23 Jan 2009

Paisely Daily Express article 21 January '09

Paisley Daily Express Article 21 Jan 09

Electric Shock Training

Some people think the way to train a dog is to inflict pain on it.

Gratuitous cruelty to animals is a crime and rightly so.

But for some reason inflicting pain on a dog by means of an electric shock collar is not a crime.

Animal welfare organisations have been campaigning hard to have these collars banned.

They point out there are other effective ways of training a dog without giving it a painful electric shock.

So it was disappointing and baffling to find that SNP Ministers had decided not to outlaw electric shock collars.

Just why Ministers took this decision I do not know.

I hope animal lovers everywhere will lobby all MSP's to help put pressure on the SNP to have a change of heart.

If you want copies of my petition to ban the use of this cruel device, call my office on 0141 848 7361.

End of an Era

Next Saturday marks the start of a new era for St. Mirren.

The club's association with Love Street was a long one and the move is a range for many people
I saw a number of people in tears at the last home match against Motherwell.

Many have fond memories of the old ground.

I remember as a boy cadging a lift in the Red Cross van from Erskine Hospital with half a crown for entry in my pocket.

But times move on.

The deal to move was just too good to turn down and the club has a fantastic new home.

The board has done a great job, ensuring St. Mirren is one of the best run clubs in the country.

And of course the team is also doing a fantastic job, battling hard in a very competitive group in the lower half of the SPL.

I wish everyone associated with St. Mirren the best of luck for a successful future in their new stadium.

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Violence against workers

The Paisley Daily Express has printed a number of stories about my campaigns with trade unions to highlight assaults on workers.

In particular transport workers and shop workers can be vulnerable to attack by violent and aggressive members of the public.

It is wrong that those who provide a service for the public should be exposed to such danger.

That's why I intend to introduce a Bill in the Scottish Parliament to give better legal protection to those who face violence at work.

We have already given extra protection to emergency workers.

Now it's time to protect other workers who serve the public.

Banking Crisis

We were constantly told that the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Bank of Scotland were shining examples to the rest of the world.

Apparently the success of these Scottish institutions was proof that such Scottish entrepreneurship could guarantee the success of independence.

And we were told that these private sector "success" stories were proof of how much better the private sector could perform compared to publicly owned organisations.

How wrong were we?

Not only were the bankers ripping us off while paying themselves huge bonuses, but they were also putting the whole economy and our well-being at risk.

The casualties are mounting up and as ever it is ordinary folk who are bearing the brunt.

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are working flat out to combat the worst effects of this crisis.

Yet another financial package has been announced this time to encourage banks to lend to individuals and businesses.

We (the public) now effectively own the major banks.

Why don't we go the whole hog and take them into public ownership with proper scrutiny and accountability.

And if there is any money to be made, it should benefit the public, not the greedy bankers who caused the problem.

Worst funded Council in Scotland

For the second year in a row, Renfrewshire Council is the worst funded council in Scotland.

That's right.

Alex Salmond and the SNP ministers have rewarded our local SNP run council with the lowest financial settlement for any council in the country.

And what have SNP councillors locally had to say about this?

Not a word.

They are too busy cutting services and criticising everyone else, but they have nothing to say about Alex Salmond.

It's time for councillors of ALL parties to come together to demand Alex Salmond thinks again and gives Renfrewshire Council more money.