Tuesday, 30 September 2008

X Factor laughs

I know I SHOULD be a fan of the MacDonald Bros "because they're Scottish" but I just can't do it. And today I laughed out loud when I read that they're going for the world record for the band that's played the most in store gigs. That's something to be proud of is it? To have played more Asdas than the Killers and more HMV stores than Travis? Hmmmm. It's like a political party claiming they've saved more deposits than anyone else.

Friday, 26 September 2008

No resting on our laurels

Not been blogging much this week and now I'm off to Glenrothes for a well earned holiday - ha ha ha - sorry, I meant to say, for a weekend of campaigning! Looks like we have a date, 6 November. I have to say, if the Labour Party spin doctors thought their "oh so transparent" attempts to derail our campaign by putting out all these "poor us, we've already lost it", "oh look we're the underdogs now - it's safe to vote for us please please please" lines to the press, would succeed (you know, let us think we've won and we'll all become complacent) .... they were wrong! Bear in mind the Glaswegian contingent is nearly two hours away from the scene of the latest battle. PLUS we've been in constant by election mode since the end of June what with the Glasgow East Campaign (big smiles) and then the subsequent Glasgow Baillieston council campaign (more big smiles) and we're all absolutely exhausted. Then you factor in the fact that a bus load of us went up last Saturday just two days after collapsing in heaps when we won the Baillieston by election.

And still ... there are 10 of us heading up now to spend the whole weekend there (whose idea was this?) and ANOTHER FULL BUS LOAD on SATURDAY. I'd say there are no nationalists left who understand the meaning of the word complacency. Nope we're on a roll and we're on fire and determined to earn every single vote we can from the good folk of Fife. So, with that in mind I better go or I'll miss the bus.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Glasgow to Glenrothes

Here are the intrepid Glasgow SNP team first thing on Saturday morning about to leave for Glenrothes. Having won our second by-election in Glasgow this year we are now free to travel the land we are planning to free :-) So, a day trip to Markinch was in order and that's exactly what we did. And boy did they work us hard but it was worth it and we're all looking forward to going back next week.

Another SNP win

We won!!! Fantastic news, the SNP has won the Baillieston council by-election. Congratulations to Councillor David Turner!

2 down, 1 to go .... roll on Glenrothes.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Appearances can be so deceptive

Had the dubious experience of meeting some folk from the BNP tonight. When I say "meeting" I didn't actually speak to them, they were in the playground of the polling place I was standing outside. What struck me about them, as they were ejected from the building for breaking the rules, was that they appeared to be almost "normal". And they said goodbye to each of us. I felt a bit rude not replying. I don't like to "shun" any human being and it makes it harder when they clearly don't think they're doing anything wrong. The fact that they politely acknowledged us as if we were all "in the same game" said to me that they think they are as legitimate as any mainstream political party.

As I said I don't like to shun anyone but everything they stand for repulses me and I cannot recognise them as anything other than a racist organisation. Acknowledging them politely in the school playground as if their views don't matter, or are somehow part-time and / or irrelevant would have made me feel like a coward. Hopefully THEIR cowardly policies will be roundly rejected by the people of Baillieston tonight.

The waiting game

I'm home now. It's been a long day. A stressful day. A wet day. And now all we can do is wait. Wait to discover if we've won the Baillieston by-election that is. It will be close, it was always going to be a near thing and I have no feeling for how it will turn out. Scary. Will update later ...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

This Charming Woman

I was out in Baillieston tonight delivering letters up to the 11th hour - or 9pm to be precise. Anyway I was with the child who is trying to adopt me and when we came across some Tory leafletters he asked them for a copy of their leaflet. When I read what the Tory candidate had to say, I'm afraid I felt compelled to go back and question him.

Apparently this Conservative council candidate pledges, if elected, to:

"cut council tax for everyone by £150 a year".

So I asked him how he was going to do that by getting elected to Glasgow City Council. "It's our party policy" he replied. "Yes but how exactly is electing YOU going to bring about that policy?" I continued. "It's party policy" he repeats - imaginatively I thought! "It's misleading" I tell him "seeing as you'd have to be in power to do it and it's the kind of thing that stops people trusting politicians". "Well if you don't like it complain" is his helpful response.

I might just do that. I had to laugh when, as I walked away, I heard him say "usual charming SNP". It's not my job to be charming to people I believe to be disingenuous, in fact it's my (self appointed) role to give them a good telling off about it as he discovered tonight :-)

To be serious, I could have done without speaking to this guy tonight but I hate people trying to con the voters and seeing as politics is not a hobby to me but something far more important, I'm not going to be polite and tut tut quietly to myself when I can tell the main culprit what I think of him!

EVEN Joyce has had enough!

No sooner had I called David Cairns Labour's biggest apologist in yesterday's blog, when a rival for that title was rumoured to be quitting the government too. Step forward Major Eric Joyce, described by one newspaper as "super loyal". Yes that's one way of putting it. Weasel is another. Watching the Labour Government is like watching a deck of cards fall down. Gordon Brown in his written response to David (LAPDOG) Cairns yesterday said it was a time to be looking at the global economy, not internal wrangling. I agree but unfortunately it doesn't look like the internal wrangling is going to go away. So if we want the British Government to concentrate on the effect the world's economic problems are having on us, he is going to have to stop all the internal stuff by resigning. My money's on him going 5 days after the end of Labour's conference.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

It's all over bar the shouting Gordon Brown!

We knew at the weekend when we heard a government whip had called for a leadership election, that things were looking bleak for Gordon Brown. And now the rumour mill is awash with stories about David Cairns, Minister of State for the Scotland Office or government LAPDOG to give him a more accurate title:

P(ar Excellence)

D(avid Cairns MP)

apparently ready to quit. Well, when David Cairns, defender of what he knows is indefensible, has had enough, you know it's all over bar the shouting for Gordon. It's a personal blow (I refuse to call a demotion in career a tragedy) for Mr Brown but how many times has he been warned? And how many times has he decided that he knows better than everyone else. A little humility goes a long way in life - and in politics in particular.

Monday, 15 September 2008

That was the day that was ...

Quick look at today's news:

* East Dunbartonshire woman has admitted claiming benefits for 14 children she didn't have. The very kind of person who causes problems for the vast majority of decent law abiding benefit claimants - but how stupid is the Benefits Agency? Don't you have to prove you have these children?

* Lehman Brothers the 4th largest investment bank in the USA files for bankruptcy. Shocking news and I think the world will be holding its breath to see what the effect will be to an already fragile global economy. And given our own financial sector in Scotland generates around £7 billion per annum and employs 200,000, how will Scotland fare?

* In Zimbabwe, the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai has signed a power-sharing deal with the President Robert Mugabe. The world will be watching, again with baited breath, to see if it actually works but let's all pray / keep our fingers crossed that it does. Zimbabwe has suffered enough.

Anyway that's my newsround for the day. Too tired to blog in detail but too much going on to say nothing at all.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Tavish - what a Tumshy!

It's a blogging frenzy this weekend. Well, I decided to take a day off today and do things like wash some clothes, do some shopping, phone family members, empty the rubbish, watch the repeat of the X Factor (!) etc etc and because I was at home doing all these things I've been able to update the blog. I've devoted a fair bit of it to the new Leader of Scottish Labour (MSPs only) but I can't end the weekend without saying what I think of the new Leader of the Lib Dems in Scotland.

Step forward Mr Tavish Scott or as my dad would have called him after his ridiculous tax calls this weekend, Mr Tumshy Scott. What an eejit. He wants the Scottish Government to cut income tax by 2% as a matter of urgency! That'll be tomorrow then. Oh what a great idea. I mean it was such a generous "settlement" Westminster "gave" us this year and our public services are just awash with cash - in danger of drowning in it all I'd say.

So really, I can't think of any reason for Alex Salmond to get to work on Monday morning and do as Tavish suggests. Can you?

Dennistoun drama

This was the scene on my street this afternoon. When I said in the last post that I was washing some clothes today, I forgot to add "until the washing machine stopped". Apparently the sub-station blew up this afternoon. Well, I say "blew up" but that's perhaps an exaggeration from my mate David whose house is shielded in this photo by the trees. In any case, the firefighters had the street cordoned off and we had no power for an hour or so. Something that was not quite as annoying to me as it once would have been. Anyone who read my Sri Lankan blog will understand why it was merely a minor inconvenience today! And let's face it, I am never likely to complain when my street's filled with firemen!

Communists, capitalists and millionaire magicians

Am I a closet communist? If it's hereditary then it's entirely possible seeing as my Granda McLaughlin was blacklisted many moons ago for being one. I realise I'm simplifying the capitalist / communist argument but indulge me for a moment. I watched TV today, it's a novel but not terribly satisfying experience these days. So whilst watching I saw an ad with Paul Daniels promoting a Tesco website that compares car insurance prices.

Now I try to put my loathing of PD aside (the only good thing to come from him was the immortal line from Mrs Merton to the lovely Debbie D when she asked: "so, Debbie, tell me, what was it that attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"!)

Anyway, the communist in me. Tesco is putting a lot of money into an ad campaign to promote its new website which is directly competing with other smaller websites and I'm sitting there thinking "why?". It's not like Tesco doesn't have enough money, it made £2.8 billion in profits last year. And it's not like there aren't plenty of other websites doing EXACTLY the same thing. This Tesco website will only be successful if it takes business away from the smaller websites which it's likely to do given that they can afford "the millionaire Paul Daniels" to promote it. And if they take business away from the smaller websites, people will lose their jobs and smaller companies lose money. Again, Tesco doesn't need the money so why do it? Is it just about crushing the competition?

Those were the thoughts going through my head and I realised I'm really not into the capitalist way of thinking am I? And I don't think I'd be a terribly good business person if I kept feeling sorry for my competitors. So whilst I may not be a communist at heart either, I think I'm probably best sticking to the honourable profession that politics should be and for many of us, still is - a profession that's about creating a better world for all of us to live in rather than one that's just about making as much hard cash as possible, regardless of who gets hurt.

destiNation Independence

I've always fancied writing for a living and thanks to the Glasgow East by-election I've been "commissioned" to write a number of articles. (I say "commissioned", I really mean "telt" - no cash exchanged hands, this is the SNP!) One appears on the front page of Liberate, the newspaper of the student wing of the SNP, the Federation of Student Nationalists. You'll have to go to a Fresher's Fayre to get a copy although I understand some are enclosed with copies of this month's Scots Independent.

The other appears on the excellent pro Independence website destiNation edited by the whirlwind that is Julie Hepburn. You can read it here along with many other excellent articles.

Name your country Iain Gray

Watching the Politics Show and Iain Gray, the new leader of the Labour Party (MSPs only) in Scotland, has just defined his role as it fits with the role of Gordon Brown. Iain Gray is the leader of Scottish Labour (MSPs only) whilst Gordon Brown is the leader of:

"The whole country"!

The whole country I'm guessing is the UK so that'll make Scotland a region of that whole country then? Glad the new Labour leader has cleared that one up for us!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

How many comeback tours can one blogger have?

Ah it's been a while. How have you been? I've been fine, just not had time to breathe far less blog recently so apologies for that particularly to the 50 folk who are still checking every day. Hopefully the others will come back soon. Anyway thanks for sticking with me.

To be honest I've been a bit bored with politics recently except for the odd thing that's interested me including Nicola Sturgeon's decision to stop car park charges at Scotland's hospitals. Her statement about it interested me as much as the decision itself. She said something like "people visiting hospital have enough stress to be contending with without having to find money for car parking".

That's what I like about Nicola, she understands ordinary people and how stressful their lives can be - very different to some politicians who've become very far removed from the rest of us. I had to laugh at all the Labour politicians jumping up and down claiming they'd beaten the SNP government into submission over this one. They were the ones who allowed it to happen in the first place. Laugh? I nearly split my sides open.

Anyway so that and one or two other things aside, I have been a bit bored with politics. It may be because it seems to have taken over my life again. I'm working for two MSPs during the day and by-election at night and weekends. I love all of it but just wish there was a bit less of it. However needs must.

And at last, something has arrived to arouse my interest in blogging again. To find out what, read on ....

Iain Gray is the new Labour Leader - haud me back!

So what is it that's kickstarted my interest? Why the Labour Leadership contest of course. How I celebrated when I heard Iain Gray had won. Not that I saw either of the other two as much of a threat but certainly if I'd had a vote I'd have gone for Iain Gray as the one least likely to be a match for Salmond. (And the one rated by only 3% of respondents to be the best leader for Scotland. Iain Gray 3%: Alex Salmond 41%.)

Of course I didn't have a vote because I'm a member of the SNP. Oops, what am I saying? It's not just Labour members who got to vote in this, there were many more eligible to vote including THREE SNP MSPs!!!

Interesting to note the new Leader's acceptance speech, much of which was devoted to the SNP and in particular Alex Salmond. They're obsessed! But apart from that, it was hilarious to hear Iain Gray try to portray Salmond as one of the privileged elite to his internationalist working class hero act. Yeah right. Nice try Iain but nobody's falling for that one. Next ... !

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Go Andy Murray!

I'm amazed that Andy Murray is through to the final of the US Open. I must confess I judged him harshly when his wrist was always hurting or his head was sore or some other major health worry stopped him winning his game. I did say, for all you Murray obsessives, that I was too harsh and I think I probably was. Whatever happens tonight he's played spectacularly well to beat Nadal and you can only do that with focus and determination and sheer hard work. So fingers crossed he beats Federer but even if he doesn't, he's done not bad!