WestFest - Please help

I'm calling for support for WestFest and want to pay tribute to those volunteers who have made the event possible over the last few years.


Like many other people who live in the West End I have enjoyed WestFest over the years. It has grown considerably since I helped organise meetings to look at the possibility of an event in the summer.


I was sorry to hear that the event is under threat. I would urge as many people as possible to go along to the AGM and volunteer. I would want to pay tribute to those committee members who have played a crucial role over the years in making WestFest the success it has become.

The AGM takes place on Thursday 24th September at 7pm in Blackness Library, please go along if you can or get in touch with the committee if you can't make it but would want to help.

I have enjoyed WestFest from the start and it also allowed me and a few hundred others to briefly become world record holders for taking part in the world's largest piggyback race.  You can see this historic occasion in the video above, you can spot me and my daughter at about 45 seconds!


I will be contacting the council to see what further support they could offer to WestFest. I would also appeal to local businesses to consider offering sponsorship which might help WestFest to continue.

If WestFest doesn't go ahead local people will miss the chance to soak their local councillors


Refugees Welcome

I know that many, many people have been moved by the plight of refugees which has become increasingly clear over the last few days.  Many people in Dundee have been looking for ways to take practical actions to assist refugees. 

On Friday evening I attended a vigil organised at short notice which made the point that 'Dundee Welcomes Refugees'.  I am acutely aware that there are many problems facing people in Dundee and that we need to focus on them.  Dundee, however, does have a strong track-record of welcoming refugees and other immigrants.  The history of our city is a history of immigration, and it is true to say that many people  over the years have sought refuge in Dundee and have received a welcome.

I was surprised to be asked to speak and made a brief contribution, you can watch a video of the vigil here.  My main point was that I am sure that across the council there is support for offering a welcome to refugees but that people should contact their own councillors to tell them that they think that action should be taken.

It is important to recognise the human dignity of each and every individual human being and this means that we cannot ignore the plight of those who are fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East (and elsewhere).  It has been good to see the UK and Scottish Governments eventually agree to work to welcome refugees.  I have asked Dundee City Council officials about the response that the council can give.  The early indications are that the council will be able to offer some help and the Scottish Government appears to be looking for ways of helping to fund this.

I am clear that we should be working for an international situation which does not lead to the creation of refugees.  How this happens is very difficult to tell but we must work towards it.  An international situation where justice and peace are the watchwords would go a long way to preventing refugee situations arising.

A few years ago in a previous job, I was partly responsible for writing the policy of Justice & Peace Scotland with regard to refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants, and while this is document is motivated from a Christian viewpoint it does represent my views and I think still has something to say to everyone no matter what they believe.

Finally, I would say that I agree with the conclusion of the Courier's editorial on Monday 7 September

'Now is not the time for posturing and point scoring.
Now is the time for action to help those in need.'