Tonight's meeting also allowed a number of constituents to raise their concerns about a range of issues. It is always good to hear about the concerns of local people and I am always happy to try and help local residents.
This evening I attended the Scottish launch of the Friends of the Co-operative Ideal. This was a very interesting meeting and Labour leader Iain Gray made an excellent speech. The Friends of the Co-operative Ideal is supported by the Co-operative Party and its policy is set out in the four statements below
- I believe that the values of social justice, co-operation and mutuality have a crucial role to play in the future of the UK and the World.
- I support the efforts of those who seek success through co-operative endeavour and the creation of a just society through power being evenly spread throughout society.
- I believe that we can best achieve a just society through the co-operation of the Co-operative Party and the Labour Party.
- To this end I will work with the Co-operative Party to pursue mutual solutions to the challenges that our society faces.
I believe that the current troubles in the economy mean that we should be promoting many more co-operative and mutual solutions.
I was pleased to get the chance to discuss co-operatives and many of the issues which face the people of the West End with Labour leader Iain Gray MSP.
Prior to the start of the Leisure, Arts and Communities Committee the Convener, Cllr Bob Duncan, praised all those involved in the refurbishment of the McManus which reopened last week. I also reflected on the success of the re-opening:
'I have visited the McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum a couple of times since it has been reopened. I have been hugely impressed with the numbers present. It is clear that this is a much loved Dundee institution and that Dundonians have taken it back to their hearts again. I hope that people will visit Dundee to visit this excellent facility.
I want to draw attention to the newly commissioned piece the Walldela Dundee which this committee agreed to commission. I know that there were those who weren't sure about this piece. I stood by it on Saturday and heard many people comment on it. Mostly favourable! I think that it sits particularly well in its setting in the newly created stair well.
I also particularly enjoyed the 'Consider the Lillies' exhibition which demonstrates that the city does have an impressive collection of 20th century Scottish art.
The galleries are bustling and busy and we are all challenged to do what we can to keep it that way.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who supported the refurbishment of the McManus. There are a great many pressures on council finance at this time but as many people have said to me over the last week it has been worth the money and worth the wait. I would like to pay tribute to all the staff of the council who have worked hard to ensure that this project comes to fruition. Well done!'
The committee considered a very interesting report on e-books and e-audio books being made available in the city's libraries. I said, 'I welcome this report. Our libraries are an excellent resource for our city but they must also move with the times. This investment represents a small fraction of the budget for library resources (2.6%). I will be interested to see how popular this service is. I think that whilst supporting this innovation it is important to highlight that reports of the death of the hard-copy book are as the famous author Mark Twain might have said exaggerated. I am happy to support this report. '
The Policy and Resources Committee included reports on Dundee's new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy and a follow-up report on child protection services.
This lunchtime with a number of other councillors and council officers I attended a briefing on people trafficking. These modern forms of slavery are unacceptable. I was concerned to hear that children and women were most likely to be trafficked. I think that the Stop the Traffik campaign's website is well worth a visit. I was pleased to hear that the City Council and its partners in the Dundee Children and Young People's Protection Committee are taking this issue seriously. It is clear that we cannot tolerate this terrible trade.
I would like to congratulate the Peer Education Project on winning this award. I have visited the project and seen the work done by the Peer Education Project and it is most impressive. This is about young people helping other young people and spreading important messages about health issues. The Peer Education Project also gives confidence to young people. This award is recognition of the work of the staff of project and also the work of all the young people who have taken part in the project.
For more information visit this CoSLA website.