Tackling graffiti – an update

Further to my article from earlier this week about tackling the growing problem of graffiti vandalism in the West End (go to http://tinyurl.com/graffitiupdate), a meeting of the informal group set up by the West End Local Community Planning Partnership met tonight and I had the pleasure of chairing what was a very productive hour and a half.

Along with representatives from City Council Waste Management and Leisure and Communities Departments and Tayside Police, it was good that a number of West End residents also attended.

In addition to updates on inter-agency co-operation and taking a proactive approach to tackling graffiti, we agreed to undertake community action initiatives to clean up the most visible graffiti mess in the area.

We are meeting again shortly and are working with other local organisations on tackling graffiti in the area. We were also pleased to hear from the City Council’s Cleansing Services Manager that the short-life working group established to look at the city-wide graffiti issues has now met and is looking at matters like ensuring utilities take a more proactive approach to tackling graffiti.

Lastly for tonight, on a different but related matter, at my requesIMAGE_340t (following residents’ complaints) the City Council is taking action over illegal flyposting on lots of utilities boxes, phone boxes and other structures in a large area around Perth Road. See the photos below and right. What an irresponsible mess; it has appeared all over the place. If you are going to fly-post at least have the brains not to advertise your meeting at a public venue. Tracking down the culprits will not be difficult for the City Council and those responsible for all this fly-posting will be made to clean it off.IMAGE_331

Scottish parliament, fly-posting … and daft idea of the week

Had a read of the Scottish Sunday papers late last night on return from London. A very different read to the English editions I had read on the flight up to Edinburgh!

I wryly smile at the comments of commentators who are criticising the Liberal Democrats for not cosying up to Alex Salmond and the nationalists at Holyrood. Eddie Barnes in ‘Scotland on Sunday’ quotes Salmond’s view before the election that Nicol Stephen and the LibDem MSP were “Barclaycard politicians – my flexible friends.” Sorry Alex, got that one wrong. I am afraid the LibDems will simply not sign up to expensive referenda aimed at separation.

Of course, Nicol and his colleagues can’t win with the newspaper columnists. If they had signed up to Mr Salmond, they’d have been criticised for signing up to anything to keep the ‘Ministerial Mondeos’. If they do the right thing and reject the SNP separation referendum costing millions and an uncosted programme that is undeliverable, they get equally criticised! Tom (who he?) Brown in the same newspaper says – “Petulant LibDems betray their principles and the people.” Wrong Tom, the Liberal Democrats are right to reject the SNP programme at Holyrood. Actually, judging by the article elsewhere in the same paper saying the SNP has admitted it will tear up its manifesto, it would appear the SNP has rejected the SNP programme at Holyrood.

On an entirely different matter, was pleased to see in Friday night’s Evening Telegraph that the City Council is undertaking a crackdown on fly-posting in the City. Readers of this blog and of the FOCUS in the West End will know that I have campaigned on this issue and it is good to see the City Council being proactive.

Lastly, daft idea of the week comes from our local Labour MP, Jim McGovern, whose “solution” to the problems with the recent elections is a return to the first-past-the-post electoral system. Click on the headline above to view the article about this in the Press & Journal.

I think we all accept that there were many problems with the 3rd May elections. A return to the stone-age first-past-the-post electoral system is absolutely not the solution. FPTP is a crude system that delivers results that can bear no relation to how the majority actually voted.

Whilst accepting that having different electoral systems on the same day is not a clever idea, on the whole the STV council elections worked – most of the problems surrounded the “twin” constituency/regional parliamentary ballot paper. There is no need for separate days for council and Scottish Parliament elections. The answer is a proportional and fair STV election for both. And think of the other advantage … no second class “regional” MSPs – all MSPs would have a constituency, but elected by a fair system.