Saturday, July 31, 2010

Campaigning day!

Not only have we got the imminent By-Election in the Liberton/Gilmerton Ward ...

... but the re-elect Sarah Boyack campaign is already in full swing! Spent quite a bit of time in Dalry today delivering materials to eager, local residents.

May 2010; May 2011; May 2012 ... constant campaigning is simply the order of the day ;-)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Neighbourhood Partnership event

Attended a Neighbourhood Partnership event this morning - focusing on the role of the various Sub-Groups (I currently Chair the Transport&Environment one for South West) and how 'Partner Organisations' can take a more involved role in their work ...

... good discussions - hope that some more positive engagement (at the Sub-Group level) will now come out of it!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Over development?

As many local residents in Shandon will know, a proposed development near the Colony Buildings (off of Slateford Road) has generated a huge number of objections ... and yet, despite the volume of disapproval, the application was presented at Committee yesterday for approval?

Well, I'm pleased to say that Committee Members agreed to a site visit - which puts off the final decision for a few weeks and ensures the relevant Councillors will actually go an look at the site!

There did also seem to be a fair degree of sympathy, at the Committee discussion, with the main points of objection - so here's hoping that some common sense will prevail and this application will eventually be rejected as over development ...

... for me, that's exactly what it is.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back to work; elections and referendums

Down in London yesterday for ERS meetings in the afternoon; and back into the (Edinburgh) City Chambers later this morning to the undoubted mass of paperwork - can hardly wait!

All eyes now on May 5th 2011 - for both the referendum and the Holyrood elections ...

... of course, a very important local matter does come first on Thursday 9th September 2010 with the by-election for the Liberton/Gilmerton Ward now confirmed :-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Allotment bumper-harvest

After that nomination meeting earlier this afternoon, we desperately needed some rest & recuperation ...

... so headed straight off down to the allotment :-)

Obviously, first time we'd all been there for several weeks and we subsequently picked an absolute bumper-harvest of vegetables and fruit, the bulk of which was made up of:

  • masses of potatoes
  • huge amount of broad beans
  • some small beetroot
  • a few red-onions
  • bundles of spinach
  • peas
  • blackcurrants
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • and courgettes - including a "Champion courgette" which you can see at the end of this picture!

And that wasn't the half of what we could have gathered - much more to follow, I'm sure :-)

Labour Leadership nomination

First Sunday afternoon after a fortnight away - and the first meeting I have to attend is a constituency nomination event for the Labour Leadership ...

... talk about getting straight back to reality ;-)

More seriously, pretty good turnout considering it was a sunny Sunday afternoon in July, and a very healthy debate around the qualities of the 5 Leadership candidates.

David Miliband, I'm pleased to say, won the eventual nomination (for Edinburgh South West constituency Labour Party) but it was a closely fought contest between the top three candidates - the two Milibands and Andy Burnham.

Supporting nominations close tomorrow and you should be able to see the final results here ...

... ultimate result/vote not announced until Conference in September of course!

Back in Edinburgh

Back from the South West of England ...

- first week spent in Bristol, with the undoubted highlight (for junior!) being the animation exhibition within the @Bristol centre;
- second week in rural Dorset, where we did manage a few visits to the coast and even a swim off the coast at Charnmouth!

Very relaxing fortnight.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Temporary halt in transmission :-(

That's it - as threatened, there now follows a short break in transmission whilst I re-charge my batteries for the challenges ahead in the next 12-months ;-)

No foreign climes for us this year ... just heading down South to Bristol city for a bit and then on to rural Dorset.

I will resume normal blogging service as soon as practicable!

Rudderless OBR

This morning's Financial Times is reporting yet further evidence of serious problems at the supposed Office for Budget Responsibility ...

... rumours abound that the real sign on their office door is the one above ;-)

More seriously, for all the claims of 'independence' it is fast becoming apparent that the OBR is nothing but a puppet of its political masters - those at the top of the organisation have realised it all too quickly and are clearly heading for the exit door before it all comes crashing down.

Rudderless about sums it up.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

It's Holland for me ...

Country of my father and my upbringing didn't even get there; country of my mother and my wife got thrashed in the last 16; and now the country of my birth gets knocked out in the semi-final :-(

... 2014 World Cup just has to be better: surely?

Anyhow - I'm backing Holland on Sunday, which is probably the kiss-of-death to any slim chance they may have had ;-)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Council recess begins

Not many formal Council Meetings for the next few weeks ... still have a week to go before my annual-leave though and the usual mad-rush to completely clear everything has begun :-(

I'll blog up until the weekend, but do intend to take a bit of a blogging break thereafter.

It's been a very busy 12-months and I'm definitely in need of a rest before the 2010/11 political year gets going - a year that I sense could be every bit as hectic as the last!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

London weekend ...

Apologies for the slight lack of posting over the weekend ... down in London from Saturday through to Monday night and weather was just too good to sit at a keyboard ;-)

... more seriously; spent a bit of time with the in-laws over Saturday/Sunday, and then a series of ERS meetings throughout Monday afternoon, before travelling back up to a much cooler Edinburgh.

Given the confirmation that the AV-referendum will definitely be the 5th May 2011 it looks like the next 10-months will continue to be very, very busy for everyone at the Electoral Reform Society.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Thursday May 5th 2011 it is ...

No, not for the next Scottish Parliament elections (well, they are also on that date!) ...

... but Thursday May 5th 2011 looks nigh-on certain to be the date for the referendum on a fairer voting system that was promised in the recent Coalition Agreement.

For those anoraks out there - further details of what it could all mean, can be found here ;-)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Not one single brick!

For sheer political bravado (if not, outright comedy value) you really must have a look at this News Release from the Scottish Government re-released today - here.

Please note that not one single brick of the promised 35 schools is yet laid and that not one single school will be open before the Holyrood elections in May 2011.

Who would have thought it??

And - I just can't resist the contrast with previous recent years ... I posted only a few weeks ago about this here; but just for completeness, here's the full list of projects actually delivered:

Education Major Capital Projects

New Schools delivered under PPPI and PPP2 projects

12 new primary schools
  • Bonaly
  • Broomhouse
  • Castleview
  • Craigour Park
  • Craigroyston
  • Forthview
  • Juniper Green
  • Oxgangs
  • Pirniehall
  • St David’s
  • St Joseph’s
  • St Peter’s

8 new secondary schools

  • Broughton
  • Craigmount
  • Craigroyston
  • Forrester’s
  • Gracemount
  • HolyRood
  • St Augustine’s
  • Tynecastle

3 re-furbished secondary schools

  • Drummond
  • Firrhill
  • The Royal High School

1 new joint PE/community facility

  • Forrester’s/St Augustine’s

2 new special schools

  • Braidburn
  • Rowanfield

1 new community centre

  • Goodtrees

1 new secure unit

  • Howdenhall

City of Edinburgh Council Capital Investment Programme Projects

1 new secondary school

  • St Thomas of Aquin’s

2 new primary schools (provided by partner PARC)

  • Niddrie Mill
  • St Francis

4 new special schools

  • Gorgie Mills
  • Oaklands
  • Redhall
  • Woodlands

3 new community centres

  • Cameron House
  • Carrickvale
  • Valley Park

1 new early years facility

  • Cowgate Under 5’s

3 upgraded primary schools with significant extensions

  • Canal View
  • Currie
  • Pentland

1 new Games Hall

  • Currie High School

Extensions at 3 primary schools

  • Blackhall (Two storey 8 class extension)
  • East Craigs (Single storey 6 class extension and re-configuration of existing
    class spaces
  • Flora Stevenson (new Music Unit, Gym and changing, Dining Hall and
    cooking kitchen)

1 upgraded community centre

  • Nelson Hall

1 partly upgraded special school

  • Kaimes

9 Nursery class units at Primary Schools

  • Buckstone
  • Canal View
  • Clermiston
  • Dean Park (now used as primary classrooms)
  • East Craigs
  • Dalmeny
  • Echline
  • Flora Stevenson
  • Gracemount
  • Roseburn

5 new nursery classes/adapting space in primary school footprint

  • Craiglockhart
  • Ferryhill
  • Hillwood
  • Lorne
  • Tollcross

Now - that is a record to be proud of ... thousands and thousands of lives have been positively affected by these capital programmes.

To be blunt - nobody's life has been positively affected by similar capital programmes since, with the honourable exception of Saughton Skateboard Park ...

... oh - and Colinton Toilets :-((