Sunday atop ‘Stirling’s Hill’

Sunday Sunday.. a protected space in a busy life ..

Listened to the inspiring words of Helen Steven on BBC Scotland’s “Sunday morning with….” (not yet available on iplayer!)

An icy Sunday morning walk up Dumyat, ‘Stirling’s Hill’, into the face of a low winter sun. ( http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fife-stirling/dumyat.shtml ) ..

Looking down the Forth Valley

Looking down the Forth Valley

Looking across Stirling to the Gargunnock Hills

Looking across Stirling to the Gargunnock Hills

.. then off to Solsgirth House where Anna and Euan are to be married in July…

http://www.solsgirthhousehotel.com/

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A fine walk by the Touch Burn

Stirling @ 10am

Stirling @ 10am

Joan Sally Ian and I had a fine walk on a blustery stormy snowy morning up to the Touch Reservoirs on the moor south west of Stirling.  Great views over Stirling, Stirling Castle, Forth Valley and Ochil Hills.

Stirling @10.15 am

Stirling @10.15 am

Stirling @11.30

Stirling @11.30

Stirling from the Touch Reservoirs

Stirling from the Touch Reservoirs

On the way down.. snowdrops in snow

On the way down.. snowdrops in snow

A Federal UK – why not?

I was pleased to read the article by Christopher Harvey in this week’s Scottish Review (click here ). One of the depressing things about the endless debate around the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence is that it takes no account of the overall political shape of the United Kingdom, but is conducted purely in Scottish terms.  Those who do not wish Scotland to be independent (yet, in my case at least) can only make a negative contribution to the debate, or are pressed into a position where it seems, somehow, that they accept the status quo as a desirable option.  The status quo is not a desirable option.  It allows minority parties to assume power and impose policies that the majority of the population have not voted for.  It gives extraordinary power to Prime Ministers, allowing them to wage war against the wishes of the majority of the population.

From all points of view, it was, of course, a big mistake not to have a third option on the referendum paper. Such an option would have removed the partisan party politics which has led to the discussion into petty points-scoring, albeit the discussion would still have been cast in Scottish terms, since there are members of all political parties who would want to see some kind of Devo-Plus settlement.

However a Devo-Plus type settlement would still do nothing about the whole range of constitutional anomalies in the way that the UK is governed.  As the debate progresses, I am increasingly drawn to the idea of a multi-party constitutional convention for the UK, which would be asked to sort out the problems currently facing UK governance, not least the West Lothian question and what to do about the House of Lords.  These questions are far too important to allow them to be decided by whichever party is in government at any one time.  I would want to see a bicameral federal parliament, with the governing Chamber directly elected and a secondary chamber, representing the constituent parts of the UK, holding UK governments to account in terms of constitutionally defined aims of government – social justice, the national and international rule of law, a bill of rights, long term economic stability and sustainability and so on.   If these are the kinds of things which the SNP rightly calls for in an independent Scottish constitution, why can we not have them in a UK constitution and why cannot Labour, Liberal, SNP, Green and other parties broadly of the left see ‘governance’ as the first and most important issue facing the UK today.  Such an agenda would be well worthy of campaigning for, instead of the rather negative ‘better with what we have just now’, when we know what we have just now is not very good, and constitutionally messy.

Talking Mats wins again!

Talking Mats, a small Stirling company built on outstanding research and practice in improving communication, already Intern Placement Provider of 2012, Scottish Social Enterprise of the Year 2012 winner and twice nominated finalist at the UK Social Enterprise of the Year, gained another fabulous award at the Scottish Edge Enterprise awards this week, one of only three top award winners out of 235 entries.   What a team!

A Talking Mat in use

A Talking Mat in use

A Talking Mat!

A Talking Mat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more about Talking Mats, click here

To find out about the Edge Awards, click here

 

Remembrance Exhibition – the Stirling 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous new exhibition at Pathfoot Building, Stirling University, based on a community history project, ‘The Stirling 100’.  The project team researched the life history and newspaper notices connected with the deaths of 100 Stirling men, chosen from all parishes of the Stirling area.  Each serviceman is accorded his own display.  It was a very impressive and moving.  Well worth a visit!  We remember and grieve for all those young men and their families.  The photos, tributes and letters speak for themselves.  Three of the men, at random….