by Alastair Brian
Sadie Docherty, is Glasgow’s new Lord Provost. A Labour Councillor in Linn ward since 2007, she is only the 4th woman to hold the post.
She said: ‘I am thrilled to be elected as Lord Provost. It’s a great honour – especially at a time when Glasgow is flourishing. In two years’ time, the city will host the Commonwealth Games. They represent a huge opportunity for Glasgow, especially in terms of the social and economic benefits and lasting legacy they will leave for the people of this city. This is the biggest event the city is ever likely to stage and I’m really looking forward to my role of showcasing Glasgow to the world.’
She also underlined her commitment to open debate and stressed she was looking forward to working with all her fellow councillors to tackle the welfare issues prevalent in Glasgow. ‘Let Glasgow Flourish,’ she said in closing, voicing the city’s motto. Her deputy is Gerry Leonard, Councillor in North East Ward since 1999.
Gordon Mathieson, representing Anderston/City, was re-elected Leader of the Council, a position he has held since 2010 when Stephen Purcell demitted office. Breaking with tradition, the opposition did not nominate a candidate for Lord Provost or Leader of the Council. SNP group leader Graeme Hendry said: ‘ We recognise the Labour majority, and as such their authority to appoint these posts.’
In response, Councillor Mathieson thanked the SNP for their position and promised that Labour would respect the mandate of the opposition and carry their majority fairly. He said: ‘Labour will deliver on every one of the promises in our manifesto.’
He also paid generous tribute to former opposition leader Allison Hunter, noting that in opposition: ‘she was never an enemy and was someone we all had great respect for.’ Councillor Archie Graham, who has represented Langside since 1995, was elected Deputy Leader.
The following Bailies were appointed: Labour Party – Philip Braat, Elizabeth Cameron, Aileen Colleran, Jonathan Findlay, Elaine McDougall, Hanif Raja, Mohammed Razaq, Anne Simpson, Sohan Singh, Allan Stewart, Fariha Thomas. SNP – Josephine Docherty, Martin Docherty, Iris Gibson, Phil Green, John McLaughlin. Green Party – Nina Baker. Liberal Democrats – Margot Clark.
Voices for Change in Glasgow North West held an excellent hustings in Drumchapel Community Centre on Thursday 26 April.
Seasoned trade unionists and community campaigners, the organisers had the event well managed with chairwoman Kate Walker keeping everyone, politely, in order.
An audience of more than 30 challenged the candidates on issues such as personalisation and support for people with learning disabilities. Personalisation is the new programme which assesses how much funding an individual with care needs requires and they decide how they will allocate that.
Each prospective candidate – or party representative – was given a few minutes to state their case then the audience piled in with their reflective questions.
First up was Stuart Maskell of the UKIP. He was honest about his lack of experience in social care service issues and was appreciative of being invited to the hustings. He recommended seeing the film The Iron Lady. ‘It isn’t about a Prime Minister, it is about a woman with dementia. Alzheimer’s is expected to affect 1 million residents of the UK by 2022 – only ten years from now,’ he said. ‘That is a worrying problem.’
John Docherty of the SNP explained his background of the Fire Service for 30 years and now his work for an SNP MSP. ‘We will work across the sectors,’ he promised. He took notes of various situations raised by individuals in the audience and said he would follow through on finding out what could be done in each person’s circumstances.
Judith Fisher for the Scottish Labour Party agreed Personalisation was a ‘huge change,’ but added: ‘We believe it is a fairer system.’ She also mentioned the party’s plan for more child care hours and for the creation of jobs alongside the existing successful apprentice scheme.
Spokesperson for the Scottish Socialist Party, Sandra Webster, pointed out that carers save the government an estimated £10 million a year. ‘But they are still only being paid lip service,’ she added.
Ronnie Stevenson who is a candidate in his own ward of Langside was from the Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition. ‘People should have care according to their needs,’ he contended. ‘But that is not happening. I’ve seen social workers in tears because they are not allowed to give the service care they know that individual needs. They have been told – here is how much can be spent – and that’s all they’re getting!’
He also warned that if people think it is hard just now with the cuts it will get very much worse in the next two or three years. ‘That’s why the Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition wants to get more people into Councils across Scotland. We don’t want any more cuts.’
Most of the audience had first hand experience of cuts in social services. Said one woman who works closely with the social work department: ‘A man I know, with learning difficulties has had his budget cut from £78,000 a year to £44,000. He can’t go out anywhere now and just sits watching tv.’
A support worker with 50 people on his list, told the meeting that every one of the people he knows who has completed the process to personalisation has had massive cuts in their funding. ‘I think they started with services users with learning disabilities first, because they would meet less resistance from them. It is very unfair expecting a person who has reading and writing difficulties to fill in a self assessment form of many pages. That person, and those who care for them, are getting very stressed.’ He also questioned whether anyone in the city had qualified for 100% personalisation package. ‘It is a terrible process,’ he commented.
Alan Gow who was a Voices for Change host at the top table, moved into the audience to make his personal statement: ‘There is no proper engagement with citizens and carers. There has to be proper discussion and decent, moral involvement to ensure carers are genuine partners in care. They are not, right now.’ He said plans were made ‘behind the scenes,’ Followed by a one day ‘consultation,’ in a ‘fancy hotel room’ then it was ‘all over.’ He continued: ‘The choice is take this or that and it is said with a smile. But what the people are really saying is don’t cut my budget, that’s my wages. The political parties are not listening!’ he concluded forcefully to loud applause from the audience.
Work equals reward, and so it was at Battlefield Primary, when kids scaled a towering, climbing wall- a surprise extra for a sterling show at the 2010 Scottish Learning Festival in September.
At the Learning Festival, Kingswood Educational Activity Centre offered a 2-day adventure activity break and Mrs Doyle from Battlefield Primary couldn’t believe her luck when she scooped the prize. So,who’s Mrs Doyle going with? Well, her whole class are tagging along for their trip and if they thought things could not get better, they thought wrong.
On the morning of Thursday of October 22, staff from Kingswood arrived at Battlefield Primary to present Mrs Doyle with her prize. They also brought part of the activity centre with them- a 7m climbing wall that soared into the blue skies! Surely Mrs Doyle’s P7 class have been the focus of a little envy with their trip to come. Nothing that to scaling a vertical wall didn’t sort out and all kids from Battlefield had a cracker-jack of a time!
Irene Mazor, from Kingswood,
presented Mrs Doyle with the trip. Said Irene:’The kids had a great time climbing the wall, and their sense of achievement when they got to the top of the climbing was fabulous to see.’ Did any of the kids discover vertigo? None that were reported.
Mrs Doyle has never been so popular with her class and was delighted that Kingswood brought along the wall so all children could get in on the action. Said Mrs Doyle: ‘Thank so much to Kingswood. Our children had a ball.’
Mrs Doyle and her class will set off for the activity centre, situated in Northumberland, after Easter next year
By Martin Graham
Around 150 people filled a hall at the David Cargill Centre on Ledard Road to hear six political candidates outline their views and policy positions for the forthcoming Westminster election on May 6.
The event was organised by Langside Parish Church, who are currently using the David Cargill Centre as a base until their own church across the road is rebuilt following a fire.
With Minister David McLachlan chairing the event, the panel members were; Brian Smith – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. Brian is a social worker and Unison rep from Castlemilk; Malcolm Fleming – SNP – Malcolm works for an international aid agency and lives in Shawlands; Shabnum Mustapha – Lib Dem – Shabnum works for a disability charity and lives in Shawlands; Davena Rankin – Conservative – Davena is a manager and Unison rep at Glasgow Caledonian University; Marie Campbell – Green – Marie works for Patrick Harvie MSP; Tom Harris MP – Labour – Tom is the sitting MP, and has held the seat since June 2001.
Each candidate spoke well, with Tom Harris in particular holding forth on his own views and making clear the difference between his opinions and the rest of the panel.
Questions from the floor provided good opportunities for the panel to expand on their answers and develop their views. It became apparent that in terms of policy, there was little to differentiate the parties.
The first question sought the panel’s views on Trident replacement – the £20bn plans to replace the submarines, missiles and warheads which make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
All candidates except Tom Harris and Davena Rankin spoke against Trident. The panel said that it was illegal, immoral and unnecessary.
Shabnum Mustapaha spoke in favour of a strategic defence review.
Tom Harris said that Trident may not be necessary for today but that we could not leave future generations without defences. He said that it was difficult to judge the situation from the comfort which Trident provided.
Marie Campbell stated that the money would be better spent on sustainable jobs, and Brian Smith said that our children would be pleased that we had got rid of Trident as it only encourages nuclear ambition in other countries.
The next question for consideration was immigration policy. Chairman David McLachlan explained about the Citizens for Sanctuary campaign pledge which each candidate was asked to sign. The pledge states that asylum seekers should be treated humanely, not locked up, and have the right to contribute to the UK while here, through working.
Tom Harris said that he would not sign the pledge as it would send a message that the UK is a soft touch and that relatively large sums of money could be earned by anyone coming here. All other candidates signed the pledge on the night.
Malcolm Fleming stated that most asylum seekers are genuine and that there were genuine ‘push factors’ which led to people seeking asylum in the UK, like the conflict in Somalia.
Malcolm said: ‘The Labour government is a disgrace and the word asylum is now a term of abuse. People arrive with skills then lose them because they cannot practice them.’
Davena Rankin committed to signing the pledge, saying :’The way we treat asylum seekers is a reflection on our society. Only 20-30,000 people per year seek asylum, and Dungavel is a disgrace.
Shabnum Mustapha said: ‘We should deport failed asylum seekers quickly. We have a proud tradition of welcoming refugees, and the UK is 17th in the list of developed countries for receiving refugees.’
Tom Harris said that it was a tough choice between locking up families together with their children or separating them. He had spoken to the Home Office about people spending too long in Dungavel before deportation.
Davena Rankin said: ‘The current asylum system is unfair, there are other ways to prepare families for departure, such as supported accommodation flats.’
At this point, an audience member asked if the Labour and Tory candidates had got their rosettes mixed up.
The candidates were asked what they would do to ensure climate change remained on the political agenda.
Shabnum Mustapha outlined LibDem plans to convert shipyards to make wind and wave power equipment. Davena Rankin confirmed Tory opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.
Malcolm Fleming explained how the SNP had implemented climate change legislation at Holyrood. Marie Campbell stated that the Greens would use the opportunity to rebuild society on a sustainable basis and overcome poverty in the process.
Brian Smith said: ‘Capitalism is the problem because resources are used in an unplanned system where growth is the only measure of success. We need a global perspective to overcome poverty. The Copenhagen climate conference failed because of China’s capitalist ambitions.’
Marie Campbell said that climate capture technology was largely unproved and that nuclear technology is expensive and unsafe.
One audience member raised the issue of potholes. All panel members agreed that the issue needed to be resolved.
Shabnum Mustapha suggested planting flowers in the holes, while Aileen Campbell pointed out that money spent on expensive projects like the Forth Bridge replacement and the M74 extension could be better used to repair the local road network.
Finally, the issue of banks was put to the panel. The Greens and Lib Dems favoured separating High Street banks from investment banks, with the Green favouring a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on bank profits to be re-invested in social enterprises.
The SNP candidate pointed out that the other G7 countries were still practising fiscal stimulus while the UK had stopped.
Brian Smith spoke in favour of a socially planned economy with banks in public ownership. Davena Rankin spoke in favour of regulating the banking sector, without the ‘light touch’ approach which created so many problems in recent years.
Towards the end, Malcolm Fleming quoted Scottish trade union legend Jimmy Reid, who said: ‘I didn’t leave the Labour Party, the party left me.’
The first birthday of 4 Networking Glasgow South was celebrated at the Church on the Hill restaurant in Langside recently and raised more than £150 for Leukaemia Care Scotland, the business group’s designated charity.
The UK’s largest business network, it first met at that venue in March last year. It has grown to 20 groups across Scotland and has 200 groups UK wide and over 26,000 members worldwide.
Founder members, newer members, visitors and guests all enjoyed a champagne reception and buffet. Their business card draw brought their fundraising efforts to £1,000 since September
Leukaemia Care provides invaluable care and support to people affected by Leukaemia. A national charity supporting patients and their families, it operates a 24 hour helpline among many services.
Group Leader of 4Networking Glasgow Southside, Ross Wallace, told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘We provide the ideal platform for owners of small businesses to promote what they do. We offer friendship, support and appointments and it makes being in business good fun. Being involved in the organising of meetings and events is a great way to enhance your business profile and has helped me promote what I do.’
Ross, who runs a business consultancy specialising in business start-ups and problem solving, has been a member since June and has been involved in running groups in Glasgow since September.
For more information, contact Ross email: email@example.com or website: www.4networking.biz
Celtic Connections is hitting the road in January with a series of community concerts by Bodega, one of Scotland’s top young folk bands.
Rated as one of the scene’s hottest acts, Bodega won a Young Folk Award in the 2006 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for their spin on traditional Scottish and Irish folk tunes.
In partnership with Culture and Sport Glasgow, the band will be appearing at Barmulloch Community Centre, Wallacewell Quadrant, on 15 January; Barlanark Community Centre, Burnmouth Road, on 21 January; Langside Halls, Langside Avenue, on 22 January; Penilee Community Centre, Gleddoch Road, on 28 January, and at Knightswood Community Centre, Alderman Road, on 29 January.
The band are also appearing at the Recital Rooms in City Hall on 16 January as part of Celtic Connections.
Mary’s Meals is holding an open day on 28 November at the Couper Institute, 84 Clarkston Road.
The organisation, which provides feeding projects in countries where poverty and hunger blight young lives, hopes to use the event to celebrate its achievements and recruit new supporters.
The open day will feature a presentation from Liberia director Liesbeth Glas, who will talk on achievements in that country and also successes elsewhere.
There will also be a film presentation and other speakers are expected to attend.
Mary’s Meals ask that members of the public wishing to attend call 0800 698 1212 in the first instance.