Friday, 16 April 2010

Leaders Debate

I don't think that this event was ever going to live up to the media hype that preceded it, and in the end it was something of a disappointment.

Many, myself included were looking for a clear and decisive winner, but it simply didn’t happen. The event also failed to deliver the kind of political ‘cut and thrust’ of PMQ’s that many members of the public might have expected.

The format was so rigidly restricted that it effectively stifled spontaneity and the debate limped along at a pedestrian pace that made for very dull television, even for the most dedicated political anoraks.

This debate did very little to change the perception of many that there is not much to choose between the parties, and the amount of time spent on issues that were devolved to Scotland, and therefore irrelevant to us only made things worse.

Gordon Brown was predictably clumsy at times, and his ‘witty asides’ to Cameron were clearly well rehearsed and thrown in at the first available opportunity.

Having heard David Cameron address a relatively hostile audience once before, I’m surprised that he didn’t come across better than he did.

Of the three participants, I’d have to say that Nick Clegg came across as fairly open and sincere, and the polls seem to agree with this.

For all the great sense of anticipation, the idea that history was in the making and that whoever won the debate would win the election, this debate failed to engage with the audience, and more will have changed channels, than were persuaded to change their voting intention.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Alex Salmond & The Crazies

Hats off to the photographer who got this gem.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Threatening Behaviour II

A while ago I posted on an incident at my home. You can read about it here.

The incident, where some character came to my house and effectively threatened me over the intercom, did not bother me for my own sake, but I was concerned that an individual might behave this way towards my fiancee if she was staying at my house and I wasn't there. It is worth noting that not only did the 'man' concerned decline to be named in his original letter to the press, he declined to name himself over the intercom, and indeed effectively ran away.

Now technically, there is little to connect the letter in the press with the incident at my home. The only way that it could be proved if the person actually admitted that it was him.

Now, nobody would be that stupid surely? Au contraire. Helpfully, the fellow concerned wrote another letter to the press condemning me for living behind a high wall with electric gates. I understand that the letter pointed out that I should be aware that 'anyone can get to me'.

The local paper passed the letter to the police, who now intend to charge him with breach of the peace when he next enters the country.

There are times when you really couldn't make things up, and this is one of those times. I'll say again what I said in the paper, everyone is entitled to a view, but when an individual chooses to expound views that are arguably narrow minded or verging on the offensive, then they should not be allowed to voice such views in the paper whilst cowering behind the shield of anonymity.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Shakespeare in Govt Consultation

The Scottish Govt has really got into the way of dishing out consultations. Personally, I think it's a good thing, although some weighty tomes have sallied forth from the ivory towers recently.

As is my wont, I do tend to take an interest in these things, although they can make for rather dull reading. I was a tad surprised, when reading the 'Consultation Paper on Long Leases (Scotland) Bill' (I need to get out more I think) to see a quote from Shakespeare thrown in at the end.

Just under the heading 'Chapter 8 - Conclusion' someone wag has put "Parting is such sweet sorrow. Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet." I can't help but wonder if the Civil Servant responsible takes his or her audience for being profoundly ill read and felt obliged to state the source of the quote.

I also can't help but wonder if someone will get their backside metaphorically kicked over this. Not for putting a literary quote in a consultation paper, but given the nature of the Scottish Government, for using Shakespeare instead of Burns...........

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Statement By Anne Moffat..............

This statement has just been released by Anne Moffat.  I wonder how long it will take the First Minister to slip any of this into his response at FMQ's?

I am deeply saddened that my service to East Lothian Constituency has come to an end in such distressing and appalling circumstances.
Firstly, may I say that it has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve this constituency and to be in a position to know that through my work and the work of my office team we have been able to help so many individuals who have sought assistance.
Regrettably, the manner in which I have been treated by so called comrades and labour party activists leaves me with a sense of disbelief that such conduct is prevalent in a democratic socialist party.

I want to take this opportunity to publicly put on record my absolute conviction that I have been the victim of systematic and sustained bullying at all levels of the Labour Party. I have never been asked to provide any evidence of this behaviour but I can assure everyone that I have never claimed anything which I could not evidence and substantiate. A bullying culture exists at all levels within the Labour Party. By simple example on Tuesday morning the NEC endorsed the decision taken to remove me as candidate. Immediately the NEC position was declared, I was contacted by representatives of the media to ask for my comments on the decision.
Unbelievably, at the time of this press release I have yet to be formally notified of the NEC decision.
The meeting last Friday was shameful to the Labour movement. The contributions of individuals during the meeting were vicious and slanderous.

Sadly there are no politics left within East Lothian Labour Party, only personal spites and divisions. I wish Iain Gray had the strength to unite the Party but I doubt it. My sympathy lies with the voters of East Lothian who now have only two choices….. a bitter and divided Labour Party or the Tories?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Edinburgh Trams - The Debacle Continues

I drive in Edinburgh a lot, and like everyone else, I'm fed up with the tram works.  Today Edinburgh Trams Board issued this press release:

Edinburgh Trams Board Updates City on negotiations

This update follows a meeting of the Edinburgh Trams Board today.

The Board noted formally its profound disappointment with the lack of progress by the consortium (with the exclusion of CAF the contractor responsible for the manufacture and delivery of the vehicles) against the expected progress.

The Board also expressed deep concern that the latest revised programme provided by the contractor Bilfinger Berger proposes an additional delay to the original programme which would extend this by a further 30 months from now to a completion date of January 2014. This was deemed to be entirely unacceptable by the Board, as was an unqualified increase in cost.

At the meeting, the Board reviewed options in order to achieve the delivery of the trams. The Chairman acknowledged the frustration being experienced by the many stakeholders across the City:

“My concerns and those of my fellow directors are for the people of Edinburgh who have continued to suffer from these seemingly endless delays. I am genuinely not in a position to talk in detail about the confidential aspects of today’s meeting – this is for reasons of commercial sense. However I can say that today we have been presented with a series of options by the management team. We have had a full and constructive discussion around these options and have a clear sense of what we need to do to achieve the best possible outcome. We have also been reassured that the basis on which we intend to move forward is fully justified and that the enhanced rigour requested by the Board earlier this year has been followed to the letter.

At the meeting the Board reviewed our legal and commercial advice and the findings from a set of specially commissioned audits on the consortium’s progress. The meeting addressed the key issues in detail and concluded with an instruction to the management team to continue to apply rigorously the legal terms of the contract to the contractor including and taking into account fully their actions to date. While the board will continue to seek a reasonable negotiated outcome to all matters in dispute, the clients’ rights will be strenuously safeguarded.

Our stakeholders are entirely unified in the resolution to apply the full terms of the contract.

“As soon as there is more to say publicly, we will provide that information. Our priority, and that of our partners, remains the delivery of a 21st Century integrated public transport system, that represents good value and which Scotland’s Capital City deserves. This we will do.”

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Leaders Debate

The SNP have threatened to review their broadcasting policy after it was announced that Alex Salmond would not be taking part in the General Election leaders debates.

Who cares?