Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A wise investment ?

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.

Curriehill School / Supermarket

Very well attended meeting in the Riccarton Arms last night to discuss the anticipated planning application for a supermarket on the Curriehill site. A lot of concerns expressed about increased traffic, noise and light pollution, times of operation and potentially changing the character of this part of Currie for the worse, for ever. I understand the developer has been advised to engage with the local community asap. We await with interest......

Friday, 27 August 2010

They think its all over....

Lewis Schaffer and me.
Comedy outside the Mosque

Hectic few days at the Festival. Also managed to do the open topped bus tour of Edinburgh. Quite expensive but really interesting. Have seen more comedy in the last few days than is good for a man of my age. Went to see Lewis Schaffer, a Jewish, New York comic based in London. Due to a misprint in the Fringe programme (apparently) he meets his audience outside the venue and does his show on concrete benches across the road from the Central Mosque. Unique experience and dangerous material. Catch him if you ever get the chance.
Back to work today :o(
but, hey, its the weekend already ! :o)
Busy week next week.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Just another Tuesday

After F&R cttee yesterday Mosque Kitchen for a late lunch (again) then the arts and crafts fair at St John's at the west end. Definitely the quality end of the arts and crafts scene. Then the Women's Comedy Awards at the Assembly Rooms. Women can be so rude ! I was shocked :o) then to Tynecastle to see Hearts beat the mighty Elgin City 4-0. Final event was the Dirty Immigrant Collective at the Voodoo Rooms, mostly American (1 Dutch) comics, intelligent material.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Curriehill School site

At today's meeting of the Council's Finance and Resources Committee the decsion was taken to sell Curriehill School site to a developer for a "retail foodstore", a supermarket to you and me, albeit probably a relatively small one at around 20,000 sq ft.

The report can be read on this link
http://cpol.edinburgh.gov.uk/getdoc_ext.asp?DocId=142884 . I moved that a final decision be delayed so that we could get a report on the possible impact on existing retail/shops in the area. Unfortunately, I lost the vote and the sale was approved. The issue of impact on the local community will now be assessed through the planning process and we shall have to carefully monitor this to ensure we can get the best deal possible for Currie.

Festivaling in the rain

These two have been invited to appear
before the Council's Audit Committee.
After a brief meeting to discuss who the Audit Committee should invite to discuss the recently failed Care and Support tender exercise I bounded off into the rain and the delights of the Festival. Curry at the Mosque Kitchen and then a wander round the Exhibition of Islam at the Mosque. Delicious and interesting (in that order).

Some free comedy at Sin Nightclub in the Cowgate and then the highlight of the day, the Scottish Falcetto Sock Puppets at Teviot. Brilliantly silly and entertaining. Thoroughly recommended.

Friday, 20 August 2010

300 Jobs to go ?

Another issue discussed at yesterday's Council meeting concerned a press release from the LibDem/SNP Administration which indicates that more than 300 jobs could be lost as part of a package of proposals to save £16m over 3 years. That the announcement was serious enough goes without saying however the way the news was made public caused us major concern. In spite of internal briefings and access to some reports no detail had been revealed and certainly not the scale of these proposals, prior to the media being briefed. A report will now be submitted to the September Council meeting which gives us a few weeks to scrutinise the proposals and take a collective view.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

City Council Meeting

Meeting of the full Council today (all 58 elected members). Main issues were a motion on dealings with companies who have contracts supporting Israeli settlements in Palestine and whether or not the Council should be doing business with them (obviously not !) and a motion about the ongoing refuse collection workers dispute, now 14 months old. The rest of the business really didn't justify a 3.30 finish but that's what happened. Left a bit of time for campaigning in the Liberton Gilmerton by-election. Door knocking was very productive and Bill Cook's campaign seems to be going well. Meeting of South West CLP tonight.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Is that the weekend finished ?

Balerno Main St "opening" and Farmers Market was a great success. Decent weather and big crowds. Really enjoyed it.

Hearts game was a disappointment (1-1 draw) but the Kyle / Elliot partnership up front certainly has potential.

Glorious weather yesterday, went to a campaign fundraising barbeque at Lesley Hinds house. Lesley is the Labour candidate in Edinburgh Western for next year's Scottish Parliament elections and her campaign is already in full swing. Very sociable afternoon was had by all and several hundred pounds raised for the campaign.

Budget briefing in the City Chambers today. I'm not expecting oodles of optimism. Difficult times ahead.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Saturday approaches......

Balerno Farmers Market
Ah, the weekend beckons.....

Tomorrow is the official opening of the refurbished Main St in Balerno. A bit of speechifying and then off for a wander round the regular Farmers Market. Meeting Alistair Darling there, haven't seen him for a few weeks so probably have a bit of a catch up.

Then down to Tynecastle for the first competitive SPL game of the season, Hearts v St Johnstone. All that and the weather forecast is promising, should be a good day. :o)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Freelands Road, Ratho

Last night was the first meeting of the Freelands Road Development Sub Group, set up to oversee the implementation of a new housing / care home / canal basin development in Ratho following a lengthy and contentious planning process.

Planning permission has now been granted and all are agreed that we must try to get maximum benefit from the development for the village while minimising any disruption caused by building work to adjacent residents and community.

Pleased to report that it was a positive and constructive meeting, so much so that I agreed to take the minutes at the next meeting in October !

As if I don't already have enough to do ......

Oh well, if the group continues in the same spirit it should be well worth it.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Edinburgh Southern selection

Went to the meeting last night to select Labour's candidate for next year's Scottish Parliament elections in the Edinburgh Southern seat.

Final vote was Paul Godzik - 70 Ann Henderson - 63.

Good result in my opinion, Paul will run a great campaign. Both spoke very well and Ann could just as easily have edged it and would have made an excellent candidate. Packed meeting as well which created a good atmosphere. Good to catch up with a few folk I hadn't seen for a while.

Democracy in action eh ? We shouldn't take it for granted.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Edinburgh in August

The Festival season in Edinburgh is now well underway and there's a certain unique buzz in the city, even if its a nightmare getting to and from the City Chambers for a month !

Hope to get to some shows later in the month (taking a few days off to do it properly). Had a browse through the Fringe programme at the weekend, its a bewildering collection of events, all shapes and sizes to suit all tastes.

Have highlighted a few likely gigs (mostly comedy) and will ceratinly go back to see the Scottish Falcetto Sock Puppets again this year, they were hilarious last time.

Any tips or recommendations will be gratefully received, acknowledged and reviewed of poss.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Central West Branch

Meeting of Central West Labour last night at McLeod Street Community Centre. Well attended and a really good discussion. Of course, we don't want to be in opposition in the city, at Holyrood or at Westminster but it does create the space and the motivation to examine more closely what we stand for.

That was pretty much the spirit of the conversation last night and was all the more stimulating as a result.

There was genuine concern that as the ConDem government enthusiastically set about imposing their agenda of cuts the poorest and most vulnerable will suffer disproportionately.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Hi, welcome to my blog.

I'm a Labour Councillor in Edinburgh and have, after much confused deliberation, decided that a blog might be a good way to exchange views with anyone who might be interested and also allow me to communicate with the wider world.

My intention at this stage is to try to be honest, tolerant and as open minded as possible in encouraging an exchange of views and news and of course the promotion of my carefully considered and always correct opinions !