Friday, 30 November 2007

Lib Dem Councillor assaulted over planning rejection

My friend and Conference Committee colleague Councillor Debra Storr (Ellon & Distric Ward of Aberdeenshire Council) was assaulted by an angry women who was indignant over Debra's vote against giving planning permission to American billionaire Donald Trump's plans to build a hotel, golf course and 1500 houses.

Here is Debra in her own words as recounted to the BBC:
"There was a knock on my door and a woman who was somewhat upset gave a stream of obscenities relating to the Trump application. "

"She stepped over the doorstep and pushed me. I think she was slightly surprised at what she had done. She left with the parting words 'I will get you'. "

"I was very upset, it's very disturbing. I was just doing what I thought was right. You do not expect as a councillor to be subjected to intimidation."

Speaking about the vote, and her hopes for a revised application: "There were so many problems with the application that it was clear it should be turned down. I hope the Trump Organisation comes back."

Welcome to the World Jennifer Mary Smith

Heartfelt congratulations to Ruby & Nick on the birth of their Daughter at 3.20pm yesterday.
Jennifer Mary Smith weighed 8lb 5oz and is healthy as is Mum. Dad is trying to catch up with some sleep and it seems that Altrincham Town have a new supporter, if Nick is to be believed. Uncle Iain and Aunt Catherine hope to see you all on Sunday.

Ruby gave birth to a wee girl tonight

This post is being written through tears of joy.

Ruby had a wee girl tonight!!!

That's all I can tell you for the moment as that's all the information that I have for now.

When I stop crying I may be able to put some lucid thoughts together, but for the moment all I can do is congratulate Roobz and Nick on the birth of their Daughter. What's her name and what does she weigh? Are Mum and Daughter well and healthy? Is Dad still sober?

Suddenly, the world is a more beautiful place.

Councillor Ruby Kirkwood is the Lib Dem Group Leader on North Ayrshire Council and the youngest Lib Dem Group Leader in Scotland.

Still crying tears of joy

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Farage is on Question Time - Boring, boring, boring

Well it's a case of him ranting, raving and being his usual blethering idiot. He's boring, wrong and totally irrelevant to Scotland. I'd rather watch the proverbial paint dry so off to bed with a good book. Night night.

P.S. Labour and Broon seem totally stuffed. Wonder what the bookies would offer for a GE on the 1st Thursday in June 2009? ( Next Euro Parl election day)

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Double whammy of bad news

It's turning out to be a right old bad news day after all. first up comes the news that Alex McLeish is giving up the Scotland manager position in order to become Manager of Birmingham bloody city - something I was confidently predicting that he would not do last night.

Second up is BNFL announcing that Hunterston in Ayrshire is one of their potential sites for next generation nuclear reactors. The site at Hunterston is 14 miles from my front door and has had nuclear power stations there for as long as I can remember. The fact that reactor A is done with and reactor B is coming to the end of it's natural life meant that we could look forward to life in Ayrshire without the threat of a nuclear accident hanging over us. BNFL's announcement this afternoon has kicked that idea into touch unless we get campaigning against it pretty dammed soon. You can be sure that I'll be writing a lot more about this in the future!

Anonymous posting on this blog

I have had to take the decisions to put comment moderation and to refuse anonymous posts on this blog. Any anonymous comments prior to 19th November will remain.

Perhaps this is a result of the increased traffic that I've been getting and it certainly wasn't a decision that I took without some serious thought.


Monday, 26 November 2007

Bye bye Saj

So Saj Karim (MEP NW England) has buggered off and joined the Tories in a major cream puff. Oh dearie, dearie me my morale has shot through the floor - not!

I can't remember if I've actually met the guy during one of my various trips out to Brussels (speaks volumes for him in it's own right), but the general word on the street amongst those with ears to the ground in Brussels is that he wasn't in the first division amongst LDEPP.

A few comments from Saj:

On Human Rights: "This is just another example of how the Labour and Conservative parties are completely aligned on stripping away our human and civil rights..."

On Conservative Homophobia: With their failure to support a resolution condemning discriminatory remarks by political and religious leaders targeting homosexuals, the Tories have shown their true colours." "Their apathy in the face of rising homophobia should come as no surprise. The Conservative camp is today rife with contradiction. Cameron attempts to paint a glossy image of a gay-friendly party in the UK while desperately trying to get into bed at European level with Poland's homophobic 'Law and Justice' party."

On Kashmir: "I can honestly say that that whilst the British Conservative and Labour delegations were trying to make political capital out of the human rights situation of the Kashmiri people, the Liberal Democrats and Greens were the only MEPs to vote on the substance of the amendments, regardless of who their authors were."

On Animal Welfare: " is an issue that the Liberal Democrats in Europe take very seriously. The fact that the Tories have adopted such an untenable position on animal welfare indicates how out of touch they are with the European consumer. Astonishingly, the Tories were against the mandatory labelling of products to ensure the traceability and quality of food and related products"

On Education: "There are very clear differences between what the Liberal Democrats say and what the Conservatives and Labour are saying. For a start we say very very clearly that there ought to be a standard of education that is available right across the board. We don't accept that specialist schools of the sort that are being proposed by both Labour and Conservatives are the way forward. That's the first distinction that we make." "What the Labour Party have done since they have come into power is carry forward the Conservative policies so far as bringing forward league tables, creating greater discrepancy in the provinces of the standard of education that is being provided. This is not acceptable..."

I wonder if his departure is in any way related to the fact that he came a poor second to Chris Davies MEP in the recent Euro selection contest for NW England, or am I being cynical?

My vote is in the post for Chris Huhne

Despite the hand written postcard from Willie Rennie MP (someone I have got huge respect for) asking me to support Nick my vote was posted off today and I voted for Chris Huhne.

There were a number of reasons I voted Huhne but the most significant were probably:
1. I know Chris and get on well with him on a personal basis.
2. I feel Chris is slightly more of a "Social Liberal" than Nick is.
3. The block support for Nick by Scottish MPs who have declared raised my hackles as it did during the last Leadership campaign.
4. Although he didn't commit to unilateral nuclear disarmament his position on trident is a lot closer to mine than Nick's

I wish Chris all the best in the campaign and can assure him that I have been active in delivering him a fair number of other votes from across Scotland.

In conclusion I must state that I think Nick will be a good leader too, just not quite as good as Chris. Whoever wins we will have a great opportunity to move forward united and passionate about changing Britain for the better. Lets all get on with making our society a much more liberal place to be.

Friday, 23 November 2007

A bad case of imploding Trots

There was a by-election in Dundee's Lochee ward yesterday. Lochee isn't classic Lib Dem territory so it was good to see our candidate Christopher Hall securing a creditable 3rd place with 435 1st preferences.

Both the SSP and their breakaway former colleagues Solidarity (aka the Tommy Sheridan appreciation society) stood candidates. The SSP candidate got 55 votes and the Solidarity candidate 57. The really strange part is that when the SSP votes were re-distributed only 8 went over to Solidarity.

Message to Trots: Unity really is strength!

All quiet on the Euro selection front

We in the Scottish Lib Dems are in the middle of the process to select our party list for the 2009 European elections. As an employee of the current MEP, who is retiring, I'm making no public pronouncements about who I'm supporting to replace her.

However I shall make one public comment on this election: Are you shy folks? There are 8 of you running for top of the list but only one of you has been in touch to ask for my 1st preference. Speaking to friends and relatives across Scotland I find that most of them have been only contacted by one candidate. It's an open contest so why so reticent?

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

This is akin to watching a car crash in slow motion

As a Scot I am happy to support England at Fitba', unless they are playing against us or Trinidad & Tobago. Watching England tonight is turgid, depressing and actually embarrassing.

Everything went England's way on Saturday so why are they playing as if they are scared of the ball tonight? Possibly they are having a "big stage freeze" match, possibly they are not up to the job.

C'mon guys - get your finger out and win the bloody game!

STOP PRESS: England have just got a goal back to make it 1-2 to Croatia.

Well that's over then and none of us will be there. How about getting the Home International idea going then?

Welcome to the world Alexander Hutton

Marvellous news! Our friend Jenny has today brought her 3rd wee boy into the world.

I've been remiss in forgetting to ask Dad, Lewis, what weight the wee fellow was but am utterly delighted for Jenny, Lewis and Alexander's elder siblings Donald and Innes.


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Simply stunning incompetence!

I really cannot credit how the personal details of 25 million people can be lost by HM Revenue & Customs. The details on the disc included names, addresses, dates of birth, national Insurance numbers and bank account details. I know that the civil servant in charge of the department has resigned but this huge mess up really needs Ministerial heads to roll.

Alistair Darling claims that junior officials made the mistake of sending the discs by courier and unrecorded and it seems that he has had this knowledge for about 10 days. It is also claimed that the Police don't "think that the records have fallen into the wrong hands".

This one will run and run methinks.

Monday, 19 November 2007

A little help please folks

What the devil is going on? I put a counter on this blog on Tuesday of last week and for the first 4 days it showed that I was getting about 20 people a day viewing my mutterings, which is what I suspected would be about par. When I logged on on Saturday night I had jumped to about 400 hits and today it has gone totally ballistic - according to the counter I've had around 1500 people having a glance since last night.

I can imagine 3 scenarios:
1. A newspaper or website has picked up on one of my witterings and published the blog address.
2. Some other blogger (obviously very popular) has given me a name check. (Tory Iain Dale is prime suspect)
3. My counter is banjaxed.

If it is option 3 then I'll obvious;y be seriously disappointed, but hey, WTF.

If anyone reading this can shed some light on the matter then I would be very grateful.

Scots Lib Dems inadvertantly censored this blog

As I'm sure you'll all be fed up hearing by now, I recently was in an election to become a Vice Convener of the Scottish Lib Dems.

The rules of engagement state that "no candidate nor any supporter may publish or circulate any material promoting his/her election. This prohibition includes the production of badges, posters, stickers, audio-visual or similar publicity material and any form of mechanical production (including photocopies or carbon copies) or any written material."

I rather suspected that before mentioning my Candidacy on here I should check with the Returning Officer. I duly did so and received a decision that a blog would fall into the rules above. Hence the reason that nowt has been blogged about the election before Friday's declaration.

I would strongly suggest to my fellow Scottish Lib Dems that we need to change these archaic rules before there are any other internal elections contested. It is not very Liberal to censor people, even when it's done accidentally.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Scottish Lib Dem Office Bearers 2008-2009

Further to my earlier post here are the full details of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Office Bearers who shall serve their term from the 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2009.

Leader: Nicol Stephen MSP (re-elected unopposed)

Deputy Leader: Michael Moore MP (re-elected unopposed)

President: Malcolm Bruce MP (re-elected unopposed)

Convener: Audrey Findlay (beat Helen Watt by 758 to 425)

Treasurer: Brian Logan (beat Patricia Carruthers (Catherine's Mum) by 633 to 533)

Vice Convener (Policy): Siobhan Mathers (elected unopposed)

Vice Convener (Campaigns & Candidates): Stephen Peters (elected unopposed)

Vice Convener (Conference): Iain Dale (beat Sheila Ritchie by 592 to 586)

I'm looking forward to serving my term of office and working with the other Office Bearers to improve the standing of the party in Scotland and to see our party become bigger, better and more radical.
many thanks to all who voted for me and sincere commiserations to Sheila Ritchie on losing by such a small margin. As I think Wellington said it was " a dammed close run thing".

Another glorious failure

Sick as the proverbial parrot! Scotland didn't make it to next year's Euro Championships in Austria and Switzerland. I'm sure you all know we lost 1-2 to Italy. However we can take great pride in the way our lads fought to the last in this group and fought with pride, passion and increasing skill. There may be no superstars in our team but the "team spirit" and unity made up for that.

Another upside of this campaign is that we will be 2nd seeds for the World Cup qualifying contest. No one in Scotland need be ashamed of our team any more and I look forward to Scotland getting out of the group stages in South Africa in 2010.

Two better results to note though:
i. Scotland Under 21s beat Slovenia 4-0 away
ii. Irvine Meadow won 4-2 away to Beith in the West of Scotland Premier League

Friday, 16 November 2007

I Won! (by 6 votes on the second recount)

Dale 592
Ritchie 586

As of the 1st of January 2008 I shall be an Office Bearer of the Scottish Liberal Democrats & shall discharge my duty with due diligence. Many thanks to all who voted for me and I promise to implement the manifesto on which I stood. More to follow..........

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Calm down to a frenzy guys

Reading Lib Dem blogs over the last few days, I would strongly suggest that it's time to calm down to a frenzy and start getting life into some form of perspective over the leadership contest.

I'm open about backing Chris for leader but you won't find me posting such incredibly rude headings such as "Just how low will Huhne's supporters go" or "Avoiding the question" as posted by two obviously pro-Clegg supporters. I'm sure that there are similar inflamatory postings by pro-Huhne bloggers too.

Come on folks, we're all going to have to work together after the leadership contest and no matter who wins we should be in a radical, reinvigorated party which will have a clear sense of unity and purpose. My friend Caron is supporting Nick, I'm supporting Chris and we are sure as hell not going to fall out over this. If we can behave like adults why can't everyone else?

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Please vote on Duncan Borrowman's poll

Duncan Borrowman has an interesting poll on his blog, in which he asks the question whether the Spring Federal Conference should become an English Party Conference. I'm firmly in agreement with that suggestion, although I suspect many Lib Dems will have differing views.

Duncan's poll can be found at:

Let the debate begin!

Monday, 12 November 2007

MoD try to call up 51 year old Lib Dem MSP

A very interesting story from yesterday's edition of Scotland on Sunday:

"His Country Still Needs Him"
For the full text go to:

A brief precis and some comments by me:
Before entering politics 51 year old Mike Rumbles MSP (West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine) was a Major in the Army Education Corps. He left the army 13 years ago. Recently the MoD sent him a letter asking him if he would agree to allow his being "called-up" for active service overseas. retired soldiers can be recalled up to the age of 55 in the event of a serious and major conflict. In this case it would be a voluntary call-up and Mike (known to some in the Scottish Lib Dems as "The Galloping Major") is not volunteering. Indeed Mike commented: "If it were in defence of the country then, of course, I would do my bit. But our troops should not be in Iraq in an illegal war." He added: "By the time they have reached me they are through the bottom of the barrel and scraping underneath."

Of course a couple of jingoistic Tory MPs had a bit of a pop at him for not agreeing to be called up to serve in an illegal war.

What state have the Government let our armed forces get into? An absolute stinking mess by all accounts. Not enough servicemen and women, unsuitable equipment - if there is any in the 1st place, low morale and shabby, shoddy living quarters. I don't agree with the war in Iraq either but when our Military are serving overseas and in war zones we must give them our backing and ensure that they have the required resources

Friday, 9 November 2007

Leadership hustings in Edinburgh

Just a wee reminder that the only hustings which is being held in Scotland during the Leadership campaign is taking place in Edinburgh tomorrow (10th November).

The event is being held in The General Assembly Hall, Mound Place, Edinburgh.
It starts at 11am and will finish by 2pm at the latest.

I've decided not to go as I know that I'm voting for Chris Huhne and, probably more importantly, Catherine & I haven't set eyes on each other for over a fortnight!

Congratulations Glasgow 2014

Well then Glasgow has won the chance to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, as has been widely predicted. Glasgow won by 47 votes to 24 for Abuja. Due to the corruption, kidnappings, economic instability and povertyin Nigeria this was not the right time for the games to go to africa. I sincerely hope that the subsequent games will go to africa but to a more stable country.

This is great news for Glasgow and Glaswegians and I look forward to going along to watch some of the events. Well done to all involved with the bid.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Good anti-trident turnout on Saturday

I would reckon a good 2-3000 people turned out on Saturday in Edinburgh to protest against trident. It was particularly interesting to see such a broad cross-section of Scottish Society in attendance. I certainly don't hold much in common with the Communist Party or any Churches bar being anti trident. It was no surprise that Labour & the Tories were the only political parties missing.
The photo of some of the Scottish Lib Dem contingent was taken by my pal Caron Lindsay. a rare treat for me to be in a photo rather than behind the camera.