Sunday, 27 January 2013

Issues arising from Home Laundry Habits

In the past year or so, I have been aware of a study being undertaken in to the issue of drying domestic washing. 

There is an awareness of how costly it is to use tumble dryers and people are choosing to dry clothes within their home, such as hanging them on radiators. The study investigated air quality and energy consumption as a consequence of domestic laundry habits.

The findings include that all housing types do not have adequate drying spaces in which to dry clothes at home.

A design guide has been produced to mitigate energy consumed and any adverse side effects with regards to air quality or the fabric and contents inside a home. 

It suggests a change to the current Scottish statutory standards for passive indoor drying as well as related best practice. The proposed solution is to ensure that a drying space is provided with its own heat and ventilation and specific facilities are available for hanging clothes e.g. indoor drying cupboard, covered outdoor drying area, and communal drying space.

Useful link:

The Home Laundry Study -

Monday, 21 January 2013

George Square Statues retained in current location

On Friday 18th January 2013, I met up with concerned residents who had a petition signed by 900 people calling for a public meeting about the plans for George Square. This was handed in to the City Chambers for the attention of the Leader of Glasgow City Council.

One of the petitioners next to the statue of Robert Burns.

This afternoon, it was announced that the Labour Administration is no longer going to complete a major revamp of the Square. Instead, there will be a removal of the red tarmac with all statues retained in their current sites along with the existing grass areas. 

Now, there is recognition of the concerns raised by various groups and individuals such as myself about the importance of conserving the statues. Following today's news, further questions will be raised about what will replace the red tarmac, the budget for the works and how the public will be kept informed. 

The Council has a consultation statement and process that has to be followed. I will be asking for a review of the process based on inadequate approach taken in the gathering of the public views on the future of George Square to date.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

International solidarity with Greece

This is an international day of action for all anti-fascists, anti-racism groups and organisations. A clear message was sent out from all corners of the world against racism.

In Glasgow, I gave my support to a solidarity demo with our Greek Brothers and Sisters. The rise of the openly Nazi Golden Dawn Party which is polling 14% and being violent against migrants has sent shock waves across Europe. This is very alarming.  Today, there was a call for no fascism in Greece and no to Racism in Scotland.

 Banners at Solidarity Demo.

Everyone can get involved in activities to counter racism and fascism. We can promote a politics of peace and solidarity. On 27th January, it is Holocaust Memorial Day. There are events and activities to remember and stand by those who have been persecuted.

Useful link:

Holocaust Memorial Day -

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Concerns raised about Empty Shop Units

This week, people have shared their concerns about the number of empty shop units within the Byres Road and Great Western Road. The news of the closure of HMV and Blockbusters will add further empty shop units to our main streets. 

During a walkabout this morning, I identified at least five empty units within Byres Road. These premises have been fruit and veg shops, a pub, a bank, and a card shop.

I have been supporting the work of various businesses, groups and council departments in efforts to improve the environment of Byres Road. Our retail sector is needing as much assistance as possible to cope with the economic downturn. It is more urgent than ever that proposals to enhance Byres Road come to fruition.

I was boosted by the discovery of a new vintage clothes store, "The £10 Thrift Store" on Great Western Road. This will help to recycle and reuse clothing which would otherwise have gone to landfill. 


The staff highlight that they have been busy since opening before Christmas and this location is ideal.

Useful link:

Federation of Small Business Research - Scottish small businesses' margins squeezed

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Support for Peace, Hope and Energy

As a Scottish Green Party Politician, I am inspired by the possibilities of Scottish Independence. Independence is a chance to change Scotland for the better, not stick with business as usual. Scottish Independence offers the opportunity to create a new political landscape and to initiate genuine institutional renewal. We want increased influence of  local government and communities in the decision-making affecting their lives.

With its origins in the UK-wide Green Party, originally founded in 1973 as ‘People’, the Scottish Greens decided, in 1990, to establish themselves as a separate entity. The separation was a logical consequence of the green commitment to more decentralisation, and was entirely amicable.

Scottish Greens are not nationalists but believe it is best that decisions are made closest to the people they affect. That way, local needs can be taken into account better.Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city has a vital contribution to make. We can create our own bright future through the ideas and innovation of local businesses, entrepreneurs and community activists.

When the population has a voice and gets the chance to talk about its own destiny and development, people feel more able to take control of their lives. The Scottish Green Party is in favour of an autonomous and highly decentralised Scotland with a written constitution and Bill of Rights to be in place before the transfer of powers from Westminster. We are advocates for a participative and inclusive process for the development and democratic adoption of a constitution.

More than anything else we hope for Scotland to be nuclear free and a peace loving nation. Scottish Greens want to get rid of Nuclear Weapons. Voting for Independence provides a way forward to remove the Trident nuclear deterrent from Faslane and Coulport, and bring an end to submarines with nuclear weapons in Scottish waters.

The idea that we sign up to Nato, a nuclear alliance, as part of Scottish Independence is nonsense. This is an organisation whose design is about the aggressive projection of power around the world. It is an antique, outdated and defunct organisation, in my view, and I think we should have nothing to do with it. We can decide what our foreign policy priorities are and avoid being dragged into illegal wars. There is no other constitutional settlement that offers these opportunities.

The Greens are the first political movement born in the age of European political and economic union, and we've always seen EU membership as a positive opportunity to make progress on a host of social and environmental objectives. Europe has improved working conditions for millions of people, helped to control the use of toxic chemicals in industry, and put pressure on all member states to live up to basic standards of human rights and equality. We support an Independent Scotland as a member of the European Community.

Scottish Independence can be a means to fight poverty and achieve equality. By developing a green, fair and inclusive economy, Scotland can provide a better quality of life for all within the ecological limits of the planet. Scottish Greens are urging a new approach to energy generation in a bid to leave a clean source of public income for future generations. Our renewable energy market is already worth several billion pounds to the economy – just imagine what opportunities there would be if more of that value could be directed for public good.Scotland claims around a quarter of Europe's offshore wind and tidal energy potential.

Scottish Greens continue to call for more public or community ownership of renewables, and for local authorities to be given the power to create local energy companies. These publicly owned companies have the potential to deliver much needed income to cash strapped local communities.

We question the wisdom of the approach to Scotland's existing oil reserves, claiming that if the world is to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C up until 2050, then no more than 1/3rd of the world's proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed. We advocate for an independent country where there is a managed transition from reliance on fossil fuels. The switch from oil and gas to renewables can't be done overnight, and the remaining revenues from oil and gas should be used to create a publicly owned renewables company as many other countries have done.

We believe that Scottish Independence can only add to our potential and to release a whole new wave of creativity, ambition, confidence and pride. An independent Scotland could have a stronger Scottish music industry which wasn’t so focused on London. We could support new artists giving them a better chance of success. Bands are making their mark through grassroots events and rapidly expanding festivals at home. Staying out of London’s “rat race” provides benefits, including “a lot more freedom” for the arts community. We can help artists to promote Scottish culture, the nation’s identity and its soul both locally and globally.

We must enable Artists to play a lead role in our cultural life and within the wider Scottish society, providing specific support to develop their work. Through powers given to Scotland, Independence can maximise tax incentives or provide a creative enterprise allowance for artists.

Scottish Greens support a vision for independence which breaks the addiction to road-building. Moving to electric vehicles will help reduce emissions directly, but unless we get a grip on traffic levels the energy demand will be astronomical. Walking, cycling and public transport will be given a far higher priority by an Independent Scotland.

The evidence is clear – we can become stronger economically, socially, culturally and globally with Scottish Independence. The world is waiting for us.

Useful link:

Yes Glasgow Launch -

Monday, 14 January 2013

Maintaining our pavements is a priority

Over the last year, there has been ongoing concern about the poor state of the pavement on Great George Street. 

This is a busy pedestrian thoroughfare. It is the most direct route for many students going to and from Hillhead Subway and their classes at the University of Glasgow.

The uneven surface and cracks in the surface have been highlighted to council officials and they have been requested to treat these defects as a top priority.

Residents have shared concern that this pavement is even more dangerous when there is heavy rainfall. There are worries about the increased risk of accidents if there is cold, icy weather.  

Useful link:

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Questions about Cancer?

It is possible to access Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service through drop-in centres within Glasgow Libraries. 

Information leaflets and books available for reference.

Today, I met with staff developing services across the city including a drop-in at the Mitchell Library and Hillhead Library. 

For further information about services, please call the Macmillan Support Service free on 0808 808 00 00.

Useful Link:-

Macmillan Cancer Support at Glasgow Libraries -

For information leaflets available online -

Scul?tor Exhibition at the Mitchell Library

Today, I explored the retrospective exhibition of the unique works of George Wyllie MBE.  It was a joy to look round his birds, boats, animals, bikes, drawings and writings. This is an amazing collection not to be missed.

One of the highlights is the reuse of scrap metal and harris tweed. The development of his projects is described in the detailed displays and film footage.

Useful Links:

George Wyllie Retrospective -

George Wyllie Official Website -

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Competition to redevelop George Square

There are designs completed by six short-listed companies taking part in the international competition to redevelop George Square.  

Each design has a title and these range from:-
"Honouring the past, embracing the future"
"George Square - the urban salon"
"A mirror in the depth of flowery shelves"
"Walk through the past into the future"
"Glasgow's New Front Room"
"George Square Glasgow"  

These designs are going on display to the public from 9 January to 5th February 2013 at The Lighthouse, Mitchell Lane, Glasgow.  

Please note the Lighthouse is open from 10.30 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday and from 12 noon to 5 pm on Sundays. 

It is expected that a judging panel will take the decision on the selected design and the announcement of the winner will be made on 18th January.   

Please let me know your comments about the six designs.

Useful Link:

Six shortlisted designs available online -

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Plans need to safeguard Sighthill Stone Circle

In recent months, concerns have been raised about the fate of the Astronomically Aligned Sighthill Stone Circle. This has arisen due to the plans for the redevelopment of Sighthill as part of the bid for Youth Olympics in 2018. 

 View of the Sighthill Stone Circle looking West.

These unique standing stones should be supported as significant features within the design for the new residential development and community facilities. Such stones are an educational resource and a major attraction for the Olympic Village and subsequent development. The stones provide a special environment for panoramic views across Glasgow.

  View of the Sighthill Stone Circle looking East.

These stones were created in 1978-79 by a council-led training project and they are the first astronomically aligned stone circle for at least 3,500 years, in Scotland. They are located in Sighthill Park which was the site of a chemical factory. To enable the Sighthill Stone Circle to receive planning approval, the contractors had to test the site thoroughly for chemical contamination in 1978 and there was none found.  

Useful Link:

Friends of Sighthill Stone Circle -

Friday, 4 January 2013

Protect North Kelvin Meadow and Children's Wood

There are plans to erect a residential development on the site bounded by Kelbourne Street, Sanda Street and Clouston Street. I have submitted an objection on the basis that this is contrary to environmental policies of the City Plan. 

This land is open space and it has never been built upon. It should be recognised that this is community greenspace owned by the Glasgow City Council and consists of protected grassland and 480 trees within the Glasgow West Conservation Area.

The site is accessed via a Right of Way and this is not retained by the plans. Under policy ENV10 Access Routes and Core Path Network, the Right of Way has to be preserved as part of the city's support for access to walking, cycling and physical activity.

It is a site providing a valuable wildlife habitat and is part of the green network corridor between the River Kelvin and Dawsholm Park, the Canal and Ruchill Park. It is the home to a range of birdlife, foxes and bats. There is a wooded area within the site which is protected by policy ENV8 Trees, Woodlands and Hedgerows. It is of significant ecological, recreational, historical, shelter and landscape importance.

The plans are also in conflict with the Council's Strategy for Outdoor Learning. Currently, the land is used for educational activities for children and a forest school has been established in partnership with four local schools.

The whole site is within the Glasgow West Conservation area and the proposed development does not fit with the area's architectural heritage due to its layout and the block structure of the housing. The development includes 2.5 storey Mews Houses which are not in keeping with the design of the local neighbourhood and are not sympathetic to the streetscape characteristics of the area.


Campaigners are gathering signatures for a petition and continue to seek support to protect  the Woodland and Meadow.

Useful link:

North Kelvin Meadow -

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Stargazing Live Discovery Night

On Wednesday 9th January 2013, from 4.30-9pm visit the Kibble Palace in Botanic Gardens and Oran Mor Auditorium in Glasgow to discover the incredible wonders in the night sky.

FREE Activities for all the family including mini rocket building, stargazing with the experts, satellite demos, planetarium, and much more.

All events are subject to change or cancellation without prior notice.

Useful link:

Stargazing Live -

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Hillsborough Tribute Song

I was very glad that the Justice Collective made it to No. 1 on the Christmas Single Chart with their tribute Hillsborough song, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother".

During 2012, I read "Hillsborough: The Truth" by Phil Scraton and wrote a book review for Greenprint, a publication of the Scottish Green Party.

This is a compelling account of the horrific tragedy of 15 April 1989 when football fans attended FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest at Hillsborough Stadium. It is English football's worst disaster which left 96 men, women, and children dead, hundreds injured, and thousands traumatized. There is an unfolding of the story of what happened in a matter of fact way that keeps you engrossed and engaged in the lives of the people affected. Phil Scarton has brought together the harrowing experiences of the disaster and shared the personal stories of the bereaved and the survivors which exposes their appalling treatment. Police statements initially alleging hooliganism and blamed Liverpool fans who were drunk and ticketless for the crush within the arena is detailed along with the national media response.

The Taylor Inquiry conducted in the immediate aftermath found the main reason for the disaster to be failure of police control and dismissed "hooliganism" as playing any part in the Hillsborough Disaster. However, there were contradictions exposed about this Inquiry including South Yorkshire police acceptance of liability in negligence, and the controversial inquest system which returned verdicts of accidental death when negligence had been clearly established.

This book highlights problems of the emergency response with only 14 of the 96 who died making it to hospital. Medical evidence is presented with reference to an anaethetist who treated the first emergency admissions. He treated at least nine admissions, some of which recovered from asphyxiation. Once consciousness was lost, it was not inevitable that death quickly followed. One of the survivors was unconscious for more than 24 hours. It is explained that if more had been done to rescue and resuscitate the dying earlier, with more efficency, then fewer people would have died.

The process by which a systematic review and alteration of police statements by South Yorkshire police managers and their solicitors is detailed. It makes it clear that South Yorkshire police resources were used to limit criticism of senior officers at the match.

I would recommend this read as it is very informative about the tragic events associated with the Hillsborough Disaster and provides deeper understanding of the 23 year campaign for justice for the Hillsborough 96.

Recycling Festive Trees

Today, I found my first Festive Tree dumped on a pavement. I hope I don't find too many more!

Dumped tree on Otago Street.

Real Festive Trees are being recycling by Glasgow City Council over the next two weeks. Please take any real trees to the designated sites for recycling. This includes Kelvingrove Park next to the bandstand.

Useful link:

Recycling Xmas Trees and Cards -