Sunday, 29 January 2012

Call for Stephen Hester to refuse his bonus

This week, the headlines have been dominated by Stephen Hester, chief of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), who has been awarded a bonus worth £1 million.

The public purse has already bailed out RBS to the tune of billions of pounds. It must not be expected to find up £1 million to reward the chief executive as well.  I am supporting calls for Stephen Hester to refuse his bonus. 

Useful link:

BBC - What has Stephen Hester achieved? -

Friday, 27 January 2012

Speak Up, Speak Out

This evening, at Hyndland Parish Church, there was a special event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. As part of the evening, pupils with extraordinary musical talent from local secondary schools provided a varied programme of classical music. 

The organisers were two local pupils who made a visit with other young people from across the West of Scotland to Auschwitz, last November. They shared their experiences and projected images of the concentration camps taken on their trip.  It is the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Camp this year.

The recent genocides in Rwanda and Darfur were also remembered by a representative of Amnesty International. 

I was glad to be able to support this event and link up with young people promoting peace.

Useful links:-

Holocaust Memorial Day -

Auschwitz Museum -

Getting the celtic connection

Yesterday, I made my way to the City Halls to enjoy an evening of traditional folk music from Martin Simpson, Dick Gaughan, June Tabor and Finbar Furey. It was a great musical escape for three hours.

There were various stories shared by each musician about their tunes. One example is Finabar Furey's recollection of recording "New York Girls" in Rome for Martin Scorsese's fim Gangs of New York.  I was impressed with Dick Gaughan's performance of "The Green Linnet". He recalled singing this song over 35 years ago with Martin Simpson and you can find it on his album published in 1972.  

I hadn't heard June Tabor sing for many years and was absorbed by her performance, especially singing "Strange Affair". One of the songs "Brothers Under the Bridge" on Martin Simpson's new album "Purpose and Grace" was also one of the highlights for me.

These musicians have been long term associates and provided an amazing performance of songs from across the years.  As you may have gathered, I am a strong supporter of our musical talent and music festivals generally.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Flytipping creates public health concerns

I have been very concerned about the impact of flytipping in Clarence Lane, Hyndland. Over the last month, I have asked for assistance from council services to clear up the lane which has become a risk to public health.

Mud and rubbish have built up

Thankfully, graffiti has been removed by Glasgow Community Safety Services and items dumped have been cleared by Land and Environmental Services. 

 The site is clear!

Let's hope it can stay tidy and safe for local pupils to use as a meeting place. I will keep monitoring the area in the coming months.

Refurbishment of local primary underway

One of the local schools located in Woodside, St. Joseph's Primary, is undergoing refurbishment at the moment. This school was build in 1964 and in a 2009/10 conditions’ survey completed by the Council, it was rated as D condition.

St. Joseph's Primary School undergoing refurbishment, 8th January 2012.

The Council approved plans to invest in improvements to the building in the last year. I would anticipate that energy efficiency will be enhanced through the upgrading of the heating system and general fabric including windows.

Develop reuse projects

Today, I was inspired by meeting people who have developed projects to reuse everyday items including broken umbrellas, tetrapaks and plastic bags.

You will have experience of seeing a broken umbrella abandoned on the street. It is possible to reuse the umbrella fabric to create various items such as recycled umbrellas and bags.
An recycled umbrella and poster with suggested uses for umbrella fabric.

I have been shown how to create small purses from tetrapak containers for fruit juices. It is easier than you think - just cut top and end off, then fold!

Various tetrapak purses.
Plastic bags can be shredded to create thread to create household items such as table mats and recycled bags.

Samples of woven plastic bag thread.

Useful links:-
Tetra Pak Craft Recycling -

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Edinburgh Glasgow Improvements by Rail (EGIP)

On Thursday 12th January 2012, I attended a community consultation event hosted by Network Rail at Hyndland Community Hall. It provided information about strategic investment proposed by Scottish Government, including an additional platform at Hyndland Railway Station.

I will be submitting my comments in support of this investment but seeking completion of a fully accessible ramp or lift from Queensborough Gardens as part of any plans.

Useful Links:

Have Your Say about EGIP -

Support for the High Street

Today, I visited an excellent exhibition at The Lighthouse on Mitchell Lane, off Buchanan Street which celebrates our high streets. There were stark statistics about high street shopping in 2011 on display including vacancy rates for Scotland's High Streets and Town Centres being at 11.1% and internet shopping sales are 8% of the total UK sales. Visitors were asked for their ideas about their hopes for high streets.

Taking stock of the High Street Noticeboard.

Suggestions were written up on tin cans and put on display. There were a wide range of views.

Some of the tin cans covered in comments.

A section of the exhibition is focused on initiatives to regenerate the high street such as support for business start up, local loyalty cards, local currency, and community arts activity.

In the months ahead, I hope that some of these initiatives will be debated and considered for development within our Glasgow's local town centres. I am supporting community consultation about the future investment plans for Byres Road and look forward to hearing people's ideas to protect and enhance one of the city's favourite streets.

Useful Links:

The Lighhouse High Street Exhibition -

Local Loyalty Cards:

Wigan Plus -

The Wedge -

Local Currency:

Lewes Pound -

Bristol Pound -

Totnes Pound -

Empty Shops Network (Workshop 24) -

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Recycle your festive trees

I have lost count of the number of festive trees lying around the streets. Residents seem to be relying on the bulk uplift service to remove them. At the moment, the Council expects the trees to be taken to designated sites across the city.

A tree left on Highburgh Road.

I have reported quite a lot to the Cleansing Officers. The trees are obstructing pavements and create an eyesore. It's good to know that they can be shredded and the wood chip used in our public parks.

Useful link:-

Storm Damage

The storm and heavy rain for last week has brought a lot of distress and headache to households across the country. I have lost some slates from my flat's roof. I am aware of more serious damage to property. It is going to take time to resolve the housing issues arising from the storm. I hope that adequate financial and practical support is available to all the households and organisations who need it to get through the difficulties they face.

On a walkabout of Glasgow's west end on Thursday morning, I found lots of tree branches and evidence of chimney pots lying around.

 Tree down in Lauderdale Gardens.

Beautiful big trees have suffered and over 500 have come down, with others unstable. Survey work on trees  is set to continue in the coming weeks. There is a City Woodland Initiative which supports tree planting across Glasgow.  I hope that this will be developed further in response to the loss of trees by the storms. Already, residents are asking for a tree replacement programme and it makes sense to involve local groups and volunteers in any tree planting projects in the year ahead.

Useful links:-

Tree Council

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy Fruitful New Year

I would like to wish you a very happy 2012 and may it bring all that you wish for. This year, I will be continuing to support healthier living and promote healthy eating activities.

It is likely that you will find me helping with grow your own food projects, allotments and community gardens. I have witnessed a lot of enthusiasm developing for new allotments and provision of orchards within the grounds of public buildings.

It is hoped that the efforts of volunteers working on projects to promote increased access to fruit and vegetables will get the assistance they need from public agencies, community councils and local residents.

I hope you get the chance to try out new recipes and take part in local food festivals this year.

Useful Links:-

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens -

Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society -

5 a day consumption -

Take Life On -