Two minutes silence

This morning I was pleased to join hundreds of other Dundonians in marking the anniversary of the Armistice from the First World War. It was good to see so many people in the City Square today, including a good number of young people.

Please support the work of poppyscotland.

All Babies Count

I am supporting the campaign run by the NSPCC called 'All Babies Count.' I am pleased that my colleague Jenny Marra MSP has highlighted this campaign in the Scottish Parliament. All babies need to be safe, to be nurtured and able to thrive. We must recognise that this is not always the case. Often the lifestyles of parents with substance misuse for example can have a detrimental impact on babies. Mental health issues can also be a problem for parents which impacts on babies. Domestic abuse is another factor which impacts negatively on the prospects of children.

It is important that there is a level of investment in early years which allows these problems to be dealt with. The best place for children is with their parents, however we cannot allow parents health issues, or drink or drug habits or abusive behaviour blight the life chances of babies. We must as the jargon says 'get it right for every child.' Indeed we need to make that more than jargon but make it a key aim of people like me on councils and professionals right across the country.

The video outlines the situation across the UK.

Every child deserves the best start in life and it is wrong that for some their life chances can be decided at an early stage. All babies should count.


West End Community Council

On Tuesday evening I attended a meeting of the West End Community Council. The main item of business was a presentation from TACTRAN (Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership) on proposals for a park and ride scheme to the west of Dundee. The two proposals are for one near the Landmark Hotel and the other proposal is for one near the Riverside Nature Park. You can see the business case here, pages numbered 33-37 or 37-40 of the pdf give a useful summary of the proposals.

These proposals should have a positive impact on the West End by taking some traffic and parking off our roads in the West End which should be good for those of us who live in the West End. As a local representatives I am keen to hear your views about this, if you have any thoughts or questions about these proposals please get in touch with me.


Bonfire Night

On Saturday evening I was really pleased to be able to get along to Lochee Park for the Bonfire Display. There were thousands of people there, reports suggest as many as 14,000, and it was good to see so many people having a great time. This is clearly a safe way to celebrate Guy Fawkes night and the display was spectacular. In Dundee it is great to see the public sector delivering such a popular community event for the people of Dundee.

Well done to all the council workers who delivered such an enjoyable event.

Laying of Crosses

On Saturday I was at the Laying of the Crosses ceremony outside the City Churches. I placed my cross in memory of my great-uncle David McCready who died, as a result of an accident, during the Second World War whilst serving with the Highland Light Infantry. I also remembered my great uncle Bertie, who served with the Desert Rats and my great uncle Jack who served on the Arctic Convoys. I also thought of my grandad McCready who served in Glasgow with the Fire Service right through the Second World War and my grandad McDonagh who built tanks and served as an air raid warden. I thought of all those who serve our country and those who have given their lives. I also thought about my cousins who live in Germany today.

This period of remembrance is important and allows us the opportunity to remember those who have given their lives for our country. It is also an important time to think about the importance of promoting peace and justice in the world.

You can find out more about the work of poppyscotland here. Please support poppyscotland.

Harris Academy Project Board

Late last week I attended a meeting of the Harris Academy Project Board, this board is looking at progress towards rebuilding Harris Academy. I am clear that progress is required on this important issue. The Harris needs to be refurbished and I am prepared to work with anyone to ensure that young people in the West End and beyond have a school building that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.


MLitt in Theatre Studies

I was delighted to attend the launch of the MLitt Degree in Theatre Studies which has been developed between the University of Dundee and Dundee Rep. This is a really excellent initiative. It is great to see two Dundee institutions with a national and indeed international reputation joining forces to work together.

Dundee-born actor and Rector of the University of Dundee spoke enthusiastically at the launch of the importance of this development. He was particularly keen to point out that this new degree was 'like nothing else available in the UK'. James Brining from the Rep and Prof Chris Whatley of Dundee University also spoke about the importance of this new degree. I hope that this is a great success and that many people will apply for this course.

On Saturday I was lucky enough to see the latest Dundee Rep play Mary Queen of Scots Got her Head Chopped Off. This was a great play and was superbly acted.