|Trudy Cunningham and me in gardening mode at Dundee West Church this morning!
|The Fete stalls were really busy!|
|And yet again, Mr Ferrier, Head Teacher, was a good sport (and rather cold and wet!)|
* At last night’s City Council meetings, despite the support of petitions signatures from hundreds of Dundonians and the powerful and compelling case made by delegations in support of my motion on the plight of the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip, I was heavily outvoted by a cobbled-together Labour/Nationalist amendment that represented the lowest common denominator of standing up for nothing. As I am reported in today’s Courier, it is sometimes better to lose the vote but do what you consider to be morally right.
* I raised questions about the City Council’s poor performance on re-letting of council houses and on the provision of controlled entry systems at the Housing, Dundee Contract Services and Environment Services Committee.
* Tonight, at West End Community Council, there was a very interesting presentation by Lisa Toon of the Association of Scottish Neighbourhood Watches. In response to one of my questions, Lisa said that the number of Neighbourhood Watches in Dundee is lower than average and it would be good to see the number increase across the city. Lisa outlined ways the Association of Scottish Neighbourhood Watches can support Neighbourhood Watch initiatives and I am keen to encourage neighbourhood watch schemes in Dundee that can assist local communities prevent crime in their local area.
Earlier this week, I mentioned some of the criticism by certain propagandists of the motion I have placed on the City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee next Monday, expressing concern about the plight of the people of Gaza. There’s been something of a predictable campaign by these people, who have a few things in common – few (if any) live in Dundee (most e-mails, some with very inappropriate content, emanate from outwith the UK) and most writers are in a state of denial about the behaviour of the Israeli government and military over the Gaza blockade.
The letter in today’s Courier continues this theme of denial and I have responded to the Courier as follows:
Subject: Letter to the Editor
In meddling in the affairs of a local authority outwith her own area of Fife, Flora Selwyn (Courier Letters 11th June) claims that I should “leave foreign affairs to the Government.”
She fails to appreciate that local authorities procure goods and services and it is the responsibility of councillors to ensure they do so in an ethical manner.
Cllr Fraser Macpherson
Dundee City Council
It is interesting – and extremely heartwarming – to note the huge outpouring of support for my actions by local Dundee people. On Monday, I will collect a petition in support of my motion to the City Council, signed by hundreds of local people. I am very grateful to those who have organised the petition for all their efforts and to everyone who has signed it.
The people of Dundee have a reputation for fair-mindedness and the city has a proud record of supporting what is right. Of all the e-mails and letters I have received, perhaps the most telling quote made was originally said by Archbishop Desmond Tutu : “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
“I have raised this issue in light of my concerns over the continuing plight of the Palestinian people and of the humanitarian situation caused by Israel’s continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip.
“The Gaza blockade by Israel has brought terrible hardship to Gaza’s one and a half million citizens. I agree with the International Committee of the Red Cross which has made clear that Israel is in violation of its obligations under international humanitarian law.
“I am rather concerned by the use of some selective quotes by Stanley Grossman of Scottish Friends of Israel to suggest there is not a humanitarian crisis in Gaza when this is far from the case. There has been a huge level of concern shown by people across the world about the plight of the people of Gaza and I would draw Mr Grossman’s attention to the concerns raised by respected organisations such as the Red Cross and Oxfam.
“I have raised this matter as it is important that Dundee City Council, as with other local authorities, has an ethical procurement policy. It is very clear from feedback from many constituents that they too are concerned for the plight of the people of Gaza and it is to be hoped that, with international pressure, Israel will lift its blockade of the Gaza strip.”