Reevesey's recommended reading

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Ben Bradshaw - MP or candidate?

I'm sat in the Scottish Lib Dems HQ, as you do on a Saturday afternoon, trying to get the scanner to work to send Elspeth some paperwork she needs for a piece of literature she is working on.

I happened to turn round and look out the window and there was Ben Bradshaw MP wheeling his suitcase along carrying a bouquet of beautiful flowers.

Initially I couldn't remember his name, so did what everyone does, I googled MP for Exeter.

I was somewhat shocked when I then visited his website as it is really out of date, in fact so out of date he is still described as the candidate for Exeter, not the MP (re-elected) with references to 2009 here and there.

Ben Bradshaw's blog however is more up to date but still out of date, with stories from November 2010.

I'm a little surprised to be honest, but maybe if he passes the office again I will mention it to him.

Anyway, yes, he is still the MP, according to another part of his website:
In the 2010 General election Ben retained the seat for Labour

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Ed Miliband's insult to the voters of Scotland

Yesterday was Scottish Labours conference, if you missed it, it's understandable as media coverage was lower than that of other Scottish Parties because Labour chose to have their Autumn one covered in more detail.

Maybe Ed Miliband realised that with hardly anyone watching, he could say whatever he wanted?

So, despite the fact that in their thirteen years of government, of which Ed Miliband was part, Labour sold off Britain's gold at a twenty year low price, offered Britain's pensioners a miserly and insulting 75p increase, failed to link the basic state pension to earnings, oversaw a £10 million tax credit bungle, insulted people by doubling the basic rate of tax from 10p to 20p, let bankers run riot, oversaw £3 billion of benefits being overpaid and took us into an illegal war in Iraq.

They also left no money in Liam Byrne MP's own words and left us saddled with paying interest payments of £120 million per day on their debts!

So, what were Ed Milibands words of wisdom to the voters of Scotland?

Hitting out at the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, Mr Miliband told the conference:
"I have never wanted this to be a five-year government because of the damage it will do.

"And when people ask me, 'what are you going to do to reverse things in 2015', I say 'we can't wait until then'.

"So let's use these elections to give us the best chance of stopping it going to the full term."
Sorry?  Mr Miliband, I hate to tell you this, but it appears your advisers forgot to mention that the Scottish Parliament elections on May 5th (or May 6th in Dunfermline according to Labour) have nothing to do with removing the coalition government as voted for in last years election.

The Scottish Parliament election is about voting for your local and regional MSPs (use both of your votes) and who then forms the Scottish Government.

Don't be so patronising and rude to the Scottish voters a d insult them that they should make this a vote on the coalition because you lost last year.  Isn't it time you stopped blaming the voters for voting you and your party out of office?

I realise you blamed the previous Tory government for most of the thirteen years you were in power, but they rejected you and your party last May.  Get over it.

As red Ed mentioned the coalition, let me just mention four of the achievements made by the new coalition government because of the Liberal Democrats being part of it (in no particular order) in just ten months;

1. The link between pensions and earnings, scrapped by Margaret Thatcher, was restored in the Coalition’s first budget. The annual increase in the state pension will be protected by a ‘triple lock’ - the rise will be in line with earnings, prices or a 2.5% increase, whichever is the greater.

2. We have scrapped the ID card programme. The ID card database was publicly destroyed on 11th February 2011.

3. In June’s emergency budget we increased the rate of Capital Gains Tax to 28% for higher rate taxpayers while keeping it at 18% for basic rate taxpayers. This will raise an extra £1bn and end the disgraceful situation of bankers paying a lower rate of tax than their cleaners.

4. In June’s emergency budget, we raised the tax threshold by £1,000, lifting 880,000 low earners out of tax completely (from this April). It will increase each year of the Coalition Government until it reaches £10,000, which will lift an additional 3 million people out of tax altogether.

In Scotland Tavish Scott fought for local Post Offices to receive over £1million support, last year 50 of Scotland's Post Offices developed their business thanks to the Post Office diversification funds, a further £1 million has gone into the fund for this year.

Other concessions made to the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament budget include:

· Additional funding for FE 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

· 2,000 additional flexible training opportunities

That is what the the voters of Scotland are looking for, solutions for Scotland, not a power grab as Ed Miliband has suggested.

Are you gay and need curing? There's an app for that

Yes, you read it right, there is an organisation, Exodus International, an organisation that promotes and endorses "conversion therapy" for gay people, launched an iPhone app earlier this month.

The Exodus app is intended to reach tech-savvy young adults, and deliver this dangerous message: you can be "freed from homosexuality" and have your sexual orientation "cured" if you're LGBT.

One, I have never heard such crap in all my life, you cannot be cured if you don't have a disease that needs curing.  Being gay is not a disease, believe me.
Michael Jones of explains;
Apple has been a strong ally to the LGBT community for years, even donating $100,000 to defeat California’s Proposition 8, the state’s ban on marriage equality. Just a few months ago, Apple actually removed another app from iTunes that labeled same-sex couples "immoral sexual partnerships."
Given the tragic wave of teenage suicides in the USA, all of whom have been LGBT (which must be halted) this awful app by Exodus International must be pulled, because if it encourages just one young LGBT person to commit suicide then the damage has been done.
This new iPhone app is the latest move in Exodus' dangerous new strategy of targeting youth. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, LGBT teens who experienced negative feedback from their family were 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide, 6 times as vulnerable to severe depression, and 3 times more likely to use drugs (Caitlin Ryan, San Francisco State University, June 2009).

Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it gives the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a "sin that will make your heart sick" and a "counterfeit." This is a double standard that has the potential for devastating consequences.

Apple needs to be told, loud and clear, that this is unacceptable. Stand with Truth Wins Out -- demand that the iTunes store stop supporting homophobia and remove the Exodus app.
Please sign the petition HERE and add your name to the 34,000+ trying to persuade Apple to pull this homophobic and hateful iphone app.

This is the letter that gets sent out in your name once you sign the petition;

Please remove the dangerous "ex-gay" iPhone app
Dear Mr. Jobs:
I am writing today to ask you to remove the Exodus International application from the iTunes store.
Apple has long been a friend of the LGBT community, opposing California's Proposition 8, removing the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration iPhone app, and earning a 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. I am shocked that this same company has given the green light to an app from a notoriously anti-gay organization like Exodus International that uses scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients, endorses the use of so-called "reparative therapy" to "change" the sexual orientation of their clients (despite the fact that this form of "therapy" has been roundly condemned by every major professional medical organization), and targets vulnerable, suicide-prone LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a "sin that will make your heart sick" and a "counterfeit," contributing to and legitimizing the ostracism of these youth from their families.
Your company would never allow a racist or anti-Semitic app to be sold in the iTunes store, and for good reason. Apple's approval of the anti-gay Exodus International app represents a double standard for the LGBT community with potentially devastating consequences for our youth. This is unacceptable, and I urge you to take a strong stance against homophobia by removing this dangerous "ex-gay" iPhone app from the store.

Dunfermline Labour Party in election blunder

The Scottish Parliament election is hotting up, finally the journalists are starting to talk about it but the political parties have been working on this for a long time now.

In Dunfermline the Labour Party are keen to take the seat back from the Liberal Democrats Jim Tolson, who won the seat in 2007.

They are so desperate to win it that they are on their second candidate already!

Following the announcement of their second candidate, Councillor Alex Rowley, the local Labour Party produced a slightly odd sized tabloid and are asking voters how they will be voting on May 6th.

The problem is, polling day is the day before, May 5th - whoops!

We have only known the date for polling day for four years.....

Friday, 18 March 2011

Comic Relief - a light moment with Margaret Smith MSP

One of our top MSPs, Margaret Smith (Edinburgh Western) popped into the HQ today and donned a comic relief nose once again, she has been active today supporting comic relief but still found time to come and see the election team and say hello.

A school visit and a cake sale.

Margaret Smith MSP gives me a hug

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Can you afford £15 to help fund a new business?

Probably, if you are honest, the answer to that question is yes.  That is a weeks worth of your favourite coffees, or newspapers, okay if you earn very little then maybe that would take a while to pull together, but it is still affordable.

However, for what I'm about to tell you about it would take these people perhaps years to save this money up especially as the daily wage is only around £4 and then they have to eat.

I never thought I would find myself listening seriously to something Kate Garraway had to say, I've never been a GMTV fan and Daybreak is well, worse, but yesterday on Loose Women, Kate was talking sense.
“In Togo I discovered that many of the women don’t even have birth certificates because their families are more likely to register the birth of a son than a daughter. That, combined with the rural locations in which a large proportion of the country’s population live, means that traditional banking methods and loans are nigh on impossible to come by for the average man or woman, 70 per cent of whom live on less than $2 (62p) per day.

“Most of the world’s poorest families have no access to financial services, so CARE International UK set up, so that those in developing countries can lift themselves out of poverty.” It seems the perfect scheme for a post-credit crunch economy.
What Kate is talking about in the Daily Express is a new website set up by CARE International UK, where you are the 'bank', you pick a business (entrepreneurs) you want to help from the list provided, from Benin, Indonesia, Philippines or Togo and you can read about what the entrepreneur is proposing, their loan repayments once the loan in 100% funded and which other people have funded the same business.

The minimum loan you can give is £15.

So, I have signed up today, and you can too.  Read how it all works HERE and then if you think you can help, set up an account and help finance a new business today.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Glasgow Labour Councillor William O’Rourke sacked over rape remarks

I do wonder sometimes if elected politicians get up in the morning and say to themselves, time for a major blunder?

I write this post, not for political point scoring, I can do that anytime with real facts and figures against the SNP, Labour and the Conservatives, instead, I write this post in sheer amazement and disgust.

Only last month my good friend Caron blogged about Bill Aitken, the Conservative MSP who implied a rape victim was a prostitute just because the area she was attacked in was a known area for prostitution.  You can read HERE why Caron felt he should have resigned.

Well this time it is a Glasgow Labour Councillor who has made a stupid and completely unjustified comment and even worse it is about a nine year old alleged rape victim.

The only difference is that the Labour Councillor has been sacked for his comments by the new council leader, I applaud him for his swift action.

What is concerning though is that two other Labour Councillors were present at the meeting in January and it appears they failed to do anything about the comments made by Councillor O'Rourke, which is as bad in my opinion.  The complaint was in fact made by a police officer present at the hearing.

I'm pleased he has been sacked, losing around £37,000 worth of salary in the process, but he now needs as Carons suggested for Bill Aitken to visit Rape Crisis Scotland and meet them to understand more about what rape victims go through, believe me, it really is not pleasant.

Today's Herald carries the story;

A female police officer, who investigated the case, raised the matter after giving evidence at the personnel appeals committee. She referred her complaint to one of her senior officers, with Strathclyde Police then referring the matter to the Standards Commission.

Mr O’Rourke, who had been touted as a possible future chairman of the police authority, is reported to have asked if force was used during the alleged rape and when she told him it was not, he is alleged to have asked: “So she wanted it to happen?”

He is then alleged to have commented on the fact the child’s mother was a prostitute and made arguments about lowering the age of consent.
If the young girl's mother was a prostitute, what the hell has that got to do with the alleged attack on her daughter?  Nothing, absolutely bloody nothing and Councillor O'Rourke should never have said anything about it.  It doesn't add anything to the hearing and should have been ruled out immediately.
You can read the full story in today's Herald.

Labour run Haringey Council - the truth about the cuts

I tend to keep my eye on the political situations in the areas I have worked for the last decade, after working for Lynne Featherstone MP as her head of office immediately after the 2005 general election for eighteen months, Harinegy is one of those on my watch list.

In 2006 we were just 94 votes away from taking control of Haringey Council, unfortunately in 2010 that goal slipped, but the silver lining was Lynne holding her seat and then going on to become a Minister of State.

Haringey Council run by old Labour for years has never been shy of blaming other people when they have had to make cuts, so this year when they announced they were having to slice £60million from the budget, everyone wondered who's fault it was.

The Labour Councillors blamed the new coalition government.

The Daily Telegraph journalist, Andrew Gilligan decided to look at the books, rather than just believe the hype.
Long-suffering readers of Haringey People, Haringey Council's taxpayer-funded propaganda newspaper, used to know what to expect. Smiling Labour politicians at new Sure Start centres, holding shovels. Happy multi-ethnic children in eco-friendly wigwams. Page after glossy page on how their brilliant council had turned this grimy chunk of north London into a municipal Shangri-La, one composting bin at a time.

Now, however, to the consternation of local residents, Haringey People's world has suddenly and dramatically darkened. Uplifting articles about new fairtrade procurement schemes have given way to vast pieces printed on sinister black backgrounds and illustrated with tottering piles of pound coins.

"The government cuts are a hammer blow to the people of Haringey," says a grim-faced council leader, Claire Kober, in the rag's latest issue. Overnight, it seems, evil Tory cuts have transformed Avalon into Hades.
Photo: Demotix/melpressmen
In Andrew Gilligan's article he really does look at everything the Council published, and then looks behind the closed doors and investigates the figures in great detail, leaving no stone unturned.
Last week, in rowdy scenes, Haringey voted to close four residential care homes and six old people's day centres, halve park maintenance and cut three-quarters of its youth service: hammer blows indeed, at least for users of those services, and a tale repeated across the country as local authorities struggle to come to grips with the spending cuts demanded by the Lib-Con coalition.
The article goes on.

Haringey says the £60 million was their estimate before they knew their full grant settlement, and the £46 million was publicised before some last contributions from Whitehall came in. They insist there is "no question of our having exaggerated the impact of these unprecedented cuts".
Yet the story doesn't end there. According to the council's own budget papers, the cut in its Whitehall grant next year will actually be £27 million – less than half the amount it initially claimed.

So, if the council's grant is going down by only £27 million, why is it cutting £41 million? Well, a few months ago (coincidentally, just as the anti-cuts campaign was getting up steam), a mysterious need to spend an extra £26 million next year, described as a "change and variation" figure, popped up in Haringey's accounts. Without this, the budget would be more or less in balance without needing many cuts.

We asked the council what this £26 million was for. They said it was partly inflation – which you'd think they might have allowed for already – and partly because they expected there to be "increased demand pressures" on their services over the next three years.

Service demand may indeed grow as the economy continues to stutter. The population is also getting older, and the elderly are a big part of council budgets. But, according to its own figures, Haringey is budgeting for 85 per of the "increased demand" over the three-year period to come in the first year alone. And though "changes and variations" are, insists the council, annual events in its accounting process, it just so happens that next year's is unusually large – though Haringey denies front-loading to make the squeeze look worse.

Even ministers admit that a lot of money has been taken away from councils this year, and it seems clear that some cuts have been forced on Haringey. But the actual amount needed is anyone's guess. It could be the council's £41 million. Or it could be as low as £10 million. Local government finance has been more or less deliberately designed – by Whitehall as much as town hall – to be hideously complicated, to frustrate real accountability and to allow everyone to blame everyone else.

On the subject of £10 million, there's one last nugget from the Haringey Council paperwork. As part of its budget process, the council was obliged to assess the impact of each cut. This has been buried pretty deep, but once you find it, it turns out that just under, well, £10 million of the cuts next year – nearly a quarter – are assessed by even the council itself as having nil, minimal or even, in a few cases, beneficial impacts on service users. In other words, it is at least possible that Haringey might have needed few, if any, "hammer-blow" cuts.

But that might not have made such a good headline in the Haringey People.
Well done to Andrew Gilligan to not just believing the hype coming out from Miliband and his cronies across the country.

You can read the full article here as I have only used two extracts.

They have left this country paying £120million per day in interest alone on the debts they left behind, it really is time that they and their councillors in Haringey started taking some responsibility for their actions instead of trying to blame everyone else around them.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The February 2011 stat porn for my little blog

Continuing my regular monthly stat porn figures for anyone who is remotely interested in who reads my little blog, what stories they read and from where they read it, the monthly summary of my visitor stats according to google analytics is as below for February 2011.

The busiest day on my blog last month was Friday 18th February, the day I blogged about the Conservatives European bedfellows being a bunch of homophobes.

Last month I had 1,113 absolute unique visitors, a massive drop from last month. They made 1,317 visits and 1,657 page views.

14.88% of the visitors were through direct traffic, 31.06% from referring sites and 54.06% via search engines.

So, my top 10 referring sites for the last month were;

1. (6)
2. Facebook (2)
3. Blogger (5)
4. Twitter (1)
5. (11)
6. (7)
7. Lib Dem Voice (4)
8. Lib Dem Blogs(3)
9. Planet-Politics (16)
10. Scottish Roundup (17)

During February I wrote just 3 blog posts, I have really found it hard to connect with my blog this month.

The top 10 stories by direct page views that you've read most were;
1. Jack Frew - murdered in cold blood for being gay?
2. "I don't understand why anyone should want to be proud of being a homosexual."
3. Adam Levine gets naked
4. The first Royal Wedding of 2011 - Andrew and Roger Reeves
5. The November stat porn for my little blog
6. Clinton Cards - homophobic or just plain lazy?
7. Rugby star Gavin Henson strips off to raise awareness for male cancer
8. Angela Constance MSP is new Scottish Minister for Skills & Lifelong Learning
9. Why I'm getting married today!
10. Edinburgh Capitals ice hockey team on the turn?

A genuine mixed bag this month and as I only wrote 3 blog posts, the top 10 was always going to include stuff from previous months - so this one is about my wedding, naked men, homophobia and ice hockey.

The visitors to my little blog came from 52 countries this month, the top ten were as follows;

1. United Kingdom (1)
2. United States (2)
3. India (7)
4. France (8)
5. Spain (6)
6. Canada (3)
=7. Belgium (15)
=7. Poland (52)
=9. Netherlands (=11)
=9. Australia (5)

Enjoy the porn because, that's all folks!
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