Friday, January 12, 2007



When I was quite a bit younger I joined Paisley Youth Theatre (now PACE) one of the things it was great for was meeting new people, this is where the latest comes in. I never have name dropped for instance did you know that I sang with David Sneddon at the Millennium celebrations in Paisley. Oopps just ruined David's street cred, sorry David! Hope you are well!

To this end I am absolutely inspired that BAFTA have seen fit to nominate (again) an absolutely fantastic young actor (and fellow ex member of PACE) James McAvoy. Even as a younger actor he was inspirational, he made you want to come up to his level and I am DELIGHTED for him and his success!!

Congratulations James it is great to see you doing so well, I can honestly say that you deserve it!

PS Really need to say that it is totally weird to see fan sites and action figures of people you know (or rather knew!) seriously!!!



In the news today you will no doubt have heard about the educational attainment of lack of for 'looked after children'. As the Looked After Children's champion for Renfrewshire Council, I thought that I should comment on this particular story. Local MSP and Education and Young Person's Minister Hugh Henry was in Paisley today and speaking about this problem, he noted that almost half of children who are in care leave school without ANY standard grades.

I thought however, that I would concentrate on the reasons, as someone who is related to a Guidance Teacher I hear a lot about the issue of education for children in the care system. Many times actually getting the child to attend school on a regular basis is an achievement and success, these children can have so much going on in their young lives that Education is the last thing on their mind. It is difficult for children taken from their area and moved across the Local Authority meaning a change in schools etc to keep themselves motivated, the chaotic lifestyle of some of the children in care means that Education takes a back seat to helping provide for younger siblings, or even keeping out of the road of an abusive parent, these children need extra help and attention and it is not only the teachers job, remember that the majority of children in care are there due to issues of care and protection.

I believe that we should 'shoot for the moon' and expect the highest standards from all of our schools and young people, but we should also acknowledge the achievements where they are. In Renfrewshire we do have a good record of education as shown through the recent HMIE reports, more to do and I agree with Cllr Eric Jackson the COSLA Social Work spokesperson that it does need to be a multi disciplinary approach and as the Scottish Executive document says 'it's everyone's job to make sure 'children' are OK'.



This afternoon I attended the second development session for the Community Health Partnership (CHP), today they covered the role of the Clinical Director Dr Liz Jordan, and Prescribing for the CHP.

Both sessions were great, the session covering prescriptions was extremely interesting, for instance I had no idea that only 8% of prescriptions in Scotland are paid for, that almost £2 Million is spent on Anti Depression medications in Renfrewshire. The presentation went through all of the issues involved in the prescriptions in Renfrewshire.

The next meeting of the Community Health Partnership is next Friday so I will update you again then.

Thursday, January 11, 2007



Jack McConnell in First Ministers questions this afternoon answered the questions from wee Nicola on Trident, his sentiments and statements echoed the article below!

Jack McConnell First Minister ...

'There is a world of difference between peaceful protest and supporting that protest, and politicians purposefully trying to get themselves arrested in order to get themselves publicity'

Duncan McNeil was also in the Daily Record asking Ms Sturgeon and those SSP MSP's involved to apologised to the Scottish Communities who have suffered due to their actions.

No doubt the SNP machine will be in motion suggesting that Labour do not support the right to protest at Faslane, which of course is nonsense I have no doubt that there are Labour members who have peacefully protested at Faslane in the past and there are probably some still doing so as is their right.

Frances Curran list MSP for the West of Scotland for the SSP tried to introduce as a point of order that she should be able to respond as their actions have been brought into question, personally I think it is about time that someone questioned their actions as this is not the first a time that the SSP/Solidarity have purposefully went to a protest to be arrested, the G8 protests in Edinburgh were a prime example. As someone who was caught in the centre of Edinburgh as a spectator to these protests I saw the chaos to ordinary peaceful demonstrators that it caused, and the disruption to the ordinary member of the public.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007



After the press report in the Paisley Daily Express today regarding Frances Curran local list MSP for the SSP being arrested I thought that it was important that my constituents were provided with the information of how Ms Curran's actions effected them.

If you are a Daily Record reader you will have noticed that today they ran with an article advising that Scotland's communities are being 'robbed' of their community police force by the protests at Faslane, Seedhill is one of those areas. On Monday the local Community Officer was seconded to Faslane in order to effectively do crowd control for the SSP/Solidarity MSP group.

I do not agree with Nuclear weapons, I have said before and will probably say again that I have not made up my mind on the issue of the replacement of Trident, but, I know that I would not be 'purposefully' getting myself arrested in order to prove my point, which is what Ms' Curran, Kane and Leckie have been doing for sometime now. Ms Kane of the SSP was giggling and laughing as the Police had to forceably remove her, if she is charged with breach of the peace she will (as she has before) refuse to pay the fine and go to jail.

It is no mistake that the SSP/Solidarity are constantly removed from blocking the entrance, I deplore their actions they do not seem to care what effect this has on their constituents.



The Electoral Commission have launched a website outling the situation for this coming May's Local Government and the Scottish Parliamentary Elections.

There is an interesting section on how the single transferable vote system works and how to vote, obviously not who to vote for! I would encourage everyone to have a look at it as it is a really useful resource, it does not go into the boundaries and what they mean for you, but your local council should be able to provide this for you, I will personally be putting on a post outlining the changes for my constituents and maybe (if I can work out how to get it online) a graphic as well!

One of the sections on the site gives you a link to download a postal vote application form which because you have put in your postcode has the correct return information. If you are wanting to know more about postal vote applications please contact your local Councillor or your local Council, Renfrewshire Joint Valuation Board



You will notice in the links section there is a new link to the Gordon Labour Party this has been sent to me by the ever helpful Mr Handy (thanks again), the site is excellent and not only gives you a biography of the Local MSP's but gives you an idea of what the Labour Party are doing locally to target the SNP mis information, and the local news, check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007



At least in theory the separtion of powers enshrined in the Amercian constituion is in my humble opinion the best idea, the idea that there would be any 'national religion' repulses me.

Before anyone out there gets their knickers in a twist I know that the separation of powers in the American Constituition does not do what it says on the tin. I realise that the Religous groups in Amercia have an extreme influence on the agenda and the laws, although they are supposed to be separate you only have to look at the Roe Vs Wade debate to testify to this, however the idea that there would be no 'national religion' has merit.

Why should anyone be able to refuse anyone else a service simply because of their beliefs? How will they do it? Will they have signs saying no gays here?

As Angela Eagle MP (Labour) suggests ...

"We're not curtailing religious freedom, people can argue against the practice of homosexuality if they must. What this law does is say it's wrong to put a sign outside a pub or a hotel saying 'no gays'...That is right, proper and moderate."



This morning in the Paisley Daily Express there is a rather interesting article, it concerns Cllr Bill Martin. Apparently Cllr Martin is standing down at the next election, availing himself of the Scottish Executive's pension pay out for older Councillors of £20,000. Why is this news I hear you ask? Well ... it turns out that the SNP are not happy because Bill has decided his wife Carolyn (see here for information, try the section on evidence) will be standing in Glenburn in his place.

The accusation by Cllr MacKay of the SNP is that he is trying to have his cake an eat it!

One thing is for sure this is not the last you have heard of this row, it will probably be replayed in the run up to the election, watch this space for round two.


Please note all postings on this blog are of a personal nature and do not reflect the opinions of either Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Labour Party or Renfrewshire Labour Group. NB No annonymous comments will be published on this blog if you have something to say have the courage to identify yourself.