Monday, 31 May 2010

Alexandra Park

Bank holiday Monday, so I headed with my picnic basket to Alexandra Park.

I really love it there - it's peaceful, and you get a great view of the city from the top of the hill.

Friday, 21 May 2010


I noticed in the latest edition of the Re-Gen that one of my ward colleagues has made a bit of an error in the surgery ad he's submitted.

The Labour administration he's a part of closed the school he's advertising a surgery in almost a year ago... you'd think he'd have noticed!

Other errors include the names of two of the community centres.

Friends of Glasgow Green AGM

Just a wee plug for the AGM of Friends of Glasgow Green, which is next Thursday at 3pm in the People's Palace. I've written in the past about their activities, bringing the Salvation Army to play at Christmas and a Pipe Band in the summer; they are always on the look out for new ideas and new members.




Come and meet us at 3 pm on





Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Out and about

I love going out and about and meeting people in my ward - getting an insight into people's lives is one of the great privileges and pleasures of this job.

Today was particularly busy, but kicked off with me lying in bed this morning, sniffling and whimpering, waking after a poor night's sleep with a heavy cold. It was so tempting to call off the many things I had scheduled, but I hate to stand people up.

First on the agenda was a meeting of Pensioners Action Group East. I love this group - they're so committed to helping other pensioners, and society at large. Many of the members volunteer time to help with other groups and work a lot with young people. The Chair, Andy, does so much, and even found the time to do a bit of hillwalking to raise funds for PAGE. I hadn't been to see the group for a wee while, so it was good to catch up. I was really touched that they had gotten me a present for the baby. Lovely people.

Next up was a quick visit to Tots Bots. While researching real nappies online, I noticed this company were based in the East End in Carntyne. I decided to nip in, and found them very welcoming. I'm quite keen to avoid contributing to the landfill waste that disposable nappies create, and after having seen the products Tots Bots produce, I'm seriously thinking of giving them a try. It's also nice to know that the nappies are produced right here in the East End, rather than in some remote factory. I aim to go back once the baby is born - I don't have room to store things in the flat just now!

I attended the weekly maternity exercise class at the Princess Royal at lunchtime. It's reassuring to know that the exercise I'm doing is appropriate and supervised. The class is a small one, but I've enjoyed the social aspect of meeting other pregnant women. I would recommend it!

After the class, I rushed off to meet with housing, GCSS and LES officers, and my fellow ward Councillor at a site in Barrowfield. Residents have been complaining for some time about fly-tipping, which has reached epic proportions. The site is owned by a private developer, and local people cut across the site as a short cut. It's been a tricky one to resolve, but enforcement officers hope to be able to get the site cleared, and charge the owners accordingly. Owners should take responsibility for their sites, but all too often, they are left for years without any kind of maintenance. The effect of this is a blight on communities; it's completely unfair to those who take care of their properties and try to improve their area.

Attending the class and the site visit meant that I couldn't be at today's Finance and Audit Committee. I'm loathe to miss Committee meetings; over the past three years I think I've only missed one or two and only when it's been completely unavoidable. It's difficult to get so many officers together for a site visit at any one time, so this time the Committee had to take second place.

I headed over to London Road Nursery to hand in some Tesco vouchers for clubs and schools. I try to share around the vouchers I collect, and this year some have also gone to St Anne's Primary and Elba Lane Nursery. It seems to take a lot of vouchers to get anything, so I hope my wee contribution helps a bit. If you have any stashed at the bottom of your handbag, please hand them in to your local school as soon as possible! It was nice to catch up with the head teacher at the Nursery, and see what's been going on since the last time I was in. I was already aware that nusery places are still oversubscribed in this part of Glasgow - as expected, the closure of Queen Mary Street and Mile End have only made this more difficult. I'm not sure how this can be resolved; it's a serious problem for families, especially those who work.

After visiting St Anne's last week, I popped back in again to see their parent-child cookery classes in action. In this pilot programme, parents and children participate in a series of classes, run by staff at the school, which teach them about cooking and nutrition. Basic cookery might sound simple, but many people have never made a meal from scratch, and have little idea what goes into the food they eat. Roasted vegetables, macaroni cheese and muffins were all on the menu tonight; the parents were amazed at how easy, cheap and tasty the meals were, and the children really enjoyed working together with their mums and dads as well as their teachers. I heard from the parents how much they valued the experience, and the staff spoke about the changes they had seen. The course has proved to be an important step for some, and has really broken down the barriers between school and community.

I also heard about the early progress being made by the Triple P programme. It's early days, but from what was said, it sounds as if it's already making an impact on some parents.

I finished my day with a surgery at Dalmarnock Primary. It was quiet tonight, so I got a chance to catch up with emails and prepare for tomorrow. Pretty tired, but it was a really interesting day!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

PEEK show

I was glad to go along to the PEEK AGM and show on Thursday night. Whatever they happen to be doing, PEEK are very professional, and this show was no different.

Held at the Bridge in Easterhouse, the junior and senior theatre groups wowed with their productions of storybook tales and The Red Shoes. The younger children were bright, enthusiastic, and oh-so-cute acting out Going on a Bear Hunt, but the seniors really did take my breath away; different girls played the lead character, Karen, through her journey, but the quality of each was top notch. There were no words spoken by the cast during their performance, but you could see every emotion expressed quite clearly.

Some of those taking part in the show have now been involved in PEEK for several years, and are going on to pastures new - I'd like to wish them all the best.

I hope that PEEK get the chance to take their performances to other audiences - they really were so good, it's a shame to keep it to themselves!

St Anne's Emergency Services Day

I was invited along to the Emergency Services day held at St Anne's Primary on Thursday.

It was a great day - and it broke down barriers between young people and those in the emergency services.

The Police mounted division were on hand to explain the role played by Police horses - and they impressed by cantering round the playground and demonstrating that the horses wouldn't flinch even when a class of primary children screamed at the tops of their voices!

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue brought along a fire engine, the Traffic Policing section had their car, and the Police Dogs came along in the afternoon. Officers from cycling and GCSS in the council also lent their time and expertise. The pupils had lots of questions, which all involved ably answered.

The most exciting moment came when the Police helicopter flew low over the school - apparently photos were taken too, which I hope to get to see.

Credit should go to PC Daniela Giannoni, who pulled the whole thing together. I got a real sense that the children got a lot out of the event; anything that builds up the relationships between our emergency services and the communities they serve should be commended.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Youth Bank

I attended an event on Monday night to promote the Glasgow East Youth Bank. The Youth Bank is run by young people, for young people - groups can apply for small sums of money for equipment, trips, coaching, hall hire and much much more.

The project started in the Easterhouse area, but now covers the whole of the East End, including my ward. The decisions on who gets funding for what get made by a group of young Grant Makers - a great way of getting young people to understand the difficulties involved in decision making, and encouraging responsibility and accountability to their communties.

Linda, who runs the project is really enthusiastic and keen to see more young people taking up the grants, and getting involved as Grant Makers.

The money's there itching to be spent - what are you waiting for?!

The contact details for Youth Bank are as follows:

Linda McGlynn
Young Movers (YOMO)
Youth Bank Coordinator

" "0141 778 7181

" "

" "Save the Children Offices

647 Shettleston Road,
Glasgow G32 7EH

Bus Shelters, Dalmarnock Road

I recieved a complaint from residents at the bottom of Dalmarnock Road, regarding persistent vandalism to the bus shelters in the area.

I asked Land and Environmental Services if there was anything they could do about this, and in cooperation with SPT, CCTV cameras will be installed on the bus shelters for the end of next month.

While I don't believe CCTV is always the answer, I'm hopeful that this will deter would-be vandals, and also enhance people's feeling of safety in the area.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


As a public information style notice, information on forthcoming processions and marches in Glasgow can be found on the Glasgow City Council website >here<.

Anyone who has complaints or issues they wish to raise, please email or write to me directly.

Everyone loses

I've taken a few days to reflect on the election results - particularly the one I was closest to.

I'm just gutted that Labour's campaign of fear has resulted in the loss of a fine, hardworking MP, and replaced him with a part-timer. While Alex Salmond used this election as an opportunity to correct the dual mandate situation, Labour have used it to back up their MSPs from seats which are to be abolished for the Scottish Parliament next year.

I fail to see how the new member for Glasgow East will be able to fulfil all of her duties in two hung parliaments and still make time for her constituents. As she doesn't even live in Glasgow East (John does!), I expect she'll be there pretty rarely. Glasgow East deserves better than that.

Labour ran a campaign based on scaremongering and fibs; their "vote Labour to keep out the Tories" message seems to have failed, since we're likely to have a UK Tory government regardless. Now, they even refuse to work with the SNP, out of sheer pettiness and tribalism.

I'm hugely disappointed not just by John Mason losing his seat, but by the margin of the defeat. We ran the best campaign we could, and in truth I'm not sure there's much more we could have done with the resources we had. The by election saw hundreds of activists from across Scotland and beyond beat a path to Glasgow East - we always knew that replicating that effort on polling day was impossible.

I'm very grateful to the many people who did leave their own campaigns, both last Thursday and in previous weeks and months to help John. Your efforts were appreciated.

I would like to share a few anecdotes from Thursday:

- after we opened the campaign rooms at 6.30, people weren't long in popping in to tell us they'd voted for John. This included a chap from a trade union, and an Evening Times newspaper seller. Goes to show, they don't all believe what they read in the papers!

- I ran quite a few people to the polling station. One particular elderly lady as delighted to be voting for John, and had supported the SNP and the independence cause her whole life,. She had signed the National Covenant, a petition for the Scottish Parliament, in the 1940s.

- a couple, who wanted to proxy vote for their son in service overseas, were denied as they couldn't find the paperwork. A man whose father had died six years ago complained to me that the Election Office hadn't yet taken his name off the electoral roll. His daughter, who had moved house but not yet changed her details, was able to vote using her out-of-date details and no polling card.

- Two ladies I ran to the polls in the evening had been helped by John, and wanted him to continue as an MP, as he always tried his hardest for people.

- By contrast, another woman was so disappointed and let down by Margaret Curran's indifference to the anti-social behaviour she had suffered that she would never vote Labour again.

John is an incredibly committed and principled person, and a great role model for anyone getting involved in politics. He was well-known on the doorsteps, and his easily-accessible office on Shettleston Road was a boon for constituents. I am certain that the loss will be felt by those who need help the most. He's taking some time to reflect on what he wants to do - I dearly hope that he will find a role that keeps him in politics.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Vote SNP

I did promise a review of the Why Vote SNP book, and I suppose it's appropriate to do it tonight.

The book goes through pretty much the full gamut of SNP policies, from independence, through to education, defence, foreign affairs and health. If you take a flick through it, you'll find something to interest you.

As an SNP member, I believe that there are a great many reasons both in the book, and in my experience, to vote SNP.

In this election, what matters is that there will be a strong voice for Scotland, standing up for our communities and defending our interests. The other three UK parties cannot guarantee that.

During the 1980s, Labour failed to protect Scotland from the worst of Thatcher's cuts, or even the imposition of the Poll Tax - and that was with a more significant bloc than they are likely to achieve tomorrow.

The SNP can and will make a difference - if Scotland was offered devolution to 'kill nationalism stone dead', we can still achieve yet more with a strong presence at Westminster until independence is delivered.

I also believe that our candidates offer a different, better, representation. We are not like Labour, used to winning and taking the people for granted. We have all worked hard, fought, been defeated, and come from behind. Every vote is precious, every supporter valued.

John Mason was elected in a Council by election and through sheer dedication and perseverance has built up his reputation over the years. SNP candidates share that same determined, principled vision - standing up for what's right, and working passionately for the people they represent. They will do their very best for you.

Tomorrow, think on the qualities you feel are important; standing up for you, championing your community and your nation.

Elect a champion; Vote SNP

Babakoochi Bear

I attended the opening of the first ever Babakoocki Bear Children's Land at the Bambury yesterday.

It was a lovely event; the story of the boy who inspired the project left not a dry eye in the place. Young people involved in the CIRV project had worked to make the garden a place to be proud of, and local primary and nursery children provided us with entertainment.

As you can see from the pictures, the garden will be a great asset to the community. I'll write more about the Bear after the election, as it's a fantastic idea to bring people together.

Asking Alex

Despite the football at Parkhead last night, we managed to get a fine turnout at the Bridge in Easterhouse for the last of the Ask Alex events, hosted by the wonderful Elaine C. Smith. A heady mix of supporters, activists, and members of the public asking the questions made for an interesting and inspiring night!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

As seen in a litter bin at Shandwick Square...

...the question Glasgow East has been asking!

On the campaign trail

Apologies for the lack of posting - I've been alternating between being too busy and too tired to blog.

Things are going well in Glasgow East, with volunteers coming from a wide variety of places to help John Mason get re-elected. We've had new members, volunteers, younger people, and friends coming to campaign.

There's a genuine warmth for John from members of the public that I've met in shopping centres and on the doorstep. People know him, say hi as they pass him on the street. Groups of young people we've met out campaigning have called - "look, it's John Mason!" - and either waved or come over to chat to John.

The steadfast, dedicated work he has done in the area, not just as an MP over the previous two years, but as a Councillor for ten years, has brought many to our cause.

I'm working hard to see John re-elected so that he can continue this work. He doesn't seek power for power's sake; he wants to help and do his best for the area.

£2.8m for Dalmarnock Station!

More good news for Glasgow today - and excellent news for my constituents.
A bid for European Regional Development Funding for the refurbishment of Dalmarnock Station has been successful, and will bring nearly £3m in investment.

As you can see from the photos, there's a lot of improvement to be done, and works will need to get underway soon to ensure the station is ready for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

This station has been neglected for many years, and I'm glad to see that it's being brought up to scratch by an SNP Government. This will benefit my constituents, people travelling to the area for the Games and the football, and local businesses.

Scottish Government press release:

Dalmarnock Station in Glasgow's East End to be redeveloped European funding of 2.8 million pounds is being invested in a project which will help support the redevelopment of Dalmarnock Rail Station in Glasgow's East End.

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, announced the funding package for the station, which will be a key transport hub for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

The work at Dalmarnock will offer commuters more travel choices through the heart of the Games village and help meet travel demands beyond the Games.

Mr Swinney said:

"The Scottish Government is working tirelessly to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support sustainable economic growth. That's why I'm delighted to announce this 2.8 million pounds investment from the European Regional Development Fund which will help support the redevelopment and refurbishment of Dalmarnock Station.

"When delivered, the station will not only provide additional transport services for the Commonwealth Games, but also help support the regeneration of the wider Dalmarnock area.

"As we look forward to the Games in 2014, this investment will help deliver an efficient transport network for visitors to the city, as well as a lasting legacy of improved transport links in Glasgow's East End."

Background Project Partners delivering Dalmarnock Station refurbishment are Transport Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Clyde Gateway and Network Rail. Project partners are currently working up preferred options for the station redevelopment. This work is progressing well for delivery in 2013. The ERDF contribution towards the funding for the scheme has been confirmed as 2,859,500 pounds.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Ask Alex!

Details below of a very exciting event for Glasgow East tomorrow night! If you're interested in going, email the address below, or get in touch with me directly.

We are hosting a unique event in Easterhouse on Tuesday 4 May.

Hosted by top comedienne Elaine C. Smith, the event will feature SNP leader Alex Salmond, and local candidate John Mason.

John has been working hard to become a local champion for the people of Glasgow and of course Alex has championed Scotland for over 20 years. This is your chance to question them on the issues that matter most in your community and in this election.

The evening will be a lively contrast to the televised UK leaders debates and will be a real talking point locally.

As Elaine herself says;

“I’ll be bringing the First Minister to the people so they can quiz him directly on the issues that matter to them. And where the TV stations won’t let you laugh or clap this will be the audience’s show as much as anyone else’s."

To register please contact or by calling 0131 525 8912.

The event will be at The Bridge on Tuesday 4 May starting at 7 pm.

Tickets will be allocated on a ballot only basis and a limited number of seats are available. So please register now.