Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pigeon Removal Policy

The Tale of the Holyrood Pigeon is just pure class. A pigeon has made its nest on the Holyrood Parliament. Don't worry, though. The situation is clearly under control. Someone has actually gone to the bother of writing a Pigeon Removal Policy for the building. For the tidy sum of £250, someone will come and remove it to a wildlife sanctuary. It's a flying rat, for goodness sake.

Margo MacDonald has offered to wring its neck for nothing. While I would not endorse such violence, I do wonder at our sense of perspective, sometimes.

Award for most bonkers idea of the day goes to Bruce McPhee MSP who was talking about shooting it. I'm not convinced that taking a rifle anywhere near the Parliament building is a wise course of action in these security conscious days.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why not a Scot?

There are so many reasons why Labour are not fit to govern the country. Let's not forget that for every expensive disaster, whether it be ID cards, illegal wars or money wasted on an inefficient tax credit system which causes so much pain for so many people - one Gordon Brown signed the cheques.

There are many valid reasons why he should not be PM, but the one which seems to be making the most headlines is because he's a Scot. What utter nonsense. The PM covers the whole of the UK, not just England. Why on earth should'nt he or she come from Scotland, Wales or Ireland. It's like saying the President of the US couldn't come from Arkansas 'cos it's a little state.

Even 7 years after devolution, supposedly intelligent politicians and journalists still fail to understand what it means - despite the obvious successes in Scotland.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Labour's Answer to Anti Social Behaviour

Andy Kerr, Scottish Health Minister has said that the tonic wine Buckfast is a "seriously bad" cause of antisocial behaviour. This naivety fills me with horror. If you take his comments to their logical conclusion, all we have to do to have a nation of happy, respectful, responsible
people is to ban Buckfast. It's the sort of scapegoating we are used to from Labour - anything to avoid looking at the root causes of a problem.

The availability of cheap alcohol is a worry - but why blame one drink when you can get a half bottle of vodka in the supermarket for less than £4.

The whole issue of anti social behaviour is incredibly complex and anyone who thinks there is going to be a quick and easy fix is kidding themselves. Part of the problem, I feel, is the culture in which we raise our children. They need a strong attachment very early on or, as scientific research is now telling us quite strongly, their brains are flooded with the stress hormone, Cortisol. This can hamper the development of the part of the brain which deals with social and emotional skills. Our parenting culture is geared to teaching children to be independent at unrealistically early ages, and encourages parents not to respond to their early needs for close contact and emotional security. It stands to reason that if we don't do this, many children will not be able to fulfil their true potential. With one in five of us suffering depression at some stage of our lives, and mental health problems generally on the increase, isn't it time to look at ways of ensuring that our children are given the best start in life.

One of my favourite books is called Why Love Matters, How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain by Sue Gerhardt. The Guardian's review of this book stated that it should be required reading for every politician.

I can just see some of you thinking that I'm advocating creepy New Labour like parenting classes. No, but there needs to be some way of getting the information about this research out there so that parents can consider it when making their parenting decisions. There are plenty books out there advocating various unpleasant regime orientated parenting methods - it's time to redress that balance.

I'm not stupid enough to think this is the whole answer, but it's something we have to consider before another generation is damaged.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Best Speeches of Conference

Well, I'll be honest, I haven't managed to watch every single hour of Conference, but out of the bit I've seen, here are the speeches I thought were good.

The one which impressed me most was by probably the furthest travelled conference rep. Dominique Rommel from Shetland eloquently spelled out the realities of life in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland where a 4 x 4 is a necessity in the battle against the vicious Winters. If you have any doubt as to the veracity of her comments, I can only suggest that you plan to spend November to March on the Scottish Island of your choice.

In That Tax Debate Paul Holmes to my surprise supported The Leadership with the quality of speech that almost changed my mind about the proposals.

Arnie Gibbons was sound as ever and I loved his comment, quoted on the BBC website, that "we don't have many populist policies. Why ditch one of the few good ones?"

I would have loved to have written a glowing account of the Scottish Presentation. I had set the video to tape it from BBC Parliament, but, unfortunately, my daughter, who was on holiday from school, changed the channel and I got 6 hours of Discovery Kids instead.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Saturday Afternoon Panto

While friends and colleagues gathered in Brighton for Party Conference, I went to my first ever football match on Saturday afternoon. I have struggled to see the point of football, but my heart does belong to Inverness and the Inverness Caledonian Thistle stadium is in such a beautiful spot, just next to the Kessock Bridge.

The weather was absolutely glorious and we were basking in the sort of untypical September heat that makes you really worry about global warming, especially in the light of the predictions late last week.

Anyway, I expected to hear two hours worth of shouting and singing, a bit like the Glee Club at Party Conference only more sober, but was shocked at the reserve of the Caley Fans. A quarter of a stand full of Dundee Utd fans made much more noise than 3000 locals. My brother in law did try to make up for it but he was one of a few lone voices. He is one of the loveliest people in the world and he makes my sister very happy, but it was a bit of Dr Jekyll and Mr Ned. After he'd used both the f and the c words I did turn to him and say that he didn't need to restrain himself just because I was there:-)

There was a bit of needle to the match as this was the Dundee Utd Player Manager's first trip to Caley since he'd deserted them in January. We thought at half time that it would be fun if he put himself on the field for the second half in the hope of provoking some emotion from the Caley fans. Sure enough there was a lot of booing and hissing. As Davina would say, it was all a bit panto.

The football itself was unspectacular - a goalless draw, after Caley's goal was disallowed for offside. There was a bit too much diving after the ball was long gone from certain Dundee Utd players and more pushing and shoving than I would have thought it was possible to get away with.

Would I go again? Probably, 'cos it was a relaxing way of spending a Saturday afternoon with friends and family - but I'd quite like to see other teams to see fans really getting behind thetir teams and spurring them on to victory.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, Paul

I never knew my friend Paul's birthday was today. I first discovered 5 years ago, so I will never forget it.

Happy Birthday Paul.

As well as being overcome with the horror of the events of 9/11 - thinking of the families which were torn apart by the events, I remember being gripped by fear of what George W would do to avenge the attacks.

The subsequent actions of Bush and Blair have hardly made the world safer, and in fact the bloodshed caused by their failure to sort out Israel and Palestine has worsened the international situation.

We need a Jed Bartlet to sort the world out, but there doesn't seem to be anyone out there capable of fulfilling that role.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Annie Souter

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the death of my wonderful Granny, Annie Souter. She was the most patient, gentle and kind lady. I spent such a lot of time with her as a young child. I have no idea how she coped with having to look after a toddler at the age of nearly seventy when she lived at the top of a block of flats with no lift and treacherous stairs, but she never gave me any indication that having me around was anything less than a total pleasure.

She was fun to be around. She spent so much time reading stories to me and giving me lots of things (like bubble gum and Mandy and Judy comics) that I wasn't allowed at home. She loved her cups of tea, served in china cups, made in a metal teapot. She would so disapprove of the way I nonchalantly steep my Earl Grey teabag in a mug. She loved her tea with the kind of passion I reserve for red wine and dark chocolate. If she ever thought there was going to be a tea or sugar shortage she would fill her cupboards, probably causing the shortage. But then she had lived through two world wars, so she knew about scarcity.

Her unconditional love and gentle nurturing did me untold good and I will never forget her.


Welcome to my new blog.

This will be an occasional indulgence where I hope to share my thoughts on all sorts of random things, whether they be on family life or world events.

I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Caron Lindsay and I am an active Liberal Democrat in Scotland.

The next year is probably the most exciting one yet for our party as we approach the third elections to the Scottish Parliament as well as Council elections, being held for the first time under proportional representation. This was part of the 2003 Partnership Agreement with the Labour Party at the instigation of the Liberal Democrats and will free up many parts of Scotland from the neglectful and contemptuous grip of the Labour Party.

So, there is an exciting 8 months ahead. Election campaigns are a bit like giving birth - as soon as they're over, you forget the bad bits - the lack of sleep, the pain of not seeing enough of the family for months on end, the pressure of trying to meet deadlines, making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time, being a shoulder to cry on when it gets too much for your colleagues, the emotional and physical rollercoaster that is coping with the day to day traumas of a national election. Afterwards, you only remember the adrenalin highs, the team spirit, the sheer fun of it all, as well as the reward at the end.

Feel free to join in - I want this to be a blog where everyone feels comfortable to share their views and has respect for their fellow participants.



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