is whether the aforementioned Institute actually provided value for money in terms of the performance of our elite athletes? In short - was it doing a good job? Has anyone asked him? Not his pals on the beeb, that's for sure - pace GMS appallingly fawning interview on Thursday's show. And not the redoubtable Hootsman interviewer either. As far as I can see from its annual reports, it certainly was doing a good job of appointing experts - so full marks on the input (spending money) side. But what about outputs? No one seems to have had the audacity to actually ask Dougie to defend the "value-added" record of the Institute in terms of overall performance by our elite athletes. I don't know the answer, but for goodness sake would somebody please pose the question?

Second, and this is a very unnerving moment for RRR, top marks go to Bill Jamieson for a very well written, sensible and balanced (yes, that's what I said...) piece on the Trump issue. I can't believe I've just written that...I'll stop now lest I begin again to believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. But read it yourself.

And finally we turn to Corporal Jones (CJ), hubby of Groaner Brankin, writing on how an issue (inward investment) described as one of the Government's strategic economic objectives. As per usual, in his haste to bash the incumbent government CJ's logic goes somewhat awry:
' the Government's budget statement there is the following strategic objective: "We live in a Scotland that is the most attractive place for doing business in Europe"'

While this text indeed does appear in the budget statement (see here p46), it is presented not as an objective - I'd have thought the syntax kinda gives it away - but as a National Outcome to be delivered via the implementation of the 5 strategic objectives set out in the much earlier Government Economic Strategy (seemingly CJ doesn't know how to read a matrix). As usual, in his haste to catch out our new national government poor old CJ stumbles. And if that wasn't enough, he then undertakes some comparative analysis (sic) and compares the inward investment (under-)performance of Ireland with that of London - needless to say one is a country and one is a city. Following some very basic back-of-the fag-packet arithmetic (long-division, multiplication - that sort of stuff) and confused argumentation that I'll spare you, CJ comes to the breath-taking conclusion that "...the idea that tax cuts are a magic bullet for fixing the Scottish economy does not...stand up". Er, excuse me, but who said it did (stand up that is)? Like it or loathe it, I think the Government economic strategy is just a tad more sophisticated than that. Sadly, perhaps, CJ isn't.

I never thought I'd come to the stage when I'd be awarding top marks to Bill J for his objectivity in comparison to other scribes on the Hootsman. Strange days indeed....


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