Anti ATOS campaigners demonstrated today at the door of the legal advisers to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – Harper Macleod LLP. There was no monkey business – but there was a ‘gorilla’ wearing a white ‘doctor’s coat’ with ‘trained ATOS Medical Examiner’ printed on the back.
The law company is located in the same city centre office block in Gordon Street as ATOS health care which carries out assessments for people being reviewed by the Department of Work and Pensions to find those capable of working.
ATOS (Societas Europae) is the IT wing of ATOS which provides the technology for the Games results, volunteers and many other facets of the 2014 event.
In recent months the campaigners have carried out a series of similar demonstrations at targeted companies including ATOS health care and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games offices.
Spokesman for the Anti ATOS campaigners, Sean Clerkin, said: ‘We think Harper Macleod should be ashamed for not calling on ATOS to be removed as a sponsor of the Games. We consider ATOS is responsible for the deaths of 2,200 people who died before the end of their ATOS assessment process. Some committed suicide, others were terminally ill. ATOS is responsible for driving tens of thousands of disabled people from social security benefits, reducing them to utter penury and extreme poverty.’
The group left a letter for the law firm’s chief, Professor Lorne Crerar calling on him as a co-sponsoring company of the Commonwealth Games, to: ‘talk to your fellow sponsors, such as Ernst & Young, Ford, etc to exert pressure to remove ATOS as a sponsor as they are not fit to grace such a fine occasion as the Commonwealth Games in 2014.’
Harper Macleod’s website says: ‘The values we treasure: Integrity, trust and a strong sense of social responsibility. We expect our people to maintain these characteristics in all our business dealings with clients, with each other and with our stakeholders in our wider communities.’ A comment is awaited from Harper Macleod.
By the end of the brief demonstration inside the Ca’d’oro building, the half dozen demonstrators were outnumbered by nine police officers. After some discussion between the demonstration leader and the senior police officer, the group left the building quietly.
Later ATOS issued a statement: ‘We fully respect people’s right to peaceful protest and we understand that the Work Capability Assessment can be very difficult.
We do not make decisions on people’s benefit entitlement or on welfare policy but we will continue to make sure that service that we provide is as highly professional and compassionate as it can be. We do this through a constant programme of training and education for our staff, a rigorous recruitment process for healthcare professionals and through continual work with the Government, disability rights groups, healthcare professionals and those going through the process on the ground.’
The sports didn’t stop when the last Paralympic event finished last year.
This weekend at Braehead Arena the Star Refrigeration National Wheelchair Pairs Curling Championships will be played out. On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 November 2013, teams from across Scotland will assemble to battle on ice. They’ll range from top of the range Paralympians to amateur curlers.
This year, 16 pairs will take part. From 9.30am on Saturday till 5pm there will be 24 games. Successful competitors will qualify for Sunday’s “high-road” and “low-road” semi-finals, where there will be a further 12 determining matches before the finals begin at 1.15pm
The 2013 Championship will be the first for Scottish Wheelchair Curlers Association’s Chairperson, David Morgan, who said: ‘We are always delighted to have spectators and we would welcome anyone who wants to come along to the event.’
Star Refrigeration continues their sponsorship of the popular event for the sixth consecutive year. The Glasgow-based industrial refrigeration company has established itself as the market leader in ice systems for the UK leisure industry, having previously completed projects for ice rinks in Aberdeen, Solihull and North Ashfield.
Alan Walkinshaw, Star’s Director of Sales – Processes, said: ‘Star is thrilled to sponsor this curling event as part of our commitment with the ice and leisure industry. We were delighted when the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association accepted our sponsorship of their annual National Wheelchair Curling Pairs Championship – and even named the event after us.
‘The skill and camaraderie of the athletes competing at this weekend Championship is always an inspiration. I will be there for the competition and prize giving as usual – I am looking forward to it, and wish all participants the best of luck.’
The event is free and open to all sporting fans. The draw can be found here. (Link: http://competitions.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Star-Refrigeration-National-Pairs-Draw-2013.pdf)
There are only a few days left to nominate people to carry the Queen’s Baton on the final leg of its journey next year to the Commonwealth Games. Up to 4000 people will be needed to carry the Baton around Scotland and into Glasgow for the opening of the Games in July. It is currently being carried across the 70 nations and territories which will be taking part in the Games.
It is due in Tuvalu – a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean- on Tuesday 19 November 2013. Tuvalu became independent within the Commonwealth in 1978 to become the 198th member of the United Nations.
The deadline for final nominations to carry the Queen’s Baton in Scotland, is 5pm on Friday 22 November 2013.
As long as the person has made a difference to their local community in Scotland, they can be nominated. People can nominate as many local champions as they wish but have to have their nominee’s consent and email address.
Details of the selection criteria and the nominating process can be found on http://glasgow2014.com/queens-baton-relay/pass-baton
Twelve candidates will contest the by-election in Shettleston ward 19 of Glasgow City Council on Thursday 5 December 2013. This follows the death of Councillor George Ryan in October.
Nominations have closed and the candidates are:
Charles Baillie, Britannica
Tommy Ball, Scottish Socialist Party – People Not Profit
Jamie Cocozza, Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Laura Doherty, Scottish National Party (SNP)
Alasdair Duke, Scottish Green Party
John Flanagan, No Bedroom Tax – No Welfare Cuts
Raymond McCrae, Scottish Conservative and Unionist
Victor Murphy, Scottish Christian Party ‘Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship’
Martin Neill, Scottish Labour Party
James Speirs, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Arthur Misty Thackeray, UKIP
James Trolland, Scottish Democratic Alliance
The by-election will be run on the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system and the count will take place in Wellshot Hall, 350 Wellshot Road, Glasgow G32 7QR.
Electors have until 5pm on 19 November 2013, to apply for a postal vote. Those who cannot vote in person have until 5pm on 26 November 2013, to apply for a proxy vote.
Application forms are available from the Electoral Registration Officer on 0141 287 4444 or on Glasgow City Council’s website under: Elections and Voting
Labour Councillers were told they had ‘blood on their hands’ at a stormy meeting of Glasgow City Council today. (Thursday 31 October 2013)
Shouted from the public gallery after a motion to removed ATOS as a corporate sponsor of the 2014 Commonwealth Games was defeated, several people there loudly condemned the Councillors. One man was arrested and charged with alleged breach of the peace. Police Scotland (Strathclyde) say a report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal.
The motion was moved by SNP Councillor Billy McAllister from Canal Ward 16.
While recognising the ‘immense economic and social benefits’ to be derived from the 2014 Commonwealth Games and commending the international exposure which Scotland and Glasgow would receive from the Games, Councillor McAllister said: ‘ATOS must go as a sponsor. This is a company without any conscience. It is destroying lives.’
He gave details of individuals who had been assessed by ATOS Health Care as fit to work. One died within weeks of being declared fit for work. Another committed suicide. Said Councillor McAllister: ‘At least 10,000 people have been declared fit for work. ATOS is an ugly stain on our society. Their costly contract should be pulled. I do not wish to accept the shocking damage ATOS is doing to Glasgow’s citizens.
Even as people in the public gallery applauded him, the Lord Provost gave him a dressing down for being ‘disrespectful’ of her by continuing to speak well beyond the time permitted.
SNP Councillor John Letford of Maryhill/Kelvin Ward15, supported the motion to removed ATOS as a sponsor of the Games. He said ‘ATOS is the problem, not the solution.’ He called on people working for the health care assessment sector of the company who believed in social justice to follow their conscience and move to another job. ‘We must remove this monster called ATOS,’ he said.
But Labour Councillor Archie Graham for Langside Ward 7, who is Executive Member for the Games said: ‘You must separate ATOS health care from the Games sponsor ATOS which is a different arm of the company.’ He accused the SNP Councillors of attempting to damage the Commonwealth Games. He produced a picture of Nicola Sturgeon, SNP Deputy First Minister ‘enthusiastically participating’ in a Commonwealth Games lead-in event where she was being ‘cheered on’ by ‘the man from ATOS.’ He said it had been decided that ATOS was capable of delivering the Games’ services. ‘It is now impossible to distance ourselves from them. Where would the billions of pounds of sponsorship come from now?’ he queried.
Both Green Party Councillor Martha Wardrop for Hillhead Ward 11 and First Glasgow Councillor Stephen Dornan for Govan Ward 5 spoke out strongly against retaining ATOS as a sponsor for the Games.
Councillor Wardrop said she strongly criticised ATOS and the way it treated people being assessed. But challenged the Labour group that their concern was ‘All about the money they are bringing to the Games.’
Councillor Dornan urged Labour Group members to vote with their conscience. ‘Money can never replace people. That’s your choice.’
In his final response, Councillor McAllister said to Councillor Graham directly: ‘Shame on you if you put profit before people. You can’t say this is outwith your area. This is about our constituents in Glasgow. If you don’t vote with your conscience, this will come back to haunt you. This should not be about party politics,’ he warned.
The final vote was 29 for Councillor McAllister’s motion and 42 against.
At that point the public gallery erupted with people shouting down to the Councillors and throwing down handfuls of monopoly money.
One man shouted: ‘How will the disabled athletes look on this?’
As the police intervened in the public gallery the Lord Provost closed the Council session. Most Councillors re-assembled after a 20 minute break to continue the business of the day.
During the recess Councillor McAllister said he was very angry about the whole issue. ‘A lot of Labour Councillors said to me privately they’d like to support this motion but the Labour Group have whipped them into voting against it. It shows the state of Labour in Glasgow when they can’t vote with their conscience. We govern the city. If we don’t condemn the way ATOS goes about its health business we are condoning it.’
Before the Council meeting re-convened, Councillor Graham called Councillor McAllister’s conduct ‘an outrage.’
Rod Stewart will NOT be the first to perform in the SSE Hydro which opens on Monday 30 September 2013 in Glasgow. Two musicians and SoundSational Community Choir took the opening honours when they sang at the preview night for those who steered the venue to the on-time, on budget launch.
Singer songwriter Murdo Mitchell was busking when he was spotted by an SSE Hydro organiser and hired to entertain the crowd arriving for the preview. ‘It’s just fantastic to be here,’ said the teenager.
The other singer songwriter who has beaten Rod to the SSE Hydro first spot is Pete Westwater.
A seasoned performer, he was playing a gig in a Glasgow music spot when he was heard by another organiser of the venue opening events and hired on the spot. ‘It’s a great privilege to be here,’ said Pete.
The choir was followed by Admiral Fallow a group forecast by music pundits to be heading for stardom.
The venue seats 12,000 and is the only one of this size purpose built for world class concerts such as Rod Stewart. Even before it opens, it is ranked among the top five busiest venues in the world alongside Madison Square Gardens in New York and The O2 in London because 140 major entertainment and sports events are scheduled. Glasgow’s latest Waterfront building will also host the 2014 Commonwealth Games gymnastics and netball sports.
An iconic building which glows blue and green at night, it is expected to inject around £131 million into the local economy. It is part of the SECC complex and sits well alongside the Clyde Auditorium (the Armadillo) and the SECC.
The only off-note is that the cost of parking a car in the adjacent, purpose-built car park is £7.
There was no compulsion on the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) supporters, sufferers and specialists to cycle from Land’s End to John O’ Groats. But two of them elected to make the 1100 mile journey in 15 days to raise awareness of the condition.
That’s how OCD UK charity founder and sufferer Ashley Fulwood (39) and OCD specialist, and charity patron, Professor Paul Salkovskis (57) started. They were joined in Manchester by clinical psychologist Brynjar Halldorsson and stopped in Glasgow on Monday 26 August to say hallo to members of the Glasgow OCD group.
After a brief lunch at the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green with truly nutritional food provided by their back up van driver Lisa Marnell, the three wheeled off to find their way to Inverbeg at the top of Loch Lomond in time for tea.
Said Ashley: ‘I’ve suffered from OCD since I was a kid. Now I control it rather than it controlling me. This trip is a great way to challenge myself, raise awareness and show others that sufferers can achieve things.’ His extraordinary fear of being unclean after going to the toilet, dictated that he shower for 90 minutes afterwards. ‘I was unable to venture far from home because of that,’ said Ashley. ‘A journey of this magnitude would have been impossible before I reclaimed my life from OCD.’
When Ashley first told Paul that he planned to make the marathon cycle trip, Paul said: ‘I could never do that!’ But the man who tells his OCD patients ‘anything is possible,’ decided that he could take up the challenge. ‘I was overweight and have lost 20 kilo since I started training in December,’ said Paul. ‘OCD interferes with people’s lives. Sometimes they can lose 12 years when it takes over. There is effective treatment and this trip is one way to raise awareness of what is possible and available around the country.’
Brynjar, who is working on a PhD on OCD alongside Paul said: ‘I wanted to help raise awareness too, especially among those trying to get treatment.’
Among the Glasgow group welcome party was Elizabeth Mooney and Christine Muir. Said OCD sufferer Elizabeth: ‘We meet in the Charlie Reid Centre in Elmbank Street, off Bath Street near the King’s Theatre on the 1st Wednesday of every month and welcome anyone who suffers from OCD.’
Added Christine: ‘It is great to see the cyclists here in Glasgow. We think they’re doing a good job letting others know what can be done for OCD.’
Follow the cycling trio’s journey through the Ride4OCD page:
Glasgow Central Station is one of the star attractions during Glasgow Doors Open Day from Monday 16 to Sunday 22 September.
Some of the behind-the-scenes places which visiting member of the public will be able to see will be the famous glass roof of the Station.
More than 100 buildings, 54 walks and tours and 23 talks and events are included in the free programme which can be viewed online or picked up as a brochure in public places such as libraries.
Railways is one of the themes running through this ‘built heritage’ festival which is in its 24th year. The Commonwealth Games and Green City are the parallel themes.
Pollokshaws West is the oldest railway station in operation in Glasgow and its doors will be open. Talks will explore the early days of rail in the city as well as Glasgow’s Southside suburban railways and Glasgow’s railway heritage and the materials used. A ‘Subcrawl’ will offer a ride on the city’s underground with information about buildings around the circle.
An advance look at the changes being made to accommodate the Commonwealth Games will be available during Doors Open days. This will include the Athletes’ Village, Glasgow Green Hockey Centre, Hampden Park, Kelvingrove Park Tennis and Bowls Pavilion and Tollcross International Swimming Centre as well as a discovery tour of hidden Bridgeton. The architecture of sport and leisure will be explored in the talk: ‘Starting Blocks & Building Blocks.’
To co-incide with 2013, the Year of Natural Scotland, Doors Open will also have a green theme. The natural beauty of Glasgow and the ways in which everyone can help to keep it that way will be addressed. Among the Doors Open events will be – viewing the city from City of Glasgow College; visiting the Concrete Garden’s home grown Scottish fare and the Hidden Gardens’ native and exotic plant collection; discovering Eco-Friendly Glasgow at Caledonian University and The Tall Ship.
People will be invited to relax in a temporary park with SEDA PARK(ing) Glasgow, turning parking spaces into parks. And folk can learn about the seven lochs wetlands park and go on a journey through the History of Glasgow’s Parks.
Among the highlights will be a last chance to see the Henry Wood Hall which has been the RSNO Centre for many years; a costumed interpretation at Pollok House; discovering The Rome of the North – Springburn; sampling therapies at the Calman Cancer Support Centre; joining the Storytelling Tour of Pollok; seeing an exhibition of the world’s mosques at Madrasa Taleem ul Islam; learning to play the pipes at the National Piping Centre and Pipers’ Tryst Hotel; going behind the scenes at STV Studios – among hundreds of interesting visits and events.
Doors Open’s website is newly designed to enable visitors to plan their time to suit their interests. Try it! www.glasgowdoorsopenday.com
There are competitions and many special interest events, talks and venues to be enjoyed.
As Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) said: “The 2013 Doors Open Day programme features an exciting and diverse range of buildings and locations, offering the chance to explore Glasgow as never before. There are many discoveries to be made!”
Anne McChlery, Director of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust said: “We are absolutely delighted that it’s this time of year again and are so proud to be the organisers of this much loved event in Glasgow.”
Pauline McCloy, Events & Development Officer at Scottish Civic Trust said: “Doors Open Days continues to impress with its depth of variety and consistent quality. Glasgow’s programme effortlessly merges contemporary interventions in the city’s public space alongside the serenity of more tradition buildings.”
For the full national programme see: www.doorsopendays.org.uk
Glasgow’s programme is coordinated by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, a charity that focuses on saving the built heritage by establishing new uses for and restoring much loved old buildings. Last year more than 80,000 recorded visits were made in the city during Doors Open. Around 1,115 people – mostly volunteers – worked 7,004 hours on the events which brought an estimated £101,297 into Glasgow.
There is a peaceful occupation for Saturday 20 July – tidying up Calder Street Community Trust’s Peace Garden. All friends of the Trust are invited along to give a hand between 12 noon and 2 pm. Refreshments will be provided.
The Trust is in the process of re-opening the Govanhill Baths in Calder Street, for community use. This includes swimming and a wide variety of other activities. On Saturday 03 August they will have a coffee morning and cafe from 10 am till 2 pm in the main foyer in partnership with Strathclyde Theatre Group. All funds raised will be used to tidy up and paint the main pool area.
That same evening from 7 pm till 11pm they will hold “The Wee Summer Social.” Led by DJ Junkyard Dog and with activities for children and a “wee bar” it should be fun. Entry by donation.
For other details check their website or Facebook page.
Toryglen kids have started to roll out the bouncy castle to prepare for a family fun day on Saturday 13 July at the Geoff Shaw Centre at Kerrylamont Avenue G42. The free event runs from 11am till 4pm.
This will launch a summer programme of activities organised by Toryglen After School Service (TASS)
The children’s own fruit and herb gardens will be on show. There will be a climbing wall, team sports and a creative writing workshop. Face painting, live music and dance displays are also scheduled for Saturday along with films and relaxation sessions.
A key feature of the day will be an exhibition of treasured photographs of Toryglen of the past.
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: ‘The Geoff Shaw Centre is a key part of the Toryglen community and the Toryglen After School Service is an invaluable asset. The Open Family Fun Day and the summer programme at the centre offers local children the opportunity to try new things and continue their education through play during the summer holidays. I hope lots of the local people turn out to support this fantastic centre and take full advantage of all it has to offer.’
Among the summer sessions will be Street Dance and Hip Hop classes and Arts and Craft Classes. Team Games and Sports sessions will complete the three week activity programme.