By Susannah Radford
On the day that the week long International Arms Trade Treaty conference began in New York, three charities in Glasgow presented a united front in the same battle supporting regulated arms control. Amnesty Scotland launched their campaign for a global Arms Trade Treaty at Glasgow University arm in arm with Oxfam Scotland and the Scottish Refugee Council.
In front of the media and a group of activists, Amnesty Scotland launched their Arms Trade Treaty Briefing document. With 1500 people dying each day as a result of armed violence and enough bullets produced each year to kill every person on the planet twice, Amnesty Scotland is keen to ensure that talks underway at the UN this week contribute to a comprehensive Arms Trade Treaty. They encourage all Scots to take part by writing to UK leaders, urging them to show ‘strong leadership in Arms Trade Treaty negotiations.’
Joining Amnesty Scotland today in a panel discussion were Scottish arms control campaigner David Grimason, Head of Oxfam Scotland Judith Robertson and Head of Policy and Communications at the Scottish Refugee Council Gary Christie.
Shabnum Mustapha, Programme Director for Amnesty in Scotland was pleased with the event. “I thought today was a very successful event in terms of bringing together various voices in support of an International Arms Trade Treaty. It demonstrates that there is a lot of interest out there, there’s a lot of support out there and we’re all calling for the same action at the end of the day which is a robust Arms Trade Treaty with Human Rights at the heart of it.”
The links between the various groups were made in 2003 when the Control Arms campaign was set up, Mustapha said. “I felt that it was absolutely vital that we didn’t exclude those [other] voices just because it’s an Amnesty Event. And I thought they all contributed fantastically to today’s event. Judith talked about poverty and suffering around the world from an Oxfam perspective. Scottish Refugee Council talked about having had to pick up the human consequences of, for example, the harrowing story that was being described today of women being raped at gunpoint overseas and then coming here to seek asylum and refugee status.
“And also we’re delighted,” Mustapha continued, “that David Grimason, a parent himself, who lost a child who was shot dead while on holiday in Turkey – he’s backing our campaign and it’s very much from a human perspective. It’s coming from the heart and we’re all calling for the same message at the end of the day.”
Oxfam Scotland and the Scottish Refugee Council illustrated how the current arms trade set up impacts on the work they do. “Because of the unregulated supply of arms in communities all over the world people are not able to engage in basic life sustaining activities,” said Robertson, Head of Oxfam Scotland. “People are frightened to go to the fields. They aren’t able to trade properly. When there are too many arms in an area that people’s lives are very vulnerable and subject to violence, then people don’t take part in what would be considered normal everyday activities. Their livelihoods suffer, what happens in their lives takes on a very different perspective.” The poverty and misery this causes people is the reason Oxfam is involved.
Like Amnesty, Oxfam too is lobbying the government to take a strong leadership role in current negotiations. “Our interest,” said Robertson “is in ensuring that the UK government’s leadership is maintained in the issue. We’re concerned that they are weakening their position and their commitment.” Oxfam and its partners have representatives in New York this week who will be there Robertson said, “trying to lobby an issue that the interests of people in developing countries are held up at the talks to make a legally binding treaty.”
Both Amnesty Scotland and Oxfam Scotland have launched an e-action or e-petition to call on the UK’s party leaders to show strong leadership. Ed Miliband, who has received over 7000 emails on the subject, recently wrote a statement in support of a ‘robust and effective global Arms Trade Treaty’.
The Glasgow University Amnesty International (GUAI) group, will also be supporting the Scottish campaign. Catherine Wright from GUAI plans to use this event as a springboard to further campaigning. “To have something like this, to have it launched on campus gives us a really good basis to then use it for our campaigns in the next couple of weeks.” In addition to a visual campaign including gravestones with statistic about the arms trade, they will be collecting petitions on campus.
Following this week’s meetings in New York, the UN will meet again in July 2012 to finalise the treaty. Mustapha today emphasised the importance of this week’s negotiations. “If you’re not going to get the parameters right this week you’re not going to get the right treaty at the end of July, so this week is very crucial.”
To take part in Amnesty Scotland’s e-action click here
By Susannah Radford
The future of nine Glasgow Railway stations was at the heart of the debate at the Glasgow City Council Meeting in the Council Chambers last week.
In the first motion of the meeting, Councillor Alistair Watson called on The Scottish Government “to instruct its Transport Agency to withdraw the consultation document on the future of Rail and engage in meaningful consultation that will support the growth of the Rail Network in Glasgow.”
His motion follows the huge public response to the Transport Scotland fact sheet published in December 2011. This fact sheet listed a number of railway stations in Glasgow located within a mile of each other, heightening fears that some might be closed.
Labour Councillor Watson was highly critical of the Rail 2014 consultation document which examines the way that train services will be delivered from 2014 onwards, saying the consultation was ” flawed.”
SNP Councillor Craig Mackay proposing an amendment to the motion, highlighted there were “no plans to close stations in Glasgow,” and accused Labour of “scaremongering.” Bailie John McLaughlin, seconding the SNP amendment, also highlighted in his speech that there were no proposals to close any stations.
Councillor James Dornan defended the consultation, saying that it was about asking questions and again reiterated that the consultation “will not close any stations.”
Lib Dem Councillor Christopher Mason, warned against the phrase “there are no plans” while providing a few historical examples of when politicians had gone back on their word.
Councillor Watson summing up the motion said that this was “an issue important to Glasgow.” He was happy to accept Scottish Green Party Councillor Kieran Wild’s amendment as an addendum. Watson’s motion was voted in favour of the SNP amendment 55 – 18, with 1 abstention.
Councillor John Flanagan raised a motion to set up a Cross Party Working group to engage with the carers of people with Alzheimers. This group would ensure that carers were supported and listened to.
Councillor Flanagan was inspired by the efforts of Tommy Whitelaw whose ‘Tommy on Tour‘ campaign raised awareness of dementia throughout Scotland, particularly the challenges faced by the carers of those with dementia.
Seconded by Councillor Glass, a number of councillors lent their support to this cause. Councillor David McDonald said he “was humbled” to read some of the carer’s letters collected by Tommy Whitelaw.
Just before a unanimous council vote to set up a Cross Party Working Group, Councillor Flanagan praised Tommy Whitelaw:- ”He is a real true life hero to Glasgow.”
Prison Visiting Committees also came under the spotlight when Councillor Mary Paris called on The Scottish Government to “oppose the abolition of Prison Visiting Committees and to support instead their strengthening.” Prison Visiting Committees provide an independent monitoring of prisons and committee members are made up of volunteers.
There was strong support for Councillor Paris’s motion. Councillor Mason urged MSPs not to approve the consultation document. He said that Prison Visiting Committees were fundamental. Representing the citizen in the prison service, he said:- “They are there on behalf of us to make sure standards in prison reflect community aspiration.”
The motion was voted for by 50 – 12.
Click here for the full Council agenda for the meeting held on 16 February 2012.
Click here for The Edinburgh Reporter’s coverage of The City of Edinburgh Council’s motion regarding the abolition of Prison Visiting Committees
Glasgow’s ‘The Captain’s Rest’ plays host to the tour opening gig from Beth Jeans Houghton and her band The Hooves of Destiny, this Friday, 17 February 2012. Doors open at 8pm.
‘Yours Truly, Cellophone Nose ‘was released on 6th February through Mute Recordings and if you’re interested in hearing more from Beth then check this out:-
Furthermore, from the leafy bohemian suburbs of Birmingham, Goodnight Lenin, have been confirmed as main support for the entire tour! GL themselves warming up for a return Summer set at Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, after their return from Germany.
Goodnight Lenin musicians, John Fell and company, are involved with the highly successful year on year sell-out successes with The ‘Mostly Jazz & Moseley Folk Festivals’ in Birmingham. This year sees a bumper hybrid event stretching over the early June Jubilee/Bank Holiday set in the verdant shades of Warwickshire’s Umberslade Farm, Tanworth-In-Arden. Nick Drake fans will know the place only too well. Book early now to avoid disappointment. Tickets on sale this week.
LAMONT’S CONSTITUENCY “CENTRE OF LABOUR MELTDOWN”
LABOUR LEADER LOSES GRIP ON HOME TURF
The scale of the problems within the Labour Party in Glasgow continues to grow. The constituency of the leader of the party in Scotland, Johann Lamont, is at the centre of Labour’s meltdown.
It has now emerged that four of the six rebel Labour councillors represent wards in Johann Lamont’s Glasgow Pollok constituency.
Four of them – representing all three Glasgow Pollok wards – voted against Labour’s Budget; Ruth Black – Craigton, Stephen Dornan – Govan, Tommy Morrison – Greater Pollok and Willie O’Rourke – Greater Pollok.
Humza Yousaf, Glasgow SNP MSP, said: “How can Johann Lamont hope to run the opposition when she can’t even stop the civil war in her own constituency party?
“Ms Lamont’s own constituency is the centre of Labour’s meltdown. No wonder under Ms Lamont’s leadership Labour in Scotland have sunk to an all-time low of 23 per cent.
“Ms Lamont has been the MSP since 1999, and was deputy leader of the party for three years – she has to accept personal responsibility for Labour’s shambles in Glasgow.
“What an embarrassing mess the Labour Party have become – Glasgow deserves so much better.
“Pollok is formerly a Labour heartland but there is now no such thing, anywhere across Glasgow.
“Labour has taken this city for granted for too long, and the people will have their say at the local authority elections in May – when I trust they will put their faith in the SNP, who have a first class team of councillors working night and day to move Glasgow forward.”
Litter was discussed again and again by those present at the meeting. Shawlands was called ‘filthy,’ ‘manky,’ and ‘a dump’ by residents upset with the amount of litter being left in the town centre.
Led by the former Chair of Shawlands & Strathbungo Community Council, Scott Mackay, the meeting was also attended by Councillors Kahlil Malik, Archie Graham, David Meikle and Paul Coleshill. Council Planning Officers Tim Mitchell and David Dunlop were also there and they outlined the history of research and consultation which has led to the current draft Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan.
The Town Centre Action Plan seeks ‘to re-establish Shawlands as the Heart of the Southside, by balancing the needs of place, people, businesses and sustainable living’. Using a holistic approach to address the challenges the district faces, it hopes to ‘ensure that Shawlands is desirable place in which people can choose to live and invest.’ One sobering fact from the plan was ‘of the 20,990 residents in the catchment area, only 3000 consider Shawlands to be their main centre.’
Last night was a chance for public concerns to be heard and debate concentrated on the more visible issues facing Shawlands, such as litter, the vacant shop fronts, parking fees and the Shawlands Arcade, long considered to be an eyesore. While Arcade management were said to be trying to attract investment, with Sainsbury’s potentially planning to open a shop there once more, opinion was divided on what should be done to address this ‘anchor’ of the town centre.
Andrew Montgomery, Chair of Shawlands & Strathbungo Community Council, was very pleased with how the meeting went. “I thought it was really good. There were a good number of people here. People are really passionate about Shawlands; I think that again came across. But there are some fundamental basic things. People have said the streets are dirty, they need to be cleaned. People have been saying that for years. What do you need to do to get that message across to the Council? I mean how often do people need to say the streets are filthy?”
He is keen to see how the Action Plan develops. “The really important thing,” he said, “is that the Draft Action Plan is there, the consultation is just finishing. We’ve got to see an Action Plan that comes out with action points.”
He would like to see specific commitments on service delivery met. “We’d like to see a service delivery for cleansing. So the streets will be swept by 8 o’clock each morning. There’ll be a further sweep at 3 o’clock on the afternoon on these days. We’ll monitor that for six months and see what standard that sets. We’ll revisit it and see whether it’s the right standard.” He also believes that the street furniture and signage in Shawlands needs to be looked at, and that local businesses must play a part. “The Businesses Association are talking with firms to say ‘well if we all put a hanging basket up each, it will cost us £30 each but what a difference it would make to the street.’
David Dunlop, from the Council’s Development and Regeneration Department, thought the meeting was very positive. He said:=”Litter’s clearly a major issue. But we moved beyond that. We started to talk about the nitty gritty issues, the challenges that it faces, so it was very positive.”
Dunlop has high hopes for the Town Centre Action Plan and wants the Shawlands one to “set the standard” for future action plans in Scotland. He continued:- “I want to go beyond simply physical regeneration and think about it in a holistic way. Nice pavements won’t solve anything. Litter won’t solve everything. It’s about looking at the broader sense, trying to tackle it across all the series of different mechanisms. And that’s what is important.”
There is still time for those interested in the future of Shawlands to comment and contribute to the final Action Plan which might be published by May, if not before. Dunlop strongly encourages involvement:- “We urge people to take the time to try to go through the Action Plan. I know it’s a big read. And I know that the supporting documents are even longer. But it’s worth taking the time. We want you to criticise. We want you to take it apart. You know, it’s too important.”
The meeting ended on a positive note and those present were able to talk further with the City Planners and local Councillors.
Referring to a point made earlier in the meeting when a member of the community encouraged the people of Shawlands to ‘take control, ‘Montgomery agreed, and said:- “We are community; we all need to come together. I’m very much looking forward to get a shot of the power cleaner to clean the streets! So I’ll be applying to get that on a Saturday morning and that will keep me busy on Saturday morning.”
The Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council meets the first Thursday of every month at 7.00pm at the Shawlands Academy. The next meeting will be on Thursday 1 March 2012.
For a copy of the Shawlands Draft Town Centre Action Plan click here.
For a copy of the Shawlands Retail Study click here
For a copy of the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan – Health Check click here and then select ‘Completed consultations’ under Your Council. The Health Check is listed there.
Click here for a copy of the 2009 Shawlands survey.
Members of Glasgow City Council’s Finance and Audit Scrutiny Committee met on Tuesday afternoon at the City Chambers.
The first item on the agenda related to costs from the Common Good Fund (CGF). Focusing on information which was requested at last month’s committee meeting, members discussed travel costs incurred by officers and members of the council. At today’s meeting it was estimated that £15,000 is spent annually on travel. The CGF also covers costs of civic ceremonies and hospitality costs for distinguished guests visiting the city.
The meeting then discussed the 2012/2013 draft budget for ‘training (Council Buffet)’. The proposed budget means a cut in funds available for this training provided by catering service provider, Cordia from £182,000 to £122,000. Bailie James McNally expressed concern. He said:-”It is a worry to take £60,000 out of the buffet budget; we’re talking about people’s jobs here.”
A few members however were dissatisfied with the answers received from Cordia about the number of apprentices trained. Councillor Allison Hunter said:-”We should push Cordia for more detailed explanation.”
A significant financial issue was raised in the report on Budget Monitoring of the Investment Programme 2011/12 Quarter 3. The Scottish Government will not lend the council the £8.3m they have requested for voluntary severance costs. The Scottish Government’s response to the request was that the Council had “sufficient reserve of funds.”
In addition to reports on the CGF and Investment Programme, budget monitoring reports for Quarter 3 of 2011/12 were presented for Commonwealth Games related projects and the Capital Programmes for Development and Regeneration Services, Education Services, Land and Environment Services, Social Work Services and the Chief Executive’s Office and Corporate Services.
The National Indoor Sports Arena and Velodrome, a Commonwealth Games related project, is nearing completion and is forecast to be completed within budget. Work on the site was started early last year by the main contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine, and the project is scheduled to open in autumn this year.
Reports were also presented for the budget monitoring for period 10 (1 April to 21 December 2011) for Education Services, Social Work Services, Financial Services, Land and Environmental Services, Development and Regeneration Services and the Common Good Fund.
Reports on two internal audits were presented at the meeting. Corporate Services and the Data Integrity of the SAP system were audited. No major issues were found and the report recommended three improvements.
Social Work Services and their use of PECOS were also audited. PECOS is a system the Council uses for the purchase of goods and supplies. There was only one recommendation for improvement in this audit. Updates on the implementation of the recommendations for both of these audits will be reported back to the council in due course.
The next meeting for the Finance and Audit Scrutiny Committee is scheduled for the 7 March 2012.
As the dish traditionally known as ‘the food of love’, and enjoying a reputation as a potent aphrodisiac, oysters will feature as specials at award-winning Scottish seafood restaurant Mussel Inn this Valentine’s Day.
Yet, whilst chilled oysters served naturally or with shallot and red wine vinaigrette remains the most popular option on its menu, Mussel Inn has noticed a growing trend in popularity of grilled oysters – and even oyster tempura.
Matt Johansson, food and beverage manager at Mussel Inn, said:- “According to Greek myth, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, sprang forth from the sea on an oyster shell and gave birth to Eros, which is where word ‘aphrodisiac’ derives, and legendary lover Casanova always started a meal by eating 12 dozen oysters. That’s why we’re sure that our oysters will prove popular options on our menu this Valentine’s Day!
“Yet whilst I personally love them naturally with a sprinkle of lemon juice – they are so fresh that you can taste the sea water – our grilled oysters with gruyere cheese and bacon are amongst the most popular dishes on our menu. For novices I would recommend the oyster tempura, which has a delicious crispy outing and lends the oyster an appealing, velvety texture.
“Carefully nurtured in the sea lochs of the Scottish west coast, our hand selected and sustainably cultivated oysters grow more slowly then those from warmer waters, providing a richness and depth of taste that we believe is unique.”
Located at 157 Hope Street, Glasgow and 61-65 Rose Street, Edinburgh, the award-winning Mussel Inn is renowned for its passion for its offering of delicious locally sourced fresh seafood, providing excellent value for money and a quick and friendly service.
To book a table call 0141 572 1405 or 0131 225 5979 or log onto their website for more information.
If you’re looking for a special way to spoil your loved one, why not treat them to a Valentine’s break with the Town House Collection. This year, the luxury hotel group has teamed up with Trees 4 Scotland to create a romantic break with a difference – offering guests the chance to help restore Scotland’s native woodlands.
Each time a couple books a ‘Seeds of Love’ Valentine’s breaks at The Bonham – Edinburgh’s most stylish boutique hotel – or the 5-star Blythswood Square in Glasgow, a tree will be planted in the Teaghlach Wood, near Comrie in the Scottish Highlands.
The ‘Seeds of Love’ break offers the chance for an unforgettable night in a uniquely beautiful setting. But your love will be reflected in a legacy that lasts much longer, as your small piece of Scotland’s natural heritage grows for years to come. There’s no better way to demonstrate your everlasting love.
The romantic Seeds of Love break includes
- Luxury accommodation in an individually designed bedroom
- Bottle of Champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries in your room on arrival
- Rose petal in-room breakfast with a glass of Bucks Fizz
- Use of the Thermal Experience in the Spa (Blythswood Square only)
The Seeds of Love break at Blythswood Square is priced from £243 per room per night, based on two adults sharing a Classic bedroom from the 10th – 19th February.
The Seeds of Love break at The Bonham is priced from £188 per room per night, based on two adults sharing a double bedroom from the 10th – 19th February
For further information visit
On Tuesday 7 February 2012, the Glasgow Science Centre hosts the eighth Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland emerging talent conference.
Attendees, including young people from Scottish businesses and colleges, will hear from Katherine Grainger MBE, the Olympic rower, as she makes her only public speech before competing in London 2012. The Glasgow born athlete has won a record breaking three Olympic medals and is a world champion rower.
Other keynote speakers are Peter Fisk, bestselling author of Creative Genius, founder of innovation business GeniusWorks and advisor to some of the world’s leading brands, and Captain Nick Bates the former captain of the QM2.
A series of workshop include experts such as award winning chef Willie Pike MBE; Shirley Spear of the Michelin starred Three Chimneys; the Green Tourism Business Scheme; Costa Coffee; Ecole de hotelier de Lausanne, Europe’s leading hospitality school and Women 1st.
The conference aims to raise standards and aspirations across Scotland. HIT Scotland will also announce the recipients of a £100,000 emerging talent scholarship programme.
This year, HIT Scotland has selected 80 of the 500 applicants who have the most potential to become future leaders. HIT Scotland scholars are expected to use their experiences to raise the skills and standards of their peers and take a future leadership role in the industry. Destinations include hotels in Dubai, Cornell University, schools in Switzerland and Cornell and Michelin starred kitchens.
The HIT Scotland Emerging Talent Conference is supported by Skills Development Scotland, People 1st, Xpress recruitment and Jupiter Hotels.
On the conference, Peter Fisk said, “Economic downturns are times of great shake-up when innovators can capture new moods and gaps in the market. Hospitality has seen less innovation than most sectors. It will be the emerging talent of the industry who take these opportunities, who try new ideas and ways thinking and dare to be different. They should forget Tripadvisor and think like the Thunder Show, instead of Facebook try Path, switch off X Factor and learn from their X Box. It is up to them to shape the future of hospitality.”
Captain Nick Bates, said, “Having worked on some of the most famous Cruise ships in the world I can quite empathise with HIT Scotland and the Emerging Talents they help to support. The service industry is one of the most important in Scotland and it is a pleasure for me to help share some of my experiences and encourage those who are making a career in the Hotel and catering industry.”
Shirley Spear, proprietor of the Three Chimneys, in Skye said, “The conference is wonderful chance to speak to people not only about the great career paths in hospitality but about the opportunities working for small and rural businesses.”
Tickets cost £ 80.00 and are available from www.hitscotland.org
HIT Scotland is supported by I am Clothing Solutions, Highland Spring, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Caterer.com, Enterprise Rent a Car, Phillips and Brakes Fresh Ideas
Photo courtesy of Peter Devlin SportScotland
Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor is proud to announce The Fabulous Wedding Show on Sunday 5th February at the hotel from 12-4pm.
The day will offer an array of up to 60 of Scotland’s top wedding suppliers who can assist with every detail of your wedding.
Brides to be will be able to have a taster of all things fabulous including bridal wear, fashion shows, stationery and accessories with many discounts and freebies for all guests on the day.
The day will host live performances from two of Scotland’s top wedding acts; The Vinyl Countdown at 1pm and 2.30pm, and AmpliFive at 12.30pm and 2pm. The very best of bridal couture will be modelled at fashion shows held 1.30pm and 3pm.
Free entry for all on the day.
For all enquiries please call Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor on 0141 339 881
For more information please visit www.fabulousweddingshow.com