Thursday 15 May 2008

Full Council

I ended up keeping a fairly low profile at Council, asking a question regarding provision of crossing patrollers and giving my support to a motion on heart screening for amateur athletes. The mosquito device motion unfortunately fell off the end of the agenda, along with other SNP motions on Steven Purcell's support for the independence question being asked and the 10p tax rate. I was disappointed not to have been able to raise the issue, but I will bring it back if I can.

On crossing patrollers, I was asking whether the Executive Member for Land and Environment, Ruth Simpson (my Labour ward colleague) thought that there should be crossing patrollers on busy city roads. I knew already that the Council policy at present is against having crossing patrollers where there is also a pedestrian controlled crossing in place, except in exceptional circumstances. I know that the Council has had problems in recruiting and retaining crossing patrol staff, but I also feel strongly that where there is a primary school next to a main road like the Gallowgate, there should be a crossing patrol also in place. The answer I got didn't suggest that there would be any change, but I intend to keep looking into the issue and will blog more on it also.

The rest of the Council meeting seemed to be taken over by football (Tommy Burns, Rangers and Phil O'Donnell), but there was some good debate on the natural disasters in Burma and China, nursery education (which I personally didn't go through as a child, so always find slightly intriguing) and a principled debate about victims of miscarriages of justice. I have a sneaking suspicion of some filibustering going on, and there was certainly no acceptance from Labour of Cllr Mackay's suggestion for a suspension of standing orders so we could complete the agenda.

It seems sometimes that there's not enough public debate; we only have full Council (the plenary session of the Council) every six weeks, and Labour still said several times today that the things other parties had raised were not appropriate for full Council. A lot of what we do in the Council is not visible or easily accessible to the public, but it affects everyone in this city. I don't know what the solution is, and perhaps it's also about apathy and getting decent standards of coverage for all levels of politics in the media. Suggestions on a postcard please...

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Finding my voice

Tomorrow is full Council, and I'm starting to worry - not because the Chamber is any more daunting than usual, but because the cold which started in my throat on Sunday morning is still with me. I'm hoarse, squeeky and keep having coughing fits. I'm also down to my last sachet of Max Strength Lemsip. The motion I'm moving on Mosquito devices is last on the agenda, so I hope I can last 'til the end of the afternoon. I'll let you know how I get on!

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Strange times

I've just been watching tonight's Newsnight Scotland, and I can't decide whether I'm more amazed at the strange leap the Labour party has taken from "no new powers" to "bring it on", or that David Cameron picked independence as his main issue for Prime Minister's Questions.

Wendy Alexander's comments, you could put down to blind panic and a desperate attempt to win back ground from the SNP. David Cameron was more considered however - I imagine that for the PMQ circus questions are more carefully considered. It's an easy hit look to highlight a split, but it also puts the issue of Scottish independence on the news agenda in London (or at least on a couple of blogs. Is it just this week's news, or will it run til we're independent? Hmmm...

(incidentally, while googling, this turned up. Wonder how they're getting on?)

Monday 5 May 2008

Super Saturday

It was great to take to the streets en masse on Saturday. I've been doing this plenty with the YSI of late, so seeing some older faces was a nice change. ;-)

I don't know if other people in other parties would say the same of their colleague, but I love this happy, confident group of people. Sorry for being so soppy...

Sunday 4 May 2008

One year on

Just about everyone I know has now posted on how they feel one year on, so I thought I'd jump on that bandwagon. I waited 'til today because Councillors in Glasgow didn't find out their results until the afternoon of the 4th of May.

When we left the SECC, squinting into the sunshine, we didn't know whether there would be an SNP government. We knew that our numbers in Glasgow City Council had gone up from four to twenty-two, that every candidate we had stood had made it and that was amazing enough. In the weeks and months before the election, even that had seemed unlikely - I remember my boss of the time looking at previous election
results in the old wards with me and saying it was a long shot. Nevertheless, we'd all made it.

We were all in the Ben Nevis when I got a call from my dad. He was driving home from work and had just heard on the radio that we'd won the election. I went back into the pub, not quite believing and not sure whether to tell everyone in case I'd got it horribly wrong. I told them. We were all nervous. And then, in this age of instant news and global communications... the result came up on ceefax.

It's been a short year - I can't believe how quickly it's flown past. It's also been a learning curve. It's not for me to say how I'm doing, but I do hope that the people that I've helped feel that I'm making a difference for them. I'm still as excited and proud today as I was on the 4th of May 2007.