During its inquiry to the Scotland Bill, the Scottish Affairs Committee received a significant amount of evidence, which identified a number of concerns and issues in relation to the administration of the Crown Estate in Scotland. Following an inquiry, the Committee will launch its major report into The Crown Estate in Scotland, at 1.00pm, on Monday 19 March, at the Kingsmill Hotel, Inverness.
Members of the public are welcome to attend this event.
The Committee Chair is Ian Davidson MP Lab/Co-op MP for Glasgow South West. The other Scottish MPs on the committee are: Jim McGovern MP (Lab, Dundee West), Iain McKenzie MP (Lab, Inverclyde), Pamela Nash MP (Lab, Airdrie and Shotts), Mr Alan Reid MP (LD, Argyll and Bute), Lindsay Roy MP (Lab, Glenrothes), and Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP (SNP, Banff and Buchan)
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
Lourdes Secondary School in Cardonald will host the first regional Music for Youth Festival in Glasgow on Friday, 17 February.
The event has attracted an impressive mix of groups from around the city and the audience will be treated to performances from this year’s winners of Glasgow City Sounds – The Modests, along with St Thomas Aquinas Secondary Steel Pan Band, Hillhead’s Jazz Band, The Riverside Youth Band and the Gaelic School’s Cause and Probability to name but a few.
Music for Youth (MFY) was founded in 1970 and is an educational charity providing free performance and audience opportunities for young people aged 21 and under through a series of regional festivals.
This year, Scotland is having three regional festivals, hosted in Glasgow, Perth and Inverness. These will culminate in a National Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Debbie MacVicar, Faculty Head of Performing Arts, Lourdes Secondary is absolutely delighted to welcome MFY to Glasgow and especially to Lourdes Secondary’s impressive Concert Hall.
She said: ‘This is a marvellous opportunity for pupils in Glasgow to showcase their talent in front of their peers and MFY mentors. The mentors provide focused and constructive feedback enabling each group to continue its musical journey.
‘One of the most satisfying areas of music is performance and this initiative enables all ages and levels of musicians to come together and enjoy the opportunity to perform in a non-competitive environment.
‘It will inspire, nurture and support all the participants and I am absolutely delighted at the standard and numbers of groups who have entered for this first ever regional festival, here in Glasgow.’
Following a meeting at the Scottish Parliament with MSP Humza Yousaf, the Campaign for Human Rights in the Gambia is gaining support among Members. At the time of writing, 16 MSPs from various parties have signed a motion MSP Yousaf launched.
Having heard Gambian exile Alieu B. Ceesay speak at a fringe meeting at the SNP conference in Inverness recently, Humza invited him to Edinburgh to discuss the issues in detail.
Said journalist Alieu: ‘There was an election last month in The Gambia. The President was re-elected as expected. Opponents were not allowed to campaign except for 11 days before voting. Some opponents were jailed in advance of the election. In recent times people have disappeared, been tortured and killed if they displease the Government. People are afraid even to talk about the election result because they don’t know who might be listening.’
According to Amnesty International there is a ‘climate of fear’ in The Gambia. They recently updated their report on human rights abuse in the sunny, West African country and said the situation was getting worse.
MSP Yousaf commented: ”I will support the call for Human Rights in the Gambia. The country is a part of the Commonwealth and also receives financial support from Europe. It must observe the conventions it has signed and its international obligations, that is why I have put forward this motion. Scotland should be a beacon for human rights across the world and we owe a duty to those who seek asylum in our country.’
The motion reads: ‘That the Parliament expresses concern at what it considers the dire human rights situation in Gambia; understands that the Gambian Government refuses to abide by its international human rights obligations, with cases of enforced disappearance remaining unresolved, perpetrators of unlawful killings not being brought to justice and torture still widely used by security forces; further understands that those who report such abuses, particularly in the media, are in grave danger, and expresses solidarity with the human rights defenders of Gambia, many of whom have been granted asylum in Scotland, in their struggle for basic human rights.
To follow the progress and see who has signed up to this motion check out the following website and insert reference number S4M-01460 or Humza Yousaf’s name: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx
Westminster MP Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central) is the latest to bid for Labour Party leadership in Scotland. He’s set his sights on the deputy leader post and joins Westminster senior colleague Tom Harris (Glasgow South) and MSPs Johann Lamont (Pollok) and Ken Mackintosh (Eastwood) who had earlier declared their interest in being leader.
Sarwar, who has been a constant supporter of the Glasgow inspired campaign for human rights in the Gambia, put his hat into the ring this weekend in time for the Labour Party conference in Liverpool (Sat 24/Sun 25 September) when the Scottish rule changes will be debated. He said: ‘I want to work with the Party leader to make sure we are an electable force again, working for the whole of Scotland.’ He pledged to travel throughout the whole of Scotland to listen to people ‘from all walks of life’. He said the vision had to be one of confidence in the future of Scotland. With ‘honest analysis’ of where Labour is in Scotland and what its message is and how it project it, he said: ‘I want to make sure we are an electable force again, working for the whole of Scotland.’
Labour Party rule changes allowed Westminster MP Tom Harris to declare his interest in the campaign which had previously been restricted to MSPs. Aiming to replace present Scottish Labour Party leader Iain Gray - who sought refuge in a sandwich shop when confronted with pensioners asking him to challenge the Tory tax cuts – Tom Harris was clear about his strategy. ‘We need to appeal to people beyond the Labour Party. The battle to win votes will be won in the workplace, the high street, the tv studio, the council chamber, the board room and in the home, not just in a single debating chamber. As a Party we need to have a strong vision and a positive outlook to appeal to new voters.’ A constant Twitter contributor, has already taken his campaign out and is meeting groups of young people unconnected with politics, who use the social media networks he is already familiar with.
At Holyrood, Johann Lamont has been a noteable fighter for the Labour Party cause. And locally in Pollok, she has been an active elected representative. She said: ‘First, we have to re-build confidence and trust across Scotland. It can’t be a case of Labour telling others what to do. It has to be Labour listening. These are tough times and there are lots of challenges. We have to pull together and we need a strong Labour voice to protect the young and the vulnerable and to hold the Government to account.’
Ken MacIntosh was born in Inverness of a Gaelic speaking father from Skye and a mother from Peebles in the Borders. Early in September he led a campaign against a waste incinerator in Newton Mearns.
He said a new, positive, vision for a strong Scotland is needed. ‘Devolution is the reason I got into politics. I believe the Scottish Parliament is there to build a stronger Scotland, but our Party needs to do more to harness the potential of devolution to improve the lives of the Scottish people – this is my priority if elected leader.’
He added: ‘It’s time to change the Scottish Labour Party. We need to be less top-down, have a strong positive vision and we must use the new young talent we now have. This contest is not just about leading the Scottish Labour Party. I want to win the hearts and minds of Scots to win the next election and become the next First Minister.’
A special Scottish Labour Party conference will be held on 29 October when the formal campaigns will be launched. The new Leader of the Scottish Labour Party will be announced by 17 December.
It was a bitter-sweet afternoon for the Partick Thistle fans who made the 240 mile round trip to Dingwall on Saturday 24 October.
Supporters of the Glasgow club were in good spirits and enjoyed the day, but one or two may have risen on Sunday with slightly fuzzy heads and bare chests.
On the pitch, Ian McCall’s side twice came from behind to secure a draw against Ross County.
The 400-strong travelling support twice roared their team back from a goal behind against a physical and direct County side that started the day on top of the SFL First Division.
The carry-on, the invention, the bonding and singing of songs is all part of the fun, but there is a line that certain folk crossed and some weren’t far from getting their fingers burnt – after they had scorched off their chest hair. Yes, that’s right, allegedly one guy wilfully set fire to the hair on his own chest.
Today, the Highland constabulary confirmed that while they were well aware of the Glasgow contingent in Inverness and Ross-shire, no Jags fans were guilty of anything other than enjoying themselves.
And the more extrovert and excitable Jags’ fans won praise from Thistle manager Ian McCall.
He told www.ptfc.co.uk; ‘The support we got was great but quite how those supporters managed to stand out in the elements with their tops off I don’t know.’
While the majority of such shenanigans are good natured and innocent enough, one or two of the lads caught up in the excitement developed bulletproof syndrome including the young man who quite accusingly asked me why was I ‘no getting involved?’
I suspect he was too far-gone on the Bass Shandy to hear me reply that I’d ‘been involved’ since before he was a twinkle in his Daddy’s eye.
Word is that later that evening, this particular individual – having lost his mates, his mobile, his money and his train tickets – had to spend the night under the kind shelter of the Northern Constabulary HQ in Inverness.
Following health and safety rules, the assisting PC took the lad’s lighter off him before he got into his single room for the night.