www.dundeewestend.scot!

Now that Scotland has its own internet domain – .scot – you can now access this site at www.dundeewestend.scot.   The original www.dundeewestend.com still works and the blog’s mirror site is still accessible at http://www.westendblog.org.uk.
 
The Dundee Liberal Democrat website is now also available via www.dundeelibdems.scot – again its original www.dundeelibdems.org.uk still works too! 

Top Councillor Blog!

Further to my recent item about the Total Politics 2011 Blog Awards, I was delighted to learn today that I have topped the poll in the “Top Councillor Blog” category and I can only repeat my thanks to all who voted for me this year.

In addition to some excellent Liberal Democrat councillors’ blogs, there was strong competition from excellent councillor bloggers from other parties including Rupert Reed (Green), Steve Tierney (Conservative) and long-standing councillor blogger Luke Akehurst (Labour).

And great to see my long-standing friend from Angus Council, Cllr David May, entering the Top 35 Councillor Blogs for the first time.

Total Politics Blog Awards 2011

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for www.dundeewestend.com in the recent Total Politics Blog Awards for 2011.

In the Scottish category, I have made the Top Ten for the first time (18th last year;  28th in 2009) and in the LibDem category, I have also made the Top Ten (18th last year;  31st in 2009).

I was 9th in the Councillor category in 2010 – the result in this category has yet to be announced.

I’m awfully grateful to all who have taken the trouble to vote for this blog – very many thanks!

Kickstart

ASLDC, the Scottish LibDems’ Association for councillors and campaigners, held a “Kickstart” event yesterday in Perth – a really useful event in preparation for next year’s council elections.

Ace blogger Caron has already done a resume of the day that’s rather better than anything I could have written (so have a read of it!)   I enjoyed speaking to the excellent turnout about blogging in a joint session with Caron, in which social networking and microblogging were also covered.

Willie Rennie gave a great speech to round off a really worthwhile day.  
Willie talks to the group
Some of the audience
Me in full flow!

Harrogate …

I’ve spent the last couple of days in Harrogate at my ‘day job’ employer’s annual conference – and this is the first time I have attempted to update www.dundeewestend.com from a train on the East Coast Main Line … so here goes …!

Lovely place Harrogate and beautiful weather yesterday …

 

Awards Dinner last night …

And not such a beautiful day today!  …

Good luck Caron!

Later tonight, the results of the LibDem Blog of the Year will be announced during our party’s Federal Conference in Liverpool. Fellow Scottish LibDem blogger Caron Lindsay has been shortlisted in not just one, but two categories this year – Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year and Best Posting on a Liberal Democrat Blog!
I was at Scottish Liberal Democrat HQ in Edinburgh yesterday (nothing to do with blogging – internal party elections!) and it was good to see Caron & wish her all the best for tonight. So here’s a few bloggers’ photos then!
Above : Yours truly and Caron

Above : Scottish LibDem bloggers’ convention – Yours truly, Caron, James Taylor and Sanjay Samani
Above : Yours truly and Alison Burns, Liberal Democrat candidate for Dundee West

2010 Total Politics Blogs Poll results

I’m awfully pleased with the outcome of this year’s Total Politics top blogs poll!

Now number 18 (last year = 31) in the Top Liberal Democrat Blogs category. I’m delighted at this rankings improvement!

Congratulations to my Scottish LibDem colleagues Caron Lindsay (a hugely impressive 3rd place overall), Stephen Glenn and Andrew Reeves – who all saw good rankings improvements in the 2010 poll. Oh – and thanks Caron and Stephen for your generous mentions of www.dundeewestend.com!

 

And great to see Scottish LibDem colleagues James Taylor, Cllr Paul Edie, Cllr David May, Cllr Ian Yuill, Liberal Youth Scotland and Sanjay Samani all on the LibDem list!

Now number 9 (last year = 16) in the Top 30 Councillor Blogs category. Last year, 16th made me the top LibDem councillor blog, but despite the seven place rise to 9th overall this year, one LibDem councillor – Cllr Alex Folkes from Cornwall – had a meteoric and well-deserved rankings increase from 29th to 5th place! Well done, that Lanson Boy!

Now number 18 (last year = 28) in the Top Scottish Blogs category.

Many thanks to all who voted for me – I’m most grateful!

Freshen up!

From time to time, I freshen up the look of this blog – the mirror site http://www.westendblog.org.uk/ had a bit of a makeover a few months ago, and today I have launched a new look for http://www.dundeewestend.com/. For the first time in a long time, I have changed from a three column style to two columns – I think this is less ‘busy’ and therefore easier to read.

I have saved the old template just in case everyone hates the new version!

200 000 – not out!

Today, my ‘visitor counter’ on http://www.dundeewestend.com/ reached 200 000 – not bad, I feel, for something that started off as a bit of an experiment four years ago and an addition to the regular West End FOCUS newsletter from the local Liberal Democrats.
I’m now just shy of 2 000 blog posts and amazed at the response to the blog – so very many thanks to all who read the blog and get in touch as a result! It is appreciated.

Been on holiday …!

Updating this site has been a bit of a challenge this past week, relying on the dubious quality of internet access from a cruise ship in the Mediterranean. The photo below is of me, smiling through, despite a connection speed that was horrendously slow! This update is coming from Barcelona Airport as we fly home tonight (internet speed here superb!) I will bore everyone with a few holiday photos on this site over the next few days. Super holiday, by the way!

Improvement Service interview

I took part today in a telephone interview conducted by the Improvement Service. They are currently working on a brief blogging guide for councillors in Scotland.

They wanted to (to quote them!) “ask a few questions about your own blogging story and the benefits of using this form of social media“.


It is good to see the Improvement Service encouraging more councillors across Scotland to add blogging to the way they update and inform constituents about their activities and I was pleased to assist.

I have always said that blogging isn’t a substitute for all the other councillor activities such as ward surgeries, attending residents’ meetings, parent councils, local newspaper items and all the other ways we use to keep in touch with residents, but it has, for me, proved to be a useful additional way of updating residents on local issues and inviting feedback of people’s views.

The cheese has gone off …

This blog is a wee bit different from your average politician’s blog in that its primary purpose is to cover local news and views from Dundee’s West End (together with, err…, vital updates on matters like the X Factor …) rather than simply a daily digest of my views on the politics of the day. Of the latter variety in Scotland, there’s a minority that consist of little more than an unfortunate barrage of acid comments about political opponents.

The furore over the SNP Mark MacLachan’s blog “The Universality of Cheese” (see article from today’s Sunday Herald – http://bit.ly/6E2jHe) is best summed up by the comments of two Scottish bloggers –

The Green Party’s Two Doctors (see http://bit.ly/8sWHNl)

” … it mostly damages the reputation of blogging, and more seriously, the reputation of politics in general.”

Dundee blogger Stuart Winton’s Planet Politics (see
http://bit.ly/801cpC)

“And given the former position of the blog’s author the revelations can now only damage the SNP.

Thus perhaps Mark MacLachlan merely desired a little online adulation and saw a blog with a hefty dose of bile and vitriol as a more effective means to that end than a more moderate approach, or perhaps the venom on display provided some sort of personal catharsis.

But whatever he sought to achieve, the MacBlogosphere in general and the SNP’s online presence in particular are well rid of the likes of The Universality of Cheese, and it is to be hoped that this latest exposé – following the demise of Wardog last week – will encourage others to adopt a more civilised approach.”

politics.co.uk

Many thanks to www.politics.co.uk for its complimentary remarks about www.dundeewestend.com, especially the bit about the YouTube videos!
Information:
Cllr Fraser Macpherson is obviously extremely busy and this is reflected in his prolifically updated blog.
It’s a great resource for local information and, unlike a lot of similar blogs by local councillors, it actually gives opinions and doesn’t just regurgitate press releases.
The blog has a lot going on to hold the interest.
It also wins the ‘blog most likely to contain YouTube clips of obscure dance music remixes’ award.

Mirror site – www.westendblog.org.uk

Some time ago, I set up a mirror site for www.dundeewestend.com (a Blogger site) at www.westendblog.org.uk (hosted by WordPress) when Blogger was experiencing problems with loading speed (thankfully now resolved).

The www.westendblog.org.uk site has now had an extensive makeover. Over the weekend, I have experimented with a new template for www.dundeewestend.com as well, but concluded that with a customised layout and 1350 posts, it was more trouble than it is worth!

However, I have tidied up the widgets on www.dundeewestend.com – and the new layout on www.westendblog.org.uk is much improved.

Congratulations to Brian!

Having been on holiday recently, I missed my usual daily fix of LibDem Voice, at www.libdemvoice.org, so until today hadn’t actually realised that I was within the 5 blogs shortlisted for the Blog of the Year award in the “Best Blog from a LibDem holding public office” category (the Tim Garden Award)
 
OK, I didn’t win!    But it has been a rather good year, having been included in Total Politics’ Top 50 Scottish Blogs, Top 75 LibDem Blogs and being top LibDem Blog in their Top 30 Councillor Blogs!
 
The competition for the Best Blog from a Liberal Democrat holding public office (The Tim Garden Award) was pretty fierce including Peter Black AM and my good friend Willie Rennie MP.
 
So very many congratulations go to Brian Robson – Lee Green Councillor – for his win!   Brian has an excellent blog with interesting content and extremely professionally presented.   See www.brianrobson.org.uk – we could all learn a bit from Brian!
 
And talking of blogs … many of you who read Blogger blogs regularly will have noted that in the past 24 hours, blogs with a decent extent of content are loading awfully slowly.   Just a reminder that I have my ‘mirror site’ at www.westendblog.org.uk – powered by WordPress, it always loads in just seconds!

Best Blogs 2009

Yesterday, “Total Politics” announced the UK’s Best 30 councillors’ blogs and I am rather flattered that www.dundeewestend.com is the top LibDem councillor blog and 16th overall.
 
For the record, here’s the result :
 
1 (1) Luke Akehurst LA
2 Bickerstaffe Record LA
3 Richard Willis CO
4 (3) Paul Scully CO
5 Steve Tierney CO
6 (5) Bob Piper LA
7 (4) James Cleverly MLA CO
8 (29) Gwilym Euros Roberts NA
9 Stuart Syvret NA
10 (26) Dave Luckett CO
11 Cllr Tim Blog LA
12 (15) Fair Deal Phil LA
13 Kerron Cross LA
14 (9) Iain Lindley CO
15 Lightwater CO
16 (16) Fraser Macpherson LD
17 (22) City Hall (Roger Evans) CO
18 Emma Warman CO
19 Andrew Burns Really Bad Blog LA
20 Rene Kinzett CO
21 (25) Aitken’s Edinburgh LA
22 (14) Blog Dogfael PC
23 (30) Spin Blog CO
24 Whittlesey North CO
25 Chris Whiteside CO
26 Anthony McKeown (Cllr) LA
27 (8) Bristow Blog CO
28 (18) Brian Robson LD
29 Lanson Boy LD
30 Mary Reid LD

Mars Hill

Paul Burgin writes a popular blog “Mars Hill”, is press officer for the North East Herts Labour Party and once worked for Geraint Davies, when he was MP for Croydon Central.  
He recently asked me to contribute to his regular “Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger” feature.  
You can read my responses by going to  http://tinyurl.com/paulburgin

1 000th blog entry!

This is the 1 000th blog article at http://www.dundeewestend.com/ (and its mirror site http://www.westendblog.org.uk/) since the blog started just short of three years ago in March 2006.


Nearly 153 000 visitors later, I am most grateful to everyone who regularly reads the site and also to everyone who has e-mailed me with comments and issues, particularly those related to West End of Dundee matters.

Feedback is always gratefully received at westend@frasermacpherson.org.uk.

Union Place, West Park Gardens and www.dundeewestend.com!

Just back from a ‘day job’ day in Tillicoultry to a load of phone messages and e-mails to follow up!

On the way home, visited Union Place, where I have had complaints about a badly sited grit bin and the pavement condition caused by poor utilities’ repairs (see latter, right).    Have reported this to the City Council.    It is actually the second complaint about poor utilities’ restorations this week, as I have also reported residents’ complaints about a similar situation in West Park Gardens.
 
The “Evening Telegraph” tonight in its ‘Civic Scene’ feature mentions the huge numbers of hits on the Dundee City Council website (nearly eight million last year) and the large response this blog has had (from all parts of the world!) to the Dusty Springfield video I uploaded recently.     www.dundeewestend.com has now had over 147 000 visits – most grateful to all regular visitors!

2008 Good Egg Awards

Many thanks to Liberal Burblings for including this blog in its 2008 “Good Egg” Awards!    See : http://paulwalter.blogspot.com/2002/09/winners-2008-liberal-burblings-good-egg.html.    To  quote Liberal Burblings:

“These awards are for LibDem blog authors who have kept up frequent and regular high quality postings this year.

Cllr Fraser Macpherson – A very lively campaigning blog which is particularly insightful on Scottish affairs.”

Another Top of the Blogs semi-triumph …

After coming 22nd in the Top 40 Scottish Blogs, my head size has continued to soar (not really) on hearing that I’m also 28th in the Top 50 LibDem blogs!
OK, still way behind Scottish LibDem blogging ace, Stephen Glenn of Linlithgow fame, but a rather good result from a lowly councillor from Bonnie Dundee!   See http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2008/08/top-50-libdem-blogs.html
 
Another aside … thoroughly enjoying Martin Clunes’ “A Man and His Dogs” – great telly!

Top 40 Scottish Blogs …

Pleased – and surprised! – to see this blog named as 22nd in Iain Dale’s Top 40 Scottish blogs – see more by following this link – http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2008/08/top-40-scottish-blogs.html 

I appear to be second in the Scottish LibDem list – congratulations Stephen Glenn of Linlithgow who topped this ‘poll within the poll’.

Great amusement reading some of the comments on Iain Dale’s list – e.g.

 “At August 27, 2008 5:06 PM , Anonymous said…

SNP blogs should be coloured yellow!

I, personally, am outraged!”

Err … the SNP ones are coloured either purple or blue. But given Alex Salmond’s recent comments about Lady Thatcher :

“We didn’t mind the economic side so much.”

 … blue is obviously thoroughly appropriate!

New mirror site for www.dundeewestend.com!

A number of residents have commented to me that recently www.dundeewestend.com has been taking quite a long time to load up. It is hosted by Blogger and it now has a rather huge amount of content.

I have made a few changes to the widgets and front page content to speed things up, but I have now also set up a very fast to load mirror site hosted by WordPress at www.westendblog.org.uk with identical content. The only drawback with this new mirror site is that some of the imported video clips, etc, won’t work on it, but the bulk of the content will be easily readable …

The Blog’s Address!

The blog is very well read across the West End of Dundee and further afield (I had an e-mail from a lady in Australia recently, who was tracing her family’s history in Dundee and looking for a bit of advice as to who to contact in the City Council…!)

BUT http://frasermacpherson.blogspot.com/ is not the most memorable web address in the world, so the new and rather more memorable address is :

(The old address continues to work OK as well!)