3 Dec 2012

Paisley Daily Express - 3 December 2012

Who’s not standing up for Renfrewshire?
I was interested to read comments by Derek Mackay in the Paisley Daily Express where he stated that he thinks Renfrewshire Council is receiving a "very good settlement" from Alex Salmond's Government. Well, let’s leave aside the fact that Councils across Scotland are facing a higher cut from the SNP than the cut in the Scottish budget from Westminster. And let’s leave aside the fact that since the SNP came to power education has consistently been cut and services to the sick, the disabled and the vulnerable are being slashed. Let’s also leave aside the fact that MSPs like Derek Mackay and me have gained financially at the expense of the poor. Let’s instead ask why Derek Mackay is Alex Salmond’s stooge in Renfrewshire, rather than Renfrewshire’s champion in the Scottish Government. For the last few years Renfrewshire has been down at the bottom of the league table when it comes to dishing out Government money. Rather than standing up for Renfrewshire, Derek Mackay is more interested in protecting Alex Salmond than local people here in Renfrewshire.

Panto Time
If you love a Panto you can find an excellent show right here on your doorstep. The Johnstone Phoenix Theatre Group – a troop of local talented thespians - is treading the boards with the fairy tale classic Pinocchio. It’s extra special this time round as the group is celebrating its 50th anniversary and will perform for the last time ever at Johnstone Town Hall. I’m sure it will be an emotional time for all the members who will, as always, put on a brilliant show. Tickets for Pinocchio, which runs until Saturday, are great value at just £12 and £10 so I recommend you book up by calling 07748 827727.

BB going strong

Hugh Henry MSP (left) and Neil Bibby MSP (right)
with BB member in the Scottish Parliament

It was good to meet up with members of the Boys’ Brigade when they staged a week-long exhibition at the Scottish Parliament and to hear that the organisation is growing despite facing an uphill struggle sometimes to get the message out there.

The BB works hard to give children and young people the chance to take part in a range of fun and developmental activities as well as striving to empower members by involving them in decision making at all ages. My colleague Neil Bibby and I were impressed with the organisation’s impact in communities throughout the country. If you would like to join the BB – and follow in the footsteps of such people as Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish or even Oor Wullie - visit scotland.boys-brigade.org.

Little Bookbugs
I was pleased to learn that every primary 1 pupil in Linwood was presented with a Bookbug gift pack as part of Book Week Scotland which ended yesterday. Staff from the library were out and about visiting local schools handing out the gifts as well as joining packs in a bid to encourage children to pop into the library and get into the habit of reading at an early age. I’m a bit of a bookbug myself and so are my children and their children. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a good book.