Friday, 23 February 2007

Where's Jack?

Question Time last night was pretty revealing - while the SNP, Lib Dems and Conservatives put up their Scottish Party Leaders, Labour could only muster George Foulkes. Yes, the unelected peer. He's had nothing really to do with Scottish politics of late, other than he's standing on the Lothian List in May, and is vice chair of Labour's Scottish election campaign. If his performance last night is anything to go by, Labour folk ought to be very worried... his best moment? Why, I think that was when he joined the Lib Dems in accusing the SNP of xenophobia.

Notable by his absence was the First Minister Jack McConnell. Apparently, McConnell has now refused six opportunities to debate with Alex Salmond, and fifteen opportunities to appear on Question Time. There can't be any other explanation - Jack McConnell's feart and quite possibly hiding behind the sofa.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007


I wouldn't like to appear cynical or paranoid, but is it just a coincidence that Blair has announced that UK troop numbers in Iraq are to be cut in the run-up to the Scottish Parliament elections?

The BBC states that:

Prime Minister Tony Blair has confirmed that 1,600 British troops will return from Iraq within the next few months.

Mr Blair told MPs the 7,100 serving troops would be cut to 5,500 shortly, with hopes that another 500 could leave by the end of summer.

Could it be that perhaps all operations are being scaled down? Nope, because

The proposed cut in numbers of British troops comes at the same time as 21,500 more US troops are being sent to Iraq.

I'm fairly cheesed off that decisions like this could be taken so lightly, but then again, I wouldn't put anything Blair and his cronies.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Lib Dems should apologise!

I'm rarely prompted to anger so soon after I wake, but today is certainly an exception. I switched on the Politics Show to find that the Lib Dems latest ludicrous claim is that the SNP are a xenophobic party. Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone casually threw in this remark in a BBC interview at their party conference. To his credit, the BBC's Brian Taylor challenged the remark, and actually stood up for the SNP.

The SNP has quite rightly demanded an unreserved apology from the Lib Dems, and I hope that this is forthcoming. I was stunned to see that Danny Alexander MP (interviewed on the Politics Show) would only apologise "for any offence caused".
I am personally offended by Jamie Stone's comments and so are others , but I want him to retract the statement and apologise for making it in the first place.

So much for the Lib Dems fighting a positive campaign - surely no one can still be so naive to call them the "nice" party of Scottish and UK politics.

According to the BBC, Jamie Stone has seen the error of his ways and said the following:

"I have very good friends in the party for whom I have the very greatest respect," he said.

"Nevertheless it is arguable that all over the world, it is unfortunate that nationalism can sometimes overlap with xenophobia.

"But if the word has caused any personal offence, then I will have no hesitation in withdrawing it immediately."

That doesn't really strike me as much of an apology!

Ochil Campaigning

The SNP's Youth and Student wings descended on Ochil on Saturday for some campaigning. It went really well, and we got a lot of ground covered. According to Cllr. Keith Brown we also managed to run across no less than five Labour Councillors from the area - including the Clackmannanshire Provost Derek Stewart (pictured) - none of whom were out on the stump campaigning.

We finished off the day at the Tillicoutry Burns Supper, where we were entertained by a number of speakers and made very welcome.

Although the purpose of these workdays is to further the cause of independence and to boost the SNP's chances in the upcoming elections, I always relish the chance to meet new people and see new places. And, as I've explained to the incredulity of my family and friends, we don't get paid for it (or get travel expenses Dad!).

Some of the members of the YSI and FSN get ready to party after campaigning!

Friday, 16 February 2007

Anti Blair Demonstration

As Blair was in Glasgow on Friday, I was asked to take part in a demonstration outside the Labour youth and student conference where he was due to speak.

There weren't many protesters outside the
Crowne Plaza - some anti war people, some folk from Greenpeace, and our wee band. I suppose the lack of numbers was mainly due to the timing - most people wouldn't be able to get out of work, school or uni at 1pm on a Friday.

The thing which struck
me most about the demonstration was the hugely over the top security. Like the demo I attended at Faslane, there were far more police than protesters. I wonder what Labour's Duncan McNeil would've made of this, after all the grumbling, fuss and headlines he made about policemen being pulled away from front line duties to babysit demonstrators. Will he be complaining in the press? Accusing Blair of putting his constituents' lives at risk? Somehow, I doubt it.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Commonwealth Games

Today's Herald carries news of Glasgow's bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I'm really excited about this, not least because significant parts of the games will be held in the area I hope to represent come May.

Looking around just now, there are huge gaps in the landscape, areas left vacant and decaying. Some of the land is contaminated by long-gone industries. In my view, the East End of Glasgow has been neglected by the Council - so many areas seem so uncared for.

I don't believe that the East End of Glasgow should have to rely on the Commonwealth Games to get investment, but I do believe it's a great opportunity to provide new facilities.

The plans show that Dalmarnock will be the location for the athletes village - which afterwards will provide much-needed new housing in the area. I hope that the East End in it's entirety is considered as part of the plans - it's easy to build a shiny new "village", but if the problems (poor health, vandalism, anti-social behaviour, crime and lack of decent housing) that many residents face are not dealt with, the area will continue to be left behind. I intend to fight to ensure that all residents benefit from the investment the Games will bring.

I still have a niggling worry that if Glasgow doesn't get the games, that the Scottish Executive will pull the plug on funding regeneration, especially after reading this part of the Bid website:

"The Scottish Executive and Glasgow City Council have agreed to underwrite the costs of staging the Games. This will be on the basis of an 80/20 split. It is expected that the majority of the 80% of costs to be covered by the Executive will be new money committed to the sports and major events budget."

With this kind of split, the Council might not be able to pick up the massive funding gap. So I'll keep my fingers crossed til the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) make their decision on the 9th November this year.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Nice surprise

Since a misguided foray into 5-a-sides last Thursday, I've been suffering from some kind of muscle strain in my neck. Doing his best as a nursemaid, the boyfriend brought me up a roll'n'bacon and a copy of the Sunday Herald.

High minded gal that I am, I always start with the magazine section, followed by the sport and the main news section. I save Seven Days for last, as I always look forward to reading Tom Shields' take on the world. This week, his column put a bigger
smile than usual on my face.

While many other news commentators have more often than not swallowed Labour's scaremongering or reported primarily the Labour point of view, the Buffer takes a realistic approach to the elections. I've mused over which bits I liked best from his article, and whether or not to stick in a quote, but I think you'd be best reading it yourself.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Council Tax -

Is it just me, or does it seem obvious that Councils might not want to put up Council Tax before an election?

"Residents across Scotland could be facing the lowest average council tax increase since the creation of the Scottish Parliament"

Could that possibly be because Labour Councillors everywhere a
re bricking it?

Thursday, 1 February 2007

So, Blair's been questioned again? Apart from the fact that it's fascinating to watch a government crumble, it's getting a bit old.

It's not nearly as interesting, for example as today's episode of Neighbours. Was nearly crying at the mushiness of it all. High quality soap that can't be beat!

Is that the best they can offer?

I'm still amused this morning by the spectacle of last night's Newsnight Scotland. Labour rent-a-thug Duncan McNeil did his party no favours by shouting down everything that Danny Alexander and Fiona Hyslop tried to say. Ms Hyslop, to her credit, remained serene and allowed McNeil to dig his own grave. By the end of the show, he was half-way to Australia...

If Labour continue to send numpties like McNeil to represent them on shows like Newsnight more and more people will turn away from them. So it's all good. :)