New Year Honours 2017

As is customary at this time of year Her Majesty The Queen has announced who she will be granting honours to in the New Years Honours List.


Predatory sex offender Jimmy Savile was Knighted by HM The Queen.

1,197 people are being awarded honours such as the Queens Police Medal or are being admitted to the Order of the British Empire.

I really am of two minds on the current honours system.

On one hand it is a valuable & respected way to recognise those who have shown outstanding & longstanding commitment to their profession, community or country. And I think that is something which should be recognised.

But on the other hand it does seem rather archaic to award honours referring to our British Empire.

As someone who spent some time living in the Borders town of Galashiels, I was pleased to see that well known, well loved & well respected Ice Cream man Adam Kelly (aged 94) gets some recognition in this years list.

We need an honours system that is fit for purpose, fit for the future and rewarding the right people for the right things throughout the UK.

I hope to add to the discussions already taking place around the UK honours system by making this blog post and starting a petition asking for Royal Commission to be established to consider the future of UK honours.


Poileas Alba

Click  to view the Gaelic Language Action Plan

Police Scotland under the leadership of Chief Constable Philip Gormley & Andrew Glanagan, Chairman of the Scottish Police Authority have this week unveiled their Gaelic Language Action Plan.

This will result in Police vehicles (including helicopters), uniforms, leaflets and Police Station signs all being re-branded to include the Gaelic language.

Most Gaelic speakers reside in the Highlands & Islands region but there are Gaelic speakers throughout Scotland.



Scrap the re-branding and focus on important front line Police duties like preventing & detecting crime.


My main concern about this whole affair is that in recent weeks Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the SNP Scottish Government have all been complaining about their finances (or lack of), this BBC article provides a good summary, yet they are able to fund this re-branding.

I could ofcourse understand the re-branding if it was really needed but I have two points to make;

  • How many people in Scotland speak Gaelic but not English? In the 2011 census we are informed that 57,602 people in Scotland speak both English and Gaelic.  Sadly, it doesn’t tell us how many people speak Gaelic but not English.  What we do know however is that in  the 1977 census only 477 people spoke Gaelic only and that was an ever decreasing figure. And I’m sure only would agree that 477 out of a population of over 5 million is a pretty small percentage.  One must seriously wonder if its worth the cost.
  • If we re-branding public bodies such as Police Scotland to a language such as Gealic, what other languages should we using as part of the re-branding?  I strongly suspect there are more people in the country who don’t understand English but speak other languages.

Another key element of their action plan is to have more of their officers speaking Gaelic, it’s always handy to bi-lingual but in times of such austerity, is it money well spent.

Could this re-branding cash be better spent on providing more front line officers? Or ensuring that officers have the tools they need as reported by the Scotsman in this article.

The full Gaelic Language Plan can be found here.

My continuing thanks to all the front line Police Officers working hard to make Scotland a safer place, and special mention to all those Officers who have been working over the festive period.

Community Links Fund launch

I am extremely proud to have been elected to represent my community on Leith Links Community Council and I’m even prouder to say that we are a very active Community Council. We are not just a talking shop. We are an active body working hard to improve our community through direct action.clf1

Finally, the time came to officially launch our Community Links Fund, our participatory budgeting funding process funded by the Scottish Government.

To be leading on this project with another equally passionate Community Councillor is such an honour. We are the only Community Council in Edinburgh to get funding to do this project, so it just shows that our hard work has paid off.

The event launch was a fairly quiet affair but those who did attend were very well connected with groups & individuals across our area.

I really cannot wait to see what projects get put forward by the community.



Food Bank collection

As an administrator of the I Love Leith Facebook Group, which currently has over 5000 members, I wondered if we could put our collective purses together to help those in need.img_0231

Leith and our group has a strong history of supporting those in need and I thought Christmas 2016 would be a good chance to do something good.

Edinburgh North East Foodbank runs local food banks throughout our area, so I thought why not raise £200 to help them out.  We eventually raised £600, with that to be split 50/50 between groceries and toiletries. We used Justgiving as our online crowdfunding platform.

Members of the I Love Leith Facebook Group did themselves proud, our massive donation will help support other Leithers who are in need and help to alleviate poverty. All in all, we had 36 crates of shopping delivered to the food bank.  A resounding success.

Massive thank you to everyone who donated, every pound made a difference and it gives me the confidence to perhaps try another crowdfunding campaign amongst members in 2017.