Aileen Colleran’s Blog

Partick, Politics and Passions

Partick West News 17/11/07 – 24/11/07

A hectic couple of weeks – starting with the first national fire service conference in Crieff and one of the most telling contributions in one of the plenary sessions was from a councillor who was very anxious about fulfilling his responsibilities as convenor of the regional fire board when he’d just got elected. When journalists and pundits ask me about the post PR scenario in local government, I suspect they’re expecting a moan about how awful it is that there are fewer Labour councillors in Scotland – the reality is the biggest challenge is the number of new councillors, irrespective of party affiliation – it’s good to have an injection of fresh talent (as it were) but the massive turnover in personnel has to have an impact as decades of experience walked out the door in May 2007. I’m considered a senior councillor and I’ve only been in 8 years, and was glad of a few years to concentrate on the ward, before city-wide responsibilities kicked in. What happens when elected members are inexperienced is a council becomes officer led , which can be risk averse, lacking in policy/political direction – add in coalition politics and it could be a recipie for organisational chaos..

Attended the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Glasgow and Amathole (from the Eastern Cape of South Africa) – a piece of work that Irene Graham, former councillor for Victoria Park was instrumental in setting up. Our international strategy looks set to be focussed more on the Commonwealth countries, and given our historic and totemic links with South Africa (first city to award Nelson Mandela the freedom of a city) , that’s only right and proper. Chaired another meeting of LAACTSA (Local Authorities Action for Southern Africa) , and discussed how councils can organise celebrations/educational events to celebrate Mandela’s 90th birthday next year ( Fair Friday !)

Saturday surgeries going well, although as with last month I meet as many people in the street or in the library or community centres as in the formal setting. Partick festive lights switch on went smoothly with the best weather we’ve ever had, the burning of the bogeyman in Mansfield Park went off without a hitch (although my coat will definetly have to go into the dry cleaners) and the Partick Folk Festival goes from strength to strength (thanks to Mick, Irene, Jane and all the artists).

A postscript about the Fire and Rescue Service – this week was able to observe how valuable their service is as they respond well even to minor demands/emergencies – coming out to cut the chain on a bicycle when the owner was unable to unlock it as the lock had jammed and he was up to high doh about leaving it overnight in the Merchant City – to coin a phrase, every little helps… Also , I can genuinely say that my cat wouldn’t be alive today it wasn’t for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue (oh, no, have done the dreaded mention of my cat on my blog, something I swore I was never, ever going to do !)

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November 27, 2007 - Posted by | Fire Service, Partick, South Africa

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