John Mackirdy

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by John Mackirdy's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from John Mackirdy is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director:
John M. Mackirdy
Scania tractor unit uplifting
new Gray & Adam’s multi-
temperature trailer
Originally a horse-and-cart operation that achieved the
majority of its revenue from coal and lime deliveries,
John Mackirdy Ltd has come a long way since being
established in 1870 by Managing Director John Mackirdy’s
namesake and great-grandfather. The business has never left
family ownership, and each generation has had a different set
of challenges, causing them to innovate and adapt to an ever-
changing environment. The nature of their work throughout the
years has changed considerably, as have customer expectations
and technologies. Today, they operate a fleet of 11 vehicles
and employ 13 staff to deliver a wide variety of both transport
and warehouse services for customers. John and his son tell
TheParliamentary Review
Recent challenges
One of the ever-present challenges we face as a small business is competing
with considerably larger competitors. We do not have the buying power, or the
luxuries of economies of scale, that are enjoyed by large firms. Therefore, in
order to compete, we must operate with greater efficiency and have little room
for error. This is a challenge that we have faced each and every day of our nearly
150-year history – and, thankfully, so far, it is a challenge we have been able to
»Managing Director:
John M. Mackirdy
»Established in 1870
»Based on the Isle of Bute
»Services: Wide-ranging
transport and warehouse
»No. of employees: 13
»11 vehicles and 9 trailers
John Mackirdy
Highlighting best practice
However, on a more negative note,
another and more demanding
challenge has been dealing with what
has come from the bureaucracy of
land acquisition. The most notable
example in this regard has been the
National Grid, who have been refusing
to sell a relatively small landlocked
section of ground directly behind
our premises for the best part of
two decades – a piece of land we
have been renting for ten years.
Unfortunately, this particular situation
is a travesty of unnecessary regulation
and red tape, which has hamstrung
two like-minded entities.
The end result has been that our
business is unable to purchase land
from the National Grid, who as far as
we are able to discern would like to sell
the land but are unable to as a result
of regulatory burden. Regrettably, this
is not an isolated incident. Around
ten years ago, our company reached
out to Argyll and Bute council for
the purchase of two pieces of land
directly adjacent to our premises, and
a short nine years later they agreed to
sell. Now, more than a year after an
agreement was reached, the purchase
has still not been finalised. I am
hopeful that the purchase will have
been completed by the time this article
is published.
I feel the challenges outlined in
the above paragraph likely paint a
familiar picture for many, whereby
governmental legislation hurts, rather
than helps, and local government is
obstructive instead of constructive.
It seems from my perspective
that an ever-increasing regulatory
burden, however well intentioned,
has left little room for nuance and
adaptation to circumstance. This
has left private individuals and local
government bodies alike unable
to make common sense decisions,
stifling community development
and preventing local business from
progressing. Going forward, if we
wish to tackle the problems faced in
the transport industry – and equally by
small businesses – local and national
government must work with private
individuals in a more co-operative
manner and with greater haste if
opportunities are to be grasped.
MAN 12 tonner out for
delivery on the island
John and Elaine
Mackirdy at Truckfest
In order to
compete, we
must operate
with greater
efficiency and
have little
room for error
Ambitions for the future
Next year, our company will be
celebrating its 150th anniversary. In
that time, a lot of wisdom has been
accumulated, and a lot has changed
too, but one constant has been our
desire to deliver a top-quality service
for our customers and community.
What that means has also changed
many times over the years, and our
company has had to change to meet
those demands.
Moving forward, we have a number
of ambitions. One is to build a new
warehouse. This would allow us more
space for secure storage of customer
products – a service that has been
increasing in popularity in recent
years. Another goal is to build a new
MOT test lane within this warehouse.
There are a number of benefits to this
manner of operating, both for our
company and for communities up and
down the country. For our company,
this would mean more convenient and
effective maintenance of the fleet.
However, the benefits to the local
community and nationally could
potentially be greater. Currently, there
is a large shortage of MOT test spots
in Scotland, and a new testing station
is urgently required, so any easing
of this pressure would, I’m sure, be
welcomed. I believe it would also be of
great benefit to those on the island – it
would save local businesses with heavy
goods vehicles time and money, as
they would no longer have to travel off
the island for their test.
Another future project for our
company is to move into the parcel
space. As consumer habits continue
to change and shoppers increasingly
rely on the more convenient and
personalised experience that is
available to them online, we feel our
experience and knowledge of the
transport industry puts us in a good
position to satisfy these ever-growing
needs. Therefore, going forward, we
look to build synergies and co-operate
with other firms in order to generate
improvements in currently offered
services where possible, as well as
using our resources and expertise to
offer new services to the people of and
surrounding Bute.
There is a large
shortage of
MOT test spots
in Scotland, and
a new testing
station is
Elaine and John with
their children Jack and
Artic and rigid vehicles
on the Rothesay -
Wemyss bay ferry

This article was sponsored by John Mackirdy. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster