Literacy - A Vision for Scotland

Tackling literacy and numeracy problems must become a priority for politicians. I was pleased to see the launch of the report and final recommendations of the independent commission set up by Scottish Labour to look at these problems. You can find more information and the final report A Vision for Scotland here. If you click on the picture you will see the BBC's report on this important issue.

As Iain Gray has said, 'This report is huge wake-up call for Scotland. With one in five Scots with literacy problems this mean that thousands of Scots will not reach their full potential and Scotland’s ability to compete in business and commerce will also suffer.'

I will be reading the report and considering how as a local councillor I can respond over the next few days.


Book launch- Dundee Renaissance to Enlightenment

This evening I attended the launch of a new book on the history of Dundee. Dundee: Renaissance to Enlightenment edited by Charles McKean, Bob Harris and Christopher A. Whatley has been published by Dundee University Press. This book focuses on period of Dundee's history which is not particularly well-known. History does not repeat itself but it is important that we understand history. This book is largely the work of the History Department at Dundee University which is doing an excellent job in a variety of historical topics.
I am looking forward to reading this book over the next few weeks. For more information about the book visit the Dundee University Press website. Well done to everyone involved in the production of this book.

A People's Parliament?

I was very interested to read about an excellent speech made by Iain Gray MSP about the future of devolution. You can read the speech here, I was quite taken with the quote from Donald Dewar which Iain focused on. Donald Dewar said at the start of the first session of the Scottish Parliament, 'We are fallible. We will make mistakes. But we will never lose sight of what brought us here:the striving to do right by the people of Scotland; to respect their priorities; to better their lot; and to contribute to the commonwealth.' Donald was talking about the Scottish Parliament but his words are equally applicable to the work of Dundee City Council or the House of Commons. The picture shows Iain Gray and myself out and about in the West End.

Workshop on scrutiny

On Wednesday along with a number of colleagues I attended a workshop on scrutiny. This was a very interesting event run by the Improvement Service. It highlighted the important role that scrutiny should play right across council committees and the important role that each individual councillor has in properly scrutinising the work of the council.


Regional sports partnerships

On Monday evening elected members and officers of Dundee City Council attended a briefing on regional sports partnerships. This was an excellent meeting and allowed us to hear about the work of Sports Development, sport Tayside and Fife and other voluntary and statutory partners.

I am clear that sport plays an important role in the life of Dundee and that it is often an undervalued part of council provision. In difficult economic times it is easy to see services such as sports development as being an easy target for cuts. I think that this is a short-sighted view. We should do all we can to promote sport in Dundee.

Tayside Contracts Briefing

On Monday afternoon councillors were invited to a briefing on the work of Tayside Contracts. Tayside Contracts provides a range of services for Dundee City Council and Angus and Perth & Kinross Councils. They provide school meals and meals on wheels as well as cleaning services and construction work and seasonal (winter) road maintenance.

It was good to hear about the money invested back in council services in Dundee. Tayside Contracts also takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously.


Happy St Andrew's Day

I would like to wish everyone who is celebrating our national saint's feast day a very happy St Andrew's Day.
I was delighted to join some west end schoolchildren from St Joseph's Primary School as they celebrated St Andrew's Day in St Andrew's Cathedral in the Nethergate this morning.
I have written to the City Council this morning to raise my concerns that the Saltire is not flying at the top of the Old Steeple today. In October I raised my concerns about the state of the flag which was then ripped, I was told then that the flag would be replaced.
I am celebrating St Andrew's Day today and one of the symbols of our patron saint is the Saltire or St Andrew's Cross flag. I am disappointed that the Saltire is not flying from its usual position in the centre of Dundee at the top of the Steeple. The Saltire has flown from the Steeple for a number of years now and it is disappointing that it is not there on our national saint's day. I know that in the great scheme of things whether a flag is flown is not the biggest issue facing Dundee City Council but I hope that it is replaced soon. I am sure that I am not alone in asking the question where's the Saltire?

Tayside Fire and Rescue Board Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee

This morning I attended a meeting of Tayside Fire and Rescue Board's Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee. This sub-committee is charged with ensuring that the Fire and Rescue service in Tayside can operate effectively. This mornings discussions focused mostly on items with regard to internal and external audit processes. This might seem a million miles away from fighting fires but the Fire and Rescue Service can only fight fires if they have the correct resources.


Blackness Primary School Christmas Fair

On Saturday morning I was delighted to go along to the Christmas Fair at Blackness Primary School. It was great to see so many local people supporting the work of a local school.