Monday, 22 September 2008

Well said Andy Myles

Fellow Scottish Lib Dem Andy Myles has strong opinions on many issues and, whether or not you agree with him, is always worth listening to. As it happens Andy's take on Scottish politics, especially Lib Dems, nearly always resonates with me.

The Current edition of Liberator (an excellent collectively produced periodical which I thoroughly recommend to all fellow "Social Liberals") has a two page 'open letter', penned by Andy, to newly-elected Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott.

In his piece Andy expresses some concerns regarding Tavish's leadership style - concerns which I share, although he expresses his feelings far more eloquently than I can.

Andy says:
"There are people in the party who are genuinely afraid that you are going to be exclusive - and lead the party from so far out in front that large sections are going to be out in the cold. Please prove them wrong. Leading Liberal Democrats is going to be like herding cats - frequently frustrating and always demanding - but we need all the cats. Skilled as a leader you might be, and with a group of talented friends, but we don't have talent to waste in the party......"

He continues:
"We need an inclusive style of leadership that leaves nobody out in the cold and uses every ounce of talent that we've got."

We need to start from first principles and find ways of making the organism that is the Scottish Liberal Democrats work better. Please don't think that this can be ignored or brushed off or over. It can't. Not without causing massive friction. The leader needs to be able to lead all the cats - and that takes affection. All the best with the job. you're a braver man than me to take it on."

I do hope that Tavish takes Andy's advice to heart and acts upon it and now is the time to do it.

Andy was Chief Executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats from 1992-97 and a Special Advisor (SPAD) to the Deputy First Minister from 2005-07.

Liberator is published 7/8 times a year an a UK subscription costs £23.
Cheques made payable to "Liberator Publications" should be sent to:
Liberator Publications
Flat 1
24 Alexandra Grove
N4 2LF

(It's worth the £23 sub for Lord Bonker's Diary in itself!)

Friday, 19 September 2008

When being overlooked isn't

Well according to Planning Officers of Perth & Kinross Council the above photographs don't amount to any significant loss of privacy and we are not losing amenity by being greatly overlooked. I wonder what would happen if we went into an estate agency and tried to get them to market the house as having "private gardens to the rear"? laughed out of the shop I would think.

The top photograph shows my eye line of sight, at night, when I'm standing at the back door having a cigarette.

The middle shows the view from the closest neighbouring property's patio doors. The wall between the properties is meant to be sandstone and NOT breeze block. It's also not meant to be built on our land!

Simon Wilson Homes and Carnbo resident's misery

The above video from BBC Scotland's Landward programme illustrates what the resident's of Carnbo village have been going through for over 3 years.

A few questions for Simon Wilson:

1. Why have you built a wall, without planning permission, on someone else's property?

2. Why have you destroyed the mill lade and caused another property to have a burn running through it where no burn existed before?

3. Why does the NHBC logo appear on your website when your company is not registered with the NHBC?

4. Why does your website advertise 6 house available for sale at Pitcairnie when you have only built 4 and only applied for planning permission for four?

5. Why do your selling agents claim that the houses in the Pitcairnie Steading development have a "large private garden" when they have gardens the size of pocket handkerchiefs?

6. Why are parts of your development 1.91 metres higher than on your planning application?

7. why are the retaining walls not build to British Standard?

let me assure you Wilson, we, the residents of Carnbo, are not going to lie down and roll-over. We are going to fight your aggressive, bullying, arrogance all the way, using every legal tactic available to us.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Bournemouth update

Not much time to spend having a decent blogging session but am having a really good and interesting time down here at Fed. Conf.

Just back from ALDC Fair trade reception, at which we were treated to brief speeches by a fine selection of guests and and impromptu visit by Nick Clegg. Am now about to go into the auditorium to listen to the debate on "Make it Happen" and probably support the awkward squad by voting for the anti tax cuts amendment.

Anyway lots of folk in the queue for the internet access , so more from Bournemouth later with any luck.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Nearly famous?

Just had my photo taken with Vince Cable for use in future campaigning purposes. I'm sure that it shall appear at some stage here or over on Facebook. Really feel properly in the swing of things at conference now - lots of running from fringes to training to Ros for President campaign meeting to the auditorium to more fringes and meeting up with old friends and getting to know new ones.

There is a really long and serious post brewing about the Gurkha Justice campaign which I suspect shall have to wait until after the conference due to the limited Internet availability. I hope that the High Court case, which is due on Tuesday, regarding the campaign renders this future post irrelevant.

Hello from Bournemouth

Day two of Federal Conference down here in VERY sunny Bournemouth. Needn't have bothered to have brought the laptop as neither the conference centre or hotel have WiFi available, so a quick post from the free internet cafe in the conference centre then off to a training session on taking better photos.

Yesterday was a comparatively free day to ease ourselves into the hurly burly. The highlight was the Lib Dem Bloggers awards up at Harry's Bar in the conference hotel. It was sponsored by ALDC and the LGA (plug provided as requested) and although I wasn't nominated it was a good fun event and I actually got a large cheer when I identified myself to the throng as the "real" Iain Dale as opposed to the Tory version who was also there. Alex Mortimer and her 'Peoples Republic of Mortimer' won three of the six awards, Baroness Ros Scott (who I support for Party President) won one, Peter Black AM the 5th and apologies to the 6th winner 'cos I've forgotten who it was - too much free wine perchance?

Anti pachyderm bias raised it's ugly head again as Millennium Elephant didn't win anything for the 3rd consecutive year.

Anyhow that's all that I've time for just now but if you're really unlucky you'll be hearing from me again sometime soon. If truth were to be told I'm very tempted to buy some suntan lotion and a pair of shorts and skive off to sit on the beach in glorious sunshine.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Virgin holidays attempt to extract the urine

We're off to Barbados in 5 and a bit weeks for a holiday and for Catherine's attendance at a Soroptimist conference and really looking forward to the whole event. Just a pity that when Virgin on the ridiculous holidays send us our flight schedule the have ever so conveniently given us an 8 hour 25 minute fun, fun, fun stop-over at that delightful Gatwick.

On the phone the other day to Virgin where the laddie on the other end of the phone says nothing can be done about it - take it or leave it. Now I know I have an attitude problem when it comes to phone monkeys (having been one myself I consider the term a badge of honour) taking the piss, so "supervisor please" is uttered only to be told that said supervisor is otherwise engaged. OK says I can I pretty please have a call-back within the hour? Sure says the PM, not a problem at all. Two hours and a half hours later and now in a REAL mood I phone Virgin on the ridiculous again. Go through the 96 available pre-recorded options and finally get connected to someone who transfers me to a supervisor. Forty minute conversation later he (nice bloke called Jaten) agrees that he'll cancel the Gatwick to Edinburgh return leg of our journey and refund the costs and we can book ourselves on EasyJet who have a flight departing just over two and a half hours after our arrival in the UK. sorted.

Well,not really as the explanation I was given for the 8h 25m delay was that BA insist on a 2 hour window between your arrival on one flight and departure on another (our flight arrives at 06.30 hours and there is a connection at 08.20 which is a mere 10 minutes short of the required 2 hours). I have since been told that BA do not have a two hour rule so must investigate further.......

Friday, 5 September 2008

Democracy Dragons Den

This is an event being held at Lib Dem Federal Conference in Bournemouth. I certainly intend to go along.

Democracy Dragons' Den
Electoral Reform Society with Lib Dem Voice

What's your one big idea to improve democracy in this country?

Submit your idea to .

Then come to the Electoral Reform Society stand at conference in Bournemouth over Saturday and Sunday, and vote* to select the top five ideas submitted.

The top five win the opportunity to pitch their idea, Dragons' Den style, to the Electoral Reform Society's expert panel at our fringe event on Monday lunchtime. The panellists will be:
Julia Goldsworthy MP
Richard Reeves, chair of Demos
Ken Ritchie, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society
Stephen Tall of Lib Dem Voice
Plus, we'll give the top five a signed copy of Richard Reeves' new biography of John Stuart Mill.

This opportunity to shine is open to any Liberal Democrat party member attending conference. Give your proposal a title of not more than eight words, and summarise it in fewer than 30. You can provide more detail if you wish, but we won't be able to fit it on the ballot paper to select the ideas that get pitched to the panel.

Think the unthinkable, be bold, be positive, and give us your one big idea!

See you in Bournemouth,

Amy Rodger is the Electoral Reform Society's Scotland Director as well as the Liberal Democrat PPC for East Lothian.

*Single Transferable Vote, ERS rules! ;-)