Reevesey's recommended reading

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Is Nigel Griffiths MP about to stand down?

The rumours are happening all over again, saying that Nigel Griffiths MP will shortly be announcing that he is to stand down from Parliament.  The word on the street is that the Edinburgh South Labour party are already looking for the replacement to Nigel.

I have seen it on Twitter, had 7 texts and 2 phone calls this evening.

To be honest it sort of doesn't matter in some respects as Fred Mackintosh is pushing him as the main challenger for this election anyway.  So, if he did jump before he was pushed stand down before the election many people would not be that surprised.

The Liberal Democrats are the direct challengers in Edinburgh South to Nigel Griffiths and the Labour Party, in fact even Politics Home is predicting a Liberal Democrat gain from Labour.

Just 405 votes separate Labour and the Liberal Democrats in Edinburgh South. Even sources in the local Labour party accept that the Lib Dems are now in 'pole position' in Edinburgh South.

The Conservative campaign in Edinburgh South was delivered a major blow after the top Tory blogger, Iain Dale, predicted that the Liberal Democrat Fred Mackintosh was on course to beat Labour here in Edinburgh South.

The influential Tory blogger and commentator - a former Conservative Parliamentary Candidate - has predicted that the Liberal Democrats were set to increase their numbers of MPs, both here in Scotland and across the UK as a whole.

So, Nigel if the rumours are true, let's hear it, and if not why not make the announcement and put the rumours finally to bed.

David Cameron's Tories leave human rights at the doorstep

The web has been full all day about David Cameron's dynamite quote, "The moment a burglar steps over your threshold, and invades your property, with all the threat that gives to you, your family and your livelihood, I think they leave their human rights outside." which he made on the Politics Show today during an interview.

I do agree this quote is dynamite, only because I think this could blow up in David Cameron's face like many other silly throw away populist comments he and his colleagues have made.

Over on Sara Bedford's blog, she has discovered one commentator at ConservativeHome who said gleefully:

"Whether a few criminals end up dead as a result of this doesn’t really matter and is really quite a sideshow to the main issue and a trivial point no-one really cares about. The net effect of this announcement is that it will win the Tory Party loads and loads of votes. And there’s absolutely nothing Labour can do about it. Nothing at all."
Nothing surprises me anymore about the Conservatives, I have been campaigning against them since 1983, but the comment above stoops to a level below the gutter.

Now before all the Tory, Nationalists and Labour do-gooders jump on me for being Liberal, I agree with our party line that life means life and that a crime should be punished.

I have also been burgled, it is horrible, but to say that the person who burgled us lost his human rights the minute he climbed through our back door window is just preposterous. So, if this was ever to happen to me again and I was in at the time, Cameron is giving me permission to beat the burglar up, crack them over the head with a rolling pin, or a baseball bat?

This kind of nonsense from the Leader of the Opposition could lead to all sorts of ridiculous stories, as I am sure criminals will arm themselves more heavily if they suspect their victims are armed as well.

Would it mean gun laws as in US States like Texas where every one has access to weapons of some kind?

I am becoming increasingly worried that David Cameron and his cronies already think they have won the election and are parading around with such arrogance, but putting out statements such as this just to grab headlines and jump on populist bandwagons is nothing more than disgraceful.

Statements like this will incite people and also in their minds provide them with a sense of protection, that in reality just does not exist.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

John McFall MP is to stand down

After 23 years serving his constituents, John McFall the MP for West Dunbartonshire has announced he is to stand down at the General Election, in reality he is retiring, as he says, he is 65.

You can read his full statement here.

The Labour MP for West Dunbartonshire has been awarded with the unofficial title of consumer champion by Which? magazine in recognition of his efforts to improve financial services for consumers earlier this month.
John McFall was elected as the chairman of the Commons Treasury Select Committee  back in 2001, and then re-elected to the same position again in 2005.
In the wake of the major banking crisis the committee he Chairs quizzed high profile figures including Bank of England governor Mervyn King and former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin.

Although he is described as a champion, a distinguished chair and will certainly be missed by Jim Murphy, Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown and others, I do wonder why so close to the election the Labour party are losing another MP, it is now only 96 days until polling day.

This isn't just losing another MP, but John McFall is a key part of the team as Chair of a Select Committee, so is this a case of a key MP jumping before Brown's ship finally sinks on May 6?

Friday, 29 January 2010

What I would ask Tony Blair if at the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry

Today will be a pivotal day in British politics when former Prime Minister Tony Blair faces Sir John Chilcot at the Iraq Inquiry, although as we now know, he has been economical with the truth before, will he do so once again.

However, that aside the Iraq Inquiry has to ask him some key questions and if I were there, I would ask the following of Tony Blair, in no particular order;

1. Why were you so determined to invade Iraq?

2. In your own mind, what was the threat that you made the final decision to attack based on?

3. Why did you and your team creat the 45 minutes weapons of mass destruction argument?

4. Why did you ignore the legal advice given?

5. How instrumental were you in the change of advice from the Attorney General?

6. Was Saddam Hussein as big a threat as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

7. Wasn't the unrest in Afghanistan and Pakistan a greater threat to the UK than that of Saddam Hussein's regime?

8. Why did you and your fellow Ministers give Liberal Democrat MPs such a hard time, given they are completely vindicated now and were perfectly entitled to hold a different view?

9. Which of your actions from the time do you regret now?

10. What would you do differently if you had the chance to do it all again?

11. Do you agree with the view of the current government in witholding crucial papers from the time?

12. What were your reasons for ignoring the United Nations?

I am sure there would be supplementary questions, and I am sure I could come up with more but they are the ones that I have often thought about over the time.

Let us hope that tomorrow sees some complete honesty, as others have before him, I won't hold my breath though - there's an election in 98 days.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Why did Labour not order the helicopters needed when we were fighting in Iraq?

One thing coming out of the Iraq inquiry, is the admittance by Minister after Minister that there were not enough helicopters for our troops in Iraq.

Now, if there wasn't enough then, how on earth could Gordon Brown constantly defend the helicopter numbers when Nick Clegg asked at Prime Ministers Questions week after week, when where the Government going to put enough helicopters into Afghanistan?

Simple arithmetic shows if there were not enough in the illegal war in Iraq, and then you move troops immediatey, and sometimes concurrently, into Afghanistan there were less helicopters!

So, why does the government continue to say there is enough?

In July at PMQ's Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was claiming British strategy in Afghanistan was "over-ambitious in aim and under-resourced in practice".

But Gordon Brown insisted Britain did have the resources "to do the job" and helicopter numbers had increased 60% since 2006 but now as we see and hear, that 60% increase was from such a low starting base.

The row continued into October last year when Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe, 39, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, died in a roadside bombing.

In memos leaked by an official to Tory MP Adam Holloway, a former officer, Col Thorneloe said too many trips were by road, leaving forces vulnerable.

The government had denied an absence of helicopters had led to any deaths in Afghanistan.

Bob Ainsworth went on to defend the government and said "We know the value of helicopters on operations and that is why we have increased the numbers and types, improved engines and almost doubled flying hours."

He also said additional Merlin helicopters were being deployed and more Chinook helicopters would be sent during the coming year.

I think that in 30 years when Cabinet papers are released we will see that the Labour government acted, but too slowly and too late and we are still denying our troops the correct and up to date equipment to fight the battles we ask them to fight.

I appreciate we are asking the government to tighten it's belt rather than this continued wild spending, but we must not ask our troops, who are all hereos, to do the job we pay them to do with sub standard equipment.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Mercurius Caledonius returns as the Caledonian Mercury

Yesterday saw the newest 'newspaper' on the block emerge in Scotland with former Editor of, Stewart Kirkpatrick launching the much awaited Caledonian Mercury.

This being the third incarnation of the Caledonian Mercury, the previous Caledonian Mercury ceased in 1867. “The Mercurius Caledonius was the first Scottish newspaper,” says Stewart Kirkpatrick, “and as Scotland’s first truly online newspaper we wanted to lay claim to the heritage of journalistic innovation.”

And so it is that Scotland’s oldest newspaper is re-born as Scotland’s newest. It is fitting, therefore, that we take as our motto, that of Thomas Sydserf. In his February edition in 1661, he revealed his mission statement after he was leaned on particularly heavily by members of the establishment.

Typically for a playwright, he looked to Cicero when he declared: “Ne quid false dicere audeas, ne quid veri non.”

And we here today also promise to you our readers “to assert no falsehood and to hide no truth”.

Good luck to Stewart and the team, from what we have seen so far this online publication is going to force the newspapers in Scotland to sit up and sharpen their pencils.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Charlie Simpson the 7 year old Haiti fundraiser

Just settling down to watch the weekly Andrew Marr show when I was made to sit up and take notice of the BBC News item talking about Charlie Simpson, a 7 year old who had watched the coverage of the Haiti earthquake and wanted to help.

Charlie was so moved watching the orphans in Haiti then decided to do something to raise money for the children of Haiti, so through Unicef decided to do a 5 mile bike ride round his local park and set himself a target of £500.

The latest total on Charlie's fundraising page was £17,628.oo - that's right, over 17 thousand pounds, however at 8.45am when the item went out on BBC News, that total was just over 12 thousand pounds.

Charlie says on the website:

My name is Charlie Simpson, I want to do a Sponsored Bike Ride for Haiti because there was a big earthquake and loads of people have lost their lives. I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti.

I am going to cycle around South Park as many times as possible…. (at least 10 laps, I hope!). Please can you sponsor me and all your money will go to UNICEF who are collecting for Haiti.


So, if a 7 year old can do it, so can all of us, so to all my readers, fellow bloggers, facebook friends and fellow twitterers let us all advertise Charlie's Just Giving site and help to make that amount even bigger and help the children of Haiti.

UPDATE 27th January 2010 - Now raised £163,625.90 Keep on giving and let's show Charlie that we all appreciate what he did.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Unison vs Labour then Unison funds Labour

I do find it slightly odd that the Trade Union, Unison, who are campaigning against the cuts to services that the Labour controlled Glasgow City Council are making will then in a few months give yet more money to the Labour Party to campaign in the General Election in Glasgow.

Surely, if Unison really cared about these jobs they would divert that money and instead of giving it to the Labour Party actually give it to the Council to protect jobs and services?

When I worked in Haringey, despite the Labour Council slashing services, spending £2270 on a TV for the then Council Leader and spending wasting millions of pounds on an IT scheme not fit for purpose, Trade Unions spent thousands and thousands of pounds writing to people in wards at risk from the Liberal Democrats.

It didn't help in most of the wards, we won them all bar one and were just 94 votes from taking control of the Council, on May 6th 2010, Haringey Council will become a Liberal Democrat run Council, of that I am very confident given the recent record of Labour there with Baby Peter.

Even one of Haringey's long serving Labour Councillors, Councillor Brian Haley who is also one of Britain's senior black Councillors has turned his back on Labour and defected to the Liberal Democrats.

So, if someone from Unison Scotland would like to explain to me and my little blogs readers why there appears to be this apparent hypocrisy in Union attitudes?

David Cameron and the prison ships

I do find today's headlines a little strange, David Cameron seems to be lurching even more to the right, first we had confirmation that he is still considering charging patients for operations on the NHS and now, he is looking to ignore members of his cabinet and invest in prison ships!

Despite a lack of real costed policies from Cameron's Conservatives, he is happy to list a raft of pledges, one of which is to introduce "honest" sentencing and to abolish the early release scheme and these are both going to seriously impact on another of Cameron's pledges, which is to reduce prison overcrowding and formally end it by 2016 - how do you formally end it?

I see a play on words here from Cameron - "formally end it", I foresee a change in the counting or recording of prisoners or not including particular sentences etc or the like, I just don't trust people like David Cameron when they play on words like this, why not just be real and honest?

Ah, there is the flaw in my plan, Conservatives and honest, not the most obvious two words in the same sentence, given their record of the last twenty five years.

So, David Cameron's pledge or plan is to introduce prison ships (the last one was decommissioned in 2006 by Labour) and this despite the misgivings of his Justice team and the prison reform group Howard League.

Now over recent weeks David Cameron is already back tracking on his pledge of 5,000 extra prison places above the figure Labour commit to, in fact it is now watered down to the extent that he no longer mentions this figure.

However, these proposals are from the same Conservatives who in the run up to June's European elections were against the European Arrest Warrant. This EAW has slashed extradition times and ensured at least 355 are behind bars - if the Conservatives had had their way these 355 dangerous criminals including murderers and rapists would still have been walking the streets. That is why the Liberal Democrats supported it, despite many claims by other parties, the Liberal Democrats actually believe that life means life.

The Guardian has spoken to a Conservatives spokesman in today's edition; Asked about the prospect of prison ships, Conservative spokesman said today: "This proposal has not been included in our draft crime manifesto.

"But it is something we are considering as a way of ending Labour's early release scheme that has allowed 75,000 offenders to be released early from prison."

Erm, excuse me, but how does one prison ship that holds 6,000 prisoners solve the early release of 75,000 prisoners? It appears once again that these Conservative plans pledges thoughts fag packet idea don't actually add up, so is that why this one doesn't appear in the draft manifesto?

Not only is it a silly idea, prison ships in this century have been proven not to work, so why waste time and money just trying to grab a cheap headline?

Or is that the reason, David Cameron is just grabbing cheap headlines like former Conservative leader William Hague who constantly ran around jumping on bandwagons?

Same old Conservatives.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Gordon Brown to appear before the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry

Finally, Gordon Brown has conceded defeat and will be appearing before the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry after repeated calls by Nick Clegg amongst others.

Nick Clegg and democracy have won the day.

Now, Gordon Brown, who signed all of the cheques to pay for the illegal war in Iraq will have to appear in front of the Iraq Inquiry to explain his actions, potentially as early now as next week.

With Alistair Campbell giving evidence last week and then issuing a "what I meant to say statement", Jack Straw giving evidence yesterday, and Tony Blair due soon as well, the heat is being turned up on Labour and the Government.

Jack Straw, now the Justice Secretary, told the Iraq Inquiry yesterday that he supported the Iraq war “very reluctantly” when he was the Foreign Secretary at the time.

He added that he could have stopped Tony Blair going ahead with his intention of joining the US invasion and that he had warned Blair that it would be illegal just to overthrow Saddam and pressed for the United Nations to resolve the crisis peacefully.

I really doubt that Jack Straw could have stopped Blair given Tony has admitted he would have sent troops into Iraq, and would have found any reason to do so.

Jack Straw also said that he had presented Tony Blair with an alternative plan the evening before the crucial House of Commons vote on the war that did not involve committing British troops.

I am delighted that both Gordon Brown and Tony Blair will be called to appear in front of the Inquiry before the election because I think voters deserve to know the truth, but I also remind people that Cameron's Conservatives supported Tony Blair and Gordon Brown all the way.

It was Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats that provided the loudest voice of opposition, especially in the House of Commons, which then turned into a massive wave of opposition across the UK.

Let us now see what Brown and Blair were hiding and have the Liberal Democrats and many others proved right once again.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Conservatives to freeze pay of public sector staff on £18,000+

There are times in politics when a political party scores an own goal, and then there are days like yesterday when not just an own goal, but a spectacular own goal is scored.

This time it is the turn of Annabel Goldie, George Osborne, David Cameron and the Conservatives.

Every soldier, nurse, police man and woman, fireman and women, teacher and office staff who earn just £18,000 a year (or more if they are lucky) is to get a pay freeze under the Conservatives and what's more, if you are a millionaire then the Conservatives will give you tax cuts.

That's right, hit the workers hardest and help the fat cat rich folk get even richer - same old Conservatives.

They are out of touch with the needs of ordinary people like you and me, not just here in Scotland but across the UK.

It’s obvious that life would get worse, not better, for most people under a Conservative Government.

Whereas the Scottish Liberal Democrats have shown that 3,031 out of half a million public sector workers who earn over £100,000, are costing us £413 million a year.

People just cannot understand it when they learn that highest earners in the NHS are also able to nominate themselves for bonuses worth up to £75,000 a year on top of their salaries.

Some even get paid more than Alex Salmond’s three salaries as MP, MSP and First Minister added together.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have asked the Scottish government to freeze the pay of these high earners.

We want these high earners to shoulder the burden of cutting the public sector pay bill, not those who earn a fraction of this and who would be hit by these new Conservative plans.

The Conservatives would exempt the troops who are serving in Afghanistan, great, but what about the troops everywhere else? They still get their pay frozen!
It's about time people realised that Dave's Conservatives are still the same old Tories with new soundbites, they have not changed, they are still the party of the rich and this unfair tax policy just proves it.
It's time for fairer taxes, and the Liberal Democrats are giving you that choice.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Snow and ice made us shop local

Apparently the recent cold snap, or winter to you and I, has cost the four big supermarket chains - ASDA, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury's - a mere £750million, as more and more people shopped locally.

The out of town stores obviously suffered far more than the in town supermarket branches, but strangely, I don't feel any sympathy whatever the reason.
If it forced more of us to shop locally, then we may well have had a better experience, we may even have realised that we have a local butcher, baker and even a greengrocer, and we might even now know their names.

The large supermarket chains will never instill the customer service that a small chain or independent can. Going back 20 years, gulp, I managed the greengrocers shop on Roundhay Road, Leeds for Claude Dyson & Sons Limited, there were around 13 branches across Yorkshire and the friendliness and customer service instincts went to the very top with Phillip and Ian Dyson (the sons) right down to the shop floor staff.

We knew our customers, we knew them to say hello to, in fact that was part of it, we spoke to them! Can you imagine even half of the faceless supermarket staff speaking to you (apart from in ASDA because they have to)?

No, and that won't really change, despite training etc from the supermarket giants.

So, on Friday night when you sit down to write that shopping list for the weekend, have a think where you are going to shop, because let's face it, without our support all year round, not just in cold winter snaps, the independent shops may well not be there next time the snow and ice hit us and then where will you be?

I am in the odd position that if I shop local I actually have to walk or get the bus past the supermarket, but that hasn't stopped us doing it, Leith has some fantastic stores and although yes, it may cost a pound or two extra, it actually brings back the whole feel that we really do live in a community.

Now, for my English friends, especially in London, the concept of speaking to someone who you don't live or work with will be an alien feeling and it may well take around ten years for anyone else to reciprocate, but stick with it, they may come round in the end!

Here in Scotland, it's easier because people up here say hello to the neighbours, chat with folk on the bus or train, generally, just happy to say hi!

Remember, shop local and try and get local produce as well, it will guarantee jobs, stop rows of empty shops appearing as in the picture and bring back to life the local community.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Probably the best guest house in Britain

I know that will set off a few folk who will quite obviously feel their own guest house is the best, but I will argue the point with anyone.

For those who don't know I spent twelve years in the service industry including a spell for Jarvis hotels and a couple of independents, my current job takes me around some guest houses, hotels and bed & breakfasts as well.

Last Friday I was due to be at the Hawick town hall meeting where Nick Clegg and Michael Moore MP were speaking, and listening and then on the Saturday I was speaking and attending the South of Scotland Liberal Democrats conference at Hawick Rugby Club.

So, I duly googled for accommodation for the Friday night and came up with The Bank Guest House.

The photos on the online gallery looked nice, as often they do, however when you arrive at the secret entrance, it feels very much like Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross, there is a huge wooden door, a number 12 and a discreet door bell.

There's no passing trade, but the lack of signage adds to air of history and mystery.

When the door opens, you are transported into another world, an entrance hall, that although was cold (given the amount of snow lying around in Hawick, there was no surprise) it had a feel of magic.

Donna, the owner is a bubbly Geordie and one of the best hosts I have met for a long long time walked me upstairs, introduced me to one of the other guests and then showed me the dining room/lounge before taking me to my room, the former bank cashiers office.

My reaction as we walked up the tiny wooden staircase, was WOW, this guest house has been transformed, the decor is modern yet preserving the history of the old bank as well, and we hadn't got to the room yet!

Large double cast iron bedstead with a tempur mattress, cushions and pillows everywhere, but tasteful. The decor was silver, black and a pale green in this room, with a lovely huge armchair, flat screen TV, with Sky and a DVD player.

The bathroom, although on the small side, did have an enormous shower with French Connection toiletries, very nice toothbrush holders etc and proper toilet roll not cheap crap.

White towels and soft, and I mean soft towelling dressing gowns, oh my god!

I had a great nights sleep and then breakfast, again, wow, fresh orange juice, cooked to order breakfast with local produce from the Borders and decent coffee. Oh yes, breakfast is served at the time it suits you, Donna works to your timetable not the other way around.

So, if ever you find yourself in the Borders and you need somewhere to stay, contact Donna at the Bank Guest House in Hawick, in her own words, redefining B&B, you won't be disappointed.

Gay friendly Tories are just wolves in sheep's clothing

We all know that with this being election year lots of groups are being targeted by political parties, well the Tories are trying to court the pink vote, or LGBT voters.

Well now the "shameful" Tory record on voting for gay rights issues is clear for all to see, and they aren't quite as gay friendly as you may think!

A quarter of David Cameron's shadow cabinet have previously voted against gay rights legislation in the House of Commons.

The research by the Liberal Democrats looked at issues including Section 28, adoption and the age of consent. It lists the voting records of current Tory MPs who will be standing in this year's general election.

One in six current Tory MPs standing for re-election voted in favour of Section 28 back in 1988.

A sixth voted against Section 28's repeal in 2003 including a third of the shadow cabinet. David Cameron, Francis Maude and William Hague were among them.

Yes, that's right, David Cameron voted against the repeal of the most anti gay piece of legislation ever - a complete and utter hypocrite!

One in ten of them voted against reducing the age of consent for gay men from 21 to 18 in 1994.

Almost one in five voted against the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill in 1999 which reduced the age at which anal sex is legal from 18 to 16. Seven of these, including shadow equality minister Theresa May, are in the current Cameron shadow cabinet.

One in three voted to allow only heterosexual married couples to adopt in 2002, including seven members of the current Cameron shadow cabinet.

One in three voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations in March 2007, which allows the Secretary of State to make regulations defining discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation. This included 33 – a third – of frontbenchers and four members of the shadow cabinet.

Nineteen members of Cameron's shadow cabinet joined an attempt to block the Equality Bill which would introduce a single ‘public duty’ requiring all publicly-funded bodies to proactively promote equality.

Of the 31 shadow cabinet members, ten voted at least once against gay equality. One, the shadow Europe minister, Mark Francois, voted against repealing Section 28, allowing gay couples to adopt and 2007's Sexual Orientation Regulations. He also joined the attempt to block the Equality Bill.

The Tory record on supporting gay rights is nothing short of shameful. David Cameron cannot pretend a quick apology for Section 28 will make up for the entrenched and often bigoted views of his hand-picked frontbench colleagues in the House of Commons.

David Cameron and the Conservatives like to pretend that they have changed but they remain the same old Tories.

Can you imagine what will happen to gay rights if they win the general election later this year?

Monday, 18 January 2010

Bye bye Mrs Robinson, the gays won't miss you nor the Christians

I realise there is some sympathy for the homophobic hypocrite teenager shagger that is Mrs Iris Robinson because she is being forced to stand down as an MP, Councillor and Northern Ireland Assembly Member because of mental health issues.

But, am I the only one that thinks this is all just a little convenient given the circumstances she now finds herself facing?

It appears her statement about suffering from depression came out after it emerged that the BBC were investigating both Mr and Mrs Robinson's financial affairs. Investigative journalist Darragh McIntyre appeared at Stormont accompanied with a camera crew one day to ask Mr Robinson, Northern Ireland's (now former for 6 weeks) first minister, a series of questions.

The previous afternoon, Mrs Robinson had released a statement admitting to her affair with a teenager and her suicide attempt only a month after announcing she was leaving politics due to ill mental health.

The hypocritical aspect of Mrs Iris Robinson, okay, one aspect, because let's face it, there are apparently many, was back in July 2008 when she said "I cannot leave my Christian values hanging at the door when I go into politics."

This quote was from July 2008 when she said in the House of Commons during a Committee Session of the Northern Ireland Grand Committee on 17th June 2008. MPs were discussing the new Risk Assessment and Management of Sex Offenders legislation and proposals to reduce the age of consent in Northern Ireland from 17 to 16.

Iris Robinson said: "There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children.

"There must be sufficient confidence that the community has the best possible protection against such perverts, and it is important that there be a mature public debate on the issues,"

Mature public debate she says, Christian values she quotes.

Yet, at the same time, she was having sex with a 19 year old young man, while still married and sharing the family home!

She obviously left her Christain values hanging at the door then along with the car keys and her knickers.

People in glass houses should keep well away from the stones, yet Iris carried on throwing them at the gay community with her abhorrent views.

I do hope that if she is suffering from depression, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, that she now may begin to understand what many people from the LGBT community go through at times when they are preparing to come out to family and friends.

Duncan James the singer said of his coming out as bisexual "he had been surprised by the reaction he got from family, friends and fans.

He said: "I’d had in my head that everyone was going to leave me, no one was going to talk to me. When the story came out, the reaction I got was so positive.

"People I didn’t expect to contact me said lovely things and people were writing beautiful letters saying that I’d really helped them."

I am sure Iris Robinson will get a similar response and many people will support her.

I would Mrs Robinson, but you think I'm a vile pervert and you consider me equal to a paedophile.

Mrs Robinson, I have never heard such crap in all my life, a paedophile can rot in hell as far as I am concerned but gay people like me are way better than them and especially people like you!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

The snow first, then the thaw and floods?

We have been hit hard by the snow recently, across the whole UK not just Scotland and there have been all of the accusations about Councils and Governments being prepared, or under prepared for the weather.

Here in Edinburgh we have had it fairly easy compared to some parts of the Borders or the Highlands with the volumes of snow.

I was down in Hawick and Galashiels which is in the Scottish Borders this week and was really taken by the sheer volumes of snow piled up everywhere and also really quite pleased to see the Council being very pro-active clearing paths and roads and shifting the snow out off the hilly areas.

This is good planning to see this given the piles of snow will soon start to thaw.

Hawick has been hit hard in recent years by floods so this forward planning by the Council is welcome but I do question how many Councils across the UK will have put thought into moving the huge piles of snow piled up on the hills in their towns to avoid the eventual floods following the thaw?

Let us hope for the sake of all those who will be affected that they have planned and have the resources ready to deal with whatever comes out of the thaw - floods and the pot holes!

Well done Nick Clegg at PMQ's

Good on Nick for doing this and urging the Prime Minister to stand up and get his backside into the Iraq Inquiry before the General Election, he signed all of the cheques to pay for the illegal war so he should therefore face the consequences.

I blogged about this before Christmas and stand by what I said back then, these people made the decisions so should face the Inquiry now, not when it suits them.

Let's stop the whitewash and the excuses and have them explain their decisions to take us into the illegal Iraq war, we already know that Tony Blair was going to send our troops into Iraq whatever the reason so Gordon Brown as the paymaster needs to justify why he sanctioned the payments, remember this war cost around £7million per day.

Following yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has written to Gordon Brown, urging him to indicate to the Chilcot Inquiry that he would prefer to appear before it ahead of the election.

The text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Gordon,

I am writing to urge you to indicate immediately to Sir John Chilcot that it is your strong preference to go before the Iraq Inquiry ahead of the General Election.

Following developments yesterday at Alastair Campbell’s hearing, your personal role in the decisions that led to the war in Iraq has now come under the spotlight. The notion that your hearing should take place after the election in order that the Inquiry remains outside of party politics therefore no longer holds. On the contrary, the sense that you have been granted special treatment because of your position as Prime Minister will only serve to undermine the perceived independence of the Committee.

As I said to you across the floor of the Commons today, people have a right to know the truth about the part you played in this war before they cast their verdict on your Government’s record. I urge you to confirm publicly that should Sir John Chilcot invite you to give evidence to the Inquiry ahead of the election you will agree to do so.

Nick Clegg

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year message from Tavish Scott and the Scottish Liberal Democrats

New Year message from Tavish Scott, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

“This year, 2010, will be one of the most momentous in politics for generations.
We know there must be a General Election. But nobody knows how that will end.

“The polls are all over the place. But they all show the Liberal Democrats in a stronger position in the run up to an election than we have been for generations.

“We are the challengers to Labour across Scotland.

“We have well-resourced target seats that are campaigning harder than ever.

“We have inspiring candidates who deserve to be part of the new House of Commons.

“And the choice facing the country at the time of economic recession and the failure of old politics means it has never been more important to break the red-blue-blue-red pendulum of British politics.

“Our plans for a fairer society and a sustainable economy have never been clearer.
We will take the low paid out of income tax, cut tax bills for middle earners and stop the very richest in the land using loopholes to avoid their fair share.

“We will reform politics, not least to end an electoral system that has created a culture of a “seat for life” and “winner takes all” that has led so many MPs to exploit the system for their own gain.

“We will build a sustainable economy, creating jobs and opportunity for the record number of young unemployed. We will avoid creating a lost generation of young people, as Mrs Thatcher did in the 1980s. Her mistakes squandered the chances of thousands of people. The legacy remains. Poll after poll shows that most Scots still think that the Conservatives are the party for the well off not ordinary people.

“In Scotland we have set the political pace on our campaign for a fairer society. We are winning the argument that there needs to be restraint on the pay and bonuses on those at the very top of the public sector in order to keep jobs and services going for those at the bottom of the income scale.

“I know that our council by-election gains from all parties in 2009 will be followed by Westminster gains in 2010.”

The final stat porn for this decade and 2009

Once again my thanks to Stephen Glenn for the idea, here is the monthly summary of my visitor stats according to google analytics for December 2009.

I have done this for the last three months and as it was somewhat interesting for me to see the numbers, like many others including Stephen I am sharing them.

The busiest day on my blog last month was Tuesday 1st December when the story of Fiona Hyslop being sacked after Tavish Scott discussed with other parties introducing a vote of no confidence, Alex Salmond sacked her before the vote.

Last month I had 1,444 absolute unique visitors. They made 2,089 visits and 2,938 page views.

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

1. Facebook (3)
2. Lib Dem Blogs (1)
3. Twitter (2)
4. Blogger (5)
5. Lib Dem Voice (4)
6. SNP Tactical Voting (6)
7. Planet-politics (18)
8. Wikio (15)
9. Freedom and Whisky (27)
10. Google (12)

Last month I wrote just 40 blog posts, a somewhat quieter month for me.

The top 10 stories by direct page views that you've read most were;

1. Top rugby star Gareth Thomas says he is gay
2. Gay Trooper Ben Rakestrow is out in Afghanistan
3. SNP Minister Mike Russell's Aide Mark MacLachlan in smear campaign
4. Ashay Ghai wins Bearsden South by-election from Cameron's Conservatives
5. Flyglobespan Update
6. Subrosa shuts down the blog - another one bites the dust
7. Scottish Liberal Democrats at The Glasgow Wave
8. Dual mandate hypocricy of the SNP - attacking Labour and Conservatives
9. Detention for Fiona Hyslop as Tavish Scott goes top of the class
10. Alex Salmond gets stood up in Copenhagen

So this month's mixed bag is about people coming out, many many problems within Alex Salmond's SNP party, the Lib Dems winning another by-election from the Conservatives and the Mcblogosphere.

The visitors to my little blog came from 49 countries this month, down from 52 last month, the top ten were as follows;

1. United Kingdom (1)
2. United States (2)
3. Australia (7)
4. France (6)
5. Canada (3)
6. Belgium (4)
7. Ireland (5)
8. Spain (17)
10. Netherlands (12)
10. Germany (8)
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