Community Spirit Action Group

On Wednesday evening I attended the March meeting of the Community Spirit Action Group.  There was an interesting discussion on adult protection.

There was also a discussion  about the problems of pollution at the junction of Lochee Road and Cleghorn Street.  I will be working with local people to ensure effective action is taken to deal with this long standing problem.  It is important that we do not just accept that there is nothing that we can do about it.  Local people deserve to know that their elected representatives are working to make things better for them.


Warm Welcome for Scotland under-21s in Dundee - Come on Scotland!

I would like to offer a very warm welcome to the Scotland under-21 team playing in Dundee tonight. I would like to wish the team the very best of luck against Hungary tonight.  If you are near by why not go along and cheer on the team.


I am really pleased that Scotland under21s are playing in Dundee. I am looking forward to the match and I hope that Scotland win.

I hope that tonight provides a great showcase for Dundee and shows that Dundee could host other matches up to and including full internationals.  I have been campaigning on this for a while.

It is time for Dundee to host its first full international match since 1936. I hope tonight shows that Dundee would be a great venue for internationals.

There is only one thing left to say 'Come on Scotland!'


Fairtrade Fortnight

This morning I was very pleased to speak on behalf of the Dundee Fairtrade Forum at a Civic Breakfast for Fairtrade Fortnight.  I was really pleased that the Lord Provost was hosting this event.

You can watch the video here to find out about the themes for Fairtrade Fortnight this year.

Some of the main points of my speech can be read below.

It is great to be here today to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight.  Today we are marking the tenth anniversary of Dundee being named as a fairtrade city and the first anniversary of Scotland being named as a fairtrade country.


The picture shows me speaking at the Fairtrade Breakfast in the City Chambers
It is important to support fairtrade because it is important that we have a concern about how products we use are produced.  We are responsible for the indirect consequences of how things are produced.  In some respects when we buy chocolate or a cup of coffee we are the indirect employer of the people who produce these products and therefore.


It is good that there is support for the idea of fairtrade right across the council.

Dundee City Council does have a strong policy on fairtrade.  We also need to look at what else can be done and move away from just tea and coffee and chocolate and bring fairtrade into wider aspects of procurement  Indeed the Procurement Bill currently before the Scottish Parliament has the potential to bring fairtrade to a wider range of goods

Fairtrade Fortnight this year is about bananas.  It is about ensuring that producers receive a fair price for their produce.  It was good that one of the main (and earliest) supporters of selling fairtrade bananas Scotmid was able to sponsor some of the food for today's event.

It is great to see so many schools represented here today.  It is was also good to hear about the work promoting fairtrade in Morgan Academy in particular. 

I want to thank you for taking the time to come here today.  To thank you for showing that you care about the way people are treated. 


Call for action over problem gambling

I am calling for firm action against the proliferation gambling shops in Dundee and for strong action to help those people in Dundee who have problems with gambling.

Far too many people have problems with gambling these days and action needs to be taken to alleviate these problems. I think that Dundee City Council needs to take action to ensure that people with gambling problems receive support which will assist them in overcoming their problems.

There is a need to revisit the legislation around gambling. In recent years we have seen a proliferation of betting shops and a wider range of things that can be gambled on. I am very concerned about the longer and longer opening hours of betting shops and the way in which this has led to people betting money which they can ill afford. I am particularly worried about gambling machines in bookmakers shops where it is possible to lose large amounts of money in a very short space of time. Greater regulation of these machines is needed.

It seems to me that when I watch television these days that every other advert is for gambling. These adverts need to be regulated in a more effective way than they are now. Big businesses are profiting from the money of some of the poorest people in our society and there is a need for more regulation. It is wrong for some to profit from the misery of others.

I don't want to stop people having an occasional flutter on the horses or whatever but we need to recognise the misery that problem gambling can cause in our society. I want to make sure that our shopping centres are vibrant but I do wonder about the number of bookies shops in some areas and I would say that there is a strong argument that planning or licensing legislation should be used to make over-provision an issue that could be used to prevent the on-going proliferation of bookies shops on some of our High Streets.