Friday 15 January 2010

Is this what it takes for Labour to take notice?

As readers may recall, Labour had nothing whatsoever to say about organised crime back in Glasgow City Council in November.

The SNP group put down a motion, and Labour Councillors childishly refused to turn up to the meeting.

The SNP Government has been working hard to tackle organised crime at many levels, and the Cashback initiative has also sought to turn the proceeds of crime into benefits for local communities.

When organised crime is allowed to grow, ordinary people suffer. It shouldn't be that members of the public risk getting caught in the crossfire when they're out to get their messages. Since the shooting of a man earlier this week at lunchtime in the car park of a Glasgow supermarket, Labour MSP Paul Martin has found something to say on the matter.

Paul Martin (Glasgow Springburn) (Lab): Yesterday, in broad daylight, a man was shot dead outside one of Scotland's busiest supermarkets in the Robroyston area of my constituency. Does the First Minister agree that the time is now right for the Parliament to show leadership by standing up to such unacceptable gangland activities? Will he arrange for the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to meet me and anyone else who has an interest in the issue to discuss how we can take the most effective action to deal with the unacceptable activities of the gangland networks?

The First Minister: The justice secretary will be delighted to attend such a meeting with the member. I know that the member will want to support the initiative on the serious organised crime task force, which is designed precisely to address such behaviour across society. That task force is long overdue, but now that it is coming into being as part of our battle against organised crime, it deserves the support of every member.

I do hope Mr Martin has been in touch with his colleagues in the Council to make sure they're on board...

Election speculation

Not really by way of prediction - my guess on the General Election date really is as speculative and ill-informed as anyone else - but three small notes from inside Glasgow City Council.

1) Glasgow City Council's budget meeting has been brought forward by two weeks to the 28th of January. Last year's meeting was on the 12th of February. I understand a few other Councils are also going early.

2) the
online Council diary stops on the 19th of February. Quite odd, as it would usually run right through until summer recess.

3) Jim Murphy was in the City Chambers, monopolising the largest Committee Room all of Thursday morning. According to Council staff, he pops in quite regularly, but it makes me wonder if they're getting instructions on more pressing matters.

Anyway, this idle chatter doesn't amount to terribly much, unless there is a March election. In which case, I claim it as a scoop!

Thursday 14 January 2010

Sad news

It would be remiss of me to start blogging again without first mentioning the tragic event in my ward this morning.

Cathy Gibson, a crossing patroller at St Anne's Primary, was knocked down and killed this morning while at work. My condolences go out to her family.

My thoughts are also with those who knew her, and those who were there when the accident happened this morning. I hope that they are all getting the care and support they need at this most difficult of times.

Crossing patrollers do sterling work in keeping our young people safe, and while incidents like this are very rare, it does concentrate the mind on the risks they take every day.