Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Accepted a very kind invitation to join numerous "Juniper Greeners" on a community ramble around the area and along the Water of Leith Walkway. We met at Bloomiehall Park which will celebrate its 100th birthday as a community asset in 2011. Plently of ideas were bandied about on how to mark such an auspicious anniversary, I suspect something memorable will happen, in the summer perhaps. It was an enjoyable stroll in spite of the cold and damp and still a lot of ice and snow on the ground, particularly along the river walkway. Plenty of evidence too of damage caused by fallen trees brought down by the weight of snow. The walk concluded at Al Borgo in JG for an excellent lunch, washed down by a glass of cheeky red, amongst good company. All in all an excellent community event and many thanks to Cliff and Liz Beevers for making all the necessary arrangements and to Sylvia and her staff for a lovely meal.
Friday, 24 December 2010
By this time tomorrow I expect to be up my eyes in carrots, sprouts and parsnips. Got the outlaws coming for Christmas dinner (10 at last count). I'm doing most of the catering, quite enjoy it really, then a few more coming later so no doubt some refreshments will be taken and it will be good to get everyone together. What ever Christmas holds for you, hope Santa is good to you.
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Pull the other one Vince, et al.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Sunday, 19 December 2010
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Sunday, 12 December 2010
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Monday, 6 December 2010
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Sunday, 28 November 2010
The Skatalites and Bombskare were both excellent last night, good crowd and a great atmosphere. If the video works you should get a little blast of "Message to you Rudy". Click on the small triangle, bottom left hand corner.
Heavy snow last night, heavier than last winter perhaps ? The forecasters are saying it will be with us for a few weeks yet.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Going to see the Skatalites, supported by Bombskare at the Picture House tonight. Looking forward to it. Its thought that the Skatalites were largely responsible for creating what we now know as Ska, they played with Bob Marley and the Wailers, among others, in the 60s and 70s and merged reggae with other music to produce Ska. Madness and the Specials have much to thank them for. Bombskare are an Edinburgh band and play regularly around the city. Well worth checking out.
After carrying out the standard Labour Party risk assessment i.e. it was too cold and slippy, decided to abandon any notion of delivering leaflets. Good decision. We can resume deliveries when the weather is better (end of February probably !)
Popped in to the Balerno Christmas Fair at the High School, numerous stalls selling all things festive and all things not. It was heavin', going like a fair, you might say.... Bought some cakes, raffle tickets and bid £30 for a weekend in Largs in the Silent Auction !
Friday, 26 November 2010
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Talking of budget pressures, attended a couple of briefings today on the Council Budget and Alternative Business Models which are now intrinsically linked with hopes pinned on the ABMs delivering significant savings going forward. We shall see...... both reports will go to the next Council meeting on 16 December.
Pentlands Campaign Committee meeting tonight, hoping to plan the next phase of the parliamentary campaign and build on what has been a very promising past two months of activity.
Monday, 22 November 2010
Hearts game on Saturday wasn't great but if you're a connoisseur of great goals and penalty saves Messrs Skacel, Templeton and Kello certainly delivered the goods. Nice tribute to Jim Cruikshank as well with a perfect 1 minute silence and a yellow (Cruikie's colour) Hearts goalie top hung in the net behind Marian Kello.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Sunday, 14 November 2010
It was good evening too for networking with representaives from local schools, churches, clubs, community councils, police and many, many more. The C&B News are to be congratulated on their initiative that recognises local contributions but also brings people together in a social setting to celebrate all the good things that do happen locally. Congratulations again to Phyliss, I'm sure the award will have pride of place on the mantlepiece.
Saturday, 13 November 2010
Friday, 12 November 2010
Thursday, 11 November 2010
At the other end of the "retail foodstore" spectrum, I visited the Broomhouse Fruit & Veg Co-op the other day. Excellent local project with superb staff and a committed band of dedicated local volunteers. The shop is the obvious, visible presence in the community (at Broomhouse Market) but they also deliver a range of other service such as working with local schools to discuss healthy eating and making children more aware of where our food comes from. In common with other voluntary sector organisations, concerns about funding make it difficult for them to plan for the future but they're certainly worthy of support and promotion.
Monday, 8 November 2010
Saturday, 6 November 2010
Derby Day tomorrow....
Friday, 5 November 2010
Thursday, 4 November 2010
The AGM is to be followed by their annual community fireworks
display, however I suspect the weather may throw a spanner in the works.
In any event I won't be able to hang around for the fireworks, or lack of them, because I'll need to head for Balerno Community Council's meeting for a 7.30pm start.
Then I've been invited to talk to the Colinton Fairmilehead branch of the Labour Party and hope to be with them by half eight. Don't ususally like to jump from meeting to meeting but its just the way things have worked out.
Last night I attended a workshop at Ratho as part of the Council's consultation on the Canal Strategy. Its in its very early stages and a draft won't be produced until next summer but they're trying to gather as much info and ideas as possible. It was a really useful session with loads of ideas coming forward. The document can be viewed via the Council's website.
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Yesterday afternoon I attended a briefing hosted by the Council Solicitor about Regulatory functions but appeared to be primarily aimed at advising councillors about conflicts of interest in connection with Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) including the advice that, due to consultation being an integral part of the TRO process, that deputations (from community groups or businesses etc) could no longer be heard at Committee as this could be viewed as a "hearing" and that should only be held by a Scottish Government appointed Reporter. Lawyers, eh ? What would we do without them ?
Last night I accepted an invite from Murray Estates to view a presentation about their proposals for a substantial development on the west of the city, effectively between the bypass, RBS HQ and Heriot Watt Uni. Its attracted a fair bit of media attention, partly due to the possible inclusion of a 25,000 stadium that could be shared by Hearts and Edinburgh Rugby. It was a very interesting session and I listened politely and asked a few questions. I await further developments with interest and expect there to be a great deal of debate within the Pentland Hills ward and beyond.
Thursday, 28 October 2010
The afternoon session was a much more positive affair with presentations from projects who are actively working with younsgters around Scotland and getting really positive results. There was originally meant to be a panel of MSPs debating ASB and budgets but they had to call off to attend parliament to debate emergency legislation. Personally, I barely noticed their absence and appreciated learning more about the practical work that's actually happening throughout the country.
The early evening was spent at Wester Hailes Community Council's meeting in the local library. They've struggled a bit to become properly established following the demise of the former Rep Council but there are some promising signs for the future. The meeting was also attended by a deputation from the local Youth Forum which ensured a useful and productive debate about numerous local issues.
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Then, as arranged, off to Save Dalry Baths with Sarah Boyack and the local group campaigning against closure. They've done a really good job and rallied a lot of local support. Here's hoping the campaign is a success. They're doing more for local facilities than the SNP/LibDem Council.
Then down to Tynecastle for a memorable Rudi Skacel hat trick and a satisfying 3-0 victory over St Mirren.
Stuffing 5,300 envelopes today with a band of willing volunteers for the Pentlands campaign. Going well, might even manage to make a start on the deliveries this afternoon.
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Met a couple of pals in the "Diggers" last night. Haven't been there for a while but its still a really good, old fashioned pub. Specialises in malts as well these days so of course I had to try a couple ! Hic !
Just heading off for the STUC "There is a Better Way" march and rally. Hope its a good turn out, meeting some Labour Group colleagues for a coffee first. Looks like the poor weather may be lifting (ever the optimist !). Then plannning to join Sarah Boyack at a Save Dalry Baths demo at 2. Apparently, the LibDem SP candidate is planning to turn up in support of the campaign. What a brass neck ! They're the ones who are cutting the budget !
Then off to Tynecastle, where our home form is beginning to be a cause for concern. I would predict a victory but you can't take anything for granted with Hearts these days.....
Monday, 18 October 2010
If you weren't already aware, today (18 October) is the UK's first Anti Slavery day. Its being promoted by a leading children's rights organsation called ECPAT who work to highlight issues around child trafficking and exploitation. You can find out more and sign their on-line petition at http://www.ecpat.org.uk/ and look for the logo above.
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Campaigning this afternoon in Oxgangs, Firrhill and Colinton Mains. Really pleased again that so many people are coming out to help. Back out again tomorrow. No rest for the wicked.
Juniper Green Community Council meeting on Wednesday night was brisk and business-like, as usual.
I was delighted, and honoured, to accept an invite to present the Rights Respecting Schools Award to Deanpark Primary at their Rainbow Assembly on Friday. They are the first school in Edinburgh to gain this recognition which is a fantastic achievement. For the last year or two the children have been learning about their own human rights and the rights of others and extending this to look at how children live in other countries. Its made them think more deeply about their role in society and their presentations, from all parts of the school, clearly demonstrated their keen awareness of the wider world. The work also supports their links with a school in Malawi, which is now well established. Lovely atmosphere, with the children in bright rainbow colours for the occasion, and I got a cup of tea and a scone as well !
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Labour Group meeting tonight ahead of Full Council on Thursday. Clashes with the Scotland v Spain game so I don't suppose I'll get to see much of the fitba'. Might be a blessing of course, early reports suggest Scotland's formation will be 11 - 0 - 0 - 0. Bet the SNP aren't having a meeting tonight.....:o(
Monday, 11 October 2010
Friday, 8 October 2010
Managed to catch the end of the regular meeting of my local Labour Party branch in McLeod St who discussed the sudden announcement that Westfield Court nursery, after 50 years of operation, is no longer safe for the children.
A mini fund raising auction was then held and I succesfully bid for a real flame garden torch and bag of toiletries. No..... I don't why either !
I see from the papers this week that while the Tory conference was in full swing in Birmingham two tory MSP candidates managed to insult the majority of Scots, the first by saying that we were "thick" to not like Margaret Thatcher and the other who mocked carers in a TV documentary as looking like "the great unwashed". The first has resigned, the other hasn't. Yet.
They just don't get it......
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
I don't usually feel sorry for Theresa May but she did get a bit of a kicking from Jeremy Paxman last night on whether or not she had advance knowledge of the Child Benefit cut announcement. She clearly didn't but couldn't admit it which was an open invite for Paxman to jump all over her. I know I'm biased but they did make a bit of a pig's ear of it, didn't they ?
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Anyway, attended the Pentlands Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) meeting last night. Nothing unusual or earth shattering about that, however, they briefly discussed an update on how Fairer Scotland Funding will be dealt with in future. In summary, FSF is used to target specific priorities, ususally in areas of deprivation, such as access to jobs, health inequalities, Early Intervention etc and until now this has been handled and monitored through the NPs, thereby creating a local view and a line of accountability for what local priorities are set, how money is spent and what services are delivered and how successfully.
Apparently, FSF is to be reduced (by the Scottish Government) by 30% next year, will no longer be ring fenced and will be absorbed into Council departments who will also be given the responsibility to deliver on the priorities.
I am not impressed with this change at all, for numerous reasons. Lack of local accountability, reduced ability for local areas to set their own priorties and finally a reluctance by some Council departments to be accountable to the NPs. I understand the proposals are being re-examined but if they press ahead with anything like what I've outlined above I shall be reporting further and in more detail.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Monday, 20 September 2010
|Abdul and me at Kebabish last night|
Thursday, 16 September 2010
There are further severe cuts on the way although the initial Phase 1 "back office" / "management delayering" proposals can be read in this report which will be debated at today's full Council meeing. We (the Labour Group) intend moving that the majority of the savings are achievable with minimal impact on services but that a commitment should be given not to use compulsory redundancy. I'll try to post the outcome later today.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Managed to get to both Ratho and Currie Community Council meetings last night but had to submit apologies to two other Parent Council meetings. Can't be in four places at once ! CCC have agreed to hold a public meeting in November to discuss the proposals for the Curriehill site and to invite the developer to make a presentation. Good idea, we need much more detail on what they are planning.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Then off to Juniper Green Community Council who have only been in existence for around 9 months but get through a phenominal amount of work and are already planning their first Farmers Market which will be held on Saturday morning 25th September in the Kinleith Arms car park. Hope its a great success, I'll certainly be there.
Monday, 6 September 2010
Both surgeries tonight, at Clovenstone and Currie, then a couple of local meetings in Ratho.
Friday, 3 September 2010
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
The Guardian reports today that the Government are set to make a profit of up to £30bn from the money invested to bail out the banks a couple of years ago. Its an interesting contrast to the continuing message that deep cuts are necessary across a whole range of public services. It would be understandable if Alistair Darling was feeling vindicated while enjoying his cornflakes this morning ! If this projected windfall does come to pass let's hope that the UK Treasury will allow it to be reinvested in services that benefit local communities.