Greenock Telegraph [16/08/2019]

While the Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, finds new ways to rip the United Kingdom out of the European Union causing maximum damage to trade, the economy and international relations, his opposition counterpart, Jeremy Corbyn does what he does best, nothing. When the Labour Party leader should be raging against the machine, he is asleep at the wheel of a juggernaut careering off the cliff edge. The clues in the title. Opposition leader. His job is to hold the UK Government of the United Kingdom up to scrutiny. Question it, hold it to account, constantly ask it to consider other, better options. Instead he is busy fighting off the members of his own party. With May gone and Johnson in place, the Labour Party are considering who their next leader will be and the used to be politicians and the wanna be politicians are manoeuvring to be in the right camp. Many will be looking to progress their own careers and fixing your line to a rising star is one way of climbing the greasy pole of politics. The hard bit is deciding who that star is. It wasn’t that long ago that the Labour Party, if not the parliamentary Labour Party, declared Jeremy to be the answer. Now they don’t even know what the question is.

 

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High Street Awards

I’m pleased to learn that Kempock Street in Gourock has been shortlisted for ‘Rising Star’ in this year’s Great British High Street Awards.  This is a welcomed opportunity to promote the high street and Gourock to the rest of the UK and highlight what Inverclyde has to offer.

I would encourage people to show their support for Kempock Street by posting on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #MyHighStreet and also voting at https://thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk

Our Inverclyde – community discussions

Join our community events to celebrate the present and shape the future. Eventbrite pages are now live for each event. Please feel free to use the links below  to find out more and to sign up to attend your community event, or indeed, just drop in on the day.

https://greenockwestandgourocklocality.eventbrite.co.uk

https://greenockeastandcentrallocality.eventbrite.co.uk/

https://kilmacolm-quarriers-locality.eventbrite.co.uk/

https://portglasgowlocality.eventbrite.co.uk/

https://inverkipandwemyssbaylocality.eventbrite.co.uk

https://greenocksouth-southwestlocality.eventbrite.co.uk

 

Scot Govt – EU Citizens

The Scottish Government have produced Stay in Scotland materials which will be sent to GP practices, nurseries, libraries and community centres across Inverclyde.  The package of support includes the provision of advice services for citizens affected by the EU Settlement Scheme who may have more complex needs or face particular challenges.  The service includes a national helpline where people can ger free, confidential and impartial advice.

The helpline can be contacted on 0800 916 9847 and for more information please visit www.cas.org.uk/brexit

As we know 63.8% of people who voted in the EU referendum, in Inverclyde, voted to Remain and stay in both the Customs Union and Single Market. 

However, we see the new right-wing UK Government determined to drag Scotland out of Europe on a no-deal which would be catastrophic for businesses and jobs throughout the country.

The Scottish Government have been consistent in it’s opposition to the UK Government plans and continue to argue in-favour of remaining in the European Union and the benefits which come with this, such as free movement of people, no tariffs on goods and reciprocal free healthcare.

All EU citizens living in Scotland are valued, welcome here, and we want them to stay.

 

Clyde Life – Summer 2019

On yer bike Invercyde!

One of my cherished memories from my childhood is going to Millport with my brother, sister and assorted cousins. We would hire bikes and cycle round and round Cumbrae just as many people had before us and many, like me, continue to do so to this day. Cycling round the island was a carefree and enjoyable way to spend summer days. As a child it was just fun and it gave me a sense of freedom and independence. As an adult I am maybe more aware of the benefits to my health and the financial savings compared to a private car or even public transport. Obviously depending on the distance of the journey and in the West of Scotland the weather and topography, it may not always be suitable to cycle but then again 60% of all journeys undertaken in Inverclyde are less than 5 kilometres (that’s 3.1 miles in old money) so maybe it’s not as unrealistic to cycle as you think. And those hills don’t need to be as daunting if you have an E bike. Electric battery assisted bikes are becoming increasingly common and they take the edge off the extra effort required to manoeuvre the hills that adorn Inverclyde. And if it’s just the weather that’s putting you off then specialist shops are full of suitable clothing but to be honest jeans, jumper, high visibility jacket and a helmet are enough. If you are wary of cycling after a long layoff then courses are available via the Bothy, located at Gourock Railway Station, and the expert supervision provided will ensure you are confident and safe. While the main roads may not be your idea of a safe, relaxing cycle there are many alternatives in Inverclyde. From the waterfront paths in Greenock town centre and Port Glasgow and the more rural routes around the Cut and Loch Thom. The Scottish Government has committed £51 million to Active Travel and locally the cycling Bothy, run by Josh Wood and Shona Morris along with Community Tracks fronted by Stewart Phillips are looking to utilise some of that funding by working with Sustrans to develop the cycling route 75 which runs through Inverclyde. The route needs some tender loving care and, in some parts rerouting, to make it more accessible. When we look to the future and the possibilities for cycling in Scotland we don’t need to look abroad and in particular the Netherlands, we need to look to the past and the Island of Cumbrae to understand that a cycling culture carefully nurtured and supported is perfectly feasible and indeed desirable in the West of Scotland.