Sunday, December 24, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Wendy Alexander kicked off the celebrations by switching on the Christmas lights after the obligatory countdown which the kids loved! After this Santa arrived in a vintage car to everyone's surprise!
The elves helped him distribute presents to the local kids. It was a great day and although I was only able to stick around for an hour or so I really enjoyed the day. Check out my dad's website for the whole story!
Monday, December 18, 2006
I thought that I would let you all know about Shelter's Christmas appeal, so follow the link above to find out more information and find out how to make a much needed donation. I do believe that the Scottish Executive and the Westminster Government are doing a lot to help the homeless, but there is more to be done. Charities like Shelter are doing an excellent job of not only providing for those who are homeless but keeping the issue in the public eye.
This year my local parish are doing a special carol service for Shelter and donations (voluntary of course) will be gratefully received. The carol's we sing at Christmas are about Jesus birth but they are also in someway at least about homelessness, he had no where but a stable! So if you are interested the Church is St James Catholic Church, Paisley, come along and join in. The service starts at half eight on Sunday the 24th of December hope to see you there.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
This is an American publication so they are mainly talking about American society but with the World Wide Web being, well, world wide it really applies to us all, so raise a glass and give yourselves a pat on the back.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I finally got round to putting up the Christmas decorations in my flat last night, it always makes the place look festive and fun! I love Christmas, I love coming out of the cold night into a warm and cosy flat and I love that my family always gets together and has a great time, I get to spend loads of time with my big sister and it is a great excuse to get my mates round and have a wee party!
So to all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous 2007!
The blogging will probably slow up over the Christmas period so if I don't see you before or during the Christmas period have fun and be safe when you are out and about.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I am not for one moment suggesting that the issues of Childhood obesity and nutrition are not important but I don't think that this is the answer, this is a point I have made many times in the Regulatory Functions Board which regulates this type of licence. On this note congratulations should go to the Headteacher of Renfrew High for her innovative approach to this problem, working with the hot food vendors to work towards healthy choices that appeal to young people is surely a better approach?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
- Delivered 127 MRI scanners, 217 CT scanners and over 730 items of breast screening equipment since 2000.
This would prove the investment in the NHS by the Government, and before any of the usual suspects start this is not the entire solution but it definately helps.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Funded 3,000 new neighbourhood wardens.
In Renfrewshire the Neighbourhood Wardens have been a major success story, the Seedhill ward which I represent has now had the wardens for just over two years now and I have received many compliments with regard to their work. The wardens are not an alternative to Police but you only have to look at the figures to see what a difference they can make!
•A collective reduction in the cost of vandalism to Council houses of 43.5% in pathfinder areas (Foxbar 38% reduction, Shortroods 82% reduction, West Johnstone 42% reduction and Ferguslie Park 12% reduction).
•Decreasing costs due to vandalism to school premises in Foxbar (49% reduction), Shortroods (77% reduction) and West Johnstone (66% reduction).
•An overall reduced number of reported acts of vandalism in the pathfinder areas, achieving an overall reduction in year one of 4.9%.
•The number of reported vehicle crimes has seen significant decreases compared to Renfrewshire’s 17% reduction, with a 37.8% reduction in Shortroods, 42.2% reduction in West Johnstone and a 25.4% reduction in Ferguslie Park. A small increase of 4.4 % occurred in Foxbar.
•Within the disorder category of crimes, with the exception of Foxbar, other areas are showing decreases against the overall percentage increases for Renfrewshire (5.2%) - a decrease of 12.3% in Shortroods, 21% decrease in West Johnstone and 6.2% decrease in Ferguslie Park.
figures taken from Annual Report 2003
Normally I would write my own post on the SNP's failed attempts to convince the Scottish electorate of their Economic credibility, but, I can't think of much to add to the recent article by Wendy Alexander MSP for Paisley and Renfrewshrie North on the subject, I would urge ANYONE thinking of voting for the SNP at the next election to check it out!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
I am going to write to Braehead to ask them for their help in regulating their parking properly, will let you know how I get on!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The new system of proportional representation can be very confusing and the way that your vote turns into an actual representative is not exactly easy to understand. My main concern is that people want to know how voting for their choice turns into a representative and the Scottish Executive have a HUGE job in hand in order to educate the public to this new system.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Cllr John Caldwell holds the seat with a majority of 65.
Despite the SNP campaign of deception regarding the baths the Labour Party won a convincing victory in the Elderslie By Election, we now have a new Councillor, Cllr John Caldwell!
Congratulations to John and the people of Elderslie for making the right choice!
If you have not already voted and are reading this PLEASE use your vote, the Renfrewshire Council slogan is right if you don't use your vote, you have no voice in this election and no right to complain about the outcome, so GET OUT THERE and...
VOTE FOR ELDERSLIE!
The Localised Community Plan, Paisley Town Centre Regeneration Study, Local Transport Strategy and the Core Paths Network are all presentations on the agenda as well so it is shaping up to be an interesting meeting. The meeting involves the local Councillors representatives from the Council (officers) Local Community organisations and Housing Associations, and representatives from Health and Police. I will write more about after the meeting on Monday night.
This post is purely for information, today I received a copy of the Christmas schedule for Arriva buses in the area. The information will be in the press etc but just so everyone is aware..
21st - 23rd December Normal Service
24th December service curtailed after 19:30hrs
25th December NO SERVICE
26th December Sunday service curtailed after 19:30hrs
27th - 29th December Saturday Service
30th December Normal Service
31st December Service curtailed after 19:30hrs
1st January No Service
2nd January Sunday Service curtailed after 19:30hrs
3rd January Saturday Service
4th January Normal Service
If in doubt try the Arriva Customer Hotline 08701 20 10 88
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
- The New Deal has helped over 1.2 Million people into work including 535,000 young people.
If you look at the post that I put on previously (25th August 2006 Youth Unemployment) you will see what an achievement that this is, according to an old publication a friend gave me youth unemployment in Strathclyde was 60%!!! Now it is closer to 8% in Scotland. This is due to the higher level of investment in our schools, teachers and pupils than ever before!
This is just a short posting to advise that the Local MSP Trish Godman has a new website I have recently visited it and it is excellent. It is kept well up to date and the layout is easy to look at and navigate around.
Have a look for yourself
Cllr MacKay (SNP group leader) can protest as much as he likes about Labour suggesting that the SNP claims are a disservice to Jean's memory, but he knows that they are. He similarly knows that the SNP at the most recent election have suggested this before, yet the baths remain open! I spoke to Jean about the next election not long before she died, and she told me that the SNP would claim that the baths were under threat of closure, she advised me that they had done this before, Jean Goldie was an excellent Labour Councillor, and Elderslie advocate and a lovely woman, she was a strong supporter of John Caldwell and I am sure she would be delighted that he was standing in her place.
- More than doubled overall household recycling from 7.5% to 17.5%
This is an excellent achievement by the Labour Government, and locally the Labour Administration on Renfrewshire Council have been doing their part to increase recycling even further. Kerb side recycling has been extended to most of Renfrewshire, and we are currently working on an alternative to the blue and brown bins for those properties that they are not appropriate for.
Having spoken to the Deputy Convenor for Housing, Environment and Community Safety I can advise that the Local Authority is pleased with the amount that people are recycling in Renfrewshire and the quality of recycling, a lot of recycling materials from other areas gets to the recycling point and because of the quality has to go back to landfill, so keep recycling Renfrewshire, any questions about the recycling programme should go to the Envrionmental Services Department of Renfrewshrie Council 0141 842 500
Friday, December 01, 2006
As promised here are a few of the images from the outrage conference on Wednesday...
Above is a work entitled Sadness to Sunshine by the Disability Resource Centre.
The above work is titled S.E.A.N. (Somebody, everybody,anybody, nobody) by the Star project and Renfrewshire Women's Association. This particular art work is interactive, on the way into the conference the delegates were given a sticker with the phrase ....
'I Pledge, Never to Commit, Condone or Remain Silent About Violence against Women.'
Each delegate then signed the pledge and attached it to Sean, it was an excellent idea and very well done.
- Introduced the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act
This marked the biggest overhaul of domestic violence legislation for 30 years.
This Labour Gain fits in well with the start of the 16 days of action for the elimination of Domestic Violence against women. The Outrage conference in Renfrewshire on Wednesday was the hopefully the start of a Renfrewshire Wide consciousness on this issue. The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act also covers domestic violence by women on men which is equally as serious, I was grateful to be invited on Wednesday and delighted to be there a big congratulations should go to all of the organisers for a very successful day.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The Local Labour Administration of Renfrewshire Council have argued all along that the pitches at the Race Course (St James Playing Fields) were of prime importance to the people of Renfrewshire, while the local SNP led by the likes of Bruce McPhee list MSP and his protege Cllr Derek McKay led a campaign to stop the Rail Link. The Chair of the Local Football league is quoted as saying that 'Christmas has come early for the St James Playing Fields'. The Local SSP have also said that they are against the bill progressing, I don't have the voting records for today's vote but in June of this year they did vote for it!
- Unemployment at lowest level since 1975 and is half that of Germany's and France's!
The fact that when I was growing up in the 1980's Full Employment was seen as a myth in political and practical terms tell you a lot about the Tories and their policies, we now have it in our grasp thanks to a Labour Government in Westminster and Holyrood!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Previously I had written about Elaine Murray MSP and her efforts to shame HBOS into paying more money into the Farepak fund, today is the turn of Jim Devine MP. Mr Devine has been involved with this from the very beginning and his efforts are to be congratulated, in todays Herald newspaper it states that he has had a response from HBOS re their credit management procedures, and has asked for further information on what these actually are and how they were applied to EHR and Farepak.
The main point here is the one that I have hinted at in the earlier post, that HBOS got most of their money back, it was the ordinary woman/man on the street that lost their savings! I do not think that it is too much to ask for HBOS to be significantly more generous than they have been with regard to the fund do you?
- An extra £11 Billion is being spent this year on pensioners compared to 1997. This is £8 Billion more than an earnings link would have delivered.
This brings to mind a conversation I had at the last election in Paisley Town Centre, with a couple of senior ladies, it went along the lines of the Monty Python 'What have the Roman's ever done for us?' sketch! When I pointed out the free TV licence the Winter Fuel Allowance, the increase in Basic Pension, the minimum income guarantee and the Pension and Savings Credits they got the point. Today's Seniors are demanding more and more and they have found their voice thanks to this Labour Government, they will continue to do well, why endanger this by voting SNP, Tory or anyone but Labour at the next elections?
Monday, November 27, 2006
My sister has been kind of teaching me how to cook, I am now getting to the stage of adapting her recipes so after my first successful lasagna I am now making the same dish only with chicken! So the recipe remains the same.
Nightmare though that I keep burning my hands on the oven tray! I know I should wear the oven gloves but I can never find them when I need them.
Just so just for the reader who I met this morning I will take a photo of it and put it at the top of this post when it is ready! Probably not the graphics you were looking for but I will continue to try!
- 84% of NHS staff are directly involved in patient care across 300 different careers.
Despite the claims of the Tories, SNP and others the fact that 84% of the NHS staff are DIRECTLY involved with patients shows the investment in the staff in the NHS. Again it is not perfect but it is an excellent start.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I have recently been taken to task for this last point by a Kleeneze rep who has suggested that it simply hurts the agents and ruins their Christmas and I take that point but given that the parent company EHR have reneged on giving the Farepak customers the goods how confident can you be as a consumer that you will get your Kleeneze goods?
As per the title the Labour Scottish/Transport Secretary and Local MP Douglas Alexander has announced this week Labour's new initiative to keep children healthy, walking buses!
The idea is not really a new one as I have been aware of it for the past three years since becoming a Local Councillor, however it is very worth while and the additional monies being allocated is no doubt welcome. Check it out and see what you think?
I cannot help but think that is because they have probably never met someone who lives below the poverty line, or if they have they do not consider them worthy of their time. In today's comment Tonybee points out that although 'relative poverty' is indeed relative it does not make it any less real for those children and parents who suffer with it, trying to avoid the PE lessons because you don't have the right kit might sound frivolous but it wouldn't be if it was your child!
- Delivered 50 new employment rights since 1997
As promised this is my Labour Gain for today, the fact that workers now have more rights than ever before can only be a good thing, I am not suggesting that the present situation is perfect but at lot of work has been done.
I would like to say that I am soooo grateful to all of those that helped out and donated, my friends have been excellent, as have my colleagues in the Labour Group in Renfrewshire Council have been extremely generous as have my family. All of those who came on the night thank you so much it was a great night and I have loads of photos as well! The Labour MSPs and MPs locally also pledged their support and it is gratefully received.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
This is just something I am trying and I know that it will not be popular with the anonymous crowd but to be honest if they had a blog I would identify myself when posting a comment I don't think it is too much to ask that they do likewise!
I personally wanted to thank Trish for this as this is something which will make a BIG difference to my constituents lives!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
This morning I received a copy of the above booklet in the mail from my Local MP Jim Sheridan - thanks for that Jim- and I am delighted. The previous book which was around two years ago was an excellent tool for campaigning and now for blogging!
I thought that I would pick out a few of the points in the book and put them in here just to cheer you all up, because part of the problem of being the Government is that people don't notice what the Labour Party are doing for them, so just in case you didn't know here is what the Labour Party have done for us ....
- Created the first ever national minimum wage which delivers at least £5.35 an hour to 1.5 Million people.
- Doubled Maternity pay to £106 a week.
- 500,000 new fathers enjoy extended paid paternity leave of 2 weeks.
- A record 28.94 million people in jobs - up 2.51 million since 1997 - the highest number ever.
- Average incomes up by 19% since 1997
- The longest period of sustained economic growth in Britain's history.
- Cut by 2.1 million the number of children living in poverty.
- NHS Investment has doubled since 1997 and will treble to £92 Billion a year by 2008.
- 84% of NHS staff are directly involved in patient care across 300 different careers.
- Banning smoking in ALL public places including private clubs.
Obviously this is just a fraction of the gains that the UK has benefited from under a Labour Government, we have a duty and a right to get the good news out there so start your day with one Labour Gain a day on your blog, try it for the next year! One a day keeps the Tories/SNP/SSP/Liberal Democrats at bay!
Monday, November 20, 2006
In contrast to what I have written about the Friends of Seedhill Playing Fields in the past this is not going to be a positive post! I have just checked in on their website and noticed a new article written by the group which is littered with inaccuracies and which is at best disingenuous.
To set the record straight this is the truth!
The Council have changed their plans partly due to cost but, partly due to listening to the community and the objections that have been made. There are NO PLANS for 79 flats on the ground and this has been advised numerous times yet the front page of the website still suggests this, why?
Despite the Director of Planning and Transport, the Head of Transport and the technical officer who commissioned the report advising the group that the contamination on the ground is not any different from that on any other urban site, the group continue to suggest that the ground is somehow dangerous to human life!
I personally pointed out that even if you miss something on a board paper you have several representatives of your party on the policy board and they would be able to highlight this to you, at least that is the way it works in the Labour group where we work as a team, recent press reports from evictees of the SNP would suggest that this is not how they work.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Only today have the local SSP joined the debate, three time failed candidate Ian Hogg has only now noticed! The Paisley Daily Express (no doubt spurred on by the press release Mr Hogg or the SSP provided) wrote an article suggesting that as a graduate of the University Mr Hogg is concerned, well, welcome to the party Ian although you are a little late. As a graduate in Politics and Social Policy from the University of Paisley I too have been worried only my concern stems beyond this week!
Personally I want to congratulate Wendy on her new position, it comes as no surprise to me that Mr McConnell has asked her to take this position and I am sure she will do an excellent job, yet another Paisley MSP raising the profile of Renfrewshire.