Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Courier hustings and photo shoot

Yesterday saw Victor Clements and Willie Robertson both at the Courier hustings in Perth; Willie in particular gave a rousing performance. Both received a very respectable write-up in the Courier today - well done!
The photo was taken earlier in the afternoon, when candidates had a photo-shoot in the town centre; unfortunately Willie was unavailable, but Victor was there to fly the Lib Dem flag.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Not long to go now.......

We were getting posterboards out yesterday....these ones are along side the A94 just north of balbeggie.....John Swinney drives by this way on his way in to Perth.

If anyone would like us to put up a board, large or small, please do get in touch through the email address on the right.

Thank you.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Sun going down........


Blackthorn blossom

An impenetrable wall of flowers

Big bird

If you look closely, there is a male osprey at the top of the dead tree. Click on image to enlarge a bit.

Explaining AV.......

This article recently appeared on Commentonline, two Highland Perthshire folks explaining the AV system.

AV is actually just a very simple upgrade to our current voting system, but the winning candidate just has to be that little bit better to get 50% of the vote.

Their explanation is funny all the same though:

“Aye Vee, …Aye Vee, ah tell ye”

“Naw! Are ye glaiket awthegither? Aye Aye Vee is the thing, can ye no see that? ”

The raised, unmistakeable and less than dulcet tones of Jock and Hamish assailed my ears before I reached the top deck. The bizarre notion flashed through my mind that this was some dispute about an arithmetical calculation - but was it being conducted in Roman numerals? Eventually seated beside the protagonists, the situation gradually became clear, and the truth was hardly more credible than my initial thoughts on the way upstairs. Jock and Hamish were ‘discussing’ voting reform.

Although difficult to believe, the cries I had heard were in fact not ‘Aye Vee’ and ‘Aye Aye Vee’ but ‘I.V’ and ‘I.I.V’. They stood for ‘Ither Vote’ and ‘Ither, Ither Vote’ – voting systems devised by Jock and Hamish respectively as alternatives to AV.

Intrigued, I sought and got an explanation of both systems, here offered for consideration.

Jock’s ‘Ither Vote’ system:

Ballot papers as now, but with an additional blank box below the list of candidates and two columns in which to indicate your vote; a ‘Yes’ column and a ‘No’ column. Voters may put a cross in as many of the Yes/No boxes as they wish (in fact, in all of them if they wish), or write in a candidate in the blank box and vote ‘Yes’ or, I suppose ‘No’, or even ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, for the ‘write-in’. (Jock sees this as a positive thing as there can be no ‘spoiled votes’ with his system).

To arrive at the result, all the ‘Yes’ votes for a candidate are counted and his/her ‘No’ votes total is subtracted. A candidate with a net negative result cannot be elected; the winner is the candidate with the highest net positive count; and it is also possible for a‘write-in’ or for no-one to be elected.

In this last case the seat will be vacant until the next election, with a welcome consequent saving to the public purse of elected representative’s remuneration and expenses. (In his perverse way Jock sees the potential for humour in the ‘write-in’ option as his system’s greatest selling point!)

Hamish’s ‘Ither, Ither Vote’ system:

Ballot papers are as now, but with an additional box below the list of candidates to indicate ‘None of the above’. If the ‘None of the above’ votes are in the majority, then no-one is elected and the seat lies vacant till the next election. The same result in three consecutive elections and the electoral area is merged with a neighbouring area which has not yet suffered three ‘None of the above’ majorities.

Hamish sees the prospect of reducing over time both the numbers of elected representatives and constituencies as offering greater potential cost savings than Jock’s IV system.

Asked which system I preferred, I thought it prudent to try to change the subject and asked if they had thought about the problem of low turnout and the introduction of compulsory voting.

“Nae need”, they said in unison, “wi’ oany o’ oor systems, an’ the chance they gie tae cut doon on the nummer o’ numpties wi’ thur nebs in the trough, – man, ye wull hae tae be batin’ fowk ower the heid wi’ sticks tae keep them frae votin’ !”

It is heartening to know that democracy is safe when the likes of Jock and Hamish take such an interest.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Lots to do......

Spent all afternoon responding to emails and preparing for FSB hustings in Birnam tomorrow. Things are starting to hot up now. There are three hustings next week. On Tues in the AK Bell Library in Perth, the Courier/ Perth Chamber of Commerce are on, on Wed Breadalbane Community Campus, on Thurs the NFUS in the Huntingtower Hotel on Crieff Road. Lots to do, work is starting to fall by the wayside a bit now.

Monday, 18 April 2011

In the heart of Perthshire

Here is me up above Aberfeldy at the weekend.

Wade's bridge

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Drip feeding of celebrity endorsements

There is a very good letter in The Scotsman today, criticizing the strategy of drip feeding celebrity endorsements for Alex Salmond.

Given their fantasy manifesto published this week, it is maybe no surprise that they think they need this parallel strategy.

As a first time candidate in the Scottish elections, I am amazed at the lack of discussion or analysis on the policies of both the SNP and Labour.

Whoever wins on 5th May will be making decisions about our lives for the next five years. If we make our decisions on celebrity endorsements, we will all be in big trouble.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Out and about in Perthshire today

Here are a few pics out and about in Perthshire today......campaigning in Auchterarder and Loch Tay side.

Getting the tatties in.....

In a newly sown field

Shorthorn Heifers above Loch Tay

Crieff in the distance


Fields full of lambs the noo......

The road to Muthill

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Poster boards again

One of the essential jobs in the camapign is to get the poster boards ready for polling day. We had a gorgeous spring day to do this today with the sun beating down on May Mathesons garden in Perth. Here Camapign Manager Peter Barrett does his bit, paint brush in hand. Well done to May, Willie and Dorothy for also helping out today.

Filling up the garden

Watch your back Dorothy........!



Spring lambs near Dalguise

More sheeps........

Sunshine on Perth

It was a beautiful spring day in Perth on Thursday as we prepared to go out canvassing and leafletting.

Driving by .........

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Manifesto reaction

The Scottish Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto yesterday. More about this again. The big central issue is the restructuring of the Scottish Water debt which would raise £1.5 billion for projects in Scotland.

That nice Mr Swinney thinks it cannot work, but he would say that, would'nt he? His advisors suggested he do this last summer, but he did not take it up. Probably because a good working relationship with the UK governmet is required.

We will doubtless hear more on this in the next few days. The manifesto is full of substance, and gives us something solid to work with going in to 5th May.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Daffodils by the Tay

At Wade's Bridge


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Perthshire North

You can find some background information in Perthshire North here:

The church at Muthill

Looking out over South Perthshire today

Campaigning to save our police and Fire & Rescue Services

The Scottish Liberal Democrats will be campaigning to save Police and Fire & Rescue services from the centralizing agenda of the other main parties. It looks as if we we will on our own in doing this, although local councillors of all the main political parties are sceptical.

Other People's campaign literature

We had a really good distributing leafletts in North Muirton in Perth on Saturday. Leafletting often provides opportunities to see what other parties are putting out if they get stuck in people's letterboxes.

Labour have a leaflet out, 75% of which is focused on targetting the SNP for their broken promises. You can see link to these here below. This may well all be right of course, but no mention of what Labour are intending to do. Labour are getting the wobbles at the moment, no doubt about that.

One of Murdo Fraser's leafletters helpfully left a Tory newspaper where it could be accessed. One point of note was in the Voting Day information section, where it says that voters will be issued with two voting papers.

They will actually be getting three, the third being the AV referendum paper. The Tories may well be against this, but surely they can provide people with the right information......!!

Friday, 1 April 2011

AV Referendum Victor

The character chosen to explain the voting systems for the AV Referendum is to be called Victor!!


I will find a way of using that in my campaign.

The priorities for the Scottish Liberal Democrats in this election are jobs and the economy, education & training and protecting local services from the centralizing Agenda of the SNP and Labour party. But the AV Referendum is going on as well, many people will be interested in it, and I will of course be campaigning for a YES vote.

Leaders debate

This was the Leaders Debate on Tuesday evening. It was a low-key affair, with probably only Annabel Goldie performing above themselves. Tavish Scott answered some difficult questions competently.

There was no stand-out performance really. Amazing then that opinion polls say that Alex Salmond got 87% of the vote for who did the best on the evening. The shallowness of the analysis of these events is just breath-taking really, with no critical analysis of how the information is gathered at all.  Hopefully the BBC event on 1st May will be a lot better.