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 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)
Glasgow’s plan B has nothing to do with the Referendum! It is the Council’s strategy to increase the population of honeybees in the city. Around 120,000 bees have been installed in two insulated beehives on the roof of Glasgow City Chambers.
Vital in the food chain, this kind of bee is under threat because of pesticides and climate change.
Council Leader Gordon Matheson – who is also chair of Sustainable Glasgow – said: “Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat and also pollinate trees which helps reduce air pollution by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Numbers have dropped dramatically so Sustainable Glasgow is helping reverse that decline by installing these hives.
“I hope the bees will flourish and help us ensure Glasgow remains a Dear Green Place for generations to come.”
PlanBee Ltd is the company which provides the bees, the hives and the training programmes. Council staff have swarmed to be trained in hive management.
Bees can travel up to three miles to find their target flowers. Said Warren Bader of PlanBee Ltd: “Glasgow is a fantastic garden city. Bees can be safer in a city than in the countryside where a lot of farmers use pesticides and plant monocultures (just one type of crop) which isn’t healthy for pollen production. In a good summer the bees can produce plenty of honey.” He added: “Unless you are a flower, the bees really aren’t interested in you so no one should be worried!”
Wax from the bees will be used as furniture polish in the City Chambers. What happens to the honey will be decided when the quality and quantity is known.
Glasgow aims to become one of the most sustainable cities in Europe by cutting carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 / 21.
Already it has a network of electric car charging points; solar powered parking meters; Green Wardens; electric vehicles in the council fleet and a Green Energy Services Company to promote and oversee renewable energy projects. The Stalled Spaces initiative has seen 32 disused spaces in Glasgow brought back into use as community gardens, performance space and locations for public art installations. This scheme will be rolled out across Scotland.
Next year Glasgow plans to hold Green Year 2015. Twelve months of activities will celebrate the city’s green credentials and encourage others to do their bit for the environment. Twitter: @greenglasgow.
The Church and Society Roadshow
Saturday, 5th November
10am – 2pm
Pearce Institute, Govan
Everyone is welcome to pop in and find out how we can make a difference in our communities as followers of Jesus.
Workshops will cover a huge diversity of topics from Mental Health to Climate Change, Schools work to Sectarianism.
In a horror repeat of last year, 100,000 people are likely to be displaced by monsoon floods in southern Pakistan. Torrential rains have caused flooding in 23 of the 24 districts of Sindh province. The charity, Islamic Relief has an office in Thatta, Sindh and that is where hygiene kits and shelter are being distributed to around 30,000 residents of the worst hit area, Badin.
Working alongside the Pakistan military and the government’s disaster management authorities, Islamic Relief faces a daunting challenge. Said the charity’s Scottish organiser, Habib Malik, who is due to arrive in Pakistan this weekend: ‘ Because international response to the 2010 floods was woefully inadequate – $600 million short of what the UN needed to get communities back on their feet – some people were still living in temporary shelters when the latest floods hit. These floods have inflicted more misery on communities devastated only a year ago.’
Already 200 people have died in the monsoon waters and an estimated 5 million people are already suffering. Around 1 million houses have been damaged or destroyed and already 200,000 are in makeshift shelters.
Said Habib: ‘With climate change floods like these becoming more frequent and severe, it is not good enough simply to provide emergency aid without helping people to be less vulnerable in the future.’
- The Wave march crosses the squinty bridge
Faith leaders and politicians led a march of 8000 people through Glasgow to demand action on climate change. The march coincided with the the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen, where world leaders are meeting to discuss climate change and agree measures to limit the impact. The Glasgow march took place at the same time as similar events in London, Belfast, Dublin, Paris, Brussels and Berlin. The march, known as ‘The Wave’, made its way from Bellahouston Park over to Kelvingrove Park, where faith leaders including Cardinal O’Brien and Osama Saeed from Glasgow Central Mosque addressed the crowd.
Driech Scottish weather was unable to dampen the spirits of Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson as he launched a five-year plan in north Glasgow on June 21.
In conjunction with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) The Minister set out plans for green measures to provide a brighter future and help indigenous species adapt to climate change.
Speaking at Dawsholm Local Nature Reserve in Maryhill, part of the Clyde Valley green network, Stewart Stevenson said: ‘Scotland has positioned itself at the forefront of international action on climate change.
‘This ambitious legislation will help Scotland take advantage of the opportunities presented by the move to a low carbon economy.’
The SNH outlines include a series of measures in which our nature and landscape aim to meet the challenges presented by the changes predicted, these include:
● Creating and managing green networks around towns and cities to increase the opportunities for wildlife to adapt and flourish as well as delivering other benefits
● Planning for sustainable future renewables schemes
● Protecting carbon stored in peatlands and capturing carbon by growing new woodlands
● Managing coastal lands to help adapt to the effects of rising sea levels
● Managing wetlands and floodplains as natural systems which can help reduce flood risk
It is hoped these measures will help certain species which will face additional pressure in the face of climate change.
It was conceded that among Scotland’s wildlife there would be ‘winners and losers’.
Some species may only be able to survive by being translocated to a new area. But SNH has advised that this strategy is to be used only as a last resort as it is costly, time-consuming, and there is no guarantee of success.
Professor Colin Galbraith, SNH’s director of policy and advice, said: ‘Protected areas, including those privately owned and managed as well as those owned by SNH, will remain important for species and habitat conservation.’
‘What is certain, however, is that climate change is here and the actions we take now can go a long way to addressing future challenges.
‘Our aim is to inform the people of Scotland about these changes and provide advice on adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.’