It was an amiable distraction over Christmas and the New Year to browse news media from across Europe, all dutifully reporting on the best of the dying year. But one tires eventually of reading accounts of the top ten books of 2009, the hippest places of the year, even lists of words that defined 2009.
So full marks to Lynda Henderson and her colleagues at www.forargyll.com for their initiative in highlighting the corporate scoundrels who have most conspicuously ill-served the Argyll and the Isles region of western Scotland in 2009.
The For Argyll awards for the very best and worst of 2009 were published late yesterday. You can see the full list of winners on the For Argyll website. The first place in the notoriety stakes (so the winners of the Not-For-Argyll wooden spoon) was shared between Clydeport and the Bank of Scotland.
Clydeport was damned for what For Argyll calls 'a Stalinist disregard for corporate social responsibility' by running roughshod over local communities in using a beautiful Highland loch to lay up unused container ships. Loch Striven is not what it once was. Bank of Scotland's wayward lack of regard for the business community of an entire Hebridean island – in this case Islay – secured for the bank the wrath of both the local community and the For Argyll editorial team. The citation highlights the 'corporate inflexibility' and 'commercial stupidity' of the Bank of Scotland.
Strong words, indeed. And hugely more interesting than all those 'best of...' lists that we have seen these past days. Full marks to the folk at For Argyll for their work in developing and promoting a strong sense of community in one of Europe's lesser known regions.
Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries