By Alieu Ceesay
Following its successful debut four years ago, the Southside Festival attracted thousands at the weekend to Queen’s Park to celebrate the cultural diversity and community spirit of this unique part of the city.
The area was packed with fun and entertainment for all ages with live music, dance, sport, relaxation and comedy as well as the ever-popular face painting and displays from major contributors such as Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service. Also available was some of the fine, locally produced food and goods.
Said chair of the organising team, Andrew Montgomery: ‘The event this year has been stunning with the best of Glasgow weather and more activities for all ages.’
Local mum of three, Clare Boyd, said: ‘Events like this help bring the communities together to appreciate each other’s culture. The kids had great fun trying all the different children’s activities.’
Japanese tourist Yuko Okumura said: ‘The Southside Festival was really good! A real family festival, lots of games for children, lots of children, lots of balloons. There was a big stage for music and many people lying in the sun. There was a long line of food stalls and people drinking beer and talking – a lot! Not everyone was young. Whole families were there. And it was peaceful!’
As a commercial design student at home and a hobby Taiko drummer, Yuko enjoyed the whole sound and atmosphere of the day.
The fun continued on Sunday when the Picnic in the Park brought another day of music and family fun and good community spirit.
by Alastair Brian
In the first law of its kind in Europe, the Scottish Parliament voted to introduce a minimum price of 50p per alcohol unit this week.
It will come into force in April next year and aims to cut alcohol consumption to save lives and cut the adverse impact alcohol misuse and over consumption has on health, crime and the economy. Four cans of lager will then cost a minimum of £7.92, a bottle of win will be from £4.69 and a bottle of vodka will retail for at least £13.13
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the move would have ‘a significant and historic impact.’
It was passed by 86 in favour, 1 against and 32 abstentions.
Labour Party MSPs abstained. Their Shadow Public Health Minister and former addictions specialist, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, said: ‘Scottish Labour offered to support the Bill if the SNP Government accepted our positive proposals to recoup the massive £125 million windfall this generates for big supermarkets and invest that money in tackling the root causes of alcohol misuse and dealing with its consequences.’ He went on: ‘By refusing to reverse its opposition to Scottish Labour’s progressive proposal, the SNP Government has thrown away an opportunity for the whole Parliament to be united in support of minimum pricing. Communities that suffer alcohol-related, anti-social behaviour, will be left wondering why – at a time when budgets across the public sector are tight and the alcohol misuse budget is being cut by SNP by over £3 million – the SNP has voted to stuff the pockets of supermarket shareholders with gold, instead of ploughing the £125 million windfall back into our police and health service that are left to deal with the effects of alcohol misuse.’
The one vote against the new law was a mistake by SNP’s Rosanna Cunningham who admitted she pressed the wrong button in a tweet, later.
However, the new law puts question marks against the authority of Scottish Labour Leader, Johann Lamont. It appears that while she and the Scottish Labour Party in Holyrood opposed the Bill despite their amendment, Scottish Labour MPs are expected to support such a minimum price policy at Westminster.
Bob Doris, SNP MSP for Glasgow, commented: ‘The fact that Labour’s Scottish MPs – including their Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar – support the policy as part of the Westminster Labour group, makes a mockery of Johann Lammont’s claim to be leader of all Scottish Labour. She had one last chance to put Labour’s dreadful politicking of the last few years, behind her and back a policy which she knows is in the interests of the people of Scotland.’
The minimum pricing measure is part of the wider strategic approach to tackling alcohol misuse set out in’Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action.’ Research shows that since 2000 enough alcohol is sold annually in Scotland to enable every adult aged over 16, to exceed the sensible male weekly guideline of 21 units every week. Scottish per capita alcohol sales are now almost a quarter (23%) higher than in England and Wales. While sales have fallen by around 8% from a 2005 peak in England and Wales, there has been no similar decline in Scotland.
In 2009-10 more than 100 people were discharged from hospital each day following alcohol related illness and injury. These discharge figures have more than quadrupled since the early 1980s.
Mortality figures, based on cases where alcohol use is considered to be the direct cause of death, may significantly underestimate the true scale of the problem. Now it is estimated that 1 in 20 deaths in Scotland is alcohol linked. This is almost twice as many as previously calculated. A quarter of male deaths and a fifth of female deaths in the 35-44 year age group, are thought to be alcohol attributable.
Scotland has one of the fastest growing rates of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the world, leading the Chief Medical Officer to add alcoholic liver disease to the list of ‘big killers’, alongside heart disease, stroke and cancer.
But for the fire and safety regulations, it would have been standing room only on day one of the SNP’s conference in Glasgow. More than 2000 people attended and the overspill for key speeches from Leader Alex Salmond and Deputy Nicola Sturgeon were accommodated in four additional conference rooms at the SECC.
In the initial speech from Nicola Sturgeon, she recapped on the euphoria of the SNP win as it was played out last year at the count in the very same location. ‘That night will live long in our memory,’ said the politician. ‘It is a huge pleasure to be back here in the SECC.’
In a rallying call to members she said: ‘ These are exciting times. We are working to make Scotland a fair and progressive place. We want to make an election breakthrough and control Glasgow City Council. Labour is crumbling before our eyes. For the first time the SNP will have candidates in all 32 local government constituencies – including Orkney and Shetland. We need local councils to work hand in hand with the Scottish Government. We are ambitious. We want this country to be independent. But the future is in our own hands. We are masters of our own destiny. So let us work hard at persuading the people of Scotland to win the local elections in May and the referendum YES vote in 2014.’ She concluded: ‘Let’s get to work. Let’s get on with it!’
The two day party political conference will boost Glasgow’s revenue by an estimated £1million.
Scottish Asian men and women were recognised for their business achievements at the Scottish Asian Business Awards on Wednesday 23 November at the Thistle Hotel.
Irfan Younis, Director for the event organisers, Oceanic Consulting, said: ‘This year the competition was exceptionally strong. We had some truly inspiring winners and finalists and they should all be incredibly proud of themselves.’
John Rendall, CEO of HSBC in Scotland, said: “HSBC is proud to be supporting these awards and it was fantastic to see the achievements of Scotland’s thriving Asian business community being recognised. At HSBC we continue to see innovative Scottish businesses making strides and we’re well placed to help them realise their potential. I was impressed by the high calibre of nominees. The winners should all be very proud of their personal achievements and the spirit of entrepreneurship they are fuelling in Scotland.’
The keynote speaker was the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon who said: ‘This is a great opportunity to recognise the major contribution the Scottish Asian business community makes to Scotland.’
The event also raised money for The British Asian Trust. Set up by the Prince of Wales, the charity serves as a ‘social fund’ to support high impact charities in education, enterprise and health. Since it was formed in 2009 the charity has helped over 350,000 people in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UK.
AWARD winners were:
Young Achiever of the Year – Ricky Singh, owner of Team Singh, a personal fitness training company based in Ayrshire. A talented boxer, he is aiming for a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. His website is http://www.teamsingh.com
Franchisee of the Year – Kumon Educational, Glasgow (Saima Afzal). The company offers English and maths tutoring to children of all ages and abilities; instilling lifelong study skills and boosting children’s confidence. The Glasgow franchise is located at 15 Kenmure Street, Pollokshields. Its website is: http://www.kumon.co.uk/
Small Business of the Year – Khan Autos – is a family run business which has been going for 32 years. It is located at 23-25 Garturk Street, Govanhill. The website is: http://www.khanautos.co.uk/
The Community Award – E Waste Solutions – This not for profit organisation aims to help disadvantaged people learn computer skills. The company recycles used equipment and has a zero landfill policy to ensure they are as environmentally friendly as possible. They have donated several computers to the village of Samundri in Pakistan, where company director Zahid Rafiq’s late mother came from. The website is http://www.ewastesolutions.co.uk/index.php
Businesswoman of the Year – Preet Sandhu – founded a Glasgow based residential letting and property management company, Happy Lets. Preet works alongside her husband Bobby in running the company. A graduate in business management, Preet is also the daughter of curry king (and winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award) Charan Gill. Happy Lets website is: http://www.happylets.co.uk/
Businessman of the Year – Asim Sarwar – managing director of United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd, a wholesale cash & carry operation in Glasgow, trading in tobacco, alcohol and grocery products predominantly to the traditional independent retail market in Scotland’s central belt. A family business, Asim has worked for Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd for 11 years.
Business of the Year – Perfect Glazing (Glasgow) Limited – it manufactures Rehau units on-site in their own Scottish factory. It is the only double glazing installer in Scotland that has a toughened glass plant on-site producing toughened glass to certified British Standards. Clients include the Royal Navy and Strathclyde Fire Brigade. Website is http://www.perfectglazingscotland.com/
Entrepreneur of the Year – Samrat Sarkar – owner of Sarkar Defence Solutions Ltd, a company specialising in the manufacture of ballistic and tactical body armour for police and military. An ex-Royal Navy Officer, Samrat founded the company four years ago. His clients now include the US Army, Italian Special Forces, the Peruvian Army, the Spanish Navy, the UN and many others. Samrat sources as many of his materials as possible, locally and transferred manufacturing to Scotland. Sarkar Defence Solutions website is: http://www.sarkardefence.com/
Lifetime Achievement – Charan Gill MBE – The man is credited by many in making the curry a staple of the Scottish diet. Arriving in Scotland from India at 9 and leaving school at 16 he worked his way up from cleaning toilets and peeling onions to being the owner of a chain of 17 restaurants. He now concentrates on building links between Scottish and Indian businesses. Last month he raised £1 million for the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.
The Hillhead by-election was a close run thing with Ken Andrew for the Scottish National Party (SNP) winning the Ward 11 seat by 81 votes over Martin McElroy of Labour.
That margin rose to 110 at stage six of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) when the count was taken in the new Hillhead Primary School last night, Thursday 17 November.
Said Glasgow City Council’s Labour leader, Gordon Matheson, afterwards at the count: ‘There’s all to play for in May.’ And SNP Deputy Leader, Nicola Sturgeon used exactly the same phrase when she issued her congratulations.
In a shockingly low turnout of 3172 voters (13.65%) of whom 40 managed to spoil their voting paper, the SNP took a 44% share with Labour not far behind with 40%.
Newly elected Councillor Ken Andrews said:’I'm privileged to have been elected for Hillhead and I’m looking forward to going straight to work with people across the area, building on the work done by my predecessor George Roberts. SNP Councillor Roberts died in September after a short illness.
On Budget day, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon formally opened a Brookfield Multiplex Healthcare and Life Sciences Suite at Cardonald College.
The unit will enable the Southside college to offer science and health care training to increase job opportunities as the South Glasgow Hospital develops.
Said Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: ‘Giving people skills is vitally important. The new Hospital will be the biggest in the UK and it is on budget and on time. As the workforce there expands we want to ensure local people have the opportunities to take up employment. That’s why this College Suite is so important. This is a time of significant change in the NHS and training for the new NHS workforce will require close partnership working between the NHS Scotland and education providers such as Cardonald College.
It took a year of concentrated organisation to refine the packages of training offered in the modern complex and available through Anniesland College and James Watt College too. They cover clinical simulation areas for health care students and specialist science facilities to support microbiology, biology, human physiology, pharmacy studies, chemistry, biochemistry and physics.
A new Higher National Certificate and Diploma course in Health Care support has been written to accommodate the qualifications required in current Health Service posts.
Said College Principal, Susan Walsh: ‘We have a long history of working closely with community organisations such as The Robertson Trust and we are delighted to have Brookfield Multiplex join that partnership. Their commitment to the local community has been energising and very refreshing. Our students will gain great benefit from this innovative partnership of public, private and voluntary sectors.’
The main contractor for the construction of the South Glasgow Hospital, Brookfield Multiplex operates a Community Benefits Strategy. This involves local residents and companies during the construction period by supporting jobs, apprenticeships, training and education so bringing economic benefit to social enterprise organisations and small and medium companies.
The SNP celebrated their success in the Scottish Parliament election last month by unveiling a bust of party leader, Alex Salmond.
At a reception for campaign staff in their Edinburgh HQ, the bronze, by prize-winning sculptor David Annand, was unveiled. It will join the one of Winnie Ewing, Party doyen, which was unveiled last year by longtime supporter Sean Connery.
‘The campaign that the party ran is one that will be studied by political theorists for years to come. It was an upbeat, positive campaign that placed Scotland at its heart.
‘At its core was our leader Alex Salmond. His leadership and his direction has put the party into the position that it’s now in with Scotland on the verge of joining the international Community in its own right. In recognition of this, the SNP has unveiled our tribute to him – and to give Winnie some company.’
‘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.
In an extraordinary night which changed the political landscape of Scotland, Glasgow voters rejected long established Labour Party names: Charlie Gordon, Pauline McNeil, Patricia Ferguson and Frank McAveety.
Instead the Scottish National Party (SNP) was able to declare: ‘It’s a stunning night.’
Nicola Sturgeon was returned to the Scottish Parliament for the newly configured Glasgow Southside with 12,306 votes to Labour Stephen Curran’s 7957 votes.
SNP gained Anniesland constituency by seven votes for Bill Kidd who polled 10,329 votes to Labour Bill Butler’s 10,322.
In Cathcart Constituency James Dornan took the seat for SNP with 11,918 compared to Labour Charlie Gordon’s 10,326
Kelvin Constituency was won by Sandra White with 10,640 compared to incumbent Labour’s Pauline McNeill who polled 9,758.
Glasgow Shettleston went to SNP’s John Mason with 10,128 compared to Labour Frank McAveety’s 9,542.
The only seats to stay in Labour Party hands were:
Newly aligned Maryhill and Springburn constituency with Patricia Ferguson polling 9884 compared to SNP’s Bob Doris on 8592.
Glasgow Pollok seat stayed with Labour’s Johann Lamont with 10,875 compared to SNP Chris Stephens’s 10,252.
Paul Martin kept Glasgow Provan with 10,037 in contrast to SNP Anne McLaughlin’s vote of 7,958.
As other wins for SNP were being announced during the Glasgow count, Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘The SNP is now a force to be reckoned with across Scotland. This is a triumph for our Positive campaign. Our job now is to unite Scotland and to lead.’
In a bitter response at the podium her opponent, Labour’s Stephen Curran said: ‘The SNP will never get away with this in Glasgow.’
Sandra White commented later: ‘The SNP has broken the back of Labour in Glasgow with our Positive campaign.’
Labour’s Pat Ferguson said: ‘I’m proud and privileged to have served this constituency. I was the first Labour MSP for the former Maryhill/Springburn constituency and do not take one single vote for granted for one second. I am there to fight for every sector of the community in this new constituency and to make sure they are dealt with fairly.’ Her SNP opponent, Bob Doris, announced his wedding in his speech. ‘Four years ago I didn’t mention Janet my girlfriend in my thank you speech. Today I’m mentioning my fiancee Janet and soon she’ll be Mrs Doris!’ He also said the overall results in Glasgow and Scotland were ‘staggering’ for the SNP. And in an impassioned plea he asked for ‘even more positive results next time.’
John Mason who won and later lost the Westminster seat in the city’s East End, and secured the Shettleston constituency for SNP at Holyrood, first praised the outgoing Frank McAveety who had been the Labour MSP for the area. ‘We must thank him for all the work he’s done in Glasgow’s East End.’ But he went on: ‘The SNP ran a positive campaign – securing the M74 completion work, the Commonwealth Games and the rail link to Edinburgh as well as the council tax freeze. But Labour ran a negative campaign, running down the SNP and running down Scotland. The Labour Party must take a long, hard look at themselves.’ In promising to have a visible presence with a shop in Shettleston and being easily contactable by his constituents he added: ‘It is an incredible privilege to be trusted by the voters to serve this constituency.’
Frank McAveety in his farewell speech said: ‘I’ve served the East End of Glasgow for 22 years – as a teacher, a city councillor and as MSP. I care passionately about my city and its problems.’ Amid shouts and boos from the assembled crowd at the Glasgow constituencies’ count in the city’s SECC, he went on: ‘This country is now polarised. The Commonwealth Games was a Labour led initiative as was the National Indoor Sports arena. We made the largest investment in schools and education and I will work tirelessly to win this seat back for Labour.’
At 4am when it was clear that SNP had made remarkable gains in Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘I’m thrilled. There are quite stunning results across Scotland.’
In Cathcart were Labour’s sitting MSP Charlie Gordon lost the seat to SNP’s James Dornan, James Dornan said: ‘Charlie conducted his campaign in a gentlemanly fashion.’ In an emotional speech he went on to say: ‘I will represent everyone in this constituency. It is the area I was brought up in. I raised my kids here. We have worked hard day and night for the past three months and I thank all those who worked like Trojans to secure this positive result for the constituency.’
A sombre Charlie Gordon responded: ‘I’ve been a Labour Party activist for 42 years. I leave this stage tonight a wealthy man. Wealthy because I have my health and a wonderful family.’
Paul Martin who retained Glasgow Provan for Labour ranted about the SNP cuts. When his SNP opponent, Anne McLaughlin took the podium, a re-count was in process for the Anniesland Constituency where initially one vote appeared to be the difference between the lead candidates. She forecast: ‘These successes in Glasgow and across Scotland are not a one-off for the SNP. By electing SNP in force in Glasgow, the city has broken the link of people’s dependency on Labour for ever. If Labour continue their scurrulous attacks on Scotland, their lies will be found out and the people of Scotland will stop listening to them.’
In Glasgow Kelvin where SNP’s Sandra White took the seat from Labour’s Pauline McNeill, Sandra paid tribute to Pauline’s hard work in that community and said: ‘The SNP have aspirations for the people of Scotland. We believe every person deserves to have aspirations.’
In her turn, Pauline McNeill said: ‘I represented the area for 12 years. I did my best for everyone and I’ll miss them. I’m proud of what we achieved and hope that whatever happens with the government of Scotland that everyone will unite on the issues in the Scottish Parliament that will take the country forward. The UK coalition is wrecking our lives.’
As the night wore on a two party state emerged in Glasgow’s voting between SNP and Labour.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat’s highest vote was in Glasgow Kelvin where Natalie McKee got 1900 votes. In Anniesland, Lib Deb Paul McGarry got 1000 votes. In Cathcart, Eileen Baxendale got 1118 votes. In Maryhill and Springburh, the Lib Dem candidate, Sophie Bridger, got 833 votes. In Pollok, Isabel Nelson got 490 votes. In Provan, Michael O’Donnell got 413 votes and in the Southside constituency, Lib Dem’s Kenneth Elder got 612 votes.
Conservative Ruth Davidson became an MSP on the List vote. She said: ‘I’m pleased the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party will continue to have a presence in Glasgow. It’s needed with the SNP being rampant! ‘
The last vote to be announced around 6am in Glasgow was the Anniesland constituency where a recount had taken place because of the narrow margin. The final result was: Bill Kidd, SNP, took the seat with 10,329. Bill Butler, Labour was close behind on 10,322. Next was Matthew Smith of the Conservatives who polled 2,011 and Lib Dem’s Paul McGarry received 1000 votes with the Communist party of Britain’s candidate, Marc Livingstone taking 259 votes.
In a victory speech, Anniesland constituency winner by seven votes, Bill Kidd said: ‘My opponents behaved in an exemplary fashion and the outgoing Bill Butler has done fantastic work in the constituency. I and the SNP will work hard for the next four years to ensure carers are treated in the manner becoming to a civil society and that our country is not despoiled by Trident – British weapons of mass destruction.’
In his turn, Bill Butler thanked his team ‘We fought hard and I don’t think we let the party down. This is not my farewell to politics where I’ve been for ten and a half years. I will continue to campaign for social justice – socialism as I know it – I will renew my opposition to the new Trident and will be on any platform with those who do that too.’ He singled out his mother, Patricia Ferguson who retained the Maryhill and Sprinburn seat, for special thanks for her support.
The only other candidates in Glasgow’s eight constituencies were Tom Muirhead an independent in Kelvin where he polled 405 votes and John McKee, an Independent in Cathcart where he polled 450 votes.