Thursday, 29 July 2010

Five Days in May

There will be an interesting programme on this evening at 9pm on BBC1 looking at the behind-the-scenes discussions that led up to the formation of the coalition government.

The little snippets on the news this morning show a very human side to David Cameron, with him expressing his doubts about whether he would become PM or not.

There was quite a funny line when Gordon Brown resigned without warning and David Cameron said to his wife samantha "We might be going to see the Queen, get your frock on...!!"

I suspect there will be a few interesting Lib Dem stories to come out as well. Looking forward to it......

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Strawberry Tea at Corsiehill

Perth & North Perthshire Liberal Democrats had a very successful Strawberry Tea today at the home of PKC Councillor Peter Barrett and his wife Liz. As in previous years, Peter & Liz laid on the weather as well, we had a really good turn-out of people from right across the Mid Scotland & Fife region, and it was the perfect opportunity for people to find out what old friends have been up to.
Well done to all who contributed to a great occasion.

We had to queue to get in...!!

Having a chat

Enjoying the sun

In the shade.......

Willie Wilson doing the rounds for the raffle

A raffle at a Lib Dems gathering.....surely not!!

Jane Kerr draws a ticket......

Double act

Willie Wilson and Peter Barrett

Taking in the raffle......

James Taylor and Jim Tolson MSP


Well done to Peter Barrett and Liz and everyone who made this occasion a big success.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Farewell to Keith & Mary Pitkin

Liberal Democrats in Perth today had a farewell get together for Keith & Mary Pitkin, who are going back home to settle in Watford. Keith and Mary have lived in and around Perth for 12 years, and Keith in particular has been a real dynamo in delivering literature for the local party and helping orchestrate election campaigns. His dedication, energy and organization have just been truly amazing, and he will be badly missed by all of us, for his skills and his companionship. All of us in Perth wish the very best to Keith and Mary, who is taking up a new job, and to their newly arrived grandson William whom they will now be a lot closer to along with their wider family circle.

Zoom out.........

Perth today

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Strawberry Tea at Corsiehill

Preparations are well under way for the Summer Garden Party at Liz & Peter Barrett’s house in Perth on Sunday afternoon, 2.00 to 4.30pm, to catch up with friends and colleagues from all across the Mid Scotland and Fife region. After a welcome glass of fizz and bowl of Perthshire strawberries, Liz will serve her fabulous afternoon tea with homemade scones and pancakes, jams, and meringues with more strawberries and whipped cream – a wonderful afternoon for only £10. Please phone 01738 571527 if you haven’t yet reserved a ticket.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Up above the Tay

In Craigvinean Forest today......

The A9 Corridor

This is a great viewpoint from Craigvinean Forest, looking up the A9 corridor. Great view, but a bit murky today.

Newton Craig.......

This viewpoint is accessible for everyone. There was an article on Landward a few months ago about Wheel chair Ramblers, and they were up here. Well worth the visit if you are passing. Bit cloudy today though, hence not great pics.

Looking down on the A9

People going about their business..........

Oh, there's a train as well.......

Freight train......

Should we be upgrading the railway line to Inverness and not the road?

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Increasing numbers of Lib Dems in Scotland.......

Party membership in Scotland has increased by approx 10% since the election, suggesting that people are more happy than not with the current set-up. If the papers try to suggest anything else, we can truthfully say "Not so..!"

Well done to all for the progress we have made during 2010 to date.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

What is AV?

The Alternative Vote (AV) is very much like First-Past-the-Post (FPTP). Like FPTP, it is used to elect representatives for single-member constituencies, except that rather than simply marking one solitary 'X' on the ballot paper, the voter has the chance to rank the candidates on offer.
The voter thus puts a '1' by their first-preference candidate, and can continue, if they wish, to put a '2' by their second-preference, and so on, until they don't care anymore or they run out of names. In some AV elections, such as most Australian elections, electors are required to rank all candidates.
If a candidate receives a majority of first-preference votes (more people put them as number one than all the rest combined), then they are elected.
If no candidate gains a majority on first preferences, then the second-preference votes of the candidate who finished last on the first count are redistributed. This process is repeated until someone gets over 50 per cent.

Real-world application of AV
Australian House of Representatives.
Australian Legislative Assemblies ("lower houses") of all states and territories (bar Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, which both use STV).
Australian Legislative Council in Tasmania.
Irish Presidential election.
By-elections to the Dáil (the lower house of the Irish Parliament).
By-elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Papua New Guinea National Parliament (1964-1975 and from 2007).
Fijian House of Representatives.
Numerous American Mayoral and district elections, as well as Student Union elections.

Arguments used in support of AV
All MPs would have the support of a majority of their constituents.
It retains the same constituencies, meaning no need to redraw boundaries, and no overt erosion of the constituency-MP link.
It more accurately reflects public opinion of extremist parties, who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes.
Coalition governments are no more likely to arise under AV than under First-Past-the-Post.
It eliminates the need for tactical voting. Electors can vote for their first-choice candidate without fear of wasting their vote.
A change to AV could be a step towards the adoption of STV.
It encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the need for negative campaigning (one don't want to slag off a candidate whose second preferences one wants) and rewards broad-church policies.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Countdown to the vote on AV.......

This from Nick Clegg today:

"Today I announced that, for the first time, the British people will have a choice about the system they use to elect their MPs.
On May 5th 2011, there will be a referendum on whether to adopt the Alternative Vote.
The First Past The Post system hands power to the lucky few who live in marginal constituencies and sucks it away from the vast majority of us who do not. So over the next ten months the Liberal Democrats will be fighting hard, with others, for a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum. I want to sweep away the current system and replace it with the Alternative Vote.
We need you to be part of this campaign. It will not be easy. There will be many MPs who want to keep the status quo because it protects them from the need to win majority support.
But with your help we can do it. We need you to inspire, enthuse and persuade your friends, family and neighbours to come out on May 5 and cast their ballot for fairer votes."

The confirmation that the ballot will be held on 5th May will of course create the mother of all stushies shortly in Scotland. But, of course, there are other ways of looking at this. Is it instructive for the Scottish electorate to hear UK electoral reform debated during a Holyrood campaign? Yes, of course it will be, because Holyrood does not exist in a bubble, it is but one of our layers of governance, from local authorities through to European representation, these layers all interact with one another, and it is important to take in this bigger picture when voting in any oe of these elections. Also, the Holyrood elections will increase the overall turnout for the AV vote, giving Scotland a disproportionately higher say in the final outcome, whatever that might be. One thing is for sure, there will be a lot of politics being talked between now and 5th may next year, with the Liberal Democrats right in the heart of it.

Friday, 2 July 2010

More from Nick Clegg........

We've already scrapped ID cards. Now I'd like to ask you - which other laws do you want to scrap?
Your Freedom
The Liberal Democrats have always stood up for civil liberties, scrapping unnecessary laws and reducing the burden of regulation on businesses and charities.
In our manifesto, we proposed a Freedom Bill to roll back Labour's attacks on British civil liberties. In government, we are doing just that.
Yesterday I launched Your Freedom, a national dialogue on how to create a more open, inclusive society. Anyone can make suggestions about which laws we need to scrap and where we can cut red tape. You can also rate and comment on other people's suggestions. The best ideas will be put into practice – because this is a listening government.
This is the open government we have long campaigned for. So tell us about every time you've felt snooped on by the state, or had to fill in the same form three times. Help us put Liberal Democrat values into practice in Government.
I know people are talking about this up and down the country – so please do have your say and pass this message on to anyone who has ideas for Your Freedom.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Far end of the constituency.......

Loch Tay itself is in Tayside, Killin (pictured above) is in Stirling........