Sunday 31 May 2009
Saturday 30 May 2009
Unfortunately for the SNP administration, this claim has absolutely no basis in fact.
Friday 29 May 2009
Nick Clegg has had a great few weeks taking a strong stand on cleaning up Parliament and leading the call for a complete overhaul of our political system.
Last week at Prime Minister's Question Time he challenged Gordon Brown to reform our electoral systems. Now even Brown's own ministers are echoing Nick's call.
Nick is making the case to :
* Give people the right to sack MPs
* Stop all big party political donations
* Elect the House of Lords
* Make the voting system fair - so that governments can't just get all that power and all that money with only a minority of you voting for them
*Put an end to self serving politics and put the people back in charge
If you want to see British politics changed in this way then you can visit the LibDem new campaign site www.TakeBackPower.org and sign Nick's petition.
Thursday 28 May 2009
Saturday 23 May 2009
Friday 22 May 2009
Thursday 21 May 2009
I have had the following feedback from the City Council :
"The closure on Riverside Drive is between 19:00 hrs and 06:00 hrs Sunday to Wednesday, Thursday and Bank Holiday Monday closure is 21:00 hrs to 06:00 hrs.
There are 13 warning signs in total in advance of the roadworks.
The diversion is clearly signed as Perth Road/Hawhill/West Marketgait and reverse. The diversion at Perth Road is at the east side of Invergowrie and not at Riverside Inn as there is a weight restriction on the bridge at this location.
We recognise that some traffic is using side streets such as Roseangle but we believe this is local traffic and I do not think any further signing will alleviate this issue.
Full discussions took place with Tayside Police and Network Management regarding suitable diversions, signing and programming of works."
Wednesday 20 May 2009
Tuesday 19 May 2009
The record of the SNP government on its promises made in opposition to bring further civil service jobs to the city has thus far proved a lamentable failure and whether the SNP administration likes it or not, the opposition groups in the city have the right to scrutinise what the administration is doing to make good the SNP promise to bring these jobs to Dundee.
Whilst in opposition, barely a single week went by when SNP politicians such as Shona Robison called for the civil service relocation policy to be stepped up, but in two years in government, we have seen SNP promises to bear no fruit whatsoever.
I was deeply concerned at the weekend when the Council Leader told the Courier that he “wouldn’t want to raise any false hopes” about more civil service jobs coming to Dundee. Does he not realise that the ability to relocate posts to Dundee lies in the hands of his SNP colleague, Finance Secretary John Swinney? The SNP has run out of excuses.
Through the new Scrutiny Committee of the City Council, I intend to raise the issue, to ascertain the specifics about what the SNP administration is doing to lobby their government and specifically their Ministers to make good their promises on civil service jobs for Dundee.
Monday 18 May 2009
Sunday 17 May 2009
Tuesday 5th May : At the request of Friends of Magdalen Green, I chaired their AGM and am now acting chair of the Friends’ group. Alex Coupar gave a very interesting and entertaining presentation on photography – you can read more about the Friends’ 2009 photography competition at http://www.magdalengreen.btik.com/p_Photo_Competition.ikml.
Wednesday 6th May : I attended the Community Spirit AGM at the Mitchell Street Centre. Community Spirit is a very active community group serving the north part of the West End Ward, including the Cleghorn/Benvie/City Road and Pentland areas. An excellent turnout and good discussion of local issues.
Thursday 7th May : A second informal meeting of the West End Festival 2010 team – more on this later – I have put together a website for the group – click on the headline above to view more.
Friday 8th May : I attended the Tay Bridge Joint Board (as a substitute for Cllr Asif from the Labour Group) and was delighted to see my long-standing colleague from Fife Council, Cllr Andrew Arbuckle, elected as the new Chair – Cllr Tom Ferguson from Dundee City Council was proposed by myself as Vice Chair, and was also elected.
Later that day I had a lengthy meeting with the Director of Education about the West End schools building proposal, to be considered at Education Committee on 11th May.
Monday 11th May : A very lengthy night of City Council and committees. I moved changes to the proposed Scrutiny Committee’s remit but narrowly lost the vote 15-14 (SNP plus Lord Provost versus everybody else). The Conservatives had a further sensible amendment but again lost 15-14. It is amazing how the SNP has shifted position on this matter from their view in opposition. The Scrutiny Committee lacks teeth, gives the SNP the largest share of seats (talk about scrutinising yourself!) and its role along with Audit/Risk Management and Best Value/Efficiency committees has significant potential for duplication. Not good.
The most significant issues on 11th May were the schools proposals for Lochee/Charleston and the West End. In respect of the West End, there is no doubt that all welcome the investment in new schools, but parents did raise genuine concerns over various aspects – site size, land contamination, to name just two. I sought and obtained an assurance from the Education Convener that all parents and carers are fully consulted and involved in the project (and I will hold her to that) and I asked questions of the Director of Education. I have thereafter e-mailed him in the following terms :
“Further to committee on Monday evening & a meeting of West End Community
Council last night, I would be very grateful if you could, as soon as possible,
give me :
a) Written confirmation as to the Department’s calculation as to
why the former Logie Secondary site meets the school size regulations (1967 as
b) Some indication as to the timescale in which a project board and
implementation groups will be formed, the remit of each and how parents/carers
with an interest in participating can indicate their interest in doing so.”
Tuesday 12th May : West End Community Council. A very busy night with speakers on recycling in Dundee, Fibrecity, and on the schools issue in the West End.
Wednesday 13th May : A very useful meeting with Waste Management and residents in Seafield Road about cleansing issues – good outcome.
Thursday 14th May : Attended Development Quality Forum (after my busy surgery) about the changes to planning procedures.
Saturday 16 May 2009
The City Engineer has advised me that the project has been advertised in the European Journal. The assessment panel has now been identified and the assessments will be done over the next few weeks.
A detailed project programme is about to be prepared but the design, procurement and construction will likely be about 2 and a half years so the car park/retail unit can be expected to be complete around December 2011/January 2012, all going well.
The new facility will provide much needed additional car parking close to the university and I hope this will relieve some of the parking problems in some West End streets.
However, it will by no means fully resolve the parking issues right across the West End. Parking consultants Buchanans were, last year, engaged to call out survey work on ways of improving parking and their report is with the City Council. It had been the intention of the previous administration to bring the outcomes of the report to committee at the end of April, but under the new administration this has yet to happen.
It is important that city councillors get the opportunity to discuss the parking issues and debate the way forward, for the benefit of residents in the five areas of Dundee the parking research was carried out in. I hope we will see progress on this matter soon.
Friday 15 May 2009
And what a terrible week for politics generally - but I did have to chuckle at this video! I reproduce the e-mail I have received from my own party's President today, with which I concur.
Just for the record - in eight years on Dundee City Council, my expenses total is NIL. As is the total of Cllr Helen Dick, my LibDem colleague.
It has not been a good few weeks to be a be a politician. Liberal Democrat parliamentarians have made mistakes and errors of judgement. I would like to apologise to you - the members of our party that tirelessly contribute so much to our cause - for those mistakes. At the meeting of the Federal Executive on Monday we will discuss the issues of expenses and the party's reaction to it. I can guarantee it will be a full and frank exchange of views.
However these weeks have also made me proud to be a Liberal Democrat. For years our party has been the only party committed to reforming the way we do politics. Nick Clegg has taken a strong and firm stand on expenses; indeed for months he has been trying to force David Cameron and Gordon Brown to work with us to clean up the system.
Nick has argued that no MP should profit from property speculation funded by the taxpayer and taking a lead in pushing for radical reform of the current broken system. And earlier this week he kicked off our European election campaign by taking the fight to those who want to take Britain away from co-operating with our European allies on vital issues like tackling climate change, managing globalisation and confronting cross-border crime and terrorism.
Also let us not forget that only a fortnight ago the Liberal Democrats (with a little help from Joanna Lumley!) defeated the government on the issue of rights for Gurkhas. Elected Liberal Democrats in Westminster, like so many Liberal Democrats in town halls across the country, can and are having a real positive impact on people's lives.
We have only three more weeks of campaigning before the vital European and local election. Recent national polls show us breathing down Labour's neck to take second place in both. With your help we can push Labour into third and help finish off this tired, corrupt and pathetic government.
Our party is the party of change. Our country and our political system needs us to succeed now more than ever. With your help we can.
Liberal Democrat President
Thursday 14 May 2009
You can hear the news clip from Wave 102 by playing this clip. I intend to write a further update on the issue and a number of other matters from this week as a "round up" over the next couple of days.
Wednesday 13 May 2009
Tuesday 12 May 2009
As I have an early start to go to Grangemouth with the 'day job' tomorrow, I'll be doing a detailed update later this week.
Monday 11 May 2009
Sunday 10 May 2009
• Riverside Drive - Homebase site
• Bollards at Taylor's Lane
• Hotel planning application
• Proposed Riverside Nature Park
• HMO Policy
• Richmond Terrace
You can download the Community Council Update by clicking on the headline above.
Saturday 9 May 2009
Friday 8 May 2009
Thursday 7 May 2009
Wednesday 6 May 2009
After my uploading a couple of great Eurovision winners, here's one of the, .err..., less surperb entries in my view (it got "nul points" in 1981) but in his excellent overview of Eurovision "not to be outdone by fellow Eurovisionista Cllr Fraser Macpherson of his ilk" John at http://liberalrevolution.wordpress.com tells us its one of his favourites. Each to his own, I suppose!
1. Sunday 17 May 2009 to Wednesday 20 May 2009 (from 7 pm to 6 am)
2. Thursday 21 May 2009 (from 9pm to 6 am)
3. Sunday 24 May 2009 to Wednesday 27 May 2009 (from 7pm to 6 am)
4. Thursday 28 May 2009 (from 9 pm to 6 am)
The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Riverside Drive between the Tesco filling station roundabout (westmost) and the Tesco service road roundabout (eastmost). This includes both roundabouts.
A 3.0 tonne weight restriction applies to the bridge over the railway at Riverside Approach.
Alternative routes will be available via (a) A85 Riverside Avenue, Perth Road, Hawkhill, West Marketgait (southbound) and South Marketgait (southbound) for eastbound traffic and (b) South Marketgait (northbound), West Marketgait (northbound), Hawkhill, Perth Road and A85 Riverside Avenue for westbound traffic.
Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, Planning and Transportation Department, Tayside House, Crichton Street, Dundee, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date.
If you have any queries please contact the City Council on 433168.
Tuesday 5 May 2009
Monday 4 May 2009
You can download the details and application form by clicking on the headline above.
The theme for this year's calendar is life on the Green (and surrounding area). Entries should be submitted to Blackness Library by Saturday 11th July.
The Friends' public meeting and AGM takes place tomorrow at 7.30pm in Dundee West Church - see my earlier article about this at http://www.dundeewestend.com/2009/04/friends-of-magdalen-green-meeting-agm.html.
Sunday 3 May 2009
In 2008, there were lots of complaints about residents in the West End about the extent of overgrown weeds on quite a number of streets and I am therefore pleased at new arrangements that I hope will avoid a similar problem this year.
The City Engineer has advised me :
“The weed spraying programme for 2009 started on Monday 27 April 2009. The programme consists of one city-wide spray and it is currently intended to have a second spray of selected areas as approved by the Director.
“Please note that the strongest permitted weed killer will be used this year and weed killing and street sweeping of channels will be coordinated so that they occur at appropriate discrete times.
“I can confirm that given the problems encountered last year in the west and east end of the city, these areas will be tackled early in the programme. For information, the city wide spray will take 7 to 8 weeks to fully complete.”
Saturday 2 May 2009
Tavish Scott was on top form at First Minister's Question this week, this time highlighting the failures of the SNP government to deliver its promises on education, particularly in light of the worrying fall in teacher training places in Scotland.
As Nick Clegg said afterwards, "This is a historic victory for the Gurkhas who have served our country so bravely."
What, however, is astonishing is the hypocrisy of those Labour MPs – including Dundee West MP Jim McGovern – who announced support for Gurkhas to remain in the UK but then voting to boot them out of the country.
An “Early Day Motion” (EDM) supporting the right of Gurkhas who had served in the British Army to stay in the UK was signed by Jim McGovern on 29th April. Although no debates or votes are held on EDMs, they are used by MPs instead to show their support for a particular cause.
On the very same day, the House of Commons voted on a full parliamentary motion that called on the Government to scrap new rules that would lead to thousands of Gurkhas being kicked out of the country. The motion was passed by the Commons even though most Labour MPs, including Jim McGovern, voted against it.
The ‘McGovern U-Turn’ must be one of the most rapid ever. Labour MPs owe the Gurkhas an apology and their constituents an explanation. I hope they will at least now press the government to bring back new proposals that allow the Gurkhas to stay.
Friday 1 May 2009
May 1st and we are into Eurovision Month!
The Eurovision Song Contest 2009 will be the 54th contest, taking place between 12th and 16th May at the Olympic Indoor Arena in Moscow.
Over the next few days, I'll upload some of my favourite Eurovision winners, starting with my absolute favourite of all time from 1973 - Anne-Marie David - "Tu te reconnaîtras."
See more about the 2009 contest at : http://www.eurovision.tv/page/home