29 November 2010

Literary Device Death Reports "Greatly Exaggerated"

Last week   I spoke to carers in South Queensferry on Wednesday night. A very well informed audience the certainly asked searching questions.

On Thursday I  did the media launch for our winter crime crackdown. Each year we  put investment into  beefing up the police and community safety presence in the city centre. Edinburgh's night time economy enjoys a £12 million boost from our winter  festivals and we want  revellers to enjoy the party season safely. To that end we put in extra services to try to keep disorder  down to a minimum. Over the years it has proved very effective with crime at this time of year falling each year I have been in power.

In my last post I mentioned the referee strike in Scotland and the  spectre of sectarianism. The Refs inspector Hugh Dallas, a man who has enjoyed his share of controversy over the years, resigned over allegation of a sectarian joke being send from his e-mail account. In the middle of this sectarian strife the Scottish Football Association handled the refs strike by drafting refs in from ....er... Israel. And they said irony died when they gave Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize!  

22 November 2010

SNP Drop the Ball as Scottish Refs Vote to Strike

It has been a long time between postings; I have been very busy.

Most surreal story and one which seems to have slipped most peoples eye has been the erosion of the Scottish Parliaments  hard won tax varying powers as  described in the BBC report below...

This is a Parliament led by the Nationalists who have hissy fits about which way up you hang the flag but when it comes down to real issues of autonomy  the Nats have let  their subs lapse as if it were a membership of a golf club. Come on guys you're supposed to be running a country.

A close second in terms of surrealism is the referees strike being planned for Saturday. 

Tired of repeated abuse being directed their way our Men in Black (they are all at present men)  have decided to down whistles and flex their industrial muscle. Football is very big business and the players and owners generally do very very well out of it considering what they do (it isn't developing life saving medicine or anything).  The worst paid on the pitch are the refs and the players treat them appallingly. The refs usually do not complain and get on with it. In Scotland  the spectre of religious intolerance is never far away and  refs perceived allegiances are always the subject of debate and innuendo. This is adds an unhealthy dimension. This week when the criticism from the Clubs went too far the refs decided to  go out on strike.   

Who can blame them. It is a difficult job  when  decisions, which rely on a few inches and split seconds, have to be taken and you are then audited against TV play backs. In rugby  refs are given due respect and the idea that any of them would be subjected to what a footie ref gets would be anathema to all.

This is not the most surreal industrial dispute I have heard of. I do recall in the militant early 70's one of my brothers leading an altar boys strike. But that is a different story!

7 November 2010

Success for No Knives Campaign

I was delighted to read of the success of the "No Knives Better Lives" campaign in Inverclyde which has shown a 35% drop in knife related crime in the area.


We rolled out the Edinburgh version of this campaign a couple of months back and I have high hopes of replicating the success of the Inverclyde campaign.

6 November 2010

National Prize for Local Health Journalist

Congratulations to Adam Morris of the Edinburgh Evening News who has scooped the prestigious "Regional Health Feature of the Year" title from the Guild of Health Writers at a ceremony in London this week. 

Well deserved and well done!

5 November 2010

Elwyn Watkins Statement

Following today’s ruling in Oldham East and Saddleworth, which found former Labour immigration minister and current shadow immigration minister Phil Woolas guilty of knowingly making false statements during the 2010 general election campaign, Elwyn Watkins said:

This verdict is a historic victory for the people of Oldham East and Saddleworth, a victory for fair play and a victory for clean politics.

Anyone who knowingly lies to the voters or looks to set constituent against constituent has no place in a democracy.

I hope this judgment makes it very clear that if you deceive your constituents you should be kicked out of Parliament.

Elwyn Watkins

How women lead

Here is a really interesting piece from the BBC News website regarding South and Central Americas increasing tendency to choose female leaders.

I have thought for some time that there would be an really interesting book to be written on the topic of  Heads of Government who are women. We have had reams written about male power and personality and the way we exercise it.  I wonder if the first generation of women leaders in political office had personality traits in common in order to get to the top?  Did these differ from their male rivals or their less successful female rivals? Thatcher was always accused of pulling the ladder up behind her in that she had no women in her cabinet; did other women leaders behave like this? In states where they have had a sequence of women leaders have the successors been markedly different in style?

If any reader knows of such a work I am all ears. Also I would be really interested in your opinions on this topic. 


4 November 2010

New Anti Social Behaviour Strategy Launched

Yesterday I helped launch our new antisocial behaviour strategy. The Edinburgh  Community Safety Partnership of which I am convener has made a major impact in handling antisocial behaviour. Incidence of vandalism are down by 14% in the last year and reports of anti social behaviour down by 27% over the last five years.

The new strategy  involves  even closer working with the Police  through our Safer Neighborhood Teams and also allows antisocial behaviour to be reported on line at the Council website. 

The event  was based around an informal bonfire  which had gone too high to be safe. The community safety teams were removing some of the fuel for the fire but were allowing it to go ahead as long as it was less than 1.8 meters high.

To hear my interview  with Deadline Scotland click on the link below.


3 November 2010

Come Dine with Me at the Tower

Lunch time saw me at the Tower Care Home in the Murrayfield part of my ward. The event was a care home version of "Come Dine with Me". Three Care Homes  The Tower, Clermiston and Clovenstone were taking a leaf out of the TV shows book and  a couple of residents from each of the homes were hosting the dinner parties. First up was the Tower and I was invited along to help get the ball rolling. 

The imagination of our staff at our care homes never ceases to amaze me for example one care  home organised a Tennis tournament during Wimbledon using their Wii.

The Tower rolled out the red carpet for their guests and I give them 10 out of 10 for the whole event  especially the company. The ladies and gentlemen really went to town and  the staff at the home deserve full praise for the concept and the organisation of the event.