Sunday, March 25, 2007

Vince Cable on Strictly?

Thanks to Louise for pointing me in the direction of an Independent interview in which Vince Cable of all people says he'd love to do Strictly Come Dancing and put Craig Revel Horwood in his place. Now, much as I love Vince, mainly for coming to the Livingston by-election, working like a Trojan and being generally fabulous, I have to say that my money would be on Craig. I really don't think Vince could compete with the master of the put down and Craig is just that tiny bit better looking.

Unfortunately Vince can dance already which probably means he wouldn't be eligible for it, but I was trying to work out what dancer he should be partnered with. Karen Hardy's partnership with another quiet unassuming 50 something with a wicked sense of humour (Bill Turnbull) was legendary and I could just see her with Vince. Or of course Miss Whiplash herself, Erin Boag.......... So far she's had 3 sportsmen and Julian Clary. I wonder what she'd make of a politician. I'm exempting Camilla Dallerup because I want her to win this year if Anton doesn't:-)

Seriously, though, after Julia Goldsworthy's excellent run in The Games, I'd love to see one of our lot do Strictly, especially one of the Scots so I could badger them for tickets:0)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sister Alert

I discovered earlier tonight that my sister reads this blog. I have no idea how on earth she found it, but, Honor, welcome to my world. And remember that if you were a nurse in England, you would have had to wait until October to get your pay rise in full............ Now what's the difference between the Government in England and the Scottish Executive?

She tells me that she would have commented on here before now if she had known she could have done so anonymously. So from now on, she will get the blame for every anonymous comment.

So, will I change what I write now I know she's reading it?



Last night we had our last pre-election night out, to Singalonga Sound of Music in Edinburgh. It was absolutely fabulous, although I had been somewhat worried by my daughter's insistence that, rather than put on her readily available cat costume, she would go as a wild goose flying high with the moon on her wings. With the help of Debbie at work, and with Elspeth's inspiration, we managed to create a sweet costume.

I had never been before and had rather stupidly assumed that we would simply watch the film and sing along. In fact, there was an hour's entertainment before the film even came on - lots of singing, learning the actions to Doe a Deer, discovering what parts of our goodie bags to wave at what point in the film.

I have never seen so many nuns under one roof in my life but I was slightly bemused to see what looked like a chapter of the Klu Klux Klan out and about. It turned out that they were a mountain range with snowy peaks. Anna and Elspeth (a very fetching girl in a white dress with a blue satin sash) went up on stage but, incredibly, didn't win anything. Some of the costumes were inspired - someone in full Orthodox Jewish garb saying they were "adieu, adieu, adieu" from the song the "Clock in the Hall"

The showing of the film was pure panto - cheers for Maria, hisses for the Baronness, boos for the Nazis, but by 11.30 when it finished we were all exhausted. Not good on a school, let alone a work's night, but well worth the consequences today.

I must have watched the film millions of times, but never on the big screen. It was truly spectacular and great fun - and probably more effective than any anti-depressant:-)

It definitely raised the spirits - now I'm looking for Singalonga Abba...........

Tabloid Trouble

The local SNP has been putting out a tabloid newspaper where I live. My first thought is that whoever designed it needs to go to Desk Top Publishing School. Two extremely unflattering mugshots in the front page doesn't necessarily pass the "Bin Test" - being able to grab the reader's attention in the time it takes from doorstep to bin. I only read it because I have to and I can't imagine it inspiring anyone else. I guess they may have been relying on the fact that it takes longer to get to the recycling bin these days, but even so.............

I was also particularly bemused by an unfunny caricature of one of the local Labour councillors, who just happens to be significantly higher up the food chain than most Labour politicians I've come across in my time.

I would also have been spitting furious if my daughter had appeared in another political party's newspaper simply by taking part in an event in her school. I hope they had the permission of every single parent of every single child to publish that photo.....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I have suffered a grade 1 assault on my emotions in the run-up to Mother's Day. First came the Brownies Posh Pink Party on Wednesday. Mums were invited along and served with juice, cake, songs and poems from our talented daughters.

On Friday, Anna's school held a Mother's Day assembly where the staff were handing out tissues at the door. Before the children had even come into the hall, we were treated to Westlife songs coupled with heart with loving messages on each chair and a display with sweet quotes about motherhood.

The tears really did start to flow when the children started reading. Anna's reading was "I can't put into words how much you mean to me, how much I admire you and how much I appreciate the things you do for me." Some of my so-called friends say that it should be Bob who was there given my frequent absence on election preparation at the moment, and they are probably right - but he'll get his turn come Father's Day:-)

This morning was very sweet - Anna had made me some wonderful cards which brought a tear to my eye and gave me 3 presents - The Queen on dvd, which I am just about to go and watch, a CD called "Me Time" - 2 weeks from an election campaign, not very likely, but I can listen to it in May, maybe, and a box of chocolates from Plaisir du Chocolat. The Prune and Armagnac ones are particularly heavenly.

This was all very lovely, but it's Anna who deserves the praise today. I could never do anything in my life which even comes close to the joy she gives me every single day. I always think that every phase she goes through is the cutest ever and she couldn't get any better, but she always does.

A special thought today to Dani and Siobhan - this is really your first Mother's Day, so enjoy it as you prepare for the arrival of your babies later this year.

What does half a million buy?

So, Brian Souter has decided to give half a million to the SNP. His last major financial contribution in the political arena came with his homophobic Keep the Clause campaign seven years ago.

Certainly it's up to him who he gives his money to. What worries me is that the SNP does not have any clear philosophy which respects the rights of the individual and they are accepting money from someone who does not support the rights of same sex partners to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples. What might this mean for future legislation? Already we have seen the SNP support exemptions for Catholic adoption agencies to allow them to turn away gay couples, regardless of what is best for the child.

Can we trust them to protect hard-won recognition for same sex partnerships?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Celebrity Fame Academy

So I've been indulging in some Sunday night reality tv. Not good, but just what I need at this moment. It's quite scary how attractive I find both Richard Park and Craig Revel Horwood (but not Patrick Kielty under any circumstances) no matter how much rubbish they talk. Mel Giedroyc was fantastic, so was Tara P-T. Tricia Penrose was slated by the judges for no good reason other than the fact that her stylist should be shot. Ray Stubbs, like football, hugely over-rated. Fred Macauley will probably get my patriotic vote and Shaun Williamson did the business but I don't want him to win. Colin Murray has the lovely Irish accent but he can't sing for toffee.

I don't actually care that much, but this brings a pleasant interlude, for a good cause, to a stressed pre election Sunday.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Congratulations to Ed and Dani

I was delighted to get a message from Ed Maxfield this morning directing me to the news on his and Dani's website.

It's great that they are going to be welcoming a little Maxfield in September. Let's hope he or she will be a good playmate for Baby Dundas at conferences in the future.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Scottish Tory Party Conference Broadcast

Tonight's Scottish Tory broadcast should go down in history as one of the worst ever. I wish I had a copy so I could post it to show how dire it was. It almost makes Rosie Barnes and her rabbits look good. Cheap and irrelevant.

All it basically showed is that the Tories have no ideas and are worth ignoring. It makes you think David Mundell had a point.

Compare and contrast with the professional and positive Lib Dem effort posted here. And, no, I'm not just saying that cos I'm in it.

Rail Strike Mayhem

Typically, the only day in ages I needed to use the rail network was yesterday when the signallers were on strike. There was still a reduced service between home and Edinburgh which meant we were not put to too much inconvenience.

Others weren't so lucky as there were no trains beyond Stirling.

I always like to look into the circumstances of these disputes and look at the behaviour of the participants. What I like to see is genuine negotiation and continued attempts to resolve the situation.

I was disappointed to see that the RMT had refused to go to conciliation. What can they possibly lose by sitting round a table?

However, I was truly horrified by a quote from the Union which included the phrase "Network Rail have been drafting in scab managers". I have always felt sorry for the way strikebreakers across the history of disputes have been villified. I guess it's the Liberal in me, valuing the rights of the individual. If a Union has a good case it will win the hearts and minds of its members. That doesn't apply in this case, but the use of the word scab is offensive and inflammatory and it should be sent to Room 101 immediately.

You don't see industrial unrest in organisations where employees are valued and where there is a healthy, positive culture. Large public sector monoliths are havens for bullying, archaic, ineffective management styles and general discontent. Both management and workforce should put their minds to improving the culture of their organisation and start behaving like adults in the way they resolve disputes.

Public name calling is a turn off - stop doing it and sort your issues out. I certainly couldn't afford to lose 6 days' income in a month - it must be a nightmare for the union members out on strike. I don't think that unions always serve their members' interests well and it's time they committed themselves to finding a speedy, satisfactory resolution.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Raining on our Parade

Norfolk Blogger thinks he can rain on our parade by pointing out that lunar eclipses happen really, really often. However, this is the first one we've enjoyed as a family and got excited about. It's also supposed to be the best in years. It may never happen again like this for us. So we're enjoying it. So there:-)


Well it should be by now but there's still a white edge to the moon. What's strange is that we're the only family out viewing this. Or maybe we're strange............

Have just remembered I haven't had any dinner. Lovely Oohla's Dunfermline burger at lunchtime has left me satisfied until now.

The First Bit of Orange

In amongst the pearly white of the little bit of moon still visible, there's the shadow and a definite bit of orange round the edges.

Daughter is out there with clothes, dressing gown, fleece and blanket.

Husband still in t-shirt.

But he's making hot chocolate for all.

The moon is starting to disappear

It looks so much better through the binoculars. The camera doesn't pick up the half of it.

Darned technology

It looks fab. But when we try to take a photo on full zoom - no luck, and we can't find the shiny new camera we bought when we went to Mallorca at Christmas.

Climate Change action needed

He says it's 'cos of global warming. I disagree. The front door is open and it's bloomin' (this is a family blog) freezin'

Mad Husband

Can you believe it? It's early March, after dark, and my husband is outside in his t-shirt looking at the eclipse. Not good.

Lunar Eclipse - Live

Have gone to look for myself. It's not cloud. It's the start of the eclipse. Wow.

Lunar Eclipse Disaster

I can't believe how excited I am about the forthcoming lunar eclipse. Only half an hour to go.

Typically, a cloud has just started to pass before the moon where we are.......................

That Trident Vote

I was absolutely heartsick when I heard the result of the Trident vote. Only 40 votes in it and I wasn't there. If I had known the strength of feeling in the party at large was so close, I would have gone. It wasn't just the result - the quality of the debate was utterly magnificent and the atmosphere must have been incredible.

It does take guts for a leader, staring defeat in the face, to take to the rostrum and speak for his cause. He took a risk - if the vote had gone the other way we would have had a procession of sombre faced journalists in best obituary writing mode. I suspect he made the difference, but he made it well so I can't feel annoyed with him, however hard I try.

There is every possibility that, when the time comes, the party could still decide that the international situation warrants unilateral nuclear disarmament. These weapons are aimed entirely at civilians so my position is that having them at all is wrong. However, this doesn't set me at odds with my party.

The vote that matters in weeks to come is the one in the House of Commons later this month. Whatever side of the debate we were on today, we would all vote against the Labour Government's ludicrous position - to nip down to Bombs R Us and get whatever's on offer.

Ming - One Year On

This weekend's conference in Harrogate marks the first anniversary of Ming Campbell's election as leader of the Liberal Democrats. It's no great secret that I did not support his campaign, but I have been pleasantly surprised by his first year in office.

I think he compares well to Blair, Brown and Cameron. Cameron is just Blair Mark 2 and there's no evidence that the public has any great regard for him. Brown signed the cheques for the war in Iraq and is just as culpable for Labour's failings as Blair. Ming, on the other hand, brings authority, consistency and an unwavering Liberal approach. I would sleep a lot easier in my bed if Ming were making the decisions on global and internal security and justice. I like also the change in emphasis on taxation - the Green Tax Switch.

Within the party, he has made some incredibly sensible appointments. There also appears to be a less combative approach towards the grassroots of the Party - some previous leaders' offices have tended to treat the activists as a minor inconvenience, and this is definitely not the case with Ming's team. He is also giving significant time and effort into encouraging greater diversity amongst our candidates.

In Scotland, Ming and Nicol complement each other very well. Ming has the expertise to restore our global standing and to work towards a more peaceful world, while Nicol's passion for the environment and giving young people all they need to fulfil their potential is exactly what Scotland needs at the moment. They also seem to like each other, and talk to each other sometimes in contrast to Blair and McConnell and there's not much evidence that David Cameron knows who Annabel Goldie is.


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