Tuesday, 30 September 2008


***update - thanks to Patrick (on the left of the pic) for this photo***

Well, I had hoped to supply you with an exciting 'action shot' of me campaigning in Glenrothes at the weekend, but my other half forgot the camera...

Anyway, a group of ten of us made the journey through to Glenrothes for an extended weekend of by-election campaigning. We had a good laugh, and we ploughed our way through the campaign work. This was the first time I had ever been to the area, but everyone was very friendly. Plus, with Glenrothes itself a New Town, parts of it had a familiar feel to Cumbernauld. The place I was canvassing on Saturday resembled Eastfield in Cumbernauld.

Anyway, my absence from blogging has been mainly down to the fact that we still have no internet access at home. BT and Virgin don't seem to want our money, and I don't want to give any money to Sky! So, we are stuck at the moment.

I was out and about last week too, at the Scottish Learning Festival - a massive education festival in Glasgow. I was there with work, and boy it was hard work. I'm a talker, but even I get exhausted speaking to people non-stop for hours on end!

Last week we also had the bad news that Post Office Ltd has decided to close the 5 Post Offices across our constituency that they had previously marked for closure and consultation. Seems to me that the consultation process was pretty futile. The local communities involved submitted excellent cases for the retention of these Post Offices and highlighted the devastating impact closure would have on local residents - particularly older and disabled residents. I'm still campaigning to help ensure that at least some level of service is maintained in the affected areas, as some people really will be stuck without the local Post Office.

OK- I'm on my lunch break, so I can't go on much longer. These are strange times, with all the financial turmoil across the world. I'm not really qualified to comment on the ins and outs of it all, but I have a question to consider for the day. We are constantly told by Governments across the world that there is no more money for state pensions, poverty alleviation or to help developing countries where children are dying from preventable diseases, yet when the banks are in trouble, billions can be 'found' at the drop of a hat. Yet more proof that we could solve the problems facing the world, and all that is standing in the way is a lack of political will?

Right, I'm off for a salad to compensate for all the unhealthy food I ate at the weekend.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


The latest issue of destiNation has been published, and can be viewed by clicking here.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Update and a recommendation

Opportunities to blog have been thin on the ground since we moved at the end of July. We STILL have no internet access at home. Apparently, nobody wants to take our money until they 'spot' us on their systems. The fact that we have done that part for them, by actually telling them where we are, makes no difference it seems.

Anyway, most of my time of late has been consumed by the campaigns to save our local Post Offices (which you cannot have failed to notice in previous posts), but I have also been coordinating the next issue of destiNation - which should be published by the weekend (fingers crossed) - and I have been distracted by things like hanging curtains and pictures and telling everyone in officialdom about our change of address. I've also been organising what I like to call a 'campaigning holiday' to Glenrothes.

We are settling in well to our new home in Cumbernauld, and it's no surprise to me that it is one of the happiest places to live in the UK. I must remember to tell my parents this, in my ongoing quest to get them to move to the area!

This is a bit of a lunchtime ramble, so I feel I should also impart some useful or interesting information to make this visit worth your while. If you are looking for a good book to read, I recently finished an excellent book on the Rwandan genocide. Yes, it is incredibly depressing and upsetting, but it's something we all have a duty to learn about. It's called 'We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families', by Philip Gourevitch. Line up something cheerful to read immediately afterwards though.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Rhetoric we can believe in

No, I've not been in Stockholm all this time. Back home on 25 August, but to bad news. My nana was dying. So, it's been a sad time and I haven't really felt like blogging.

Plus, I had 5 submissions to write for the consultation on the proposed closure of Post Offices across Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East. (Got them up on my campaign website for anyone who is interested.) Hopefully those in charge of this process will see the value of these Post Offices to the communities they serve, and give them a reprieve. We can but try.

I've also been trying to follow political events in the US. I watched the Barack Obama speech, and I was impressed to an extent. He is evidently a very intelligent and considered man, and charismatic with it. His speech, while very polished and principled, did lack a lot of substance. He is also nowhere near as radical as he needs to be to solve the endemic problems, particularly of the poor, in America. But then, how can he be? He is so constrained by the political culture in which he operates - a political system dominated by the cult of personality, money and religion.

There are so many vested interests that he has to pay cognisance of too. While it is painfully obvious (to me at least) that the US needs an NHS, how can any politician in that country get away with abolishing the current system entirely? The insurance companies have their ways of protecting their position.

Another problem with the US political system (crikey, I'm on a roll today), is the concept of the 'American dream'. The idea that everyone has the chance to 'rise up', to 'make it'. Yes, social mobility is fantastic. Opportunity is fantastic. But the problem with that idea, that system, is that not everyone can 'make it'. Under the capitalist system, there will always be some people at the top of the tree - with the flash careers and wads of cash - and others who are required to do the low paid work that is the foundation of the 'success' of others. Literally, people are being sold a dream. But that means that, even if the system is working perfectly according to supporters of the 'American dream' system, there will always be those who are left struggling. Surely, it makes more sense to be aspiring to a society where everyone can be successful, and no one feels like a second-class citizen?

But this is not Barack Obama's fault, and I think he represents the best hope for the future of the US. For surely incremental change is better than none at all?