Reevesey's recommended reading

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Aberdeen South Conservative candidate Mark Jones quits

Finally the Conservatives in Aberdeen South have realised that the general election is a two horse race between the Labour MP and Liberal Democrat John Sleigh.

Mark Jones the Conservative candidate for Aberdeen South has announced his shock resignation.

In today's Press and Journal they cover the story in full, however it has come out of the blue because his campaign manager didn't even know.
Frank Webster, who helped run Mr Jones’s campaign, was surprised when the Press and Journal told him of his decision to stand down.
 Mark Jones had stood in a variety of places in the past;
A former Tory councillor for Redbridge, he contested Paisley South for the party in the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections, and Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock in 2005, as well as the Highlands and Islands region and Shetland constituency in the 2007 elections for Holyrood.

Despite Conservative claims that Aberdeen South was a two horse race between Labour and themselves, it was reported in the Evening Express "Labour's Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg ... claimed she expected the main challenge to come from the Lib Dems."

And the figures speak for themselves, at the last general election;

Labour - 15,272
Liberal Democrats - 13,924
Conservative 7,134
SNP 4,120

So, with Mark Jones quitting, it really is between the Labour MP and John Sleigh - who is just 1,348 votes behind.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Pope Benedict wrong to describe criticism of child abuse in the Catholic Church as "petty gossip"

I have blogged about paedophiles and child abuse within the Catholic Church before, you can read it here.

So, regular readers of my little blog will be happy (or not) to see me say a small well done to the Catholic Church for finally highlighting publicly some of the work they are doing to eradicate this despicable behaviour by some of it's own clergy.

Of course it is not just the actual deed of abuse that is wrong, it is also the cover up by various people in senior positions within the Catholic Church that is as wrong.

Pope Benedict however needs to learn and understand the pure anger felt by those who have been abused, not just by those within his Church but by anyone and this weekend the Pope spoke and said not to be intimidated by critics, in a veiled reference to recent (and long term) anger at himself and the Catholic Church over sex abuse scandals.

At a mass in Rome's St Peter's Square, he said his faith would help give him the courage to deflect "petty gossip".
Pope Benedict has recently been accused of failing to act over the case of an American priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, who it is alleged to have abused around 200 deaf boys in Milwaukee.

The Pope told the tens of thousands of people gathered to hear him this weekend that God helped lead "towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion".

He also went onto say man sometimes fell to the "lowest, vulgar levels" and sunk "into the swamp of sin and dishonesty".

In my opinion, yes, I do have personal opinions the Pope has chosen his words very carefully, but cowardly.

He seems happy to deflect the criticism of child abuse within the Catholic Church as petty gossip but not to criticise those within the Church who have become, or joined as paedophiles, why is that?
The Pope has apologised to victims of abuse before and recently said sorry to them in a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics.

He said he acknowledged the sense of betrayal in the Church felt by victims and their families.
Those of dominant opinion are absolutely sickened by the continuos stream of stories of child abuse and paedophole priests within the Church (not just the Catholic Church, although mainly) that come out month after month, year after year.  Perhaps Pope Benedict should think on that before criticising the masses.

The Vatican press team do not like the continued criticism and put out rebuttal after rebuttal trying to make out the Catholic Church is holier than though.

When will the Catholic Church stop chasing headlines and just put a stop to this?  Paedophiles and child abuse in any organisation is wrong, within the Church it is actually worse as the Priests are there in a position of trust and they abuse that trust when they abuse a child!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Tories £5million donor to stand candidate against SNP MP Pete Wishart

Stuart Wheeler, who in 2001 gave £5million to the Conservative Party, and was subsequently thrown out for giving £100,000 to UKIP last year, will announce tomorrow in Westminster that he has set up a new political party that will stand just three candidates at the general election.
One in England, one in Scotland and one in Wales.

Stuart Wheeler, who will stand himself, is going to stand against Conservative MP, Greg Barker in Bexhill.

Greg Barker, the Conservative Shadow Climate Change Minister and close friend of David Cameron, was accused of pocketing £320,000 from buying and selling a flat he bought with the help of expenses.

He owned a home in Pimlico, near the Commons, for 27 months before selling it and moving back to his old address.

The new party's second candidate, accountant Douglas Taylor, will stand against SNP MP Pete Wishart in Perth.

Pete Wishart was asked to repay £1,632 in respect of a duplicate claim for flat rental and a utility bill after an investigation into his expenses.

Mr Wheeler hopes a third Trust Party candidate may stand in Wales.

Stuart Wheeler, who made a fortune from online gambling, says his new anti-expenses cheats party could field three candidates in the Election and has vowed that if elected, he will claim no expenses.

That is easy for a multi millionaire to say, obviously.

You can read the full story in the Mail on Sunday.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods in email gaffe

Have you ever regretted pressing send before doing a final check of the people you are sending that email to?

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP for Durham and her team must be wishing just that today.

According to the Live Journal, the email from Dr Blackman-Woods said she was "absolutely desperate" for leaflet deliverers.

"We're really up against it with the Lib Dems in Durham at the moment.

"They have plenty of money to put out their glossy magazines and we need to hit back.

"We may not have the money but we certainly have the spirit and now is the time to start fighting back."

It also said: "It is only a few weeks to the General Election and the Labour Party needs all of its members out in their constituencies fighting hard if we are to achieve a historic 4th term."

Carol Woods, fighting the Durham seat for the Liberal Democrats, who are in a close second place and set to win the seat received the email in question not once, but twice!

It is good to see that Carol Woods has got the MP and Labour Party running scared.

Friday, 26 March 2010

John Prescott visits Labour's Scottish phone bank

So today John Prescott is in Edinburgh trying to stem the votes before he heads to Glasgow for the Labour one day conference tomorrow.

On Prescott's blog earlier today he said he will be joining the phonebank.

Well, he has now appeared at the phonebank, obviously Labour are a wee bit short of campaign funds in Scotland!

That's just the one phone then John, hardly a bank......So Mrs. Moffat, how will you be voting?

Labour MP John Heppell to stand down

Labour MP for Nottingham East, John Heppell is to stand down at the general election expected in a matter of weeks.

John Heppell is 61 and had a majority of 6,939 at the last general election over the Liberal Democrats who were in second place ahead of the Tories.

He will hand in his notice at a party meeting later today.

John Heppell is standing down not because of expenses, but that he needed to help his wife Eileen through treatment for breast cancer.

I wish his wife a full recovery and respect to John for helping her through this very traumatic time, all the best to both of them.

Irresponsible dog owners

As I've just been stood waiting for the number 10 bus at the Western Harbour terminus I witnessed a dog owner behaving very irresponsibly!

He came across the road from the flats with his little white dog, the dog then crapped on the grass area with the owner standing between the dog and the bus stop trying to stop us seeing.

When the dog had done they then trotted over the road, the owner walked past his entrance, was loitering and then came back.

He lives at 2 Western Harbour Terrace, although I don't know what flat.

Given the volume of children who play on this piece of green space this dog owners behaviour shows he does not deserve a dog!

If you have a dog and it has a crap, claen it up!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Tory LGB group in turmoil over Cameron's catastrophic gay times interview

I have to be honest, it's taken me a while to write this because I cannot believe how naive Matthew Sephton has been.  For someone who wants to be an MP, he perhaps needs to think a little more in life.

For those who don't know, Matthew Sephton is Cameron's Conservative candidate in Salford and he is also the Chairman of the LGB Tory group.

Now, you maybe you are wondering where this is going, well remember Cameron's catastrophic interview with Gay Times and Channel 4? 

If you don't know what I am on about (you must be the only one) you can read about it here or watch it here.

Well, young Matthew Sephton has got very upset about the treatment thereafter of David Cameron, from the likes of wicked queens like myself and others, especially Ben Bradshaw MP and those on the left for attacking "Dave".

Although Matthew goes on to say "the interview broadcast wasn't his best performance", which to be perfectly honest is an understatement, it doesn't excuse his naivety for circulating this email trying to get fellow Tories to jump in and defend Cameron.

It amuses me how when you attack the Tories they organise this controlled defence rather than letting the people decide.  Same old Tories, they don't trust you to make the decisions so like Matthew is doing, you get told what to to say and where to say it!

If you want to join an LGBT group that works to make a difference then join DELGA and help the Liberal Democrats ensure that neither the Tories or Labour try and 'own' the pink vote.

From: LGBTory Chairman
Date: 24 March 2010 20:05:54 GMT
To: Matthew Sephton
Subject: CALL FOR ACTION - inaccurate reporting and hypocritical Govt Minister without facts
You will no doubt have seen the coverage by now of DC's interview with GT. It's VITAL that we fight back wherever we can comment and that as many of us do so. Below are some places to comment. If you read the first article you'll see how hypocrite Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw either LIED or had no idea on the facts (funny considering that's what he was trying to have a go at DC for!). If you want any more information to back up your words, please look at the LGBTory Twitter feed from last night and today ( or email me back and I can provide you with more indepth info about one or more of the inaccuracies or misrepresentations that weren't able to be answered.

We CANNOT allow the left to monopolise this DC set-up and we have to point out that the Conservatives have made HUGE PROGRESS on LGBT issues under his leadership. Yes, the part of the interview broadcast wasn't his best performance, but, to be honest, just a few months ago even I probably would have found it difficult to know about many of these things too as I didn't think my sexuality was relevant (AND I'M GAY!). When I realised LGBTory was needed to ensure the left can never again feel they 'own' gay votes I realised I needed to know and act more.

1, 2, 3 and 7 (ConHome) are the most important to act on. PLEASE COMMENT AND ENCOURAGE OTHER CONSERVATIVES TO DO THE SAME! DON'T LET THE LEFT WIN!





(5) and



Best wishes


Anne Moffat MP collects ill health pension as she was planning to stand down as MP

Although when you first read this news story that Anne Moffat MP had in fact planned to stand down due to ill health and had already agreed a pension on this basis you think Anne Moffat has had the last laugh over her former colleagues.

Technically she has, but it isn't her laughing just at the East Lothian Labour Party, the Scottish Labour Party or even Iain Gray MSP, she in fact is laughing at us, the taxpayers, who as well as the Scottish Labour Party she has therefore taken for a ride.

Because it is us, the taxpayer who will be funding her £30,000 per year pension.

It appears that Anne Moffat MP had intended to actually stand down due to ill health.

If that is the case, then why has she gone through multiple selection races?  Surely that actually implies no she wasn't and was therefore keeping all her options open at our expense?
She said she kept the deal secret so that her opponents in the constituency did not know she planned to step down.
One of the criteria for receiving an ill health pension from the Commons is that you can no longer perform the duties of an MP.
According to the BBC this deal was arranged "some time ago", which could mean that when Anne Moffat was hospitalised for a suspected brain haemorrhage she sorted this out then.

The ill health retirement, means she will be paid a pension which assumes she served as an MP until she was 65.

There is something not quite right with all of this;  Either Anne Moffat planned to stand down due to ill health or she planned to carry on, I would suggest that as she has until recently been actively fighting a reselection campaign and has publicly stated she intended to carry on that she therefore forefeits this pension package because of that.

I suspect that the House of Commons Authorities and their pension provider may view this in a similar light if everyone is being honest and wanting to clean up politics?

RAF Leuchars jets scrambled to intercept Russian bombers over Western Isles

It appears the Russians have been playing a bit of cat and mouse over the Western Isles.

The two Russian Tupolev TU-160 bombers were tracked by the RAF beforehand and they made no attempt to get in contact before or during their flight into British restricted airspace with British air traffic control.

As this was then classed as a perceived threat two F3 Tornado's from 111 fighter squadron based at RAF Leuchars were scrambled to intercept the Russian bombers.

Wing Cdr Mark Gorringe said on the BBC website:
"This is not an unusual incident and people may be surprised to know that our crews have successfully scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft on more than 20 occasions since the start of 2009."
 Although Wing Commander Gorringe is not surprised that the RAF have seen so much action i do question what is being done about these perceived threats?

Maybe the Russians are looking for more football clubs to buy, or perhaps there is far more in this than meets the eye?

Given the high level of civilian aircraft that fly to the US from the north of Scotland, having these flights by the Russians where no contact is made or communication attempted could also be seen as highly irresponsible.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Conservative election campaign is too complicated admit the Conservatives

It appears that the Conservatives own election campaign, including Oliver Letwin's policy pyramid has left many of their MPs and candidates confused.  Poor loves.

Over at The Times Online;
MPs and candidates were left baffled after being told at a private meeting to campaign on a combination of one slogan, three promises and six pledges.
To be perfectly honest I am astounded they managed to get this far, so Cameron's Conservatives are campaigning on one slogan, three promises and six pledges - but no policies?

Isn't that what Nick Clegg has been saying about the Conservatives for some time now?

In fact so confused are their candidates and MPs that two of the Conservative MPs after the meeting said about their party's policy;
that they would “make it up on the doorstep”
Given this announcement I wondered if any of their candidates had actually noticed there was indeed instructions from the high command, I mean, take John Lamont MSP in the Scottish Borders, he is quite obviously ignorning the wishes of David Cameron himself as he campaigns for one job in Westminster while already holding one in Holyrood.

It is hardly an inspriring thought is it, two jobs Lamont, when many people in the Scottish Borders don't have any job at all given the awful predicament they find themselves in during the recession.

The dual mandate aspect is a key issue in Scotland and MSPs from both Labour and the Conservatives, including John Lamont are just going ahead on their ego trips, ignoring the wishes of their leaders who claim they want to clean up politics but their candidates are ignoring them and instead are just thinking of themselves, typical Tories.
Senior officials inside Conservative headquarters said that the Campaign Guide, the detailed policy and attack manual for candidates, was unnecessarily complicated.
Unnecessarily complicated so much that candidates ignore it because they don't in fact understand it?

John Lamont has form for ignoring Conservative high command, take the photo below, taken at their Manchester Conference, when the great Eric Pickles said no one should be able to take photos of the Tories supping Champagne, but John 'Bubbles' Lamont ignored him then too.

Shadow ministers have admitted that if there was a Tory victory it would not come with the same enthusiasm that Tony Blair enjoyed.
So, the Conservatives are admitting that they have no policies, they won't be campaigning on them unless it fits into the pyramid puzzle, if they win it means that Cameron won but no-one else really did and they are not as popular as Blair was when he ousted the last Conservative Government!

Yes ladies and gentlement, it is time for change, real change with real people. So, vote for the Liberal Democrats a party putting fairness at the very heart of it's election campaign and policies.

Nick Griffin claims BNP are more gay friendly but finds gays "creepy"

Over on Pink News, they are covering Iain Dale's interview with Nick Griffin for Total Politics (no it isn't an Iain Dale and Pink News love fest).

So, the new gay friendly BNP want to ban civil partnerships, only allow gay couples to adopt if the childrens homes are full and wants to ban the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

So, the BNP want to follow the Conservative lead and introduce it's own Section 28?

Nick Griffin said this of homosexuality itself;
"It's unfamiliar, it’s odd and I’m afraid it is creepy. Grown men kissing in public is creepy to most people. You don’t often see it but if you do see it, it’s not a matter of homophobia, it’s odd and you have to explain it to little kids and so on – that’s strange."

Everyone else manages to explain these things okay, you can just say they love each other, isn't that enough?
he said: "Marriage is only between a man and a women and ideally with kids."

He then went onto explain;
it was "better if two gay men are in a stable relationship rather than cottaging all over the place"

Oh Mr Griffin, if only.  Honestly, what a pathetic statement to make.
On gay adoption, he said that he would be "inclined to agree" with gay couples adopting, but only "if we reach the stage where there are so many children in children’s homes that you run out of would-be adopted ideal families".
So, that is Mr Griffin, leader of the right wing BNP party explaining how his party is gay friendly.

What a load of round shaped spheres, with brass tacks on.  Your party is as homophobic now as it ever has been.

Cameron crashes as Popplewell asks about Conservative Gay Rights record

As we near the General Election it is not only the political parties setting out their stalls to the voters of the UK, but also the Party Leaders as well setting out their pitch to be the next Prime Minister.

Let's face it for months many journalists and pundits all over the land thought David Cameron and the Conservatives had it all sown up, those of us within the political bubble perhaps thought differently, especially dependent on which party you happen to be a member of.

Well, as we know if Gordon Brown or Nick Clegg trip up or have a complete awful day or interview, Cameron's Conservatives are screaming from every blog, tweet and facebook status update within seconds.

However, when David Cameron himself does it, then they go on the proverbial attack as seen here on Iain Dale's blog. I normally have a lot of respect for Iain's musings, despite his politics and choice of football team, but on this occasion Iain has fallen into the trap that many of us are tempted to do when our leader or Party cocks up and just run for the battlements to pour boiling oil over the oncoming online attackers.

Yesterday, David Cameron was doing a joint interview, where as he was being asked questions for Gay Times as he was also being filmed by Channel Four , this is fairly commonplace now.  However, Dave just completely lost the plot and went into a serious meltdown.

The interview seemed to start well with the interviewer Martin Popplewell asking David Cameron about equality and then moving onto a key vote in the European Parliament about Lithuania introducing it's own version of Section 28.

I blogged about this very vote back in September 2009, you can read it here - Conservatives are complete hypocrites on LGBT issues as Section 28 raises its ugly head again - well Cameron just got tongue tied and although was being honest and saying I don't know about this particular vote just got himself worked up.

Now, Iain Dale said in his blog post that hardly anyone within the LGBT community knew about this vote - Pink News which is good at covering LGBT issues political and not so covered it back in September 2009, when the vote was first discussed, then December 2009 when it reared it's head again and then in February this year when the law was introduced.

Oh yes, and that small lobbying group, Amnesty International were on the case as well.  Apart from that and many thousands of people across the world Iain, no one noticed it.

Camerons team let him down yesterday, he should have been better briefed, if someone had asked me what does Nick Clegg need to know about for an interview with Gay Times, that vote would have been on my list!

Anyway, watch it for yourselves and see what you think?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Labour seek new MP for East Lothian as Anne Moffat MP's appeal fails

So, Anne Moffat MP will not be joining her colleagues back on the green benches after May 6.

Anne Moffat MP appealed to Labour's NEC following Friday's Constituency Labour Party vote to de-select her, Anne lost the vote by 130 votes to 59.  You can read more about this here or here.

We now learn that Anne Moffat's appeal has failed.

Labour will now start seeking a new candidate just weeks away from the expected General Election.

Over on the BBC website;
Ms Moffat lodged an appeal and said the process had been unfair because many of her supporters wanted a postal ballot.
Labour are not ruling out enforcing an all women shortlist in East Lothian in the race to to replace Anne Moffat, although given the average selection battle for Labour has taken four or five weeks and they only have two to three to complete this one - will there be a Labour candidate at all on the ballot paper?

Labour are all over the place here in Scotland with a number of their MPs standing down and the in-fighting in East Lothian leading to Anne Moffat MP's de-selection, it is time for change, real change that works for you.

It is time for Stuart Ritchie and the Liberal Democrats in East Lothian.

Anne Moffat MP appeals against the de-selection decision

So, Anne Moffat MP has put in her appeal against the decision taken last Frdiay by her Constituency Labour Party to de-select her as the candidate for the forthcoming General Election - yes, the one in a few weeks!

Anne Moffat lost the vote by 130 votes to 59, that to me is a real kicking and let's assume that Labour's National Executive Committee overturn the decision and reinstate Anne, doesn't that mean that (a) there will be a lot of dissatisfied and very unhappy Labour Members, and voters and (b) the next five years will just be a recurring nightmare not only for Anne Moffat but also the voters of East Lothian?

From today's Scotsman;
A Labour Party spokesman said a decision on the appeal could be made by the NEC "within a couple of days".
"Anne Moffat has indicated her intention to appeal to the NEC. The NEC will arrange to meet very quickly to consider her request".
The vote on Friday and the recent rows followed another row about her reselection back in 2008 when the constituency party was temporarily suspended.

Anne Moffat MP attracted a massive amount of criticism after claiming £40,000 in travel expenses between 2003 and 2004 - more than any other MP in the House of Commons.

I have to be honest, putting politics aside for just a moment, if you were Anne Moffat at this moment in time, what would you do?  Would you stay, or would you go?
As I have said before, with the Liberal Democrats in second place here in East Lothian is this a seat to watch at the election?

Monday, 22 March 2010

Jack McConnell MSP applies for job with Cameron's Conservatives

The Sunday Herald has a great story today - "Former First Minister McConnell in secret job talks with the Tories".  Jack McConnell has met with William Hague to discuss a job.

We know that Jack McConnell has had a few false starts on the international stage with alleged promises of jobs such as the UK Government’s next High Commissioner to Malawi by Gordon Brown that were put on ice given the awful poll ratings suffered by Labour, halting any such promotions leading to a subsequent by-election, which Labour no doubt would have gone on to lose.
Mr McConnell met senior Tories, including shadow foreign secretary William Hague, where he was approached about taking an international post in a David Cameron administration.
This is a seriously damaging story, not only does it show that MConnell thinks Labour will lose the general election across the UK but it also shows that politics for him has become all about looking after number one.

What about the constituents of Motherwell and Wishaw, who must wonder what they have done given the former First Minister seems so keen on getting a new job as far away from them as possible.
The Tories would be willing to offer Mr McConnell a paid post in government, an outcome that would allow the Labour politician to stand down as an MSP in 2011.

Offering Mr McConnell an international role would also be seen by Mr Cameron as an example of “big tent” politics, where jobs are handed to high-profile figures aligned to other political parties.
I also think this shows the sheer arrogance of Cameron's Conservatives having discussions with politicians from other parties for jobs long before they have even won the general election, they are just taking voters for granted and thinking it is their right to form the next government.

Let's have polling day first and let the people decide what they want!

Oh, and maybe Jack McConnell could decide at the same time whether in fact he wants to be an MSP or even a Labour Party member at the same time?

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe - "I'll be voting Lib Dem"

It is fantastic that Daniel Radcliffe is taking politics so seriously given this is the first general election he will have been able to vote in - it is obviously even better that he is going to be voting Liberal Democrat.

In today's Daily Mail, or should that be the Daily Prophet, although the Prophet is a good paper by all accounts, they are running the story "Harry lends his magic to Lib Dem's campaign" this follows the news last year in the interview with Daniel Radcliffe in Attitude magazine.

Daniel Radcliffe AKA Harry Potter said;
‘I’ll be voting Lib Dem, without a shadow of a doubt’
Daniel has also agreed to spend more time in the UK to encourage youngsters into voting for the Lib Dems.

So, the if Liberal Democrats are Gryffindor, who is Slytherin? Labour, Conservatives or the SNP?

Manchester United fans want the best of both worlds

Am I the only one who doesn't really get the point of the protest by Man Utd fans?

They don't like the current American owners, the Glazer brothers so they are all wearing the green and gold colours - which were the original colours of the old club.

With me so far? Even I understand that part.

Usually when you protest you don't then go and support the very thing you are protesting about.

That's where the Man Utd fans are weird.

Because they are still going to their beloved Old Trafford week in, week out. Paying the very same owners they are protesting against!

Surely the way to protest and hit the Glazer brothers hardest would be to stay away from Old Trafford and hit them in pocket?

No, instead as a symbol of opposition to the Glazers, Must (Manchester United Supporters Trust) has been encouraging the Man Utd fans to forsake United's traditional red and white colours and instead wear green and gold scarves, the colours of the club, then known as Newton Heath, until 1902 before it became Manchester United. Hmmm.

From The Guardian;

But a spokesman for the Glazers, who reiterated that the family had no intention of selling, said: "There is no dress code printed on the tickets, people are entitled to wear what they like. The important thing is that they show their support for the team."
David Beckham even got in on the protes recently when AC Milan came to play United at Old Trafford by sporting one of the green and gold scarves at the end! 
Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Friday, 19 March 2010

East Lothian Labour Party in complete disarray as Anne Moffat MP deselected

Anne Moffat MP has been de-selected this evening losing the vital reselection/confidence vote 130 votes to 59.

Given this is the constituency where Labour's Scottish Leader, Iain Gray is the MSP, this is very bad news for the Labour Party here in Scotland.

Labour in East Lothian are in tatters and with the Liberal Democrats being in second place is this the seat where a shock result could happen at the general election?

Labour members in East Lothian attended a special meeting in Haddington this evening where they decided by more than two to one that Anne Moffat should not be the party's candidate in the general election.
However, Labour's ruling national executive committee will have the final say on her candidacy.

Labour have been polling much better in Scotland than other parts of the UK, but given the scandal with Steven Purcell, once tipped as the next leader of Labour in Scotland and now Anne Moffat MP cannot get reselected in East Lothian, are we seeing Labour's wheels coming off in the same way we have seen the SNP falter in recent months?

The forthcoming general election in Scotland is a great opportunity for the Liberal Democrats, in fact we are second to Labour in Scotland in number of MPs and with Cameron's Conservatives just having the one MP and not really expected to gain many more, it is up to the Liberal Democrats to fill that void.

No planes, trains or automobiles

Not a good week for the Labour Party or Unions, especially Unions funding the Labour Party.

Unite force planes to stay on the ground in dispute with British Airways.

RMT force trains to stay in sidings in dispute with Network Rail.

Labour force car owners to stay at home with increase in petrol duty - £1.20 per litre.

Unite is one of the major funders of the Labour Party.

With Ashcroft's millions funding the Conservatives and Unions funding Labour, it is time for real change.

The Liberal Democrats are offering real change with four steps to a fairer Britain,

Conservatives jump on yet another Lib Dem bandwagon

Over on ConservativeHome Richard Benyon MP is very proud he raised the issue of troops serving abroad not being able to vote in the forthcoming general election.

A really important issue Mr Benyon, I completely agree, as did Willie Rennie MP and Michael Moore MP back in February, good to see you copying the Liberal Democrats lead on this issue.

Once again though, it is not the Conservatives leading the opposition, it is in fact Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats team who are one step ahead and staying ahead and the Conservatives just jump onto the bandwagon.

Changes to voting rules which would help ensure servicemen and women operating abroad have the opportunity to vote in the forthcoming General Election are required urgently.

The current regulations mean that there are only 11 days in which postal ballots can be printed, dispatched and returned to be included in constituency counts. The Lib Dems are concerned that this could leave thousands of people serving in the armed forces overseas unable to register their vote. Those missing out could include men and women who are currently on operations in Afghanistan.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

ASDA - my response to your response

My sincere thanks to Julian Walker-Palin who heads up Corporate Policy on Sustainability for ASDA for responding to my twitter message advertising my blog post;

Anyway, now I want to respond, because some of Julian's comments are nothing short of ridiculous.

Julian said; "Without packaging we would have food rotting in the fields or in supply networks, as can be seen every day in countries like India."

My response; As I worked for a fruit and veg shop chain in West Yorkshire for some years, I really do disagree with this.  Fruit and vegetables do not need packaging, it assists but it is not essential.  I am astounded he is scaremongering with comments about food rotting in fields or in supply networks.  Refrigeration often prevents any food rotting and the shorter time from field to shop stops it.

Perhaps if ASDA and other supermarket giants stopped shipping seasonal food from abroad and bought British it would also make a massive impact.

I do agree that ASDA's packaging is much more clearly marked about it's green credentials.

I also agree that more Councils need to embark on providing a wider range of recycling facilities.

However, it still does not detract from the fact that much of the packaging used on prepared vegetables in plastic is not currently recycled - that is ASDA's choice of packaging, not the council's fault.

And it still does not change my mind that if more seasonal fruit and vegetables was bought from within the UK, air miles would be down, road miles may increase but we should be buying more local food.

I think supermarkets have killed off many small shops and parades, but that will never stop us using them, but as this exchange has shown, the giants such as ASDA don't take too kindly to criticism and more folks need to do like me and be vocal and complain and then make them sit up and listen.

ASDA respond to my question - Just how green is ASDA?

Last week I blogged about ASDA and their recycling claims - just how green is ASDA?

I offered ASDA the right of reply and Julian Walker-Palin, took up the challenge and here is what he said...

Hi Andy, I read your blog with interest as I Head up Corporate Policy on Sustainability for Asda. I would like to address your points and thank you for making the comments in the first place.

Firstly it’s worth us remembering that packaging has a fundamental purpose. Not only does it protect products from being damaged but for food items it also helps to keep these fresh. Without packaging we would have food rotting in the fields or in supply networks, as can be seen every day in countries like India.

We all know that decomposing food emits far more greenhouse gas than the production of packaging. So accepting that packaging is necessary in modern supply chains I also think it is fair to say that before 2006 we’d allowed our packing amount to grow. It had always remained within legal limits but there was also an opportunity to go after in terms of reduction. In fact as a low cost retailer every £1 spent on packaging should rightly have been spent making the product more affordable for our customers.

In 2006 the Courtauld Commitment was extremely helpful in pulling industry together to look at the role of and the levels of packaging. While the rest of industry made a 10% reduction, we committed to reducing ours by a quarter. A reduction we achieved by the end of 2009 and in fact, now we’re at a 28% reduction. This is industry leading by a clear mile.

We’ve also led industry through the development of our Packaging Scorecard which will be live in a trial phase next month. This Packaging Scorecard is intended as a tool to help evaluate the level and type of packaging around a product to make sensible decisions on how it can be optimised. We have also set ourselves the objective in this system of using carbon as a proxy for environment impact to get around the one dimensional approach that you get with pure weight reduction. This is industry leading also.

Furthermore we were a founder member of the Packaging Recycling Action Group (PRAG), which I personally chaired for over a year. The PRAG is still in existence and is now chaired by INCPEN and members include major retailers, brands, councils, waste management companies, packaging industry and central and devolved governments, amongst others. It is the largest group ever to come together to look at packaging and how it can be optimised in its usage and be recycled / re-used more efficiently at end of life. The PRAG has acted as an advisor to government and undoubtedly has helped to move the debate forwards.

The logo to which you refer was actually created by Asda and other retailers and in fact 95% of our packaging is technically recyclable. Whether one of our customers can actually recycle it with their local council depends on the collection arrangements in their local area but this doesn't stop it being a recyclable material. The PRAG again focussed on creating a discussion about how we can get standardisation of materials collected a kerb side for recycling.

I hope that this further detail shows you that not only do we use less packaging than any other retailer but we have also helped to move the debate forwards and find solutions to packaging optimisation and recycling nationally, as well as being instrumental in creating the clearest logo yet to help packaging recycling. I would be very pleased to get any further comments you may have."

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Sperm donation - have you got the balls?

As I was flicking through the internet this morning, or browsing the web I came across (excuse the pun) this gem of a story.

The latest advertising slogan being used in the Greater Manchester area is "Sperm donation - Have you got the balls? Strong swimmers required". Leaflets and posters are being sent to 30 sports clubs and venues in Greater Manchester.

I wonder if Wayne Rooney has got one of the fliers?  I will resist as a Chelsea fan making any jokes.

I can picture the men of Greater Manchester puffing their chest out out, "of course we ave mate" but perhaps a few feeling just a little deflated when they realise what it involves.

Yes, it really is an advert for sperm donation.  Men of Manchester your sperm is needed.
In the UK there are hundreds of couples who need a sperm donor to help them conceive the child they long for so much, either because of infertility or genetic disease.
Laura Witjens, from the National Gamete Donation Trust
I was fascinated to read about this and must confess it was something I seriously considered years ago when I thought my strong swimmers could make a difference to a family somehwere in the world.
Like many people there was always in the back of my mind that nagging thought, but what if the child wants to know who you really were if they lived with a family who would be honest with them, certainly then when the law changed in 2005 and anonymity was no longer there.

From the BBC:
The number of new sperm donors dipped in the UK in 2004 to 224. The law changed in 2005, meaning egg and sperm donors did not have the right to anonymity.
But since then the number of new donors has increased with 384 registering in 2008.
The children of donors can trace their biological parents when they reach 18.
Although, what do you have to hide, it's not that you got paid for your sperm?
Anyway, the National Gamete Donation Trust is now seeking new sperm donors in the Greater Manchester area where 1 in 6 couples need your help and they are currently seeking 500 donors.  There are more details on their website, including a confidential helpline.

There is also advice on this issue over at the British Fertility Society and the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority for anyone either seeking to donate sperm or those wanting to start a family.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Unite Union slams Labour Minister Lord Adonis and then campaigns for erm, Labour

Am I really the only one that doesn't understand the mentality of the Unions and their relationship with the Labour Party?

British Airways are currently dealing with Unite on trying to negotiate a pay deal between BA and their staff, Unite have today criticised Labour Minister, Lord Adonis but then, send out letters, such as this one below all over the place persuading people to vote Labour!

I don't understand how unions can be so bloody hypocritical and claim to stand up for the people who work in the industries that Labour clash with, then they give millions of pounds to the very same Labour party to introduce the legislation that keeps unions negotiating with business.

Just imagine living in London, working for BA and then getting a copy of the letter above!  I certainly would be very angry.  It appears that biggest threat to job security in this day and age is the Labour Party, the one and same that Unite and other unions fund each and every year.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

SNP candidate for Glasgow North East David Kerr quits

No, I am not re-running the Glasgow North East by-election stories about the the first and second candidates quitting and David Kerr being the SNPs third choice.

This is about David Kerr quitting himself as the SNP candidate and now very happy to talk about the Opus Dei sect, something during the by-election he was not so keen to talk about.

David Kerr is quitting politics (short time and not a good effort) to join the Catholic Church media office and will play a key role when Pope Benedict XVI comes to Scotland.

According to the Scotland on Sunday;
[SNP] party managers are understood to be unhappy at having to find a new candidate at such short notice, with 6 May the probable election date.
David Kerr added;
"The papal visit is of huge significance not just to Scotland's Catholics but to the country as a whole.  I am looking forward to working with people across Scotland's faiths, parties and communities in putting this visit together."
I bet Scotland's LGBT community can hardly contain it's excitement of the Pope's visit, I for one am certainly looking forward to it and letting him know how utterly ridiculous his views on safe sex and condoms really are and the damage that view does to hundreds of thousands of people across the world.

Labour select Ian Murray to replace Nigel Griffiths MP as their candidate

Finally, Fred Mackintosh the Liberal Democrats champion for Edinburgh South has a Labour opponent.  In the capital there are many Labour seats under threat, two from the Liberal Democrats.  Edinburgh South and Edinburgh North & Leith.

In Edinburgh South the Liberal Democrats are only 405 votes behind Labour with the Conservatives in a distant third place nearly 4,000 votes behind Labour (despite their wild claims).

When Nigel Griffiths stood down there were many names in the hat to replace him but Labour have now selected Ian Murray a Councillor.

Although, Edinburgh South was not Ian Murray's first choice, so we have a career politician and wannabe serial candidate wanting to be the next MP for Edinburgh South.

Murray had in fact wanted to be the MP for Livingston only a matter of weeks ago;
"I am writing to you today as I have decided to put my name forward for the selection process in Livingston. I believe I have the experience, skills and dedication to run a highly successful campaign and to ensure a Labour victory in what will be a hotly contested election."
Labour Members in Livingston weren't interested in Murray and now he has become the candidate in his second choice seat of Edinburgh South.

So, another career politician, exactly what the House of Commons doesn't need, nor the voters of Edinburgh South who are looking for a local champion to stand alongside them and be their voice in Westminster.

Fred Mackintosh has certainly been the local champion for sometime now, standing with the people trying to save their Post Offices as Labour destroyed the post office network.

Fred Mackintosh has successfully campaigned to stop development on playing fields, is campaigning against more development on south Edinburgh's green belt and helped bring together the deal that has led to the construction of the Conan Doyle Medical Centre at Cameron Toll.

In 2008 he campaigned with Marchmont residents and businesses against Labour's decision to close Warrender Park Road Post Office. Despite well attended public meeting and a 3000 signature petition and hundreds of formal objection letters Royal Mail followed through on Labour's instructions and closed the post office.

As Newington Councillor Fred lead the push for more responsive street cleaning and recycling services as Convenor of the South Local Development Committee from 2003 to 2007. He helped protect the 24, 38, 42 bus routes and helped start the process that led to the creation of the 67 on Mayfield Road.

Fred Mackintosh brought together the parties to save Liberton Bank House as the new home for the Dunedin School.
If this small list above is what Fred Mackintosh can achieve with local residents as a Councillor and now parliamentary candidate, imagine what he could do as the MP?

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The East Lothian question - Should Anne Moffat stay?

2009 was a long year for crisis hit Anne Moffat, the Labour MP for East Lothian, where the Liberal Democrats are second and where Labour's Scottish leader, Iain Gray's Scottish Parliament's seat is.

Moffat's re-selection as the MP started back in 2008 and still the saga goes on and on and on.

In the latest twist Labour's ruling body, the NEC, will have the final say on Moffat's re-selection, but has now allowed a full meeting of the local party membership enabling members to vote on the issue in the next few days.

It appears that the NEC will announce Ane Moffat's de-selection if that is how the vote goes.

Over at the BBC:
A Labour spokeswoman said: "The NEC considered the request from the general committee to hold a special meeting to consider whether Anne Moffat should be the Labour candidate.

"Due to the nature of the circumstances, the NEC agreed with this request and so an all-member meeting will shortly be held to allow all members in East Lothian to attend and decide the best way forward."
Considering I have only been in Scotland since 31st May 2008, Anne Moffat has been involved in scandal after scandal with some very dubious questions left hanging over some incidents, to which the answers have never really appeared.

Her future as an MP is one very such question, will Anne Moffat's name be on the ballot paper come polling day?  If so, will it be on the ballot paper for voters in East Lothian?

Or will voters get the choice to vote for Anne Moffat the crisis hit MP seeking re-election or second placed Liberal Democrats candidate Stuart Ritchie?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Now four more SNP MSPs pay tribute to Hugo Chavez

When I did the original blog post earlier this week, SNP and Labour MSPs pay tribute to Hugo Chavez!, I really did not think that even more MSPs would have signed the Motion tabled in the Scottish Parliament by SNP MSP, Jamie Hepburn.

As Lib Dem Hugh O'Donnell MSP said on my blog in a guest post;
"The indecent haste of some Members of the Scottish parliament to rush to the aid of the Chávez administration, by signing up to a sugary sweet motion in the name of Jamie Hepburn MSP reveals a naivety which beggars belief."
Well, sadly four more MSPs have also added their signature to this ridiculous motion, all from the SNP.  So that is now nine MSPs, eight from the SNP and one from Labour.

The four new signatories are Aileen Campbell, Joe Fitzpatrick, Sandra White and Gil Paterson.

I say the same to these four as I said to the original five, it is easy to praise from afar, but let us see what they say when they have been there, spent a year there, not in the luxury of the presidential palaces or the 40% of the country's residents who are 'looked after' but in the slums with the real people, where their choice of TV, if indeed they can even afford one will only be able to access channels approved by Hugo Chavez.

I am astounded at the sheer audacity of these MSPs and their obvious lack of care about human rights in countries such as Venezuela - is that what's on the cards for an SNP Scotland?

Senior Conservative MEP defects to the Liberal Democrats

The former leader of the Conservative MEPs and the longest serving Conservative MEP who also stood against Tory-backed Michal Kaminski has announced his defection to the Liberal Democrats at the Party’s Spring Conference in Birmingham.

Edward McMillan-Scott, the Conservative’s most senior MEP, has today joined the Liberal Democrats.

Edward is the Vice-President of the European Parliament with responsibility for human rights and democracy, was welcomed to the Liberal Democrats today by Leader Nick Clegg.

Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire said: “I have been around the higher circles of the Conservative Party for long enough to fear that on Europe Cameron says one thing in opposition and will do another in Government.

“I have long fought against totalitarianism and the extremism and religious persecution it brings. It was wrong of Cameron to associate with MEPs who have extremist pasts in his new European alliance.

“My reasons for joining the Liberal Democrats are that in Nick Clegg they have a leader whom I like, admire and respect. They are internationalists, not nationalists. They are committed to politics based the values of fairness and change.

“From being a liberal Conservative I become a conservative Liberal. Most of my family are liberals: I am pleased to join the Liberal family.”

Nick Clegg said: “I am delighted to welcome Edward McMillan-Scott to the Liberal Democrats.

“For many years he has fought for human rights and democracy world wide and he is rightly a respected politician across Europe.

“As someone of principle he has refused to cosy up to right wing extremists, despite pressure from the Tory machine.

“This flies in the face of David Cameron’s claims of change. It shows that people of principle, who believe in fairness and want real change for Britain are at home in the Liberal Democrats.”

The now Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber clashed with David Cameron last year over the Conservative leader's decision to remove his MEPs from the centre-right European People's party and set up a new group, European Conservatives and Reformists, with controversial allies from eastern Europe.

McMillan-Scott successfully stood against Michał Kamiński, the Polish MEP chosen to lead the new group, for the post of vice-president of the European parliament, and as a result he had the Tory whip removed.

From The Guardian;
Visiting Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street today, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said he "regretted" Cameron's decision to pull the Tories out of the European People's party.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Guest post from Hugh O'Donnell MSP on the Venezuelan motion in Holyrood

Hugh O'Donnell MSP writes for my little blog in response to my earlier posting about the 4 SNP MSPs and the Labour MSP who have tabled a motion praising President Chavez, Hugh has also tabled an opposing motion;

"The indecent haste of some Members of the Scottish parliament to rush to the aid of the Chávez administration, by signing up to a sugary sweet motion in the name of Jamie Hepburn MSP reveals a naivety which beggars belief.

While praising the 'achievement of the socialist regime, signatories conveniently ignore the increasingly dictatorial style of the President of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The briefest of looks at its record on human rights and media freedom gives lie to the fanciful notion that Chávez has, or is, creating a socialist utopia in his country, but does confirm the widely recognised experience that all too often such societies are simply driven down the path of dictatorship, either of the 'right' or 'left'.

True democracy can only be achieved by a people and society that has a plurality of approach that genuinely has the interests of devolving power from the centre, without strings, and puts the interests of all of the people before mere party political advantage or dogma.

Of course the SNP would never do any of these things - or would they??"

The text below is the Motion that Hugh O'Donnell MSP has tabled in opposition to the five MSPs motion;

*S3M-5904.1 Hugh O’Donnell: The Achievements of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela—As an amendment to motion (S3M-5904) in the name of Jamie Hepburn, leave out from first "considers" to end and insert "supports the principles of democracy, media freedom and the defence of human rights across the world; notes the statement by Amnesty International that expresses concern "at the deterioration in freedom of expression in Venezuela" and the injuries and deaths among protestors in recent months; is disturbed by the reported threat made to six television broadcasters by the head of government, President Chávez, for their refusal to broadcast a presidential speech; supports the resolution of the European Parliament on 9 February 2010 that expressed concern at the drift towards authoritarianism shown by the government of President Hugo Chávez; considers that his actions are directed towards weakening the democratic opposition and restricting the rights and freedoms of citizens, and calls on the Venezuelan Government to ensure equal treatment under the law for all media, including the internet, irrespective of political or ideological considerations and to respect media pluralism."

SNP and Labour MSPs pay tribute to Hugo Chavez!

Yes, you did read correctly, 4 SNP MSPs (Jamie Hepburn, Bill Kidd, Alasdair Allan and Bill Wilson) and 1 Labour MSP (Elaine Smith) have lost the plot it seems or just gone Caracas.

These five MSPs have supported a motion in the Scottish Parliament praising Hugo Chavez, the leader of corruption-ridden and out of control crime-ridden Venezuela, that's before we even get started on Chavez's role or the lack of human rights afforded to most of the country's residents.

The story appeared in yesterdays Scotsman, but hat tip to Graeme Littlejohn for spotting the Motion when it had been tabled in Holyrood, the motion is here below in full;
Short Title: The Achievements of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

S3M-05904 Jamie Hepburn (Central Scotland) (SNP): That the Parliament considers that Venezuela has been transformed through the progressive policies pursued by the Chávez administration in the last decade; is concerned that this progress and the democratically elected government of Venezuela has been consistently undermined by reactionary elements in the United States and beyond; is further concerned about the increased militarization of the wider region, such as the agreement between the US and Colombia concerning new military bases and the revival of the US Navy 4th fleet; further notes that this April marks the eighth anniversary of the coup against Chávez, which it considers was ultimately unsuccessful due to the resilience of the Venezuelan people; believes that the recent coup in Honduras and the continued undermining of democratically elected governments across Latin America demonstrates the continued menacing presence of reactionary forces in the area, threatening peace, democracy and sovereignty; notes the march and rally taking place in London on Saturday 27 March 2010 to mark the eighth anniversary of the attempted coup against the Chávez administration; sends its support to those marching to show solidarity to that regime and the social progress made by it in Venezuela, and believes that greater relations between Scotland and Venezuela should be developed.
 Are these MSPs okay, or a little tired from too much time in their thinking pods?

I don't have an issue with the motion being tabled as The Scotsman do, because not every single motion tabled has to be about devolved matters, my concern is that these MSPs are being very short sighted, one of them, SNP Bill Wilson is quoted in The Scotsman;
the regime was regularly attacked on a "dishonest basis"
Has Bill Wilson, or indeed any of the five read about the human rights issues in Venezuela?  Are they aware that crime is out of control across the country? Are they aware that Hugo Chavez has imposed food pricing therefore producing a thriving black market?  Have they even visited Venezuela?

It is very easy for Jamie Hepburn, Bill Kidd, Alasdair Allan, Bill Wilson and Elaine Smith to praise from afar, but let us see what they say when they have been there, spent a year there, not in the luxury of the presidential palaces or the 40% of the country's residents who are 'looked after' but in the slums with the real people, where their choice of TV, if indeed they can even afford one will only be able to access channels approved by Hugo Chavez.

Is this really what these MSPs are supporting or have they just got caught up in the euphoria of the moment?

I will leave the last word to Lib Dem MSP, Hugh O'Donnell;
"It beggars belief MSPs would support a motion which looks like it has been written in the presidential palace in Caracas."

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

ASDA and their recycling claims - just how green is ASDA?

It appears I have managed to upset some of the management at ASDA by tweeting about their packaging that cannot be recycled and how annoying this is.

Apparently I am to be sent a big report - woooo.  Seriously, I look forward to it because it isn't often a corporate giant responds to the little lone voice.

Anyway, now from the corporate spin back to reality.

Last night I decided on cooking chicken in a tomato and onion sauc served on a bed of leeks with roasted vine tomatoes and olives.

The packaging the baby leeks came in states: "Bag plastic not currently recycled."

The packaging the vine tomatoes came in states: "Punnet plastic check local recycling.  Film plastic not currently recycled."

The packaging the chicken came in states: "Sleeve card widely recycled, tray metal check local recycling and film plastic not currently recycled."

So, half of the packaging from one meal I have had to throw into landfill and two thirds of the remaining half is dependent on the council.

This simply is not good enough.

Here is the waste statement from ASDAs green section on their website:
We’ve set ourselves the target of sending zero waste to landfill by 2010; and not just in our stores, but across all of the ASDA and George businesses, including depots and offices.

Landfilling is damaging to the environment, because the energy and materials required to make the things we throw away are lost instead of being recycled. What’s worse, biodegradable waste in landfill breaks down to produce greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming.

By encouraging everyone at ASDA to reduce waste, and by finding innovative uses for the things we usually throw away, we can save money and vital natural resources – making our business kinder to the planet. And by reducing our costs, we’re able to pass our savings on to our customers.
ASDA do also call for the end of postcode lottery recycling, that's easy for them to say especially given that they don't even bother ensuring all of their own packaging can be recycled. 

Don't do what I do, do what I say is obviously the ASDA Walmart way.

There is a grading system and coding for plastics to be recycled and often councils will only do the first two on this list here because of the economics.  However, why don't we look at introducing recycling for business as well (a campaign I persuaded Lynne Featherstone MP to run back in 2005/06) then given the volume coming through each council area it should all become easier and more economical.
The supermarkets have to be one of the biggest offenders, if my one trip yesterday proved nything it proved that although the supermarkets listen to criticism on social media outlets such as twitter, they don't follow through all of the way, otherwise my blog post could never have been written in the first place.
ASDA - right of reply?  I will happily post a reply up here unedited in response.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Another one bites the dust - Sylvia Heal MP stands down

The House of Commons Deputy Speaker Sylvia Heal, MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis has now announced she is to stand down at the General Election.

With less than sixty days until the expected General Election the Labour MP - who has a majority of only 4,337 at the 2005 General Election - said she did not want another five years of working 12 to 14 hours per day, six days a week.

Sylvia Heal, won the West Midlands seat back in 1997, has said she would continue to work hard for the constituency.

I should hope she will as she will also continue to get paid!

How many more Labour MPs will stand down this side of the General Election?

Monday, 8 March 2010

J. Arthur MacNumpty: The Strange Case of Steven Purcell

J. Arthur MacNumpty: The Strange Case of Steven Purcell

An excellent, well thought out piece on, as the title says: The strange case of Steven Purcell.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Perth - the future is bright

I haven't been tweeting or blogging much from the Scottish Liberal Democrats conference in Perth because it's been both a busy conference for me, 12 hours in a basement meeting room, The Old Library meeting MPs and candidates and their campaign teams and the fact that the mobile phone reception is so awful, not just in the Library but generally around the conference centre and the Royal George Hotel.

A great day on Friday with a great speech from Nick Clegg and a fantastic photo session with a stack of our candidates signing the NUS pledge on tuition fees.

Yesterday saw a fantastic speech from Leader Tavish Scott and a great election presentation by Alistair Carmichael MP where apparently even I got a mention and a round of applause - many thanks AC and the people in the audience, much appreciated.

Well, today is another busy morning and still great debates and speeches but I have more meetings to do so doubt I will make the hall, but you never know, I might even get to visit the exhibition!

There is a great buzz here, much better than last year, and as you know we went on and won the MEP seat when pundits and journalists were writing is off, well let's see where we go from here this weekend.

We are in second place to Labour here in Scotland, with Cameron's Conservatives only having a solitary MP in Scotland, and he is under threat from a Lib Dem surge and the SNP being irrelevant in Westminster elections polling day, whenever it may be will be an interesting election.

How many MPs will we have after polling day? I am very confident we will have more than we do now, I know that because voters are switching to us all across Scotland, getting fed up of the UK red/blue swingometer and it is Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats offering an alternative choice for people.

Let us see, but we will go from Perth with a spring in our step and fired up to campaign, campaign, campaign.

Friday, 5 March 2010

SNP prove their irrelevant at Westminster

This week has seen a meeting of small Nationalist parties, where they have discussed joining together in Westminster to get a voice.

This just proves what the Liberal Democrats have been saying all along, the SNP are irrelevant at Westminster.

They are just too small with only seven MPs to make any difference.

The SNP are saying they have met Plaid Cymru and now want to meet the Democratic Unionist Party and the Social Democratic & Labour Party.

In other words a vote for the SNP is actually a vote for four parties and still it won't be heard in the corridors and Chambers in Westminster.

I'm not saying they are irrelevant in other elections, I fully accept they are the minority administration in Holyrood and that in 2011 they will want to create another list of promises to get elected and like now will just end up with a list of broken promises!

In 2007 they said anything and promised all sorts to get elected, then just let us down by breaking promise after promise.

People in Scotland are starting to realise as the teflon falls away that the SNP are still run, not led by Alex Salmond and its still the same ranting wee eck under all that gloss.

This General Election the fight in Scotland is between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, Cameron has his own 'one' show with David Mundell the single MP. Many people are still bitter about the damage that Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives did in Scotland last time they were in power!

It is the Liberal Democrats offering real change at this election, Labour are offering the same as before and had 13 years to change things, the SNP are irrelevant at Westminster and with the one Conservative MP, well, are not going to change anything.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Michael Foot RIP

Although I was never a fan of his politics it is a sad day as we hear that Michael Foot the donkey jacket wearing former Labour leader has died.

Jack Straw announced in the House of Commons that Michael Foot, aged 96 had passed away today.

Michael Foot succeeded James Callaghan in 1980 but stood down after losing
the 1983 election to Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Foot served in both the Callaghan and Harold Wilson governments as
Minister for Employment and Commons leader.

Jack Straw said of him, " He was held in very great affection in all sections of
the House and the country."

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow described Mr Foot as a 'quite extraordinarily distinguished Parliamentarian'.

He entered Parliament in 1945, in Clement Attlee's post war landslide victory, served as an MP for 47 years and was a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

British Politics has lost another of the great characters.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Exclusive: ‘Stressed’ city leader Councillor Steven Purcell to stand down

As any big named celebrity, politician and member of the Royal family will tell you, don't believe everything you read in the newspapers, so is this morning's exclusive in The Herald spot on or way out?

The headline screams - Exclusive: ‘Stressed’ city leader Purcell to stand down.

It is of course talking about the leader of Glasgow City Council, Labour Councillor Steven Purcell.
A statement issued to The Herald last night said those around him had become “deeply concerned about the stress levels he had been displaying” recently.
Now, if he is genuinely standing down for personal reasons, ie his health then I and many others will wish him a speedy recovery, if this is a quick way to get him into Westminster then I don't agree in the manner in which it has been done - please see my own health warning in the first line of this blog post!

Steven Purcell is one of Labour's rising stars in Scotland and so many Labour folk want to get him into Westminster or Holyrood, and given he has led Glasgow City Council since 2005 and been key in securing the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, you can understand why.

If however this is Labour's way of fast tracking him into a Westminster seat, then shame on them.

However, the statement issued to The Herald continued;
The recent expenses debacle at the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and the “enormous pressure” surrounding preparations for the Games had “got on top of him and he was exhausted”, the statement said.
“Steven agreed to seek medical help immediately and subsequently he is now under doctor’s orders.

“He would hope to get back in to active politics in the next few weeks and months,” the statement added.

“He hopes the people of Glasgow would appreciate what he has tried to do for the city that he loves.”
Let us therefore watch this space.......
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