Reevesey's recommended reading

Friday, 18 February 2011

"I don't understand why anyone should want to be proud of being a homosexual."

Honestly, I am astounded that these views are still being peddled by senior politicians of David Cameron's European bedfellows, Poland's Law and Justice Party.

The Guardian carries the story today that;
"Professor Ryszard Legutko has been chosen by MEPs of Poland's Law and Justice party to stand for the chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the Tories' anti-federalist group in the European parliament."
The election to pick the new leader is due to take place on 8 March and is expected to be close run.
Will David Cameron remove the Conservative whip from Timothy Kirkhope who is standing against Ryszard Legutko?

He did when Edward 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.

Edward McMillan-Scott then defected to the Liberal Democrats.

Michel Kaminski, who described gay people as "faggots" on Polish television, has resigned from the Law and Justice Party claiming the party had been taken over by extremists.

Slightly ironic given his own extreme views.

Last year during the general election campaign our own leader, Nick Clegg accused David Cameron of aligning himself in the European Parliament with "nutters, anti-Semites, people who deny climate change exists and homophobes".

Ryszard Legutko's views seem to back that view up, even now.

According to the Guardian Legutko insists he is not homophobic, coming out with the classic line;
"Some of my closest friends are homosexuals and I don't have a problem with them,"
Legutko went ton to say he doesn't see the point in gay pride rallies either.

Why does Cameron claim he is pro-gay rights and yet still seem happy for his Conservative group in the European Parliament to sit with these right wing homophobes and even be led by them?

I say to David Cameron - stand and cast these people adrift and show people that you practice what you preach on LGBT issues.

To Ryszard Legutko I say, I'm gay and I'm very proud of being gay.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Scotland gets a better budget thanks to the Liberal Democrats

I’m so proud to be a Liberal Democrat today

As both a member of staff with over ten years service and a party member even longer, the last eight months or so have often been difficult with the media developing an acid tongue against us many times.

But yesterday in Scotland we had some exciting news.

Yesterday was the day when the Scottish Parliament approved the budget.

It is a better budget because of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, after securing concessions to the budget on college bursaries and places, modern apprenticeships and support for Post Offices across Scotland.

This is a better budget. It’s better for young people wanting the skills they and we need for our economy. It’s better for our colleges that will be able to provide more opportunities. And it’s better for businesses that will have more opportunities to take on apprentices.

This is a better Scottish budget because of Liberal Democrat involvement.

Students now have additional places at college and bursary support. We have also secured funding for additional modern apprentices and funding for a second year of our Post Office Diversification Fund.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat Budget wins are:
  • Additional funding for Further Education bursaries of £15 million, spread across 2010-2011-12 to provide additional student support for current student numbers.
  • Additional funding of £8 million in 2011-12 that would support an additional 1,200 college places and associated student support.
  • 1,500 additional Modern Apprenticeships, including 500 places for the renewables sector, at a cost of £2 million (an issue Tavish Scott raised at First Minister’s Questions on 9 September 2010).
  • 2,000 additional flexible training opportunities.
  • Funding of £1 million for the operation of a further Post Office Diversification Scheme in 2011-12.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have been fighting hard for students and even NUS Scotland are pleased with what we have achieved.

Commenting on the student support package, Liam Burns, President of NUS Scotland, said:
“This is great news and testament to the hard work of thousands of college students across Scotland and the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Students across colleges and universities have mobilised fantastically well, with over 32,000 letters and emails sent to MSP’s on this issue. To win £15m college bursaries, and £8m for college places, in a budget which is being cut is a fantastic result. We hope this will now end the yearly ritual of college bursaries running out and end the threat of cuts to 40,000 of our poorest students.”
We also know that Post Offices are often the hub of local communities across Scotland, which is why we are also very pleased that we have secured funding for a second year for our idea of a Post Office Diversification Fund. This benefited fifty Post Offices in the last year and can now benefit more this year. The fund helps post offices introduce new types of business (such as hot food or drinks). It will help them stay open, serving their communities.

Of course, this budget and the changes Tavish and the team have secured will not solve all of the problems that Scotland faces. Our colleges and communities still face enormous challenges. Much will have to wait until after May. Our plans for government envisage a spending review and budget revisions very quickly after the election.
The steps we have secured mean a better budget for Scotland than would have been the case without the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
However, because of their hard work – students gain, the economy gains, employers gain and most importantly Scotland gains.
So, today all in all is a great day to be a Liberal Democrat in Scotland. 

This article was written for and appears on Liberal Democrat Voice.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The first Royal Wedding of 2011 - Andrew and Roger Reeves

When I first set out writing my blog I never imagined I'd be writing about my own wedding nor that my family would be people who read it, but whether it is only the wedding that has drawn both together, I'm not 100% sure.

2011 is the year of Royal Weddings it appears, first there was Roger & Andrew, next will be William & Kate and finally Zara and Mike will end the run later this year.

I jest, if ever there were two gay men you would never class as Queen's, then it has to be Roger and I - perhaps in my much, much younger days, but not for a long while.

Anyway, I have already posted why we chose the date, Friday 28th January 2011, so now let's go for the details of the day, the emotions, the people and the event.

As usual, I was up first and by 9am was on the bus into town to collect my suit, the button holes, get a haircut and a shave.

We had heard from Roger's sister, Maxine that they were all safely in Scotland and then my sister, Jennifer called to say they had landed as I was wandering down Broughton Street to BoomBarbers.  I went and had a coffee and scone as I was early.

Had my haircut and walked round to the barbers at the top of Leith Walk for a hot shave, yes, the one with the cut throat razor blades - an awesome shave - then over to the dry cleaners to get my suit and then to Garland's to pick up the button holes - thistles and berries for Rog and I, thistles for the rest of the family.

When I got back home, Rog was up and we packed everything we needed and headed over to the Orocco Pier.  We checked into our room, we had a tour round the Fuchsia and Orocco room's then popped to the bar and had a quick bite to eat with my sister Jennifer and her boyfriend John.

I took Jenny round the two rooms where we would be.

Jo White then appeared so we had a quick catch up and gossip, a mini tour of the wedding room and then off to see Jo's room, the only one in the hotel with a balcony, then Rog and I headed off to our room to chill and get ready.

Still, neither of us were nervous, I had been stressed as the days and weeks had gone on especially as the date got closer, but once everything was tied up and sorted I was starting to look forward to the day.

Our room at the Pier (15) was amazing, with stunning views, as below.

I had wanted our wedding to be in either North or South Queensferry, mainly because for me the years of memories of going over either bridge as a kid on our summer and/or winter holidays up in the Highlands and that always reminds me of Mum.

Rog and I were like kids, checking everything in our room (the bathroom downstairs, the size of the shower, baxter bear, the self closing lid on the loo), you wouldn't think I had worked in the hotel industry for years, but this was our day and we were just enjoying it.

We started to get ready, I had by this point stopped checking my blackberry for work emails and was doing an odd twitter message or two including a picture of our lovely socks, bought for us by my sister.

At 3.15pm we made our way down and met Maxine and Ian with our nephew Aaron, Chris & Sue, Uncle Nigel and Judy, Aunty Sue and Tony and others before we went off to meet the Piper and then the Registrar, Marion.

Maxine, Jenny, Rog and I sat down with Marion and went through everything, handed over the rings and had a quick drink - of water!

Then, this was it, Robin (the Orocco Pier operations manager) came and met us, making sure that everyone else was downstairs and in the room and then talked us through the next five minutes, now we were both getting quite nervous - I nearly lost it just thinking of Mum - but as we made our way down the stairs as the piper was serenading the guests, not sure a piper serenades given the volume but it was amazing listening to Highland Cathedral and Flower of Scotland and then the doors opened and we were walking in.

I now had lost my memory, I had no idea what was about to happen, given I had been in complete control of everything from last September through to five minutes ago, with my wedding folder, plans, artworked everything to do with the wedding, times to the minute and instead of a P- plan, I had a M- plan (political joke) I was now in the hands of the Registrar and Robin.

Marin started off with all the formalities and seconds later we were already lighting the candles (in memory of Mum, Vera and Buster), I just pushed Rog forward to do that, my mind was blank, I couldn't even believe we were at that point already.

My sister jenny then did a reading, called friends.  She was obviously really nervous and in my mind I knew she would be, the last time she had done that was at Mum's funeral - she was brave on both occasions.

Then we had the declaration of the Civil Partnership, exchange of vows, then the rings.

Next, Roger's sister, Maxine did a reading called love, again Maxine was also nervous, but little Aaron was sat there so proud of his mum.

There were a couple of funny moments during the service, once when a train went over the bridge because eagle eyed Aaron spotted it and told us all and when Marion the Registrar asked people to applaud (I can't even remember why now) again Aaron stole the show because he started clapping later than everyone else so went on afterwards on his own, Maxine or Ian told him to stop and he just replied "but the lady said to clap" - you can't answer that back!

We then had the pronunciation and signing of the certificate.

Then, the piper started as we walked to the back of the room for a glass of bubbly, that was it, it was all over, I was amazed it was so quick.

We both then went around the room circulating and I was trying to ensure everyone got spoken to - the control freak was back - and then it was time for the photos.  Now I know what it feels like when I boss a candidate around at a photo opportunity.  Will I change, no, not one little bit.

We went out on the beach, had pictures with the piper - who knew you could grow a moustache that long?

After a load of photos outside, we went back in and then we cut the cake (for the first of two times), the piper presented us with a ceremonial knife to perform the deed then we presented him with a dram and then he piped all of the guests upstairs to be seated for the wedding breakfast.

Robin came back downstairs and told us to relax and take ten minutes to gather ourselves.

The food was amazing!  Smooth chicken liver parfait on toasted brioche with red onion and plum chutney followed by lamb shank braised in red wine with baby onions, bacon & rosemary with crushed new potatoes and broccoli with almonds followed by white chocolate and toffee cheesecake and then coffee.

My lovely colleagues Chris, Rhiannon, Elspeth and Fiona then completely tricked me into coming over to their table and as soon as I stood they were all clinking their glasses for me to make a speech - I was caught, hook, line and sinker.

I said a few words, none of what I had actually thought about in advance ending with "enjoy your coffee", I'm not sure I will ever see it in the book of greatest speeches.

Before we knew where we were, evening guests were starting to arrive so we all went back downstairs where the room had been transformed once again - we did another cutting of the cake, this time with a normal cake knife.

Then it was time for the music, the drinking and the dancing.

I want to do two thank yous - one to all our guests, whether you were there as friends, family or work colleagues - we really enjoyed having you as part of our very special day.

My second thank you is to the team at the Orocco Pier;

Leonie for the initial discussion and persuading me to book and then running the evening part of the big day;

Claire, the events manager for just being bloody amazing from the day she returned from her own honeymoon right up the weekend before, guiding us through every possible eventuality;

Robin for being a rock on the day, from the meeting the Monday before right through to leaving in the evening, made me completely relaxed;

The kitchen team including the porters (the often forgotten part of the team) - the food was as amazing as everyone in Edinburgh told us it would be;

The waitresses and bar staff - you were all wonderful, including getting the food round a tight space

THANK YOU, each and everyone of you from the bottom of our hearts, the day was amazing and we will remember it forever.

A selection of photos is available on my Flickr site, which is being added to all the time, so please do visit it on a regular basis.
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