Bus conductor Sir Brian Souter was just the ticket when he addressed members at Glasgow South Business Club on Thursday 23 February.
He said that Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) would lead the way out of the recession. ‘Never lose sight of the fact that SMEs create the jobs and the wealth.’
Dressed in flamboyant red shoes, the world entrepreneur – with 30,000 employees – said he enjoyed telling people he was a bus conductor when he and his sister set up a bus company in the 1980s. He is actually an astute, fully qualified accountant. In the course of his early training, he spotted the opportunity to provide a bus service between Glasgow and places such as Aberdeen and Inverness. From that experience grew the major bus company Stagecoach. He now operates Souter Investments, the family firm which recorded five major new investments in 2011 and whose personnel won top awards. With interests in Istanbul, Poland, 17 European cities and the UK, and with a minority shareholding in a new Latin American mobile virtual network under Virgin Mobile Latin America, he doesn’t seem to stop for breath.
But he admitted: ‘It was a relief on occasion to know I’d still got my home.’ He’d used his home as security and only when one deal came good unexpectedly because of a mistake in a property sale, was he able to breathe a sigh of relief.
He also said he’d learned from his mistakes. ‘We are all capable of making them,’ said Sir Brian to a full club turnout at an Ibrox stadium function suite.
On bus travel he contested: ‘Only when middle class people use the bus will that form of travel be de-stigmatised. But other things need to be in place too: the right public policies; priority lanes; buses running on time; and park and ride facilities.’
By making wi-fi available on his buses, Sir Brian’s companies had seen a high conversion rate of passengers from cars to bus. ‘But we’ve discovered a new problem – cars following our buses to avail themselves of our wi-fi!’
He shared with Club members and their guests his latest development: ‘Where a business is devoted to giving good customer service, the profits can be embarrassing large. So we now plan to put 45 sleeper coaches on the road – not the 25 that are currently available. This will change the business graph.’
In his summary he said that two things determine what happens in a company. ‘There are the mechanics of what is done, how that is controlled and audited. There there is the dynamic of ideas, passion, risk taking, vision, relationships, drive and gut feelings – all to do with people. You can have a good marriage of 25 years where the mechanics are fine but when you have a wife who can make you laugh still, you have the dynamics of a good relationship. Carry that through to business and you’ll have a really good business.’
Club President Remo Pisaneschi thanked Sir Brian for his illuminating talk and asked the first question: ‘Are you for or against Independence?
To which the reply was: ‘I’m a paid-up member of the SNP. I agree Alex Salmond is a great leader. He has vision. If you believe in democracy, if you believe in people making their own choices, then we can share Sterling, share the sovereign and share some services.’
The President went on to announce that First Minister Alex Salmond, had confirmed he’s address the next Club meeting on Tuesday 20 March. Members would have an evening buffet instead of a midday lunch. See the website for details as Members may take guests. www.glasgowsouthbusinessclub.co.uk
Scottish Labour has unveiled its list of candidates for the local government elections in Glasgow – and promised to transform the support it offers from birth to old age.
The party’s manifesto for the next five years in Glasgow promises:
- to expand free childcare by up to 1500 per child
- to offer a guarantee of apprenticeships, jobs or training to every 16 – 24 year old in Glasgow.
- to rebuild or refurbish every primary school that needs it
- to build 3500 new homes for rent, and offers first time buyers help with mortgages
- to replace the Winter Fuel Allowance – cut by the Tories -for the over 80s in the city
The party will field 45 candidates across all wards in the city. Full details are on www.glasgowlabour.com/candidates.
Gordon Matheson, Labour Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: ‘This election is about the future of our city. Glasgow has changed so much over the years, but we need to keep moving forward and to give chances to the next generation.
‘Our candidates are working hard across the city, knocking on doors, talking to voters and listening to their concerns.
‘I joined the Labour Party to change society and change lives, and in tough economic times Labour in Glasgow will put people in Glasgow first.
‘That is why I have set out a vision to improve childcare, refurbish our schools, create jobs, build homes, and protect the city’s pensioners.
‘But this isn’t just about policies and new schemes to help people. This is about something much bigger. It is about protecting our citizens from birth to old age, giving chances to the next generation, doing always what we can to make the biggest city in Scotland the greatest city in the world.’
People who enjoy sewing by hand sewing and can follow detailed instructions have the chance of some unique contractual work making mediaeval styled clothes and accessories. The garments are being designed and created to complement a book entitled Children from the Sky due to be published in May.
Written by Glasgow based writer and astronomer, Duncan Lunan, it concerns the mediaeval mystery of the sudden appearance of two green children dressed in strange clothes and speaking in an unknown language in a village in England. Now Duncan and his wife Linda with their Children from the Sky (CFTS) team, are developing promotional materials with some exciting ideas on how to tell the fascinating story.
For more information on the story and Duncan’s theories on what might have happened, check the website: www.childrenfromthesky.com For information on the hand sewing project contact Duncan or Linda or the CFTS team by email: email@example.com or landline: 0141 221 7658.
Two contemporary films, shot by the only crew to be allowed into the Upper Clyde Shipyards during the Work-in are to be screened in Glasgow next month. And one of the original filmmakers, Ann Guedes, is flying in from Lisbon to take part in a series of panel discussions around the showings. This is the next event marking the 40th Anniversary of the famous Work-in.
The radical film collective, Cinema Action, formed by Ann, her deceased husband Eduardo Guedes and Gustav Lamche, followed the action around the Work-in as the Stewards took over the yards and prevented their run-down and butchery planned by the then Tory Government. The result was two unique films from the struggle. UCS 1 – a short (23 min) film depicting the workers strategy, how they gained community support for their campaign and took the fight right to the door of the Heath government; and Class Struggle: Film from the Clyde, a longer (83 min) documentary study of the Work-in, concentrating on the workers and shop stewards and their activity, running the yards and highlighting their fight to ‘keep what is keepable’.
The films will be shown, along with a short history UCS 40th Anniversary , produced by Kevin Buchanan of the STUC written by historian John Foster, and narrated by prominent actor and director, David Hayman, over three nights 21-23 March 2012 in Glasgow’s Mitchell Theatre. Tickets are available via the Glasgow Concert Halls website – www.glasgowconcerthalls.com
David Hayman will also be taking part in one of the panel discussions (on Friday 23 March) along with Ann Guedes. He said
“These films remind me what an extraordinary time it was. Suddenly a new way was possible in our world due to the courage of a group of hard-working men and women who seized the day with boldness and imagination. People power in action.”
Jimmy Cloughley, was one of the UCS Joint Shop Stewards committee, and had special responsibility for Communications both inside and outside the yard. He said that allowing the film crew in, paid off.
“We wanted to ensure that the viewpoint of the workforce was recorded, and Cinema Action did that job admirably. It was an historic struggle and an historic victory, and these films give a real flavour of the times. They are truly unique.”
Stephen Farmer was an apprentice during the Work-in. He was given the job of taking the crew around and got to know them very well. He says: “Ultimately I was laid off once my apprenticeship finished, but Cinema Action kept me on to continue working with them! Too often with working class history things aren’t well recorded, and I’m proud that I did my bit, both in taking part, and in helping to ensure this one was recorded.”
The Work-in lasted 16 months from July 1971-October 1972 and finished when all four of the yards threatened with closure won a future. The 40th Anniversary celebrations have involved two sell-out concerts, an exhibition, a lecture by Professor John Foster and receptions given both by Glasgow City Council and in the Scottish Parliament. The events have been funded by UNITE, the union, who are one of the main inheritors of the unions involved in the Work-in.
Films of the
21-23 March 2012
Tickets from www.glasgowconcerthalls.com
Wednesday 21 March, 1.00pm
Films: UCS 1 and UCS: 40th Anniversary
Panel: Ann Guedes, Susan Morrison, Dr Chik Collins. Tickets £5
Thursday 22 March 7.30pm
Films: UCS 1 and UCS: 40th Anniversary
Panel: Ann Guedes, Mike Kirby (STUC President), Pat Rafferty (UNITE). Tickets £6
Friday 23 March 7.30pm
Film: Class Struggle: Film from the Clyde
Panel: Ann Guedes, David Hayman. Tickets £7.50
After each showing the films will be followed by a Q&A with special guest, film-maker, Ann
Guedes, plus an invited panel.
Ann Guedes: Independent cinema in Britain is unthinkable without the achievements of the innovative film collective Cinema Action, which was set up in the late 1960s and crystallised around a core of three cultural dynamos: Ann Guedes, Gustav Lamche and Eduardo Guedes.
Ann has made 15 documentary films, many with International Film Festival Awards, Berlin, London, Madrid, Portugal, Leipzig and the jury prize at Moscow Film Festival.
Her 90-minute feature documentary So That You Can Live was selected for the opening day of Channel 4. Ann’s feature films include: Rocinante (1986), starring John Hurt and Ian Dury, which won 6 international film awards; Bearskin (1989), starring Tom Waits and Ian Dury; and Talk of Angels (1998).
Thursday 9 February
The Labour administration in Glasgow City Chambers was nearly paid-off today when its budget scraped through by only two votes. Till recently, the Labour group had a comfortable majority of 15.
A stout defence of the Party’s record by the group Leader Councillor Gordon Matheson may have swayed the day. And bringing in sick Labour Councillors by taxi to increase the vote, was also effective. But opposition Councillors said the narrow win illustrated Matheson had lost the confidence of his colleagues and that he should resign.
Combined opposition parties of SNP, Scottish Lib Dems, Scottish Green Party, Independent Councillors and the solitary Conservative Party Councillor on the City Council presented their alternative budget. This included improving Council tax collection by 1.5% to bring in £1,250,000; capital expenditure of £58 million on education and roads and lighting infrastructure and a 10% reduction in parks maintenance budget saving £1,270,000
Rebel Labour councillors who defected on the eve of the vote included Southside Central Councillor Anne Marie Millar who said: ‘I’d been thinking of resigning for some time. Then at a meeting recently an item was removed from the agenda and I was told it would be discussed later among the others. I was made to feel like a second class citizen – isolated – and that I didn’t belong.’ At the end of the dramatic meeting, she freely told reporters that she had felt intimidated when another Labour Councillor was asking her to re-consider her decision in order to gain her vote for today’s vital budget meeting. ‘I asked him to give me a good reason why I should do that. He then talked about one of the programmes to get people into work and commented that my son had gone through that and was now working for City Building, where, incidently, that Councillor was on the Board. I stopped him there and asked him ‘Is my son being threatened with losing his job? I felt intimidated.’
Govan Councillor for 17 years, Stephen Dornan, formally resigned from the Labour Party a few days earlier. ‘I will always be a supporter of the labour movement,’ he said. ‘It is in my blood.’ But his reason for bowing out was that the Labour Party had not given his Govan branch their proper democratic right to select their own candidate for the May election. Despite an appeal, he was de-selected so he chose to vote against the Labour Administration’s budget. After the vote he said: ‘It is a sad day.’
Question marks were put against eight or nine Labour Councillors in advance of the budget debate. But Councillors Anne Marie Millar and Stephen Dornan were the only two who said openly what they had decided.
The SNP Business Manager, Councillor Graeme Hendry of Garscadden/Scotstounhill who helped co-ordinate the combined opposition parties’ budget said after the dramatic vote: ‘It was a great result for us. Labour got their budget through by the skin of their teeth. A week ago they had a huge majority. It shows that their Leader does not command the confidence of his own group.’ He added: ‘I’m really pleased with the outcome. The combined opposition groups worked well together. It shows what is possible.’
On exiting from the Council Chamber immediately after the historic two vote win for the Labour budget, Labour Group Leader Gordon Matheson said: ‘I’m thrilled. This is a dramatic win for Labour’s record, vision and policies. This has helped our renewal and healing.’ During his winding up speech at the end of the debate he accused the opposition parties of ‘exploiting the divisions within the Labour group in a calculated and shoddy way.’ He stridently proclaimed: ‘We stand
n our record.’
The City’s budget for the next financial year invests in jobs for young people, education, dealing with potholes and tackling dog fouling and litter.
Measures approved include an additional £2m to tackle youth unemployment and provide a new Glasgow Guarantee for all 16-24 year olds; £12m for road repairs; £200,000 for new Youth Enterprise Zones, and £0.71m for more enforcement officers to tackling littering and dog fouling.
Councillors also approved £0.5m to fund a 25% increase in Kinship Care payments, £0.8m for outdoor school play equipment and attainment initiatives, and £300,000 for new community bus routes.
The extra £2m to tackle youth unemployment will be allocated to the existing Commonwealth Jobs Fund to extend it to 16 and 17-year-olds. It will provide employers with a 50% wage subsidy and would also include targeted training support for under-18s.
Training would range from basic literacy and numeracy to more complex support and could include other transferable skills for young people, such as driving lessons.
The new £25m Glasgow Guarantee will include a guaranteed apprenticeship for all school leavers who qualify; £6m for employers who will receive a 50% wage subsidy for each unemployed 18-24 year old they recruit; £10m for employers as a 50% wage subsidy for each unemployed graduate they recruit.
Councillor Matheson added: ‘This is the fourth budget we have set in the shadow of a global economic crisis – and in a term that has seen £210m removed from our budgets. With the proportion of our revenues controlled by government rising and our funding falling harder and faster than the national average, we have had to struggle to protect front line services.
‘We have had to be bold, we have had to be innovative and we have only succeeded because years of effective and prudent stewardship have put Glasgow in the best possible shape to meet these challenges. This year alone, we need to bridge a funding gap of £42.9m. Despite, that, we remain committed to our key priorities, which we share with the people of this city – education, jobs and targeted support for our most vulnerable citizens. We are determined to build on the success we have had over the last five years; for the benefit of every community and every Glaswegian.’
Glasgow City Council has now approved measures to save a total of £42.9m in 2012/13. The majority of these savings – £34.9m – were approved a year ago. On Thursday councillors approved a further £8m in savings for 2012/13.
Strathclyde University is the only Scottish one to be included in a Ford scholarship scheme announced this week.
Ford has selected 12 leading UK universities to award 100 students scholarships worth a total of £1 million starting in the 2012 academic year.
The aim is to encourage the next generation of engineers, scientists and innovators to make careers in British industry.
Said Joe Greenwell, Ford of Britain chairman: ‘Ford is encouraging students to choose courses which deliver the highest quality science and technology skills which are fundamental to our future industrial base. This programme will help rebalance the UK economy and ensure long term economic success.’
Each Ford Blue Oval Scholarship will provide £10,000 per student over a three-year period on courses ranging from science to automotive engineering and computer technology.
Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of Strathclyde University said: ‘Strathclyde has a long and successful track record of working side-by-side with business to develop ‘industry ready’ engineers, scientists and innovators of tomorrow. We’re delighted Ford has chosen to invest in our talented students who will go on to support industry and fuel its future economic growth.’
At Strathclyde, the scholarships will be open to students in the University’s Faculty of Engineering – the largest in Scotland. It is renowned internationally for research and for strong links with industry.
More info: http://www.strath.ac.uk/engineering/scholarships/fordblueovalscholarshipprogramme/
People against the Bankers
outside RBS Gordon Street,
Wednesday 8 February 2012
Have your say. All welcome.
Info from: 07948010959
Shawlands is a step closer to becoming a vibrant town centre, thanks to an Action Plan which was up for public scrutiny on Monday 23 January.
After several in-depth surveys on different aspects of the area, Glasgow City’s Development and Regeneration Services drafted proposals to re-vitalise the neighbourhood of around 21,000 people.
For businesses, lack of free, convenient parking is a handicap along with a decline in consumer spend as people drive to more modern centres with better facilities, to shop. For local residents, the aim is to make the district the Heart of the Southside by balancing the needs of people, businesses, the sense of ‘place’ and sustainable living.
Said Tim Mitchell, senior Planning Officer with Glasgow City Council: ‘This has been a very productive and useful day. We’ve had a lot of input to get to this point and have confidence that the final version of the Action Plan can come from this within the next two or three months.’ Between 50 and 60 people visited the Action Plan exhibition in Langside Public hall and at least as many sent online comments which will all be considered for the final Plan. Individuals have till the end of January to submit their comments on the Action Plan.
David Dunlop of the Development and Regeneration Services of the City, who has been involved in developing the Action Plan and attended the day-long consultation said: ‘We are really delighted with the turnout. Many people have taken the time to share their thoughts on the draft proposals and ideas and some really interesting ideas have come forward.’ One was that people driving along Kilmarnock Road couldn’t get back into Shawlands because of lack of turning junctions. Pedestrians said there were not enough crossing points along Kilmarnock Road for them. Other thoughts were to turn the Arcade into an amusements centre or knock it down.
Said Norman MacLeod who has been selected to be a candidate for Glasgow City Council election on Thursday, said: ‘This exercise has been done in exactly the right way – community consultations first and from that a draft Action Plan which everyone can look at.’
Visitor Roger Guthrie who is a director of the Alexander Thomson Society, proposed that the Martin memorial Fountain which was recently re-located on Glasgow Green and had been removed from the front of the Langside Hall many years ago, should be brought back to Shawlands where it belongs.
John Dunn of AWG Property which owns the Shawlands Arcade, attended the consultation and read the many -mostly negative – comments on the site. ‘We are pretty open to what to do in the Arcade. If the concept is right we will support it. There have been quite a few sparks of interesting comments made on these draft plans.’ He said that a licencing application was due to be heard in February which, if granted, would fill one major unit. In addition, two new tenants had been signed up recently and should be opening soon.
A large representation from Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council visited the consultation to see what had happened to many of their ideas and suggestions. ‘The whole consultation idea was sparked off four years ago when we held the first public meeting in Langside Halls to challenge local City Councillors about the needs of the area,’ said Andrew Montgomery from the Community Council. ‘From that came the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan steering group which resulted in the publication of Glasgow City Council’s draft Town Centre Action Plan for Shawlands. The draft Plan was the focus of the consultation exercise and will be discussed at the next Community Council meeting at 7pm on Thursday 9 February in Shawlands Academy.’ Said Andrew: ‘We encourage everyone in the area – residents, business owners, people who work or shop in Shawalnds – to have their say.’ It is expected that local City Councillors and MSPs will attend.
DEFEND GLASGOW SERVICES CAMPAIGN
LOBBY OF COUNCIL BUDGET MEETING
THURSDAY 9 FEB, 12.30PM
CITY CHAMBERS, GEORGE SQUARE
On Thursday 9 February 2012, Glasgow’s Councillors intend to vote through another £43M in budget cuts. This is on top of the £100M+ cut in the last two years which has already led to huge cuts in services and the loss of thousands of jobs in the council, charities, voluntary organisations, contractors, etc in our city.
Services to our most vulnerable citizens are in the firing line once again with another £10M to be cut from services to the disabled.
The citizens of Glasgow should not be asked to pay for the mistakes of bankers. Glasgow’s Councillors should oppose all cuts by setting a “needs budget” that protects services while organising a community and trade union campaign to win more money from the Scottish and UK Governments.
Get to the Lobby – No cuts in services!
The UNISON Glasgow City Branch co-ordinates the work of the DGS campaign.
Tel: 0141 552 7069 and Facebook/defendglasgowservices