Campaign Diary – Week #3

  • Best bit: Becoming part of the fantastic Dunbar Sings!
  • Worst bit: The compound awfulness of Hawick Cashmere joining Hawick Knitwear in its troubles; and of already flood hit parts of the South being dealt another blow.
  • Folk of note: Gordon from South Lanarkshire Greens who has an astonishingly good singing voice
  • Miles travelled: 447
  • Things I learned: 350,000 people travelled on the reopened Waverley Line in the first three months from September; the South of Scotland can lay claim to some phenomenal women poets from the same time as Burns; and Stranraer (which will be home to a politics festival in March) may well derive its name from the Gaelic for “the fat nose”.

Continue reading

A journey South: the Borders Railway reopens

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 23.47.48For 46 years, people in the Scottish Borders have been been cut off from the rest of Scotland after the Borders Railway was closed in 1969. In a decision by Harold Wilson’s government at a time when Dr Beeching’s recommendations were having their dreadful impact, the railway was closed prompting huge local protest in the Borders and Midlothian.

The removal of the line made people more reliant on private cars, often out of reach of poorer households, or moved them onto buses with sketchy, irregular and often expensive travel. This weekend that changed with the reopening of the Borders Railway.

Continue reading

Trains, bikes, hills + pals

South Lanarkshire GreensWell it was pretty damp at times, but it’s been a great wee weekend. Friday evening spent in the pub talking quotas and how to support more women to stand as candidates; Saturday with South Lanarkshire Greens at the Carnwath Agricultural Show and then with pals in East Lothian; and today catching up with an old friend after a driving lesson. Here’s some ponderings on the weekend that was… Continue reading

North Berwick adventures

NB picnicYesterday I got to go to the ever gorgeous North Berwick for a fantastic family picnic with the East Lothian Greens and loads of lovely local folk. Organised by the rather brilliant Isla Aitken, the picnic had an excellent magician, live music, the most amazing face painter and a treasure hunt. Plus of course there was an array of irresistible home baking.

I was invited by the East Lothian Greens as I’m the lead candidate for the South of Scotland regional list for next year’s Holyrood election. But rather than pushing a big political message, I was much more interested in hearing about what issues were affecting local people. So I got chatting to lots of folk, sometimes via a very fluffy dog (there are SO many cute dogs in North Berwick!) and listened. Here’s what they had to say…

Continue reading

Time to transform the forgotten South

Broughton from CorstaneIn the last days of this parliament came one of the most interesting and useful reports I’ve seen in five years of the Scottish Affairs Committee. Our Borderlands, Our Future sets out a vision for the South of Scotland that tackles the lack of jobs with decent wages and calls for much better connectivity, whether public transport or broadband. Coming so late in the Parliament it risks being a “nice to have” document that sits on a shelf. That would be an enormous missed opportunity. Here’s five things the report recommends that should be implemented immediately whoever wins on May 7th. Continue reading