Sunday, May 31, 2009

Strawberrybank

I am advised by Dundee City Council that traffic will be prohibited on Strawberrybank (from Perth Road to approximately 50 metres south) from Wednesday (3rd June) for a maximum of 2 days.

This is because of Scottish Water reinstatement works.

Pedestrians will have access, as usual.

If you have any queries please call the City Council on 433168.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dundee Art Society

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of opening Dundee Art Society's summer exhibition and presenting the Roseangle Cup and other awards in its schools' competition and its McCartney Awards.

The photographs below are the presentations to Rachel Cameron of Craigie High School, winner of the Roseangle Cup and to Harry McGregor, well-known West End-based artist, one of the McCartney Award winners. Harry is very kindly undertaking the official opening of the West End Fun Day on Magdalen Green on 13th June - more on that during the forthcoming week!

SNP failure over schools capital funding

In yesterday's 'Courier', having been challenged about the failure of the SNP to deliver an alternative to PPP capital funding that would allow for further schools improvements in Dundee, the SNP Education Convener, Cllr Liz Fordyce, made the extraordinary claim that the new primary schools building brought forward by the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat council administration after 2007 was possible because of “flexibility” in council capital budgets permitted by the SNP government.

Unfortunately for the SNP
administration, this claim has absolutely no basis in fact.

Because of the failure of Alex Salmond’s government to bring forward a viable alternative to PPP funding, schools building new-starts have greatly slowed across Scotland since 2007 as the only avenue currently open to local authorities is the prudential funding model (plus capital receipts if available). The prudential funding model, the replacement for the former Section 94 capital borrowing consents, was brought in by the previous Labour and Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive and has the square root of nothing to do with the SNP.

Pressure is building upon the SNP administration to explain when the alternative to PPP funding is going to become available. Cllr Fordyce, within days of becoming Education Convener said she would be meeting the schools minister to press Dundee’s case for more funding.

The council leader thereafter conceded that there would be a further cross-party meeting of council group leaders with Ministers on the issue. Since then, we have seen total silence on the issue from the SNP. Perhaps Mrs Fordyce would like to explain the success or otherwise of her meeting with Ministers and give us an indication as to when the cross-party meeting with Ministers will take place?

This is too important an issue for Dundee for the SNP to be dragging their heels. If we are to continue the schools improvements programme in Dundee and build more high quality schools fit for 21st century teaching (like Claypotts Castle Primary School - right), the SNP government and the administration in Dundee has to get the act together – the so-called “Scottish Futures Trust” has to become real. The SNP has thus far replaced PPP with nothing and this is holding up making further improvements to the school estate in Dundee.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Update for the past week ...

The past week has been extremely busy with West End issues. Here's an update on some of the issues covered :

Thursday 21st : A useful meeting with the Director of Leisure and Communities over allotments issues.

I was concerned to receive concerns from residents about vandalism to the mini-recycling centre in Cleghorn Street - see right. It had been set alight and, in response to my e-mail raising the concern with the City Council's Waste Strategy Officer responded,

"It is quite a cause for concern - the paper bin was only recently re-introduced at this site following it's removal some time ago (after a similar act of vandalism)."

Steps were taken to have the unit removed to look at the viability of its refurbishment and I have been assured that I will be updated on developments.

A number of residents have said they wouldn't like to lose the facility, so have made clear to the Waste Management Department that if it has concerns about putting the it back at the original location, I'd be grateful if an alternative local site could be found for the people in the area.


Friday 22nd : Near to the Cleghorn Street site, in the bushes area in Black Street, I had received complaints about the extent of rubbish lying about. I had a visit to see the extenmt of it (see left) and have brought this to the attention of the Economic Development Department of the City Council who own the area of and around the former play park in Black Street.

Wednesday 27th : A meeting with the new Police Inspector for the West End area. Following the police section boundary changes, the whole of the West End Ward is now part of the same police section, based at the Lochee Police Office, but with the sub-station at Ryehill. A good meeting and a useful chat about local issues.

Later that day, I attended a meeting of the Harris Academy Parent Council. The City Council's recently appointed Head of Secondary Education was in attendance and answered questions on a variety of matters of concern to the Parent Council.

Thursday 28th : Along with Tayside Fire and Rescue and City Council staff and colleague, I attended a site visit to the burnt out derelict garage in Benvie Road. Click on the headline to view my earlier article about concerns here, following last month's fire.

Later that day, I also attended a meeting of the West End Local Community Planning Partnership and, amongst the matters discussed and agreed, was a plan of action to tackle the very real concerns about safety at the Benvie Road derelict garage. There was also a very useful update on West End youth issues.

Change politics for good

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, May 28, 2009

Sheila Roy

As regular visitors will have noted, this site has been silent over the past few days, as a mark of respect to Sheila Roy, who sadly died at the end of last week.

Sheila was a leading light in so much of the community activity of the West End - the Community Council and Friends of Magdalen Green in particular. Sheila got things done; for the West End and for the charities she supported. Only last month, she abseiled from the Forth Bridge, in aid of Alzheimer Scotland.


The photo (right) is of Sheila and me last year at the Blackness Library 100th birthday celebrations. The lovely afternoon at her 70th birthday party last year will always remain with me. I will so miss but never forget Sheila; she had been a good - a very good - friend.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Because of very sad news about a bereavement, this site will be silent for a few days.

Friday, May 22, 2009

MPs' expenses

An e-mail today from Baroness Ros Scott, Liberal Democrat Party President :

Dear Fraser,

Earlier this week the Federal Executive met. A discussion on expenses was at the top of our agenda. Nick Clegg and I proposed a series of hard hitting points on expenses that were fully discussed and agreed by the committee. Given the importance of this issue I felt it was important that all members are made aware of the action we are taking.

In summary we agreed that:

1. There will be a code of conduct binding on Liberal Democrat parliamentarians and candidates.

2. All Liberal Democrat MPs will support the proposals from Sir Christopher Kelly's review of MPs' expenses. There will be no picking and choosing of which of his recommendations to support.

3. Our leader and Chief Whip in the House of Lords will undertake a thorough review of expenses and allowances in the House of Lords.

4. We will end the self-regulation of Parliament.

5. Any Liberal Democrat MP found to have committed serious wrongdoing will have the whip withdrawn and be referred by the party to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

This is in addition to the very rigorous internal disciplinary procedures that already exist within our parliamentary parties, overseen by the Chief Whips.

It is very clear that on this issue, as on that of the Speaker and the Gurkhas, our party is the one taking the lead on calling for the radical overhaul our political system needs.

Best wishes,

Ros Scott
President of the Liberal Democrats

You can read my party's Federal Executive's statement in full by clicking on the headline above.

Clearly, the media attention on expenses is now turning to councillors - the City Council's Chief Executive yesterday advised Dundee City Councillors that there were already two Freedom of Information requests from journalists seeking details of Dundee councillors' expenses. As I have previously indicated, mine have totalled nil since my election in 2001, so a rather boring story there ...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Riverside Drive temporary closure

Over the past few days, I have complaints from the Roseangle area about the effect of the temporary closure on Riverside Drive on the amount of traffic in this fairly narrow street during the road closure. I had feedback from residents tonight that the street is quieter, although the closure is only from 9pm.

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, May 20, 2009

Postal deliveries problem

Having had a number of complaints from residents in parts of Perth Road and at Vernonholme about the quality of mail deliveries recently, I have had discussions with the Royal Mail's Dundee West Sorting Office about the matter.

The complaint was about mail not arriving on time and in discussion with Royal Mail it was accepted that the recently altered postal delivery walks were causing difficulties (too long, resulting in late delivery). I am pleased to say that, with effect from this Monday, the old walk arrangements for the area were reintroduced.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Civil Service Jobs

The Courier (on Saturday and again yesterday) highlighted the lack of progress towards getting more civil service jobs into Dundee, despite SNP promises made in opposition to achieve this.

The articles come in the wake of figures revealed in the answer to a parliamentary question made by Alison McInnes, Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Scotland, which show that just 1.17% of Scottish Government’s core workforce is Dundee-based – just 95 posts compared to 4736 in Edinburgh and 1603 in Glasgow.

Commenting on the figures she obtained from Finance Secretary John Swinney, Alison said, “Before the last election the SNP were very vocal about their plans to relocate civil service jobs away from Edinburgh. But it has been two years since they came to power, and yet they are still unable to produce any evidence of success. It is about time the people of Dundee saw some real action from the SNP Government rather than vague promises for the future.”

The City Council Leader's reaction to concerns about the matter and regarding his nebulous answers on the issue were unfortunate and highlighted the administration’s nervousness about the SNP being subject to any scrutiny of the issue of bringing civil service jobs to the city.

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, May 18, 2009

Westfield Place

I am advised by the City Council that with effect from tomorrow (Tuesday 19th May), Westfield Place will be closed to through traffic at its junction with Perth Road because of emergency demolition works.

This will last for a maximum of 5 working days and the one-way system here will be revoked during the works.

Any resident with a query regarding this should contact the City Council on 433168.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

West End May Updates

It has been a hectic past couple of weeks – here’s a brief overview of matters I have not already fully covered:

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
amended)
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.

Eurovision Winner 2009

Alexander Rybak from Norway was a worthy winner; UK did reasonably well for a change. I rather liked the Malta entry.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hunter Street - car parking

As reported in today's "Courier", I am pleased with progress thus far with the proposed new multi-storey car park in Hunter Street, in place of the existing surface car parking facilities.

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, May 15, 2009

Last of the Eurovision videos!

Final tomorrow - and here's the last of my Eurovision updates - from 1971 - Monaco's winning song.

MPs' expenses - A Musical Guide

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.

**********************************************************************

Dear Fraser

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.

Best wishes,

Ros Scott
Liberal Democrat President

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Milk and Honey - Halleljuah - גלי עטרי

As we head towards Eurovision 2009, here's another classic Eurovision from 1979.

Wave 102 News - on the City Council's Scrutiny Committee

I spoke on Wave 102's news today, supporting calls for the drugs misuse issue - and council policy to assist tackling the issue - to be a top priority for the City Council's new Scrutiny Committee. I was also interviewed about my concerns as to how the SNP administration has failed to listen to opposition concerns about the way the committee has been set up.

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.
video

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to Eurovision! Teach-In : Ding-A-Dong

1975 winners Teach-In, from the Netherlands, sang "Ding-A-Dong" - but, in my view, the Dutch language version "DingeDong" is better!

Conversations with Nick Clegg - Part 2

Tonight's LibDem broadcast with Nick Clegg

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Full update to follow ...

Not long back from a lengthy but very useful West End Community Council meeting. Discussions included the West End schools issue, recycling and Fibrecity. A lengthy series of city council meetings last night too - particularly in respect of the schools issue.

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, May 11, 2009

West Marketgait

The City Council has today advised councillors that Scotland Gas Networks has issued details of the forthcoming West Marketgait gas main replacement works, starting on Monday 18 May – the work will last for 10 weeks.

Although there are no road closures planned, there will be one lane, out of two, closed in each direction or a contraflow system during the works.

The Council advises that :

“… delays are expected during peak times (possibly some at lunch time) especially for the first few days, after which some drivers usually adjust their travelling times or find alternative routes during peak times.


“All traffic lights on Inner Ring Road will be closely controlled from our CCTV/Urban Traffic Control room in Tayside House during the week and weekends as necessary to minimise delays.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 2009 West End Community Council Update

I have today launched my May 2009 update to West End Community Council.

Issues covered include :

• Riverside Drive - Homebase site

• Wheelie Bins

• Wimberley

• Bollards at Taylor's Lane

• Seagulls

• Hotel planning application

• Proposed Riverside Nature Park

• HMO Policy

• Richmond Terrace

The Community Council meets next Tuesday (12th May) at 7pm in Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall.

You can download the Community Council Update by clicking on the headline above.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Greg Pritchard - Nessun Dorma

Britain's Got Talent 2009 tonight - wasn't he really good - but I'm still voting for Susan Boyle!

Tavish TV - Supporting local businesses

Tavish Scott was in our neighbouring constituency in NE Fife last week, speaking with local businesses.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Conversations with Nick Clegg - Part 1

A sneak preview of Nick Clegg's latest party political broadcast for the Liberal Democrats

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ne partez pas sans moi - Celine Dion

Eurovision 1988 - awful outfit; good song!

'Signs of Spring' Event





A super event, taking place on Sunday 17th May ... click on headline above to read more!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Marie Myriam 1977

Back to the good stuff! Marie Myriam won with "L'oiseau et l'enfant" (for France) in 1977; this is her singing it years later and I think it is really superb.

'Aldri i livet' by Finn Kalvik

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!

Temporary Traffic Order - Riverside Drive

Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating carriageway resurfacing works. The Order is expected to be in force on the following dates and time. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

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, May 05, 2009

On Radio Tay News - bins collection issue

I was on Radio Tay News yesterday regarding the bins collections issue in the city ...

video

Monday, May 04, 2009

Bins collections

The "Evening Telegraph" featured this issue tonight, including my concerns about this, concerning collections in the West End. Click on headline to view.

Friends of Magdalen Green - this year's photograph competition!

Following the successful photo competition to create the 2009 Friends of Magdalen Green Calendar, there's another competition this year for the 2010 Calendar.

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, May 03, 2009

Action on West End weeds problems

I very much welcome changes to the City Council’s roads weeds spraying problem and I hope these will ensure no repetition of the large volume of complaints in the West End last year.

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.”


The early attention this year to last year’s problem areas is to be welcomed, as is the use of more effective weed killers. I certainly hope that there will therefore not be the extent of problems we saw in 2008, but in the months ahead, I will welcome any feedback from West End residents on any problem areas.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

La Det Swinge Closing Eurovision Performance

Bobbysocks won the Eurovision Song Contest 1985 with the song La det swinge ("Let it swing").

Second favourite!

Tavish TV - This week at FMQs - SNP education sums don't add up

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.

Dundee West Labour MP’s u-turn on Gurkhas

It was good to see the Labour Westminster Government suffering a symbolic defeat this week when MPs voted by 267 to 246 on a Liberal Democrat motion to give all Gurkha soldiers equal right of residence in Britain.

As Nick Clegg said afterwards, "This is a historic victory for the Gurkhas who have served our country so bravely."

Nick highlighted that "this Government has now lost its moral authority. From the first moment I challenged Gordon Brown on this over a year ago, he didn't understand that there was a simple moral principle at stake."

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, May 01, 2009

Eurovision 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

Graffiti removal requested

I have recently had lots of graffiti complaints and the mess on the rail bridge pillars on Riverside Drive and surrounding area in the ownership of Network Rail is a prime example of this.

I have this week been in touch with Network Rail requesting a graffiti clean up.