This year people have been subjected to many smaller community services being withdrawn from their Council budget. This ranges from libraries and town halls to weeding and grass cutting. After the initial outrage things have settled down. Some people just ignore that these things are no longer done. Others have been more pro-active. Earlier this year our Community Council held a meeting and invited all local groups along to network and discuss ways forward for the local community. A couple of our craft group committee managed to attend and their feedback was positive. Top of the list was their surprise at how many groups areRead More →

Having checked as much as possible the results of the Local Government elections I can find no firm figures at the time of writing. However as far as I can gather from the newspapers – Herald and National -the best I can get is that in England the Tories lost 1334 seats and Labour between 80 and 90; in Northern Ireland the DUP is under pressure. However I did find out something surprising – it would seem that there were no elections in Wales – or London! * Never dawned on me that London is a separate country, but hey, whatever the Tories want theyRead More →

Well that was conference. Not one but two independence campaigns are off and running this week. The SNP’s Yes.Scot and the Scottish Independence Convention’s Voices for Scotland. The big bang of the Scottish Growth Commission report proved to be less disruptive and more constructive; when all sides claim everything is hunky-dory in going forward now, then you know the art of compromise is alive and kicking. Whilst it was a fascinating pre-debate exchange of views over the past year or so, there’s nothing like an impending election to remind you just how far this is from voters’ minds.  Somehow, the minutiae of when an independentRead More →

Last Saturday we had the great pleasure of welcoming the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek McKay to Donoch to speak to the local Branches. Derek, as usual was an articulate, informed  and passionate speaker but also has the gravitas which comes with having to make some hard decisions in power. As is normal, questions were concentrated on how we win Indyref2 and especially when it would happen. However for me, one of the key moments came when he referenced the lessons learned about the pensions debate in 2014 and that the Treasury admission that pensions were guaranteed had come too late in the debate. WeRead More →

The train journey between Wick and Inverness is approximately 4 1/2 hours long. Taking the same length of time to travel between Edinburgh and London, the journey between the towns in the Far North and their nearest city is double what it would take you by road. Rather than following the A9 road down the coast, the train makes several detours inland and acts as a lifeline travel service for residents in the communities that were left isolated with the building of the Dornoch Bridge at the start of the 1990s, at that time the longest bridge in Europe, and for those in north westRead More →

I was a 7 year old revolutionary when I learned my first few French phrases; ca va? je m’appelle; j’habite; je suis. Instantly hooked by the fantooshness, there commenced a lifelong fascination of the foreign and exotic. In P5 at Crieff Primary School I’d a wee notebook of French vocabulary and I recognised then the excitement and interest of strange tongues, different cultures, varied ways and customs entirely at odds with those of Presbyterian Scots. We left our Crieff caravan for a cottage in the Hillfoots of Clackmannanshire; our destination must have been preordained and written in the stars for the wallpaper in my bedroomRead More →

“And still they gazed and still the wonder grewThat these big heids just hadnae got a clue”. One line from Oliver Goldsmith’s  poem above has always seemed to me to apply to people with pretensions.  While Goldsmith wrote “That one small head could carry all they knew” is not appropriate, I have substituted my own take on things.  The populace are definitely wondering at the public mess our Westminster government is making.  There seems to be no ending, or any progress, in sight for Brexit. As I write, the SNP have tabled a motion to revoke Article 50, which has received over 6 million signatures,Read More →

In recent months we have seen the scourge of football hooliganism rearing its particularly ugly face again. With a bottle and coins being thrown at players and most recently “fans” invading the playing area in both Scotland and England. This fall in behaviour comes on the back of the decision to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Grounds Act. I was not a big fan of this law but I would not have called it “mince” or a “stain”. One thing it did highlight though is that we should not create new legislation just because the Police say we should, a rather more serious basisRead More →

During the summer holidays last year, some local teachers began the hard task of clearing up an area of woodland near to one of the local schools. Located on the outskirts of the town and enclosed by buildings, it was an area that you never really noticed. Pleas for help were answered by both adults and children and by the time the schools started back in August, a huge amount of rubbish and debris had been cleared from the site and an entrance made into the trees. “Forest Friday” became a regular occurrence in the school whereby a group of children had the opportunity toRead More →

So. Another big Brexit vote. Another embarassing defeat. Just how much can one woman take. If this was happening in civvy street I am sure the men in white coats would be called in and act on such delusional behaviour. Heard a man on today’s (Wednesday) radio phone in who travels widely in Europe and says that the ordinary European is just laughing at us. Well, we knew that didn’t we? Thought he summed up the Brexit attitude very well though. ‘The English think they are the new Aryan race’. This is the really worrying aspect of Brexit for me. Common courtesy and decency haveRead More →