Monday 30 November 2009
If you want to know how committed a Government is to fairness, then you need look no further than its tax system.
Labour has created a tax regime where the poorest pay a bigger slice of their income than the richest. Polluters are allowed to get away with harming our environment without paying for the clean-up. And we lose as much as £40 billion a year to tax dodgers.
This has to change.
The Conservatives tell us that we are all in this together whilst promising tax cuts for millionaires and then say that there might be tax rises for everyone else.
So much for their kind of change.
Today, we have pledged to put a transformation of Britain's unfair tax system at the heart of the Liberal Democrat campaign for a fairer Britain.
Our plans will see tax cuts for millions of people, paid for by closing tax loopholes, making polluters pay and introducing a 'mansion tax' on homes worth over £2m.
For more details of our policy proposals, see here. And for a video from the launch, see here.
What we are proposing is a radical rebalancing of the tax system with fairness at its centre. This is a real and genuine change that would make a huge difference to the lives of people up and down the country.
Please help spread the message among your friends, family and colleagues. There's an easy way to forward this email, here.
Nick Clegg MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Vince Cable MP
Shadow Chancellor and Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader
Love Scotland - bin the £12 million referendum!
Tavish Scott MSP said, "Polls show support for independence is at a new low, but still the SNP are determined to waste time and £12 million of taxpayers' money on their pet project."
£12 million could be better spent on schools and hospitals.
Sunday 29 November 2009
It was good to have a chat with residents including discussing some local issues such as parking and traffic speed.
The furore over the SNP Mark MacLachan's blog “The Universality of Cheese” (see article from today's Sunday Herald - click on the headline above or go to http://bit.ly/6E2jHe) is best summed up by the comments of two Scottish bloggers -
The Green Party's Two Doctors (see http://bit.ly/8sWHNl)
" ... it mostly damages the reputation of blogging, and more seriously, the reputation of politics in general."
Dundee blogger Stuart Winton's Planet Politics (see http://bit.ly/801cpC)
"And given the former position of the blog's author the revelations can now only damage the SNP.
Thus perhaps Mark MacLachlan merely desired a little online adulation and saw a blog with a hefty dose of bile and vitriol as a more effective means to that end than a more moderate approach, or perhaps the venom on display provided some sort of personal catharsis.
But whatever he sought to achieve, the MacBlogosphere in general and the SNP's online presence in particular are well rid of the likes of The Universality of Cheese, and it is to be hoped that this latest exposé - following the demise of Wardog last week - will encourage others to adopt a more civilised approach."
Saturday 28 November 2009
I am not the greatest fan of Lloyd Daniels on X Factor and assumed that he would be almost guaranteed to go out this week. To be fair, he was a whole lot better this week sort of summed up by the words :
"Don't you know I'm still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I'm still standing after all this time"
That said, not a patch on the 1983 Elton version.
Stacey Solomon's first song was weak ...
As Rev David Robertson, Minister at St Peter's, said :
"We have developed the building so that it can be used as a conference and concert facility as well. We gave the architects a particular remit – to retain the historical whilst providing modern contemporary facilities."
The councillors present at the re-opening today were invited to say a few words - and I made the point that, having last visited the church during the building works when the church was something of a building site, the finished church building is simply phenominal.
Friday 27 November 2009
I am sure you are aware that we have lots of containers on Logie Avenue.
Blackness Road - Heating, Kitchen & Bathroom Replacement 2010
I can confirm that progress is being made towards starting work in January 2010.
I have made arrangements for a display container to be located at the garage site at the lower end of Logie Avenue on Tuesday 1st December between 3pm and 6pm for tenants to view kitchen/bathrooms and to discuss any particularly issues that they might have.
Thursday 26 November 2009
"The road is approximately 6.5 m wide and the resident parking demand is high.
Wednesday 25 November 2009
Later this evening, I met with constituents about a traffic issue and have arranged a site visit with the City Council to hopefully tackle the problem residents have highlighted.
Don't forget the photography competition arising out of last night's fireworks display after the West End Christmas Lights Switch On! We have already received entries - go to http://www.seabraesfireworks.co.uk/2009photocompetition.html to see more!
Tuesday 24 November 2009
Above : The Carnival
Above : The Downfield Musical Society panto stars and a certain West End Councillor!
Above : Very well attended Christmas Concert
Above : Lord Provost John Letford, Ken Macleod, Sheena Wellington and panto stars switch on the lights!
Above : Superb fireworks display!
Thank you time ...
With very grateful thanks to Rev Andrew Greaves, Lord Provost John Letford, Ken Macleod, Sheena Wellington, our local schools and Menzieshill High School, Adrian Milne who masterminded the concert and all the folk at Dundee West Church, Rob Carstairs (also Martina and Robin B) for the fireworks, Horne's Carnivals, Natalie & Jim from the Leisure & Communities Department, the folk from West End Community Council, Downfield Musical Society, PC Bob Forrester and colleagues, Tayside Fire & Rescue, all who helped with the stewarding - and everyone else who helped make this a super night for the West End. And, of course, the hundreds of West End residents who came along tonight!
There will be a Christmas children’s concert beforehand from 6pm, in which musical contributions from Harris Academy, Menzieshill High School and local primary schools will take place. Guest singer is Sheena Wellington, Scotland's leading traditional singer. All residents are welcome to attend this free event which takes place in Dundee West Church, 132 Perth Road.
After the Christmas Lights are switched on, there will be a spectacular fireworks display plus a carnival from Horne’s Carnivals.
This is the largest West End Christmas Week yet and we are indebted to the local businesses in the West End who have helped make this all happen. We hope that residents will come along to the concert, lights switch on, fireworks and carnival and support this excellent community event.
What will Dundee look like in 2020? What will it feel like to be in the City - in your part of the City?
Imagine that Dundee has continued to flourish, has become a fantastic place to live across all parts of the city. What has enabled this? What stories would you tell about how we achieved this together? What has your part been? And what have others contributed?
That's what Dundee Wave of Change is all about. A two to three year project where people gather and creatively describe the story of Dundee's success in 2020 - and we want to engage as many people as possible in imagining this potential, in telling their stories ...
A Dundee Wave of Change - launch event Thursday 3rd December 3-5 pm
Go Dundee has been approached to gauge interest in a Dundee Wave of Change project. On 3rd December at 3-5 pm we will explore how to respond to this opportunity and begin the process of creative conversation. If you would like to take part and can spare a couple of hours on 3rd December, please send us an e-mail using the link below. We'll get back to you with more information - including details of the location - once we have an indication of the number of people wishing to attend.
A Scottish Wave of Change follows on from the work of Scotland 2020 and Glasgow 2020 which Gerry Hassan led with the UK think tank Demos broke new ground in Scotland, the UK and internationally by developing innovative ways of imagining the future through stories and the concept of 'mass imagination'. The projects produced two books, numerous resources, skills and tools, and even, for Glasgow 2020, a music album.
One of the primary strands of A Scottish Wave of Change is to develop a series of conversations, discussions and events in a number of places across the country over the course of the project. This will allow for long-term relationships to be built and different groups of people and ways of working to be developed.
Dundee Wave of Change would become a distinct strand of work as part of the wider Scottish Wave of Change with a variety of activities including story telling and imagining the future. It could create its own Dundee-specific resources and publications while also being part of a unique Scottish and international project.
For further information please take a look at the following web links:
Monday 23 November 2009
Sunday 22 November 2009
"I have tried repeatedly to contact the owner on the mobile telephone number you gave me and left messages but there has been no response.
I have now prepared a draft report for consent to take Direct Action which will hopefully be included on the Agenda for the next DQ Committee in December."
The church building is included in the "Scran" online learning resource base - see http://tiny.cc/mccheyne
Here's a bit of information about the scheme :
The concept is simple. All profits from the tree sales will go directly to Gowrie Care. By purchasing one tree you could provide people with opportunities. Money raised will be invested in projects to improve the lives of people we support. Previous money has been used to access courses, short breaks, set up a new home, take up a sport and reunite people with families.
It’s easy and convenient too – you buy your tree online at www.caringchristmastrees.com or by phone on 0845 111 8733. Just choose the local collection point that’s most convenient for you, pick a date to collect it, and tell us what size you want - we have trees from 4ft to 8ft tall. As payment is by credit or debit card when you order, all you have to do when you go to the collection point is pick up your tree. That’s all there is to it.
Do you want to give something back this Christmas? We need volunteers for as little as 2 hours to help out on various collection dates to make Caring Christmas Trees a success – see website for details.
All our trees are Fraser firs, grown in sustainably managed forests in Scotland, and as they’re harvested later than many other Christmas trees, they’ll be of the highest, freshest quality when purchased.
Trees can be purchased via the website or dedicated phone line until December 14th so why not buy a tree now, and help a life this Christmas?
www.caringchristmastrees.com or 0845 111 8733.
Six public sector executive board members are paid more than Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister (£197 000) or Alex Salmond, First Minister (£145 000). A further 1 596 are paid between £80 000 and £100 000 — more than a Scottish government minister. The total salary bill for the highest-paid is at least £400 million a year.
If you go to http://tinyurl.com/fatcatpay or click on the headline above, you can read the Courier's news report about this - and I publish below the Scottish Liberal Democrats' news release about the matter. What is clear is that the SNP government is taking no action to tackle the issue - disgraceful given the financial and economic challenges facing Scotland.
Scott challenges Salmond to cut the fat cat pay bill
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott MSP challenged the First Minister to cut the fat cat pay bill by 2010.
At First Minister’s Questions, Mr Scott revealed that nearly 3,400 people in the public sector get paid more than a Scottish Government Minister does. They receive a total of almost £401 million in pay each year.
Commenting, Mr Scott said:
“At least 3,400 people in the public sector in Scotland get paid more than a Scottish Government Minister. Some even get paid more than Alex Salmond’s three salaries as MP, MSP and First Minister added together.
“They receive a total of £401 million in pay every year.
“All across vital public services people at the bottom of the income scale are being threatened with losing their jobs. Statistics last week show that the number of young people unemployed has never been higher.
“People will not understand why the Government lets this pay chasm between richest and poorest continue.
“The First Minister and his Government are in charge of public sector pay. It was John Swinney who awarded the new Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise her bumper £203,000 salary and handed the Chief Executive of the Scottish Futures Trust a fat £180,000 paycheque.
“I want a fair society where the very well paid are expected to share the burden of tight government spending, not just the poorest and unemployed.
“The First Minister needs to set a target as part of his Budget to reduce that pay bill and spend the money on creating skills and jobs for young people instead. It’s right that the people who get such a vast share of public money should shoulder a fair share of the burden in these tough times.”
Saturday 21 November 2009
With grateful thanks to Rob who has uploaded this to www.seabraesfireworks.co.uk, here's a video of today's West End Christmas Week Balloon Launch for the P1s at our local schools - ably led by local singer Chris Sinclair!
Above : Me making the "Digital UK" prize draw with Alan Cowie of Digital UK! Above : More of the Community Fayre stands!
Above : Balloon launch with P1 pupils about to take place!
Friday 20 November 2009
Mr Woodward assured me that STV was in talks with BSkyB to hopefully resolve this.
Thursday 19 November 2009
Part of the process for determining whether deregulation should be approved or not is the consideration by the Government to a report by HMIe on the proposal. For some reason, the HMIe report has taken more time than I envisaged or hoped. I have now had an assurance from HMIe that that report has now been forwarded to the Scottish Government. With somewhat bated breath I look forwarded to a decision being made soon. It will also be my intention to contact the School Estates directorate to confirm that the matter will now be dealt with speedily.
Wednesday 18 November 2009
As reported in tonight's Evening Telegraph, Christmas Week will be launched at 10am this Saturday (21st November) in Dundee West Church’s Community Facilities (132 Perth Road but enter at top of Roseangle) where a West End Community Fayre is taking place.
Many local organisations are participating and all local residents are invited to attend. Entrance is entirely free of charge and it will be a great way for local people to learn about all the organisations in the West End that are working for the area.
At 10.30am, the Primary One children of Ancrum Road Primary, Park Place Primary, St Joseph’s Primary and Blackness Primary Schools will take part in a massive balloon launch at nearby Seabraes. The balloon launch will be led by local singer Chris Sinclair.
Opening the West End Christmas Week with a community fayre is a new innovation for Christmas Week and it is great that no less than 18 organisations are participating. We’d urge local residents to come along to see all that’s happening in the West End of the city!
Today we announced the winner of the P7s' Fireworks Safety sticker colouring competition - so - congratulations to Steven from Ancrum Road Primary School, whose winning entry is below! There are class winners for all seven P7 classes across Ancrum Road, Blackness, Park Place and St Joseph's Primary Schools who are all getting books vouchers (with grateful thanks to Borders Books) and Steven will also get a studio tour of the Wave 102 studios to see a live radio station in action and meet the presenters!
Today's Queen's Speech was nothing more than a fantasy speech from a government that has run out of road in a Parliament that has lost people's trust. This Queen's Speech won't give people the help and jobs they need in this recession. It won't solve our economic problems and it won't fix our rotten politics.
Instead of pointless pageantry and empty promises of Bills that will never make it onto the statute book, the Liberal Democrats would have implemented an emergency programme of political reform. A programme which would change our politics for good by bringing in the power of recall to give people the right to sack errant MPs, reforming of the House of Lords and party funding, and introducing fixed-term parliaments and fair votes.
Today was a missed opportunity, proving beyond any doubt that this tired Labour Government just isn't prepared to clean up our politics. It is clearer than ever that ours is the only party that is prepared to do that, and to bring real change to Britain.
Nick Clegg MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
The concerns about street lighting policy I highlighted yesterday on www.dundeewestend.com were further reported in today's Courier (see http://tinyurl.com/lightspolicy or click on headline above to view) and if you press play on the above Blogger Upload you can hear my comments on Radio Tay News today too.
Tuesday 17 November 2009
Wrap It Up! : Saturday 5th December
Given the quote by the BBC in last night's Tele :
"A spokeswoman for the BBC in Scotland said there was not a transmitter problem, but she was unable to shed any more light on the cause of the interference"
it was interesting to hear from a constituent who lives just south of Perth Road and who, having phoned the BBC was told there were engineering works on the transmitter taking place!
I have asked Digital UK if the transmitter owners (Arqiva) has further planned engineering works linked to the digital switchover. It is important that Arqiva properly advises of engineering works before these take place, in the run-up to the digital switchover next summer.
This is a city wide problem, where it has very clear that the policy of non-replacement of street lighting where a vehicle damages a lamp standard and the cost of repair cannot be recovered from the driver, is simply not working.
It is simply not good enough for the SNP City Development Convener to claim that the policy was adopted during the previous administration because the budget was passed unanimously and all aspects were discussed in an all-party setting.
This report has taken an age to come to fruition and for the SNP Convener to say he has only become aware of the issue in the past two months is incredible - the concern had been raised with senior officials months ago. I made clear to the Chief Executive that it was vitally important that this matter was resolved before the clocks changed to GMT as this clock change would exacerbate the problem, but the SNP administration appears to be asleep on the job.
The residents in Seafield Road have been incredibly patient but it is about time the City Council acted to resolve the matter.
Monday 16 November 2009
The ninth West End Christmas Week will be launched at 10am next Saturday (21st November) in Dundee West Church’s Community Facilities (enter at top of Roseangle) where a West End Community Fayre is taking place.
Many local organisations are participating and all residents are invited to attend. Entrance is entirely free of charge and it will be a great way to learn about all the organisations in the West End that are working for our local area.
At 10.30am, the Primary One children of Ancrum Road Primary, Park Place Primary, St Joseph’s Primary and Blackness Primary Schools will take part in a massive balloon launch at nearby Seabraes. The balloon launch will be led by local singer Chris Sinclair and the pupil whose balloon travels furthest will win a children’s party for up to 20 friends, courtesy of Barnetts Motor Group!
A week on Tuesday (24th November), this year’s West End Christmas Concert takes place at Dundee West Church at 6pm. All local residents are very welcome to attend.
There will be musical contributions from local primary and secondary schools plus a guest appearance from pupils of Menzieshill High School, and we are also delighted to welcome leading Scottish traditional singer Sheena Wellington. At 7pm, the West End Christmas Lights will be switched on at Seabraes by Lord Provost John Letford, Ken Macleod of Tay AM and Betty Bampot & Penny Pilic from the Downfield Musical Society Panto!
Sunday 15 November 2009
Here in Scotland, we have a small collective of bloggers (if 'collective' isn't too soviet sounding for a LibDem!) who take turns to write articles for LibDem Voice under the title "Haggis Neeps and Liberalism." As 15th November is my latest turn, you can read my article by going to http://tinyurl.com/haggisneeps or by clicking on the headline above.
I note the Sunday papers are making clear that, far from winning 20 Westminster seats at the General Election, the SNP is on target to drop two seats from 7 to 5, with the loss of their Glasgow East by-election gain and Dundee East. The Sunday Herald points out that "The Dundee Three" (Joe FitzPatrick MSP, Stewart Hosie MP and Cllr Willie Sawers) were brought in to oversee the SNP campaign in Glasgow North East. I suspect that they now have something rather more to worry about and rather closer to home.
As the Friends advise :
"The 2010 Calendar is a convenient desk size, and is ideal for posting to family and friends further afield at Christmas time. Or for "first footing" nearer to home.
We are indebted to the combined efforts of Friends who have donated their photographs via the internet site, Flickr, and to Wendy Maltman for her design work."
The calendar is on sale at the Garden Visitor Centre, cafe and via the University of Dundee online shop - http://tinyurl.com/botanic2010.
It appears that a track was excavated some time ago on the public roadway, adjacent to the Seabraes car park.
Saturday 14 November 2009
"The Road Maintenance Partnership has replaced 4 gullies in Thomson Street with new covers, frames and pots. The pots have a water trap design similar to a domestic lavatory and rely on a water seal to prevent sewer gases escaping from the gully grating.