Wednesday, 24 June 2009

I am part of they

Child protection services in Dundee have just received a fairly damning inspection report, against a backdrop of a recent high profile case of a child dying at the hands of his mother's drug using partner. I'm not going to comment on any of the details.

However, I was intrigued by the response from a long standing councillor. Rather than simply saying, "It wisnae me!", he expressed a more balanced view. He looked at himself and accepted his share of responsibility. Effectively, he was saying "I am part of they". You can find the newspaper story here, but I particularly liked - and respected - the following comments:

“I’m an elected member with 46 years’ standing. In all that time I have never had such a damning report put before me.

“I’m duty-bound to ask, what was my role in this?

“I feel more than a little ashamed as a member of the authority when this report is before us.

“Where did the failure occur? Were we alerted early enough?

I wish that more of our politicians were like this - sadly very few of them are.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Earth is a miracle.
Life remains a mystery.

From HOME by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Monday, 8 June 2009

Making sense of election results

... I can't (make sense of election results that is!)

We voted in the European Parliamentary Elections on Thursday, with the results announced today. Well, I say we voted - actually less than 30% of the electorate voted in Scotland. I should know better, but I still find this shocking. The turnout in elections here is dismal, with the European elections typically very low. Why do people choose not to vote?

Equally shocking is the election of two MEPs from the British National Party. I find their far-right policies repugnant, and their tactics dubious. I feel offended and embarrased that they were elected from my country. Yet, if people turn out to vote for them, can I really complain?

I can't have it both ways.

So will this shock people into casting their votes the next time around, to ensure that dodgy fringe parties are not elected - I doubt it very much. And maybe that's the greatest tragedy of all, that we seem to no longer care who represents us.

I can't make any sense of that!

Sunday, 7 June 2009


Yann Arthus-Bertrand has produced a film called 'Home' highlighting the beauty and frailty of our planet. His purpose is to draw attention to the depletion of the Earth's resources and the need for all of us to act to sustain it. The images are beautiful, the message is important. Quoting the blurb:

HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.

You can watch Home (approx 90 minutes) free on YouTube until 14 June 2009 - please take a look at it, even if you don't watch all of it.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Low tide

We visited the in-laws at the weekend. When we arrived I popped down to the harbour to take some photos. I was surprised to see the skeleton of 'Miller's' boat shed. I knew that they had ceased trading some time ago, but the removal was unexpected.

When I went back up to the house, we had a chat about it, and it was clear that Fish Granny and Granda had quite deep emotions about the loss of this building. Fish Granda started to work there when he left school, and the boat building business was able to thrive when the fishing industry was more vibrant in that part of the world.

On reflection, I understand the poignancy associated with the loss of this building that in many ways has served to symbolise the traditions of the village.

Some people are happy to see it removed - it will improve their outlook - and realistically no-one would want the building to fall into disrepair or become an eyesore.

All of this got me thinking about what things - places, people, memories - am I emotionally attached to and unwilling to let go. Probably, more than I care to admit!