No numpties at Glasgow East hustings

April 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

On a warm, sunny afternoon in Easterhouse a local Tenants’ Conference ended with a lively hustings with ‘numptie’ and ‘liar’ coming into play. All the candidates for Glasgow East Constituency were present but none was described as a ‘numptie.’

Candidates for Glasgow East from left: Arthur Thackeray, UKIP; Andy Morrison, Conservative; Margaret Curran, Labour; Gary McLelland, Lib Dem; Kim Long, Green; Natalie McGarry, SNP; Liam McLaughlan, SSP.

Candidates for Glasgow East from left: Arthur Thackeray, UKIP; Andy Morrison, Conservative; Margaret Curran, Labour; Gary McLelland, Lib Dem; Kim Long, Green; Natalie McGarry, SNP; Liam McLaughlan, SSP.

Kim Long the Scottish Green Party candidate used the ‘n’ word.  She explained how getting involved in the Referendum campaign showed her how many ‘numpties’ were in positions of authority. ‘More of us have to step up and shape the new politics in a constructive and collaborative way,’ she said. ‘We need something better than cheap jibes and point scoring. That does not tackle the structural problems.’ Listing 17,500 people in Glasgow using food banks, she commented that austerity is NOT progress. Banning of zero hours contracts and making sure that a person’s pay was able to feed their family would guarantee that work would fight poverty.  She said the Green Party was disgusted by the sanctions regime and it would make access to employment tribunals free. She also said that working with young offenders in community theatre arts helped her see how broken our justice system is.

Natalie McGarry , Scottish National Party candidate said her party was against zero hours contracts. ‘They are unreliable, unfair and disgraceful as you cannot run a household that way.’ She then read out figures from the Labour controlled Glasgow City Council which stated there were 563 people on zero hours contracts in 2013, 1436 in 2014 and 1689 in 2015. At this point the Labour Councillor for the area shouted from the audience: ‘lies, all  lies’ But Natalie replied that the figures were from Glasgow City Council official sources and given to an SNP Councillor who had requested them. ‘You are calling Glasgow City administration liars,’ she said. Earlier she said that three years ago she wouldn’t have had the confidence to speak in public. ‘Thanks to the Referendum Campaign I got a voice. Now I say that politics is not something done TO people but BY people.’  Scandalised by foodbanks and with one in three children in poverty, she said that people deserved better. ‘If the SNP can present a strong opposition (at Westminster) we will challenge Labour and Tory to stop the cuts. We could hold the balance of power and make alliances across the UK parties. The SNP could provide the backbone for a Labour Party that needs one.’

Margaret Curran, Scottish Labour Party (Lab) – who has held the seat since 2010 and who was the local MSP before that –  said this was a big election and a big decision which would be decided by people like the audience. ‘Even my fiercest critics say I work hard. I’ve held 1500 surgeries, have 18,000 constituents and helped save Lightburn Hospital,’ said Margaret.  Once a welfare rights officer working in the area, she said Labour would increase the minimum and the living wage so that people who worked hard got a decent pay in return. Quizzed about the cuts Labour would make, she said the party would work to balance the books. ‘We would tax the better off who could shoulder the burden. We believe in redistribution so that the mansion tax from the South would be used in Scotland. ‘ At this point she was heckled and told the audience didn’t want to hear a manifesto. ‘This is an important question and an important issue and I should be entitled to reply,’ she responded.

Arthur Thackeray, UK Independence Party (UKIP) said he had worked and been raised in the area. He believe the area needed a local voice speaking for them.  Dismissing the ‘legacy’ parties as he called Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and SNP, he said UKIP was the first party to bring new politics which would offer real change. Committed to ending the ‘bedroom tax’ his party would also scrap ATOS assessments, make the NHS free at the point of need, build more social housing, invest in the armed forces and get the UK out of Europe.

Andy Morrison , Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party (Con) said he, too was a local person. ‘I have to be honest - it hasn’t all been peace and light over the past five years. But we are dealing with the fundamentals: – we want to ensure our children and our children’s children can enjoy what we have.’ He said there were fewer university graduates in Scotland and that was a cause for concern. Europe had a higher youth unemployment rate than the UK. But he was proud of the Conservative Party’s record and of his efforts to defend the union.

Gary McLelland, Scottish Liberal Democratic Party (Lib Dem) said his party’s policies were geared to giving people the best possible opportunities to live happily. This included democracy especially at local level, human rights, building alliances and ending the House of Lords.  He wanted Dungavel closed and praised the fact that the UK had committed 0.7% to the UN Development spending goal.

Liam McLaughlan, Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) said he might be the youngest candidate at 19, but he had been holding meetings across the constituency campaigning on things like the bedroom tax during the year when the Labour party was trying to make up its mind on its stance on the issue. ‘People here are disaffected. We need to get back to real values in society.’ He also said his party would ban zero hours contracts and make a £10 minimum wage.

The biggest round of applause of the hustings was when Natalie McGarry said the SNP would abolish the House of Lords where a person turning up got £300 for the day. She followed this with a comment about the cuts ripping the fabric of society. ‘Did the people here cause the bank crisis? No! So why are the people in this room paying the cost?’

And SSP Liam McLaughlan also got a lot of applause when he pointed out that at this time of austerity the FTSE financial index – which charts the value of top companies –  was worth more than ever. ‘Just let that sink in,’ he said.

Blairtummock Housing Association hosted the event. David Bookbinder, Director of Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations was chairperson. He kept a tight rein on the candidates but had to deal with some feisty members of the otherwise attentive audience of around 150.


No hullaballoo at hustings – candidates all heard.

April 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In true Presbyterian tradition, all six election candidates for the Glasgow South seat had their say in Cathcart Trinity Church. Each was listened to with respect by the audience of almost 200 people. Three people who wanted to have a shouting match were politely, but firmly dealt with by the Chairperson, Rev Wilma Pearson and chose to leave.

The six candidates for Glasgow South constituency with Cathcart Trinity Church Associate Minister Rev Wilma Pearson who chaired the hustings.

The six candidates for Glasgow South constituency with Cathcart Trinity Church Associate Minister Rev Wilma Pearson who chaired the hustings.

The format worked well. First, every candidate stating his case, then questions were asked by the Chairperson from those submitted some time before. Each candidate gave his answer. And a final response concluded an informative and carefully timed evening.

Tom Harris who has represented the area for Labour since 2001 when the seat was Glasgow Cathcart, left no one in doubt about his concerns should the SNP ‘sweep the board.’ He said: ‘That is the elephant in the room. There can never be a coalition between Scottish Labour and the SNP. The only sure way to stop them is to vote Labour.’

Stewart McDonald, the SNP candidate was equally certain: ‘If you want business as usual at Westminster, then I’m not your guy. If you want to move forward and hold politicians accountable, you should support me.’

Ewan Hoyle, the Scottish Liberal Democrat representative said that the Liberal Democrats were the major ‘green’ party championing climate change at Westminster. ‘If you want green issues to be on the table at Westminster you should vote Liberal Democrat,’ he said.

Kyle Thornton of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party said his party was the only one with a plan to make things better for everyone in Britain. ‘Everyone who wants a job should get a job. There will be help for the young people into jobs or college or university or an apprenticeship. This is not another Referendum. If you want the country to keep together you should vote Conservative.’

Scottish Green Party candidate, Alastair Whitelaw said it wouldn’t be a career disaster for him, personally, if he didn’t get elected. But he urged people to consider the international perspective so that this country cultivated better relationships all over the world. ‘This is the only way to secure our future by being better at the so-called ‘soft’ relationships and being able to speak other languages. Peace, disarmament, food production and climate change are the things that need to be done better in the next 30 to 50 years if we want to make this world a safer place.’

Brian Smith of the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) warned: ‘If you vote tactically, you’ll still get austerity. Think carefully and vote for what you really belive in. Dream dreams, that way you can change society.’

Photograph shows BACK ROW from left: Alastair Whitelaw (Scottish Green Party), Brian Smith (TUSC), Ewan Hoyle (Scottish Lib Dems), Kyle Thornton (Scottish Conservative and Unionist). FRONT ROW from left: Stewart McDonald (SNP), Rev Wilma Pearson, Tom Harris (Scottish Labour Party)


Under fives have fun in city’s museums

April 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Glasgow Museums has challenged all visitors under the age of FIVE to complete 25 tasks by visiting all nine museums in the city and discovering fun things to see and do in each place before they reach their fifth birthday.

Four year old Cameron Foran has started collecting his 25 stickers of things to do in Glasgow's museums.

Four year old Cameron Foran has started collecting his 25 stickers of things to do in Glasgow’s museums.  Photograph by Ian Watson.



Designed especially to entertain and inspire the under fives, the hunt for the fun is led by a furry friend called Museum Mouse.  In a free booklet which can be picked up in all of the museums, the mousie character describes what can be enjoyed where.

Youngsters can hunt for a dragon at the Burrell, imagine they are inside a whale at GoMA or dress up as characters from Sleeping Beauty at Kelvingrove Museum.  They can count the many different animals carved on the Doulton Fountain outside the People’s Palace, or copy the funny expressions on the heads in St Nicholas Garden outside Provand’s Lordship.  At the Riverside Museum, children can show off their firefighting skills with an interactive fire engine game.  St Mungo’s has a scarier version of eye spy with its huge window overlooking the Necropolis. And Scotland Street School offers school uniforms, classroom re-enactments and playground games from past times.

At Glasgow Museums Resource Centre – the only venue requiring pre-booked tours or workshops – the young discoverers can use hat, binoculars and torch to search for Museum Mouse’s trail.

Local youngsters Cameron, Molly and Eva (pictured below) completed all three challenges at the People’s Palace before proudly collecting their stickers at the Enquiry Desk.

Cameron Foran (4) ; Molly Rae (4) ; Ava Hamilton (4) have fun at "The Steamie" in the People's Palace Museum.

Cameron Foran (4) ; Molly Rae (4); Ava Hamilton (4) have fun at “The Steamie” in the People’s Palace.         Photograph by Ian Watson.

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham, said more than 3 million people attended the city’s museums last year.  ‘Our museums can open up a whole new world to even the youngest of visitors.  If parents can spare a little time to help the under fives enjoy the many adventures detailed in this new booklet, they could give their child a lifelong love of exploring, investigating and enjoying arts and culture.  I think that is a truly wonderful gift to give the next generation.’

More information on museum opening times, transport options etc at:

SNP manifesto launched today

April 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Another day another Manifesto. This time the SNP fanfare launched ‘ Stronger for Scotland’ their 1757 word document setting out their stall for this General Election.

SNP party leader Nicola Sturgeon launches her 'Stronger for Scotland' manifesto.

SNP party leader Nicola Sturgeon launches her ‘Stronger for Scotland’ manifesto.

Greeted by party faithful in a climbing centre in Edinburgh, Scotland’s First Minister received a standing ovation lasting many minutes before she got to the rostum. She emphasised she was offering ‘the hand of friendship’ to everyone who: ‘wants real and positive change that will make life better for ordinary people across these islands.’

Said Nicola: ‘The SNP – if we are given the chance – will be your allies in making that change.’

Starting by pledging to the people of Scotland that if they voted SNP the party would make the Scottish voice heard ‘more loudly at Westminster,’ and would ‘stand up for Scotland and fight your corner.’  She then went on to promise the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland: ‘If the SNP emerges from this election in a position of influence, we will exercise that influence responsibly and constructively…and bring to that task eight years’ experience of government – of successful, effective and stable government.’

The manifesto highlighted plans to: end austerity; permit modest spending increases and a ‘slightly slower path to eliminating the deficit completely.’ Nicola said this would  allow ‘at least £140 billion extra to be invested in infrastructure, support for business,  protection of our public services and policies that will help to lift people out of poverty.’

Asked why England was ‘scared’ of the SNP, she replied that she did not believe ordinary people across the UK were scared. ‘We’ll play a constructive role as long as we are part of the system. We do not seek to bring down a government.  We believe we have common cause with people of like mind everywhere in the country.’

And in a direct challenge to David Cameron she said: ‘I oppose any attempt to undermine the SNP at Westminster.’



Midnight deadline to register to vote

April 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Not yet registered to vote? You have till midnight tonight – Monday 20 April 2015 – to claim your right to vote.  There is a simple online form asking about 11 questions including your national insurance number if you have one.  Said Alex Robertson, Director of Communications at the Electoral Commission: ‘If you aren’t registered by midnight on 20 April, you simply won’t be able to vote on 7 May.’  He urged the 7.5 million unregistered people to go to: In the past five weeks around 1.8 million people have registered. Following a recent promotion by the Electoral Commission and Twitter, 300,000 people aged between 16 and 24 registered. But only if an individual is 18 by voting day, can they vote in that election. ‘We’ve had a big push,’ said a spokeswoman. ‘At 1 December last year 7.5 million people had not registered or re-registered.’  If a person moves address, they will need to re-register at the new address. Every vote counts, especially when the outcome is on a knife edge according to all the polls.

Scottish Labour launches manifesto

April 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Jim Murphy launched the Scottish Labour Party’s manifesto today with promises of give-aways for young people, 1000 extra nurses, 500 more GPs and a £200 million Cancer Fund as well as a £200 million Mental Health Fund.

Margaret Curran and Jim Murphy with the manifesto.

Margaret Curran and Jim Murphy with the manifesto.

Surrounded by (mostly) young party workers in bright teeshirts the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party said: ‘Labour will keep university tuition free and we will give the poorest students an extra £1,000 on their bursaries.’ For those who don’t go to university he offered: ‘We will invest £1,600 – the equivalent of tuition fees  – in every 18 and 19 year old who isn’t in college, university or apprenticeship. This will be an investment, not just in their potential, but in Scotland’s future. We want to offer hope to our young people again.’ He also emphasised the £8 an hour minimum wage and the banning of zero hours contracts.

Margaret Curran – who has been the Westminster MP for Glasgow East  – introduced Jim Murphy at the rally held in the Tollcross Leisure Centre. She told the audience of several hundred: ‘We can win against the odds if we put in the right effort.’ She won back the seat for Labour at the 2010 general election with an 11,000 majority. Traditionally a Labour stronghold, the seat had been snatched by the SNP before that.

David Hamilton gave a rousing speech.

David Hamilton gave a rousing speech.

The rally was closed with a rousing speech by former miner David Hamilton who commented: ‘We are not the SNP. Labour is a party for people who think for themselves.’Saying how hard it was for him after the miners’ strike when he was unemployed for two and a half years, David said: ‘People lose confidence when they’re out of work. It can affect their mental health. They should be paid a training wage to get back into work. Once back working, they gain confidence again. And the job should be paying a minimum of £8 an hour.’

But outside the fervour of the manifesto launch one local constituent – mature student and father of three, John Docherty said: ‘Manifestos looks good on paper. But they don’t practise what they preach. Labour has lost their way. My back ground has been a Labour voter – my father was a shipyard worker. My family history is socialist. But I recently joined the SNP. That’s the party that shows solidarity – community solidarity. Labour doesn’t get the community bit.’

John Docherty was a random shopper who gave his opinion on the manifesto launch.

John Docherty was a random shopper who gave his opinion on the manifesto launch.

And 22 year old Rebecca Black, taking a strictly timed lunch break from her £6.50 an hour job which will last 13 weeks said: ‘It would be good if I got money when I go to college next term. But I think they all tell lies and you don’t know who to trust so I don’t think I’ll vote.’



Singing on the Southside

April 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Great new show coming up at the SHED at Shawlands Cross. Not to be missed!


General Election candidates’ lists now official

April 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Thursday 9 April 2015

Today nominations closed for candidates for the UK Parliamentary Election. In Glasgow, a total of 51 people are now contesting seats in the city’s seven Parliamentary constituencies.  All the seats were held by Labour MPs (names in bold below)

In the Referendum last year, 53.5% of Glasgow’s voters backed independence. The turnout – at 75% – was the lowest in Scotland.

Voting for the General Election takes place on 7 May 2015. Here is the list of candidates:

Glasgow Central

Simon Robert Bone, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Andrew Elliot, Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Cass MacGregor, Scottish Green Party

James Marris, Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol

Stuart Maskell, UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Katie Rhodes, Socialist Equality Party

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour Party

Alison Thewliss, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Chris Young, Scottish Liberal Democrats


Glasgow East

Margaret Patricia Curran, Scottish Labour Party

Kim Long, Scottish Green Party

Natalie McGarry, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Liam McLaughlan, Scottish Socialist Party

Gary McLelland, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Andy Morrison, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Arthur Misty Thackeray, UK Independence Party (UKIP)


Glasgow North

Martin Bartos, Scottish Green Party

Russell Benson, Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol

Patrick Grady, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Lauren Anne Hankinson, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Angela McCormick, Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Ann McKechin, Scottish Labour Party

Jade Elizabeth O’Neil, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Jamie Robertson, UK Independence Party (UKIP)


Glasgow North East 

Willie Bain, Scottish Labour Party

Eileen Janet Gladys Baxendale, Scottish Liberal Democrat

Jamie Cocozza, Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Geoff Johnson, Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol

Zara Kitson, Scottish Green Party

Anne McLaughlin, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative and Unionist


Glasgow North West 

Moira Ann Crawford, Scottish Green Party

James Wallace Harrison, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Roger Lewis, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Chris MacKenzie, Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol

Carol Monaghan, Scottish National Party (SNP)

John Robertson, Scottish Labour Party

Zoe Hennessy Streatfield, Scottish Communist Party


Glasgow South 

Tom Harris, Scottish Labour Party

Ewan Hoyle, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Stewart McDonald, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Brian Smith, Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Kyle Alan Kerr Thornton, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Alastair Whitelaw, Scottish Green Party


Glasgow South West 

Bill Bonnar, Scottish Socialist Party

Ian Davidson, Labour and Co-operative Party

Sarah Hemy, UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Gordon Alexander McCaskill, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Isabel Nelson, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Christopher Stephens, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Sean Templeton, Scottish Green Party

Fresh produce every second Friday from Uni co-op

February 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Food Co-op folk on duty on Friday 13. Next collecting day will be Friday 27 February from 3.30pm till 5.30pm

The Food Co-op folk on duty on Friday 13 February. Next collecting day will be Friday 27 February from 3.30pm till 5.30pm

The food co-operative at the University of Glasgow is well under way for this semester. Every second Friday from 3.30pm till 5.30pm they hand over the pre-paid vegetables ordered online. Today – Friday 13 February 2015- the people on duty in the foyer of the Queen Margaret Union were  (from left) Ambi, Eva and Grace who is showing the new Food Co-op bags which can be purchased for £3. They have been hand-printed by Esme Armour at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and are made of bamboo. For more information go to:


Govan Fair set fair to continue

February 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A Thames tidal wave of enthusiasm gave the current Govan Fair organisers a flotilla of good ideas to improve the stability of the annual event.

Adrian Evans, Director of Totally Thames and Lord James Stringfellow, Chair of Govan Fair.

Adrian Evans, Director of Totally Thames and Lord James Stringfellow, Chair of Govan Fair.

Adrian Evans, Director of Totally Thames, a Festival spanning the length of that great river which flows through the heart of London, was guest speaker at a seminar on the Govan Fair’s future this week.  He outlined the ebb and flow of events which led to Totally Thames. His inspiration was the exceptional artist George Wyllie.  ‘He brought this huge origami boat and floated it down the Thames in the 1990s,’ said Adrian. ‘That made a big impression on me. It was immense. It was amusing and made me realise Govan – where he came from – was a special place.’

The festival he has developed from nothing on the Thames now has many very good working partnerships with businesses along the length of the river. His organisation is responsible for around 25% of the events while the others arise locally and are included in the Totally Thames programme. He urged the Govan Fair organisers to: ‘Look for the opportunities. Pursue them aggressively and celebrate the fantastic and unique history you have.’

Architect Andy McAvoy left Govan at the age of five but admitted he’d been ‘infected by the Spirit of the Place’ on his return in recent years and acknowledged George Wyllie had been an inspiration, too.

Andy has spent at least three years researching the buried history of Govan. ‘It was a gathering place. It was the confluence of two rivers – the Kelvin and the Clyde. So people could wade across from North to South and from East to West at low tide.  The Weavers would taunt their Deacon to come out of the Water Row Inn in an annual ritual to take up his post. That led to the ‘Ghost of Water Row’ an art work in light set on the site where that inn had been.’

How Architect Andy McAvoy considers Govan    mapped out in times past.

How Architect Andy McAvoy considers Govan mapped out in times past.

Andy’s research showed that a Fair predated the procession which is almost the only current activity. ‘There was commerce and interaction of people. There was a horse fair and a labour fair. Where commerce was, people gathered. But ship building caused a massive re-writing of the landscape. That’s when Lady Elder stepped in with Elder Park to have a green space protected for people.’

The Govan Fair has probably been in existence since well before 1756 when there is some documentary evidence to show it flourished. Andy outlined the various ups and downs of the Fair and said that Lord James Stringfellow, Govan Fair Chairman who chaired the seminar and Liz Gardiner of Fablevision who introduced all the speakers, were issuing a call to arms to bring in new energy to develop the Fair in a way that could be sustained and would grow the event.

The fair at present is mostly an annual parade on the first Friday of June with shows being set up last year because of Lord James’s show family connections. Other entertainments and attractions are being considered to encourage more local community participation.

The ‘incredible history’ of Govan and its Fair was supported by Graham Jeffery of the University of the West of Scotland and Director of the Creative Futures Institute and  Dr Alan Leslie of Northlight Heritage concerned with archaeological excavations.

Graham Jeffery, University of the West of Scotland and Alan Leslie of Northlight Heritage.

Graham Jeffery, University of the West of Scotland and Alan Leslie of Northlight Heritage.

They referred to a bus from Gdansk with local people aboard tell the local history of their shipyards and city to visitors. This idea had been successfully adapted for Govan and could be again. And the site of Doomster Hill – currently under a car park – should be reclaimed as an ancient place of justice and important meetings.

The seminar was held in the Board Room of the re-furbished Fairfield Offices on Govan Road by courtesy of Govan Workspace.

It was followed by a walking tour of Govan which included the Old Kirk, the Pearce Institute, Doomster Hill and Water Row, the derelict Govan Graving Docks and the vibrant Film City which was once Govan Town Hall.

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