Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Soroptimists steal my Birthday & our holiday!

Catherine and her Mum are involved in a Wimmin's organisation called the Soroptimists an excellent organisation for professional women who wish to give their talents, time and money to help make lives better in many countries around the globe. They are also particularly concerned about human rights issues. More info can be found at: http://www.soroptimistinternational.org/ or http://www.soroptimist-gbi.org/

In most circusmstances I fully support Catherine in her work with this very worthy organisation.
No today though! I've just learned that she's at their Conference from the 29th July to 4th August. So what I hear you say. well, 3rd August happens to be my Birthday and we had planned to be in Krakow or Bruxelles from the 2nd - 7th of August. Instead I'll be limited to seeing her on the evening of my Birthday and a few nights away somewhere in the UK. Bah!

At least the conference is in Glasgow so I can claim a Birthday dinner at Rogano's and I have also found a great looking B&B in Wigton (Scotland's National Book Town), which, at the last count, boasted 24 independent bookshops. I'm salivating already at the prospect. Guess where my Birthday dosh will be going?

Actually, it's worth the price in the long run as the major Conference next year is in Barbados, for which we are already saving. Ten days staying in the Barbados Hilton in October 2008 sounds quite nice. No, it doesn't; it sounds BLOODY FANTASTIC!!!!!!

Monday, 28 May 2007

How a bank holiday weekend should be, for me

Just returned from Craigend (village near Perth) where I spent Friday through Monday with Catherine and her family. This weekend has been fun, relaxing and just damn fine - a mighty blow against the "Black Dog", either that or the new meds are working. No matter which, it was very, very good.

On friday night we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I know it's not a "great" film but it's fun and easily enjoyable entertainment and, a bit of a counterpoint to my current reading matter: 'Scottish Covenanter Stories - Tales From The Killing Times' by Dane Love. (£8.99 Neil Wilson Publishing). This I shall return to in future posts.

Saturday morning saw Catherine & I rise earlier than normal and pottered in to Perth for some shopping and a look at the art fair. In the afternoon we went en masse to the Hill of Tarvit (National Trust for Scotland) where we duly inspected the "steps that Catherine built" and generally poked our noses around the place. In the evening Catherine and I ventured to Perth racecourse to see the 1st ever Scottish Fireworks Championships. I'm a fireworks junkie, so was absolutely in my element - 3 professional displays lasting 10 minutes each & only a tenner to get in. Must strongly recommend FireworX, who were the 2nd competitor and, in my opinion, the best of the lot. I hope that this becomes an annual fixture in Scotland and that there are more competitors in any future events.

On Sunday we slouched and mooched around the house, with the only interuption being a trip out for a mountain of Sunday newspapers and, later a marvellous dinner, cooked by Catherine's Dad, then watching "Primary Colors", which is on my top ten favourite films list.

Headed back to Irvine today and feel so, so much better for the break!

(Above is the view I woke up to the last three morning)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A grubby, tacky deal stitched together in spite filled rooms

Today North Ayrshire Council had a full Council meeting. At this meeting the SNP (8 Councilors), Tories (3 Councillors) and 4 of the 5 so-called Independents produced a last minute motion to exclude our 2 Lib Dem Councillors from ALL COUNCIL COMMITTEES! This passed on the casting vote of the SNP Provost.

How can these people be so arrogant as to exclude our democratically elected Councillors from participating on the Council's Committee structure? The whole thing was cobbled together by the SNP as I understand. This is a despicable, politically immature, act which makes me fear that the new proportional system of electing Councillors is not understood by the SNP with the increasingly irrelevant Tories and 4 of the "Independents" going along for the ride.

I understand that the SNP are flexing their muscles as the 2nd largest group on the council but it's no way to win friends and influence people and a bloody affront to democracy. They have let themselves down and, most importantly, have let down the people who elected them.

If this is how they are behaving locally then how are they going to behave as the governing party in Scotland? - very badly, I fear.

Maybe we should take a lesson in democracy from England where all Council Committees are shared out on a proportional basis.

A final word to the SNP & Tories and their "Independent" (sic) bedfellows: stop your political posturing and tribal politics - the folk of North Ayrshire deserve much better.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Oh well, life goes on

I didn't get elected to North Ayrshire Council. Bugger, blast, damnation and f**c!!!
Actually not - Catherine missed out in the Carse of Gowrie too (she on the 5th count and me on the 7th), we both hit the woodwork. No gloating Mr Dale of the Tory persuasion. Well I shall allow you a small gloat on the basis that it was a Tory who nipped in ahead of me for the 4th seat in the new multi-member ward although the Tory group went down from 5 to 3.

I'm disappointed of course, but the fact that we both lost means that we can actually start to plan a future together rather than spending most of our time 90 miles apart. No rush, no hurry but we have plans.

The really good news, however, is that Ruby got elected in Irvine East and Andrew in Kilwinning. I'm over the proverbial moon for them especially as they are the first Liberals elected in Irvine & Kilwinning for over 60 years - yes we made the breakthough which we have worked bloody hard to achieve. I know that they will be a credit to our party and excellent Councilors. Well done!

I would also like to thank everyone who voted for me in Irvine West and assure them that the Focus leaflets will still keep coming. My thanks also go to the 1977 people who voted for me as their MSP. This is a rise of just under 2% from last time, which was pleasing on a night which didn't go the way we hoped.

Jim Hume was elected as a South of Scotland list MSP and I'm really confident that Jim will be an excellent Parliamentarian and a first class standard bearer for Liberal Democracy across the whole of the South of Scotland.

When I returned home in 1999 we had no Lib Dems representing us at any level of government in Ayrshire. We now have Councillors, a MSP, a Lord and a MEP - that's what I call progress!!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Good luck my friends

I write this to wish my many friends in the Scottish Lib Dems all the best tomorrow. if I listed them all then this post would go on forever but I would like to specially mention just a few people:
  • Catherine Carruthers in the Carse of Gowrie
  • Ruby Kirkwood in Irvine East
  • Andrew Chamberlain in Kilwinning
  • Lewis Hutton in the North Coast & Cumbraes (also Cunninghame North)
  • Jim Hume in the South of Scotland
  • Siobhan Mathers in Edinburgh Central
  • Kathy McInnes in Strathkelvin & Bearsden
  • Nora Radcliffe in Gordon
  • All the rest of my friends and colleagues across Scotland

You've all worked extremely hard and deserve success!

Sore feet

Well that's all the leaflets delivered and all the campaigning over. I must have lost a fair few lbs over the last couple of weeks. Now all we wait for is the voters verdict. I think I have done enough work and campaigned hard enough to win a council seat but still have the usual butterflies. All will be known by lunchtime on Friday.

Flattered ego

My ego has just been flattered by news from a friend that I have reached the dizzy heights of 2nd in the Male category on sexymsp.com. A website which I hadn't come across prior to yesterday. No, I wasn't vain enough to vote for myself! The Tory Iain dale also mentioned this startling fact on his Iain Dale's Diary blog.