Glasgow City Council continues to have a Labour Party majority following the local government election.
It has 44 seats compared to 47 after the previous election. The SNP have 27 seats compared to 19 before. The Green Party have five seats which is the same as before but with a couple of new people. The Tory Party still has David Meikle flying the flag in Pollokshields. There is one Independent – Stephen Dornan who won Govan as a Glasgow First candidate.
He is a disenchanted Labour Party Councillor. The Liberal Democrats – who held six seats in the previous administration – returned only one person – Margot Clark in Linn Ward which was the first to be called on the day.
Commented Labour elder statesman Mohammad Sarwar who was the first Muslim to become an Westminster MP: ‘When the Labour Party is united across all levels – Westminster, Hollyrood and Local Authority –it is unbeatable. If the SNP had won Glasgow they would have claimed that as a victory for independence. But people are too frightened to separate the UK. And it must also be said that the Labour team put in a lot of hard work and effort.’
Said Gordon Matheson who was Labour Group leader last time round: ‘I’m delighted personally and delighted for all the candidates. We will work with all parties and draw strength from others. Our priority is the people of Glasgow so it’s back to work for them, now.’
Youngest of the new SNP Councillors is 18-year-old Austin Sheridan,
elected in Baillieston. He was an active Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) – and said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled. The fact that we had two SNP seats in Baillieston in 2007 at the last council elections and we’ve won two today, shows that we can hold a seat once we’ve gained it.’
Said Green Party Councillor Dr Nina Baker: ‘We are very pleased and have done better than all prediction. We have two great, new Councillors in Liam Hainey in Langside and Martin Bartos in Partick West. With Martha Wardrop re-elected in Hillhead, Kieran Wild in Canal and myself in Anderston/City we are well pleased with our five.’
‘It’s good to see politics is alive and can generate a good stooshie,’ commented Dr Katherine Trebeck of Oxfam after the Sunny Govan Radio’s hustings on Tuesday 26 April. Oxfam is a supporter of the 24 hour radio station which beams out across the whole of Glasgow and beyond.
Held in Kinning Park Church and chaired by media director Martin Paterson of Paterson Communications, the Southside Constituency contenders of Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Stephen Curran (Labour), Kenneth Elder (Lib Dem) and David Meikle (Conservative) had a sparky interchange and the audience took no prisoners either!
The biggest audience applause was during the question on the future of shipbuilding in Govan and Scotstoun when the questioner – Iain McInnes a community campaigner said: ‘We should be building ships for peace not war. Ferries for around the coast and sea-going structures for renewables is what we should be building.’
Nicola Sturgeon said she was proud of the local shipbuilders in what was her constituency before recent boundary changes.. ‘We should be 100% behind Govan and Scotstoun yards,’ she said. ‘Anyone who suggests they only got the work because they are a part of the UK, is doing them a great dis-service. It is because of their skills and their willingness to change and be flexible that they got the orders.’
David Meikle in making a point that the companies should be securing new contracts in new markets as defence cuts took effect, was rounded on by Nicola who said it was ‘Tory cheek’ to suggest that, when Conservatives had been responsible for massive cutting of defence jobs.
Stephen Curran wanted to see the River Clyde better used. ‘It has great potential. The only reason Govan yard is still open is because we are part of the UK. In an independent Scotland, shipbuilding would disappear. It is absurd for the SNP to suggest otherwise.’
Lib Dem candidate Kenneth Elder said technology and future generations had to be considered. ‘We should be thinking of extending the industry not neglecting the River Clyde. There are not enough craft on the river which is a common good asset. We need a longer vision for the Clyde,’ he added.
Audience concerns covered – travel expenses for job seekers attending interviews in the city; regeneration and the plight of pensioners in flats who want Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to renovate their lifts, not install new ones. On that issue, the panel was unanimous that GHA had to listen to what the pensioners wanted. ‘I’ll be on the phone to GHA in the morning,’ said Nicola.
When the effect of cuts at the St Mungo centre for disabled people was aired, Stephen said: ‘People don’t listen enough or trust enough. We are all in this together and we need to learn to trust each other.’
The spectre of people trafficking increasing during the Commonwealth Games was raised. ‘We’ve got to recognise this happens and talk about it,’ commented Kenneth. ‘We can find out what London does for the 2012 Olympics and learn lessons from and co-ordinate with international agencies across Europe.’
In a bit of banter, Nicola said she liked Midge Ure’s music: ‘I supported him in the 1980s so I’m giving my age away!’ Ure’s concert was a free one on the night of the hustings and aimed at young folk. Labour accused the SNP of a serious breach of election laws. Commented David:’ I don’t know who Midge Ure is! I suppose that shows my age!’
Post Office closures, regeneration, mental health, human rights and Go Ape and Pollok Park were all subjects tossed around by the candidates with dexterity.
Heading up Oxfam’s Poverty Programme for Scotland, Dr Trebeck said she was delighted with the evening.
A team of first year media students from Cardonald College filmed the event. ‘We want the experience,’ said Amy Hamlan (18). ‘I’m looking for good shots,’ said Dan Lowrie (26). ‘We’ll be giving Sunny Govan good feedback,’ added Jordan McClymont (22). All aim to be directors or writer directors in tv.
IF you are holding a hustings meeting and want to publicise it through this website, please email the information to: email@example.com
NOTE: You can email your QUESTION for the SUNNYGOVAN hustings to the email below……
Friday 15 April at 7.30pm: West End Hustings in St Mary’s Cathedral, Great Western Road. Candidates from the Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party and Scottish Green Party expected. A representative from Christian Aid Scotland will also be on the panel. All the Holyrood candidates are standing for the Glasgow Regional list so what they have to say will be relevant to voters across the city.
Tuesday 26 April at 7pm: Southside Community Hustings in Kinning Park Church. Nicola Sturgeon, Stephen Curran, David Meikle and Kenneth Elder have agreed to attend. Hosted by Sunny Govan Radio, the event will be chaired by Jim Boyle of Oxfam. If you have questions you’d like to ask this panel please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0141 445 3741
Sunday 1 May at 7pm: Langside Church if the builders have completed work on the new building, or in the David Cargill Centre, 166 Ledard Road, Glasgow G42 9EU, if not. Candidates for Glasgow Cathcart on a Question Time type of panel: Eileen Baxendale, Scottish Liberal Democrats: James Dornan, Scottish National Party: Charlie Gordon, Scottish Labour Party: John McKee Independent: Richard Sullivan, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.
By Stuart Maxwell and Elyas Hussain
An award winning Post Office in the heart of Glasgow’s Southside is poised to be shut down despite fierce community opposition who see the service as vital.
There are plans for Crosshill Post Office, Victoria Road, to be closed and relocated to 540 Cathcart Road- where it will be a hybrid service, integrated with another retail venture. This comes a little over a year after the branch was awarded ‘Best Town and City’ Post Office in Scotland.
Fiercely opposed to the relocation, Iain MacInnes, Govanhill and Crosshill Community Council secretary, has headed a local campaign. Said Iain: ‘We have nearly 700 signatures from the local community in opposition to this. People are showing great displeasure. Post Office provisions have cut heavily all over the Southside. All such cuts are morally bankrupt. It is an iconic building to all cultures. They see it as part of their community being taken away.’
Iain’s campaign has been supported by Nicola Sturgeon, local MSP and Government Minister. In a letter to Post Office Ltd. Nicola wrote: ‘Many in the area doubt the business viability of such a ‘dual purpose’ branch and fear that if it wasn’t successful, it would not be too long before a proposal was forthcoming to close the branch altogether.’
Govanhill resident Brian Rowinson is one of many angry at the proposed closure. The 39 year-old told LOCAL NEWS: ‘If they close this post office it will effect the elderly community because Crosshill is within walking distance. The new premises are smaller- how will they possibly accommodate all the customers? It’s horribly ironic that Crosshill Post Office won the Post Office of the Year and is being closed?
The LOCAL NEWS has been told by Post Office Ltd that the decision to advertise the franchise was taken after the business went in to receivership in December 2009, and that the sole applicant wants to move the service to Cathcart Road. Julie Morrison, Head of External Relations for Post Office Ltd said: ‘She (the applicant), wants to relocate to Cathcart Road. Rents and rates on Victoria Road make it an nonviable option. This is the best solution available to us.’
Iain MacInnes is not convinced: ‘As a community we have seen no evidence to show that there were proper procedures for other people to put their names forward to run this post office.’
The period for consultation, allowing the public to respond to the proposal, ended on October 26. Julie Morrison has pledged that Post Office Ltd ‘will take all all submissions into consideration before making a final decision.’ Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, who has presented a motion to the Scottish Parliament against the relocation, fears community views will be shelved
Said Patrick: ‘The decision to close and relocate has been taken too early.. I don’t think the Post Office have explored all options for maintaining the service on Victoria Road. The branch on Victoria Road is clearly more accessible for the local community. There have been many reductions to Post Office services in the Southside and there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough. The peoples’ wishes tend to be ignored but this decision has stirred enough reaction to make the Post Office think again.’
In 2007, David Meikle, Councillor for Pollokshields, led a protest against Post Office plans to close a branch on Kildrostin Street. 1300 signatures were gathered but the closure went ahead. David told LOCAL NEWS: ‘At the time, the Post Office cited a new service on Shields Road and Crosshill itself as alternatives. We were promised two counters in the Shields Road hybrid, but have only one. To now hear that Crosshill is to close is really a piece of nonsense. You get the impression there is no real consultation period and that it’s a done deal. This will be another nail in the coffin for the vitality of Victoria Road.’
Glasgow remains in the grip of the worst cold snap in more than 30 years, with flurries of snow adding to ice dangers that arrived more than three weeks ago.
Temperatures across Scotland have dropped as low as -20 degrees Celsius while the Glasgow area – which is on the same latitude as Moscow in Russia – has seen measures as low as -9 degrees.
Forecasts for the Strathclyde area from the Met Office suggest the severe cold conditions will continue into late January.
‘The trend from Sunday (17) looks most likely to start cold although there is a signal for the weather turning less cold, especially in the west and southwest,’ the Met Office outlook said.
As snow turns to ice, schools have been hit hard, with many not opening or pupils and teachers struggling to get in through adverse conditions. While closures may delight Scottish children, it has also brought childcare headaches for many working parents.
At Glasgow City Council, crews at Land and Environmental Services are on duty 24 hours. More than 8,000 tonnes of salt were spread on roadways and paths in the space of 10 days.
Councillor David Meikle, who represents Pollokshields, commented: ‘Senior managers are confident that the level of resources being deployed to the winter maintenance service within the city is to a high standard in comparison to other local authorities.
‘Unfortunately, while the city centre is being treated to high standard, residential areas like Pollokshields, Shawlands and Strathbungo are not. I have made my views know to the directors of Land and Environmental Services.’
He warned: ‘Obviously, as a result of the extreme weather conditions, this has had a direct impact on refuse collection services due to restricted access or the presence of ice however resources are also being deployed to assist with this operation to ensure services are maintained.’
Meanwhile, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport has agreed a £435,000 contract with Balvac for waterproofing tunnels on the city’s Subway system.
The section between Kelvinbridge and Hillhead will be treated against ingress of water from the River Kelvin.
Last year, the line between Buchanan Street and St Enoch were successfully treated.
More than a hundred people attended the second annual Abbot Street, Shawlands Christmas tree and lights switch-on.
Community Councillor Andrew Montgomery, hosted Father Christmas who performed the switch-on after a countdown.
Said Santa: ‘It’s a great honour and privilege to be here and I am delighted to be switching on the lights.’
The Christmas tree at Shawlands Cross was switched on simultaneously.
The day featured face painting in the Co-Operative supermarket, Victorian Christmas storytelling from education group Ecole Enterprise, an activities bus for children which was provided by South East Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, and an aftershow party at Suzie’s Café on Abbot Street.
There were many councillors in attendance and the event was organised by Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council.
Pollokshields City Councillor David Meikle was one of the organisers, along with Community Council Secretary Andrew Montgomery and Chairman Scott Mackay.
David said: ‘Today has been another great success in terms of the people turning up. We have had a great time, and I am happy to support this event.’
Scott said: ‘We are really delighted with another successful Christmas lights switch-on in Shawlands and hope to spread a bit of Christmas cheer in our communities. Everybody who turned up had a wonderful time. We would also like to say a big thank you to everybody who helped out on the day.’