Friday, 25 February 2011

A night out in Scone.....

This was the inaugural meeting of Perth & Kinross Liberal Democrats at the Robert Douglas memorial Institute in Scone last night, following the merger of Perth Liberal Democrats with the Kinross branch of Ochil Lib Dems to give a new party covering the PKC council area.

The camera was not working properly, so some of the photos are a bit arty and tinged with yellow, but they give a feel for what was a very enjoyable and productive evening.

New Vice Convenor of the new local party, Cllr Peter Barret has a laugh with Willie matheson above.

In the chairs.......

Linda Freeman (in red), ex-chair of Ochil Liberal Democrats chairs the inaugural meeting of the new party. Linda is retiring after many years in Liberal Democrat politics and we all wish her very well. Victor Clements (centre) is the new Convenor of the local party, with May Matheson (right) taking on the role of Treasurer for the new enlarged party. George Hayton (left) will be a committee member, and along with Dorothy Guyan, drafted our new constitution. Well done George.

The new party covers the whole Perth & Council area, greatly simplifies our boundaries and leaves us with a sizeable local party with a really good membership that should be well placed to contest two Holyrood constiuencies in the future.

Perthshire North candidate Victor Clements (centre)

New Convenor of Perth & Kinross Liberal Democrats Victor Clements will also contest the Perthshire North seat in the Holyrood election this spring. Vice Convenor Cllr Peter Barrett (right) will Chair the party through the election campaign and use his considerable experience and co-ordinate activity across the two constituencies. Peter is Convenor of the Housing and health committee on PKC and is also a list candidate for the party.Cllr Lewis Simpson from Scone will act as Election Agent in Perthshire North. Very well done Lewis.

Asleep at the back....?

Fundraiser Ken Spittal announces his intention to hold a raffle......

Ken is stepping down as fundraiser supreme, but will still take an active role in the local party. Well done Ken.

Oh hello......

Willie Matheson catches up.......

Taking their seats.......

Hello Nancy......!!

Phil Brown does the rounds........

Catching up.......

Cllrs Lewis Simpson and George hayton ave a chat......

Kelvin Reay keeps an eye on the wine.....

Kelvin has just retired as long-time treasurer of Ochil Lib Dems.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Perthshire South & Kinross

Cllr Willie Robertson will be contesting the Perthshire South & Kinross seat for the Lib Dems. Willie was the first ever Lib Dem councillor in the PKC area, being elected for the first time in 1995, and he is very well  known in the area.

Back in the early autumn.......

Willie Robertson gets congratulated by returning officer John Biggam. Russell Auld came third in the constituency ballot behind Peter Barrett. Russell is on the Mid Scotland & Fife List for the Lib Dems and will also be contesting the Kinross-shire ward for us in the 2012 local authority elections. Well done Russell.

Counting up......

John Biggam counts the ballots in the Perthshire South & Kinross candidate election. Russell Auld looks on.

Charles Kennedy castigates the No2AV campaign tactics

Over recent days No2AV have published a series of ads in local papers that can be described as distasteful at best, shocking and outrageous at worst.
The premise behind the ads is that the country can't afford the alternative voting system. That by saying Yes to AV, voters will be taking £250 million away from sick babies in need of care, or soldiers in need of armour
I say this kind of behaviour shows exactly why the UK can't afford to say no to AV.
It's clear that the No campaign don't have the integrity to regulate themselves, but this is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change politics in the UK. We mustn't let the country get distracted by the No campaign's cheap tricks.
Yes to Fairer Votes are calling on the Advertising Standards Authority to issue guidance on this campaign - and fast. Please add your name today.
The No campaign are building their arguments on scaremongering. They are doing a massive disservice to the voters of the UK. This is a serious subject and we need them to engage in honest, open debate.
This debate must centre on the future of politics in the UK, re-engaging voters and giving a voice to people, this is too important to be sidelined by petty backbiting and cynical campaigning.
UK voters are entitled to decent, honest and truthful advertising campaigns - these adverts fail on every count. Join us in calling for the ASA to step in today, so that we can get on with the debate the country deserves.
We can't waste this opportunity.
Charles Kennedy

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Loch Rannoch today

Wee Eck likes AV

Another couple of AV things:

1  Wee Eck is open to the idea, apparently, as are many Labour politicians in Scotland
2  Scotland on Sunday in favour, think it is a no-brainer
3  Likelihood is it would probably go through, No-camp struggling a bit.

In addition, it now looks as though the next Holyrood election can be postponed by another year to avoid a clash with the next General Election in 2015, and everyone is happy. Now, there is a surprise!!. The previous angst being largely of the manufactured kind for the cameras.....!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

AV is Go

After some last minute shenanigans in the House of Lords, there will be a referendum on Electoral Reform on 5th May. More on this again, but for starters, see below from the Yes to farirer Votes Campaign.

After months of insider games and wrangling, the date is finally set. On 5 May we've won the right to say Yes to Fairer Votes. Lines have been drawn in the sand - now we need to make sure that Britain wakes to a better and fairer democracy this summer.

This won't be easy. The No Campaign is implementing a clear strategy to avoid the debate and confuse the electorate.

But we are making progress. Polls at the weekend confirmed us opening up a lead on the No campaign. But there still are hundreds of thousands of undecided voters, and we need to make our case for change day in, day out right until Polling Day.

Whilst the No campaign is led by party political MPs and former MPs defending the status quo, we're being driven by real voters dedicated to changing the way we do politics.

We are a people-led campaign, but we have in the last week attracted some high profile supporters. Eddie Izzard, Martin Bell and Greg Dyke have all joined up as vice-chairs, and national treasures like Joanna Lumley and John Cleese are all lining up to say Yes to AV. We've even received a nod from King George VI himself, Colin Firth.

Celebrity supporters are great, but this referendum is about building a fairer political system for every man, woman and child in Britain. That's where we need to focus our campaigning.

This campaign will be won or lost by the grassroots - that means you. This is your chance to step up and take ownership of our electoral system. What we do in the next two months will determine the future of UK politics. We can't miss this chance - we are relying on you.

With thanks,

Jonathan Bartley

Yes to Fairer Votes

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Restoring hard-won British liberties

The Protection of Freedoms Bill, published last week, will protect millions of people from unwarranted state intrusion. The Bill is the latest step in the Coalition's commitment to restore hard-won British liberties and delivers on issues Liberal Democrats have long-campaigned for.

"Today's announcement brings to fruition proposals which were first drawn up by Nick Clegg four years ago, and demonstrates our commitment to rolling back unnecessary and intrusive laws introduced by Labour," Tom Brake said.

Find out more here:

This from Nick Clegg:

Making the banks pay their fair share

The 'Merlin' agreement between the Government and the banks, announced this week, will ensure that the banks show restraint in pay and bonuses and offer real support to businesses and the regions.

Project Merlin:

Vince Cable on our bonus for British Business:

National ID Register destroyed

Nick Clegg has welcomed the destruction of the National Identity Register - the final hard drives containing hundreds of thousands of personal details were fed into an industrial shredder on Thursday.

You can see the database being destroyed here:

Tavish Scott on the Scottish Budget

Following on from the blog post below from Tina, this is what Tavish Scott had to say about the LIb Dems input to the Scottish budget last week:

"Today’s  (Last Wed) Scottish Budget is a major boost for students and colleges.
It has delighted the National Union of Students who have said: “The Scottish Liberal Democrats have worked very hard for students on this issue” and “This is great news”.
It will help tackle a crisis faced in Scotland’s colleges from 1st April this year. They can’t afford to wait for a new government. They need action now. As news reports in the last few days have highlighted, there are potential course closures at Elmwood, James Watt, North Highland, Dumfries & Galloway and Carnegie College and many more.
The changes we have negotiated from the Scottish Government will give thousands of students access to bursary support. That will mean they can take up their studies and find ways into work.
We have also secured funding for more than a thousand new places directly at colleges. This will help colleges who are facing severe financial pressures.
We have also secured funding for additional modern apprentices and training opportunities that rely indirectly on colleges. I raised the issue of apprenticeships in renewable energy at FMQs in the autumn. This is tackled in the Budget changes we have secured.

We are also very pleased that we have secured funding for a second year for our idea of a Post Office Diversification Fund. This benefited fifty post offices in the last year and can now benefit more this year. The fund helps post offices introduce new types of business (such as hot food or drinks). It will help them stay open, serving their communities.
Of course, this Budget and the changes we have secured will not solve all of the problems that Scotland faces. Colleges and communities still face enormous challenges. Much will have to wait until after May. Our plans for government envisage a spending review and budget revisions very quickly after the election. We have already spoken with the Permanent Secretary’s senior officials in order to brief them on our intentions to move rapidly in government.
But the steps we have secured today mean a better Budget for Scotland than would have been the case without the Scottish Liberal Democrats."

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Scotish Lib Dems secure college bursaries

I was delighted to see the Scottish Lib Dems securing £15 million for college bursaries, plus £8 million for 1200 extra college places. In the current economic climate we've seen a vast increase in college numbers, as people chose to study to increase their chances of employment. But this has put huge strain on colleges, with some having run out of bursaries for the last 3 years (often even before courses even start).
The SNP draft budget actually CUT bursaries by £1.7 million, so securing £15 million of funding is a fantastic victory for students, and underlines Scottish Lib Dem's commitment to higher education funding.

Well done Tavish -keep it coming!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Back to the storms again.......

This by the Tay below Grandtully yesterday.......more rain fell overnight, and very stormy too.


The bus tae Ballinluig

And then the rainbow........

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

What is the weather going to do?

The Tay yesterday

By Wade's bridge