Friday, July 31, 2009

'ASDA Chesser' advice-surgery later today

Undertaking a 'local advice-surgery' in the ASDA Chesser store (on Chesser Avenue) later today, with my colleague Sarah Boyack MSP ...

... 3.30pm-4.30pm, if you want to turn up and raise any relevant Holyrood/Council issues with us?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Administration politician un-resigns??

This (late) Policy and Strategy Committee report says all there is to say about the current Council Administration's attitude to local democracy ...

... it should just be entitled "covering your a**e"

Absolutely shocking.

Dignity in dying

I know many, many people have strong opinions on the issue of assisted-suicide; but for me I'm pleased to see the House of Lords judgement going Debbie Purdy's way this afternoon ...

... the current legal position simply wasn't sustainable, especially now that over 100 British families have journeyed to Switzerland to be with their relatives who have (legally in Switzerland) decided to end their lives.

Personally, I think today's judgement will have much wider implications than the effect it will have on those travelling abroad to 'Dignitas' --- and just days (literally) after the RCN's change of view, it does seem to me that opinions in the UK are making a significant shift.

I welcome that.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Admission of failure

Quite incredible development in the now month-long bins dispute this evening --- have a read at this story on the BBC web-site; and can I draw particular attention to the Council Leader's final sentence:

"It is essential that they understand that we have plans to avoid the substantial reductions in pay that are being reported in the media."

The work-to-rule by some Council Staff started on Thursday 25th June and yet today (Wednesday 29th July) the Council Leader states that it's essential the Unions understand what's being offered to them - quite unbelievable!

Frankly, it is a plain admission of failed leadership - just what has the Council Administration being doing for the last month if they now accept that the Unions may not fully understand what's on offer?

I've now been saying it for weeks - the Council Leader needs to get a grip of this situation and ensure what should have happened over a month ago - that all the Unions, and Council employees, fully understand what's on offer. It's not rocket-science.

I do hope she now ensures that happens and the dispute is settled.

But when it is, and it will be eventually, it will be clear that Edinburgh residents have suffered over a month of completely unnecessary disruption.

Fancy that; a pigeon?

Forgot to mention that when I returned from my evening meeting last night, a pigeon was on my doorstep (literally!) ...

... now, I'm somewhat weary of pigeons due to previous experiences - but upon inspection it was obvious this was a high-class, homing-bird: had a couple of rings on its feet and a very clear telephone number to call was on one of them.

My better-half made the call - she was connected to somewhere in South Ayrshire (I'm not making this up!) and the owner was delighted to hear the bird was alive and well - they had a relative in Currie, who duly came and picked up the pigeon which had apparently been lost since a race on Saturday past. The owner from South Ayrshire was then going to drive up to Currie to collect the bird.

Junior enjoyed making the required pigeon-box, fitted with air-holes for the pigeon's journey home!

Every word true - I'm a politician after all ;-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Craiglockhart Community Council

Craiglockhart Community Council meeting this evening ... was pleased to hear that Lara Greene’s Running Man has been chosen as the sculpture to be installed at Happy Valley ...

... not that I had any significant preference of course ;-)

More seriously, the Community Council do now have a considerable amount of work to get planning permission, and finance!, in place to make the project a reality.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rubbish first day back at work

Just finished an early morning interview for Good Morning Scotland on the ongoing bin-dispute ...

... it was live on Iona Street, just off Easter Road, and it has to be said that the street is a complete and total mess: every single container is badly overflowing and rubbish is simply strewn all over the pavement and the road-side. It looks disgraceful and local residents there must be furious to see their streets in such an unnecessary state.

Why-on-earth did the current Council Administration bring these modernising pay discussions to a head right before the summer period: its the worst possible time for residents, the worst possible time for visitors, the worst possible time for Edinburgh?

And why-on-earth did they issue letters (now several weeks ago) to affected employees stating what their new pay rates and grades would be when they claim they are still willing to negotiate with the Trade Unions??

Is it any wonder that residents are so angry and that the Unions have lost trust in their employer ... and it's all been totally avoidable :-(

It is a totally unnecessary state of affairs, and as I said nearly a month ago now, the Lib-Dem/SNP Administration need to give this some serious attention and get it sorted quickly. They need to stop wasting their time putting videos up on the Council web-site saying how wonderful Edinburgh is in August and instead concentrate on instructing a solution to this problem.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vote for a Change?

Very interesting piece in the Sunday Observer this morning ... maybe, just maybe, that referendum might actually happen?

The Observer's own editorial opinion on the detail is also worth reading - here ...

... and for those interested; up-to-date information on the campaign itself can be found here, and some more general background information here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Norwich North

Shouldn't avoid a brief comment on another very bad by-election for Labour ...

... and it is unquestionably a pretty poor result :-(

But, as I've said before, just about the worst possible reaction would be for the Labour Party to turn inwards on itself ... I do remain certain neither William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith nor Michael Howard would recommend such a course of action?

Crocs bust

I hate to sound smug, but I did always know those plastic shoes were a short-term wonder ... just have a look at this Daily Mail story from last week ;-)

... and, if it's in the Daily Mail, it simply must be true.

Allotment colour - and harvest!

Spent most of this afternoon down at the Allotment - a full three weeks since the last visit, so plenty of catching up ... it's evidently been pretty wet in Edinburgh as the grass cutting was a particular chore :-(

... but, as you can see, everything is a glorious blaze of colour mind you :-)

And we now have our first significant crops harvested --- lots and lots of onions, potatoes, broad beans, peas and garlic!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bins still overflowing?

Noticed as soon as we returned to Edinburgh that the bin-dispute seems to rumble on and on ... not far off a month now since this all flared up, and there appears to be no progress whatsoever in resolving the situation?

Whoever planned bringing this all to a head just before the main summer period really needs to have a long-hard think about their tactics ... mind you, it's ultimately the politicians in charge who are responsible for the timing of what's happened!

Back in Edinburgh

Back home in Edinburgh after a restful few weeks away ...

... for the first time in years, we actually went abroad for one of the weeks - and before you ask, yes it was all done by train - and, believe it or not, we made it all the way to Rome: have a look here to see just how simple it is ;-)

Was a real pleasure travelling thus - I know I'm biased, but really no comparison to flying and seeing nothing but the sterile interior of airports ... instead we traversed most of France, Switzerland and Italy; all in a day-and-a-half, yet with time to see and experience a lot more than from +30,000ft ...

... our second week was in the South East of England, simply doing the return journey in reverse but jumping off the Eurostar as Ashford International railway station.

Back to reality on Monday :-(

Monday, July 06, 2009

Temporary halt in transmission :-(

It's that time of year again I'm afraid - a short 'temporary halt in transmission' as I try and regain some semblance of normal family life for a few days ...

... and that includes the near-certainty of zero-blogging for a while :-(

I will though resume normal blogging service as soon as is practicable!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Gutted - was supporting Roddick earlier this afternoon in the men's Wimbledon final ... just 'how' did he lose that first tie-breaker at the end of the second set??

... he must be feeling pretty sore this evening - and I do not mean physically :-((

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Mid-life crisis?

Middle-age really must be upon me ...

... not only am I the proud tenant of an allotment; get excited about vegetables; love my allotment-pond; get excited about frogs and newts being in the pond ...

... but now, I'm even excited about our first-ever flowering water-lily ;-)

I clearly need help?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Extra computer time

Sadly, had to drag junior with me to several meetings today --- my better-half is in London for a few days :-(

... on the upside (for him!), does mean he gets to spend a considerable amount of extra time on my work computer whilst I have to attend said-meetings :-((

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Equal pay = work-to-rule?

Little local difficulty in Edinburgh at the moment with the application of the 'modernising pay' agenda --- some of the detail can be found here.

Almost nothing gets the local press into an "anti-Council" mode quicker than rubbish piling up on the streets: I'd humbly suggest that the current Council Administration pay some serious attention to getting this problem sorted as soon as possible!

Last day at Primary School

That's it - junior's Primary School days are now over ... seems just like yesterday I took him across the road for his first day at Craiglockhart back in August 2002 :-(

Well, it's Tynecastle High School next stop in August 2009!

... interesting, thinking back on those 7-years and all that has happened in-between; certainly has me wondering what significant change/s we might see before he leaves High School in another 4 or 5 years time?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Local Ward surgery at Fountainbridge Library this evening ... last one for a few weeks, as holidays are now looming ;-)

Despite the new Notebook, I'm minded to have a complete break from blogging ... but don't panic too much as there are still a few days to go :-))

Summer Service at Polwarth ...

Well, the end-of-an-era celebrations at the local school are reaching a near crescendo now!

Junior had his 'farewell service' at one of the nearby local Churches this morning - very good event, all-credit to the staff for their organisation ...

... not to mention the children, who were impeccably behaved ;-)

Disaster strikes Salsburgh!

My home village of Salsburgh was beset by major tragedy yesterday - latest updates even made it onto the BBC website!

... joking-aside: very lucky no one was on that bridge at the time.