Tuesday 30 September 2008

Common Wealth?

I recently attended the showing of a 'rough cut' of a video, and am pleased to be able to link to the finished version below. It illustrates local people's hopes and fears about the Commonwealth Games. I think it's a very important and well-considered work, and have put it up here for people to have a look at. Comments would be most welcome. Please pass on the link http://vimeo.com/1605372 to anyone you think would be interested!

Common Wealth? - East End hopes & fears for the 2014 Games from Peter Gerard on Vimeo.

Inner East End – Common Wealth?

This DVD was produced through a partnership with Faith in Community Scotland, Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) and The Village Storytelling Centre in Glasgow. Our plan for this project was to produce an 8 to 10 minute video exploring the aspirations and fears of local people from Glasgow's Inner East End with relation to the upcoming Commonwealth Games in 2014. Many of the local communities in the East End of Glasgow fall within the poorest 5-15%, according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), it is important to us to ensure local people can express their views in relation to the legacy of the games.

We interviewed people from the Inner East End with the aim of covering a range of different backgrounds and experience to express the diversity within the communities. The number of participants was kept low so the video maintains focus and the individuals are able to speak freely.

The approach to interviews was designed to stimulate free-flowing conversation, hoping to get to the heart of people's feelings about the Games and their dreams and fears for the future of their community. Each interview was conducted in an exterior location relevant to the interviewee and the issues being discussed. Interviews began by showing the subject a video clip of the announcement of the success of the Bid and the excitement of crowds in Glasgow. This "trigger" encouraged those interviewed to react to the clip and begin talking about his or her own feelings.

What Now?
The DVD will act as a ‘discussion starter’ for an event which will bring together both local people and strategic partners to sit together and discuss how people’s hopes can be realised and how their fears can be addressed.

It is hoped that further funding can be secured to re-interview some of those who participated in this DVD, alongside some new faces, as the years roll forward to 2014. This will allow us to monitor progress on the original hopes and fears as well as keep in touch with new ones which will naturally evolve as the games approach. It is also hoped that a similar exercise can be carried out after the games to measure the impact the games have made in the local area.

Directed by Peter Gerard
Interviews & Research by Julie Dawid & Peter Gerard
Camera by Leo Bruges
Editing by Andy Green
Music by Mick Cooke
Story Consultation by Rachel Smillie

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Dennistoun runs dry

Consternation this morning when I went for a shower - there was no water. Some skilful contractors managed to hit a 24 inch water main just over the river next to the College of Nautical Studies, swiftly depriving homes and businesses in the Gorbals, Rutherglen, Oatlands, Port Dundas, Carntyne, Dennistoun, Royston, Firhill, Possilpark and Springburn of water. I don't quite understand how they could manage to do this, but I hope it's fixed soon.

With strike action preventing me from going into the City Chambers today, I was hoping to run some errands then head over to Glenrothes to help out with the by election. I ventured out to do what I had to do, and unexpectedly got to view some beautiful new homes for social rent in my ward. I'm not really sure that the voters of Fife would appreciate my unwashed state, so I guess I'll be staying in this afternoon. Hmph.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Bye bye David Cairns

I'm very disappointed. No more Cairns on Newsnight endlessly defending the indefensible; instead, we're being inflicted with Ann McKechin. It's interesting that while failed Glasgow East candidate Margaret Curran is incredibly gifted an important gig as Labour in the Scottish Parliament's policy development guru, her Campaign Manager feels he can no longer handle being in the same cabinet as his boss...

I do wonder - is this a more about arrogance and bitterness on Cairns' part? Does he believe Labour lost Glasgow East because of Gordon Brown, rather than due to the campaign that never quite got off the ground?

Happy 100th, Mary McCabe*

I had the pleasure of attending the 100th birthday party of one of my constituents on Friday, in Carmichael House care home. It was a lovely occasion and a rare one too, as stats generally tend to show.

It was great to be there to share in the day, and see Mrs McCabe open her card from the Queen. Regardless of anyone's views on the monarchy, it's quite a touching thing. I'm not sure if that kind of thing is done in other countries - perhaps the First Minister could start it for Scotland?

The majority of the residents had turned out to celebrate, and a crooner, buffet, bar and cake was laid on. There was even some dancing led by some of the sprightlier residents and the very enthusiastic members of staff. I had a nice chat to some of the ladies, and I hope to return for another visit soon.

The experience also made me think quite a lot about how we care for an ageing population. I'm extremely fortunate to have three of my grandparents, all of them in good health and living at home in their eighties and nineties. In Carmichael House some of the residents were in their early seventies. If they live to 100, they will have been in a care home for a substantial portion of their lives. Are they being kept stimulated, and do they enjoy being there? One lady told me it took her a few years to adjust and get used to living there. She still looked a wee bit lonely, and I hope she's ok.

There was a proposal a few months ago that the future of care homes in Glasgow was a change from the current small localised centres to 120 bed homes divided into smaller sub-units. Would this allow for the same friendly atmosphere that I saw on Friday? Can economies of scale balance with personalised service? It's a huge challenge for the Council, and one we need to get right for today's pensioners and tomorrow's.

*SNP folks - no, not that Mary McCabe.

Monday 8 September 2008

If you were really annoyed, you'd stop giving Labour money...

I was watching a bit of the TUC conference on the news. I feel I'm missing something. I appreciate that strike action is a dramatic last resort. It is not and should not be undertaken lightly. I appreciate also that the Trade Union movement has very close and historic ties to the Labour Party.

If unions really, really, wanted to make the Labour Party sit up and take notice, why don't they stop funding them? From the start of 2008, Trade Unions have given the Labour Party an astonishing £2,545,043.48 in cash and £20,949.18 in non-cash donations. This even in a non-election year. If you give that kind of money to a party and still end up having to go out on strike, the money you're giving is not being appreciated. Trade Union members should expect better.

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Married bliss...

It's been an exciting month. I've gotten married, been to Florence (fab surprise honeymoon location!), received many beautiful gifts and good wishes from lovely generous people (thanks everyone), and then got stuck back into Council work.

I would like abuse blogging for just a sec to say a massive thank you to my dress designer and bridesmaid Fiona Dewson
, and to photographer extrordonaire Stu.

Things wedded-wise are going well so far, although I hope all the by-electioneering to come won't put a dampner on things. As you can see below, we did include my other extended family in the wedding photos though, so Joe can't say he wasn't forewarned! ;-)