Reevesey's recommended reading

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Communicating with MPs

Tom Brake MP, one of my previous brood when I was one of the Lib Dems London Campaigns Officers has done another first. A surgery on Facebook, see his poster on the left.

This was a surgery that Tom held on Facebook last Friday and has been blogged about here. Well done Tom, another great idea.

Tom Brake is often at the fore of new initiatives and finding ways to reach out to his constituents including a meeting organised via Facebook only last week - in the same week as the Facebook surgery.
I have known Tom now for nearly 10 years and I know he is so passionate about his job and keping his constituents in the loop about what he is doing on their behalf.
So, Tom has also joined the masses on Twitter. Given the mix of folk in Carshalton & Wallington it is great to see an MP actively seeking ways to communicate with them.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Dunfermline Building Society

Shame on Labour and shame on Gordon Brown.

I cannot believe that Gordon Brown and his Government are planning to sell off the Dunfermline Building Society as reported on the BBC website.

Willie Rennie MP who represents Dunfermline & West Fife (and is also Gordon Brown's MP) has been campaigning to save the Building Society and you have to question why the Government has turned it's back on this Building Society given what support they have given to every other bank in the UK.

The Government, the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority have apparently decided they cannot save the Dunfermline - why not?

Jim Murphy MP blamed it on bad management, so how came the Government has stepped in and saved other Banks who have also had bad management?

It really is hypocritical of this Government to deal with this so differently to the other badly managed banks.

The elections on June 4th are going to be used as a referendum on this out of touch Labour Government even though these forthcoming elections are more important than that and should be about who represents us in the European Parliament, fighting for Scotland. This Government has badly managed the economy and it is time for a change.

Zennor - expect the unexpected!

Zennor - our cat, not the village in Cornwall, although that's where she got her name - is now 17 and her eyesight is getting worse.

So, three moves in four months was not the best, although we seemed to worry abou that far more than she did/does.

Anyhow she's settled now, she has a great life, eats and sleeps whenever she wants. She wakes up between 3am and 4am each day and therefore wakes me up, although I'm used to it now and just get on with work.

If there's a box in the flat, that becomes Zennor's property and new bed and strangely she adopted my chair I use for my desk - and then the other day randomly Roger got up and there she was on the desk.

Lo and behold today she did it again and here she is inspecting the plants!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Scotrail - thieving people!

I've had to be politer than I want to be!

The 4.30pm train from Glasgow Queen Street was cancelled, after we had already settled down, coats off and ipods on.

No reason given - just "this train is cancelled".

So we all pile off the train and all head from platform 2 to platform 6 to get the 4.45pm - I refuse to get on a train like a cattletruck so waited for the 5pm.

I've just had a big argument with the guard who insisted that now I'm on a peak train I have to pay a further £8.80.

I'm sorry but what an outrage! It wasn't my fault that your company cancelled a train but no, I should have squeezed onto the other train apparently.

So, just to warn Scotrails customer services - I WILL be contacting you for the £8.80 back.

Robin Hood is alive and well - robbing the commuters in Glasgow!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Cures for Gays

Is the Metro turning into the Daily Mail?

I had received a text this morning from a good friend - What the...Metro headline 'experts still try cures for gays.'

I sat there getting annoyed, then the BBC News team did the paper review and the headlines screamed "Fern Britton to leave This Morning" - oh my god could the day get any worse?

So, sat on the bus I read the story - Experts still try 'cures' for gays. What a load of rubbish.

17% of therapists, mental health professionals who most of actually work for the NHS have tried to 'cure' gay patients - what of for crying out loud? Good taste in clothes?

Come on - these so called professionals should be ashamed of themselves and should actually be fired by the NHS and struck off as well. Let's invest the money saved into curing real illnesses like cancer!

To the therapist quoted who said; 'The physical act for male homosexuals is physically damaging and is the main reason in this country for Aids/HIV. It is also perverse' - I say this. You are wrong.

You really should check your facts about Aids and HIV before you spout your claptrap. Also as a therapist your personal opinion isn't supposed to cloud your judgment, your personal opinion seems to lead your professional opinion - time to resign!

Yes, I'm biased because I'm gay. But I knew for years I was gay and I was not suffering from any mental illness and nor am I now.

Yes, I'm ranting because I'm angry that this volume of NHS so called professionals are able to preach this rubbish to people who are seeking advice.

Stand up and be counted and then resign.

Finally, do go and read my friend and colleagues take on this here.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Who the hell does Jacqui Smith MP think she is?

I haven't blogged lately, partly because of a lack of time and partly because other things on my mind.

But, Jacqui Smith MP and her fellow cronies can keep her nose out of my Facebook messages - she hasn't asked to be one of my Facebook friends and until she does she can keep out of my affairs.

I post messages that I think my Friends and colleagues might find amusing, I will send them messages of smut, innuendo and useless questions but I certainly do not give the government permission to read them.

I think Jacqui Smith MP has more important things she should be attending to rather than worrying about what I'm writing on Facebook or any other social network site I might happen to be on or not as the case might be!

My message to Jacqui Smith MP;

Dear Jacqui and Gordon,

You are both massively out of touch with the people you allegedly claim you represent.

We do not want ID cards, we do not want CCTV on every street corner watching our every move, we do not want google snooping on our emails on your behalf, we don't want MPs fiddling expenses, we don't want you snooping through our Facebook messages.

However, what we do want is a Government that will pit extra police on our streets fighting crime, we do want a government that will cut down on red tape, we do want a government with the conviction to scrap the unfair and unjust council tax.

We need a Government to govern and lead not snoop and create crisis after crisis.

Jacqui Smith MP - you are the weakest link - goodbye!

Friday, 20 March 2009

The European Elections

On June 4th, the United Kingdom and all other European Countries will be voting to decide who their MEPs should be for the next five years.

Here in Scotland, we currently have 7 MEPs, but that will be trimmed to just 6 this time round.

I am sure, like any elected official some people could not name their MEPs, however I have been pleasantly surprised how well known our Liberal Democrats MEP, Elspeth Attwooll actually is. I suspect it is because she works hard and also visits so many parts of Scotland working hard on people's behalf, so thank you Elspeth for ten years of pure hard work and dedication. Elspeth is standing down this time and will hopefully be passing on the baton to George Lyon.

It is vital we get people registered and that people have the right to vote and make their voice heard, there is a fantastic website - about my vote - which you can visit here.

Please make sure you have a vote in these important elections, whatever your political views, or your personal views about Europe it is equally important you take the time to vote on June 4th.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

David Laws, Mike Smithson and reading polls

David Laws on the BBC Daily Politics yesterday was making the point that Cameron's Conservative Party's lead in the opinion polls is not as good compared with Labour's in the run up to the 1997 'wipeout election'.

Mike Smithson was quick to attack on his blog - "Why's the LD schools spokesman getting it so wrong?'

"You’ll have to indulge me if you think I’ve banged on about this too much - but I have a real “bee in my bonnet” about the phoney invalid polling comparisons that journos, pundits and politicians are rushing to make when they compare the polling position at the moment with what went on in 1996/97… "

Mike went on to point out how most pollsters over-estimated Labour’s support before polling day in 1997, adding that:

One pollster was totally out of line - ICM. Then, as now, it mostly had higher ratings for the Lib Dems and much smaller shares for Labour. And guess what happened on election day? Its approach was proved right.

My good friend Mark Pack said "I’d agree with that praise for ICM. But David Laws’s comments are fully justified by the ICM figures.

Since last summer (i.e. August 2008-March 2009), the Conservative lead in the ICM polls has varied between 5% and 15%.

If you look back at August 1995-March 1996*, the Labour lead in the ICM polls varied between 14% and 22%. There is a small overlap between these two ranges, but overall the Labour lead in 1995/6 was much higher than the Conservative lead in 2008/9, averaging 18% for Labour compared to 12% for the Conservatives.

Moreover, due to the way their respective vote shares are distributed across the country, the Conservatives need a larger lead to have an overall majority than Labour - so in fact the relative position for them is even worse than the 18% vs 12% figure suggests.

Sorry Mike, but on this one I think you’ve got it wrong: the Conservative lead is consistently significantly lower than the comparable Labour lead was.

* This is the comparable period for a 2010 election. But the point also stands for a 2009 general election, for example if you take the period August 1996-March 1997 instead. "

It appears that on this occasion Mike Smithson may just be wrong!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Conference razzmatazz

Action, music and Tavish - a fantastic Leader!

SNP forestry plans

Well, another week and another SNP u-turn. However, I'm happy with this one.

This time wee eck's party has given up on their plans to privatise 25% of Scotland's forests.

This is one thing I have felt very passionately about. I've holidayed in the Highlands & Islands since I was a wee lad.

I remember many beautiful places such as Sheigra, Ullapool, Kinlochbervie and then Ardgay where my Mum went on to live for many years.

I remember driving through miles of forests and the thought that the SNP planned to sell off a quarter of the forests to developers was just madness!

The SNP have caved in to the pressure of a major campaign led by many environmental organisations, the Forestry Commission Union and the Scottish Liberal Democrats - we alone had 8,000 signatures on a petition!

Let's hope that now this ridiculous policy has been kicked into the long grass, that's where it stays?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Comic Relief and Tavish Scott

Well done to Tavish Scott for having a sense of humour and the guts to participate in Red Nose Day 2009.

Tavish climbed the tallest tree which is in Perth and you can sponsor him still

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Scottish Lib Dem conference at Perth

I am sat here on Saturday evening while the Euro campaign fundraising dinner is taking place, where new Federal Party President, Ros Scott is the guest speaker and Ross Finnie MSP is the Master of Ceremonies.

During the course of today, yesterday and also tomorrow we have run a whole host of training modules and briefings for local party officers and we have had a great response.

I attended the Liberal Youth quiz last night with three quiz masters, Alistair Carmichael MP, top candidate Katy Gordon and Hugh O'Donnell MSP - a great night was had by all and the ballroom at The Royal George Hotel was throbbing.

The Liberal Youth group in Scotland led by Tom Maidwell are fantastic and really do deserve our full support here across Scotland. They have groups here at Perth this weekend from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Glasgow plus others.

This conference has been amazing but I only made it into the hall once and that was this evening for a fringe event by SAMH on mental health issues.

Tomorrow, I will be able to actually venture into the main hall again to watch a debate. Chris Rennard, Hilary Stephenson plus other senior Lib Dems have been here this weekend and of course, covering for Nick Clegg on paternity leave was my former boss and Deputy Federal Leader Vince Cable.

Vince, as always has been fantastic and the Scottish media have been running after Vince all weekend - Vince thank you for coming up (again) and I know you are back up here next month helping out as always.

I will do a final summation tomorrow but a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Perth Conference and Nick Clegg

I've just seen two google alerts about our Federal Leader, Nick Clegg. One from the Press Association and one from the Herald claiming Nick Clegg is snubbing the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Perth.

What a load of rubbish! When it was announced that Nick Clegg and his wife were having a baby, Nick said he would take paternity leave and that's exactly what he's done.

Vince Cable (whose 2001 campaign I ran) is attending in his role as Deputy Leader.

Tavish Scott, our Scottish Leader will be doing a speech on Sunday and the thing that struck me at Harrogate was how wonderful and amazing our three Leaders are - Nick Clegg, Tavish Scott and Kirsty Williams.

Full of energy, enthusiasm and more than that, they have the experience and skills to run the UK, Scotland and Wales.

So, my message to the Press Association and The Herald is this - report news and stop speculating on pure rubbish - although as they say, all coverage is good!

Follow our conference at

Baby's details on National DNA database

I am currently at Selby Fork, and yesterday evening got a Lib Dem press release from our UK HQ on my Blackberry that just silenced me!

This was the title - Baby DNA on database illegal, immoral and ineffective - Huhne

I leaned over to show my colleague who was also momentarily stunned into silence and then asked me to forward it.

The fact that the DNA of a baby under one year old has been stored on the police national database, is utterly scandalous and Jacqui Smith MP should be ashamed of herself and the Police.

You can read below what our UK Home Affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne said.

I am just shocked that a baby, not even a year old has had their DNA entered, come on where the hell is the point of that? This Labour Government is out of touch, the Conservatives would be no better; it is time for real change in the UK and I genuinely believe with Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Tavish Scott and Kirsty Williams we have the team.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Chris Huhne said:"It is illegal, immoral and ineffective to keep the DNA of a baby on a national police database as if they had committed some felony. The sooner the Home Secretary implements the European Court's ruling that our DNA database contravenes the right to privacy, the better.

"It is ludicrous to be randomly adding DNA samples from individuals who can represent no conceivable criminal threat when there are 2.3 million convicted criminals whose DNA is not on the database because it began after their trials were completed.

"Since the DNA database began, nearly 1.1 million children have had their DNA stored without their permission. Children have become the soft target of a random DNA policy."

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Next Directory - underhand tactics at their stores

My birthday was just last month, reaching the ripe old age of 41. My Sister and Mum sent me those electronic gift cards, so off to M&S and Next I went.

While in Next a young gentleman sidled up to me and asked if I wanted to win a sports car, why not, so in for a penny, in for a pound as they say so I signed the postcard and put my address.

Imagine my surprise a week later when a letter arrived from Next Directory saying they needed more information before they could send me the Directory.

Strange, I hadn't ticked anything asking for one. So I popped back to the Next shop on Princes Street, Edinburgh and lo and behold on the till was a similar postcard - in fact half of it was the same, the prize draw the other half which the sales assistant had obviously torn off before he spoke to customers was all about the Next Directory and the infamous tick box to not receive any further details.

This is completely underhanded sales tactics and I am absolutely hacked off with Next.

When I called their main number there were no supervisors, managers or anyone from customer relations, however if I left my number they would call back - I don't think so!

I will be notifying Trading Standards about this because obviously the greedy bosses at Next pay a bonus to their shop floor staff for each account opened, but come on Next, at least do it honestly! Back in the day when I worked for Collier and then Burtons we never, and I really do mean never targeted young customers and were very open about what they were signing.

The underlying issue I have with this was everyone was targeted including the younger customers who might be tempted to spend a lot on the Directory and get into debt when we are facing a major credit crisis as a country. Sorry Next but you are out of order on this one.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Terrorism and Sport

It makes you wonder. Yesterdays awful attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket team in Pakistan will now result in a security review of every major sporting event in the world.

In principle this is no bad thing.

However, what will be the outcome? Will the London Olympics spend millions of pounds on a security review and then change nothing?

Will every major football ground have armed police?

What now for cricket? All questions that will be pondered over the coming days and weeks.

Let sports fans unite and fight the law breakers and ensure sport stays as it is, sport and largely above politics!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Labour's hypocrisy on Sir Fred Goodwin

I really do think Gordon Brown and others in the Labour Party are being completely hypocritical on this issue and just jumping on the bandwagon.

My personal view, is that Sir Fred Goodwin should give a percentage back, a massive percentage back - at least 90%. Yes, I really do mean this, the man along with his Non Executive Directors and the senior management team of RBS should be utterly ashamed of themselves!

However, we must remember that the Labour Government have known about Sir Fred's pension, and the amount it was since last October - so for five months they said nothing about it but as soon as the public get hold of the amount and their anger is apparent good ole Gordon Brown jumps on the nearest bandwagon passing by Downing Street.

Although, the former Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott seems to be on the bandwagon as well, so will he be giving his pension up as one of the Senior Government Ministers who has served during the time when Labour brought the banks down?

I know my pension figures have plummeted over recent months, although I don't have the credit of bringing a bank to it's knees like Sir Fred but I know as I look at the figures my total pension would be around a few thousand now, and I know some of my investments would have been in banks.

So, my humble message to Sir Fred, is do the decent thing and give your pension to charity.

Do it because you are a decent human being, rather than because the band wagon jumping hypocritical Government tell you to do so.
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