Council plans on museums ‘against party policy’

Plans by Labour-run Glasgow City Council to hand over control of its museums, galleries and sports facilities to an independent charitable trust is against party policy, it has been claimed.

Opposition politicians and unions have pointed to Labour’s latest policy document which opposes the creation of charities for outsourcing services, claiming there is a massive paradox between what the party is pledging and what its largest council is trying to do.

The policy was inserted into Scotland’s Future: Report of the Scottish Policy Forum at the insistence of the Labour-affiliated public-sector union Unison.

It is understood it was drafted in 2006 with specific reference to proposals at Fife Council to hand over the management of its facilities to a trust, and was approved last November at Labour’s Scottish conference in Oban.

The policy states: “We will look at ways to ensure the legitimate incentives that apply to charities are not used as vehicles for outsourcing by local authorities.”

Unison, which is pursuing a number of avenues to halt the hiving off of the culture and leisure department, has been quietly raising the issue with Labour politicians in an effort to encourage them to highlight the contradictions with its elected members in Glasgow.

But the policy document has now fallen into the hands of opposition councillors, who will use the proposed transfer and creation of Culture and Sport Glasgow, which has now been cleared by Scotland’s charities regulator, as an election issue.

Christopher Mason, leader of Glasgow council’s LibDems, said: “This is an extraordinary twist to the tale of (GCC leader) Steven Purcell’s crusade to Blairise’ the council.

“This part of the Labour Party’s new policy statement was written with the deliberate purpose of committing it to oppose the kind of thing Steven is seeking to do.”

Mike Kirby, Glasgow branch secretary for Unison, added: “Unison was instrumental in having this policy included and of course we are raising this with politicians in the run-up to the elections. We’re concerned the party in Glasgow is moving away from the general policies in Scotland.”

But John Lynch, executive member for culture and sport, said: “Dr Mason’s comments are disingenuous and clearly an attempt by the LibDems to hide from the fact their expensive plans for a Local Income Tax would add 6.5p in every pound to income-tax bills.”

Herald

What are we waiting for ?

(Frustration at lack of public interest in the privatisation of Glasgow’s Common Good Fund)
Is there something, someone’s, missing here. Have the Government developed a brain scanner that removes facts and info from peoples minds – when there’s something they just don’t want folk to hear about. I hope so, I really hope so.

I can’t think of one single country in Europe, or the planet for that mater, I can’t imagine one wee town, in the whole of the Western Hemisphere, who wouldn’t be rioting in the streets, if it were happening to them. It’s not rocket science to understand. You don’t need a degree in economics. Its sitting in front of our noses. You were brought up with it, it has been paid for dearly, through the efforts of those before us, totally for your benefit. It’s priceless. You have heard the expression “Like taking candy from a baby” Well guess whose the baby? You and me, suckers!

And while were on babies and how about the future of babies. What are you going to tell the next babies when they grow up and ask. Why did you let them steal part of my future?

Man, I belong to the most selfish, boring, witless, generation in history. What started off in my youth as a golden era of enlightenment, has turned into a generation that represents the anathema to hope. An awakening of self determination, has been reduced to impotency and self denial. Life, it would seen is not worth examining, the pleasure of thought for its own sake has been rendered facile and worthless. Is there no such thing as society? History I suppose, is unimportant to a society that is heading nowhere.

Waken up people. The captain is about to relinquish control of the vessel in which you sail and I very much doubt, if the new captain will be heading in any direction, useful to you or me

And before you start it’s not going to work any more saying “But they can’t do that”. Because. It is happening. They are doing that. And they will be doing a helluva lot more of it…

??? You Don’t know what I’m talking about?
Well join the club, you have plenty of company.

Your City – is about to be privatised. And:

“In the entire subterranean consultations and negotiations,
involving millions of pounds of citizens’ current assets, there has been
no consultation with the stakeholders (Glasgow citizens), no attempt at
information, via the media or councillors, while the council executive
has been involved, over a lengthy period, with advisers, consultants,
the Inland Revenue, the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator,
organisations/charities outwith Scotland, and others.” Mack.

If you want to find out about this you will have to do it yourself.

In a nutshell. The New labour, Thatcherites, down at the City Chambers, are trying to privatise the “Common Good” And you know what, they don’t give a monkeys what you – the owners of the “Common Good” think. That’s why they have never even bothered to asked you.

They are very busy doing the deal under the table, so the parasites can create profits at your, (and more importantly your children’s cultural heritage.) expense, after they leave office. (Which is why they are in such a hurry to seal the deal before the owners of the assets tumble.You guessed it.)

So now you know. What are you going to do about it? Well I myself am going to be sitting at this computer compiling all sorts of stuff including fliers, in order to let folk know what’s happening. Because the City Council use thousands, if not millions, of pounds of our money selling us pap, while they hive off the “public estate” in their glossy brochures while spending nothing on informing the public of what they are up to. (Unless it’s lies) – So the public need to inform the public.

If you want to sit about on your arse and go “That’s terrible” or “What can I do about it,” that’s fine. If you do want to do something about it, even if it is to talk to your family, friends and workmates, please start doing it now. There is a lot at stake and there’s not a lot of time.

If you want to help leaflet, send me an email. If you want some leaflets ditto.

If you are an artist and you want to public perform. (remember art galleries are included in the sell-off. And you have a subsidised studio, that will be privatised to)

Look around you it is already happening by stealth. What is “Waterstone’s” doing in the Mitchell library, “Ay write”. Ay right. First it’s sponsorship, then you realise the public are the sponsors. Then business moves in permanently, as your facilities gradually move out.

The child friendly face of business in the park won’t stay friendly for long as businesses change and turnover takes over. You didn’t know about the parks to?

George Square is beginning to look like Piccadilly Circus. The last two squares of grass are probably under threat

Look around, it’s everywhere. See what you can find and tell me about it.

I will be posting leafleting and activities next week if you want to help or have some ideas, or if you are already doing something let me know.

Fight to keep your culture. Don’t listen to their bull!

Bob Hamilton. In the common good

Safeguarding your common good assets

YOUR COMMUNITY ASSETS ARE DISAPPEARING!

Last year, three Petitions demanding better protection for Scotland’s wealth of common good assets (land, buildings, collections, rentals, etc, etc) were piloted through Parliament by Mary E. Mackenzie (PE875), David Harvie (PE896) and Sally Richardson (PE961). These matters are still active in the new Parliament. Meanwhile, all councils have been officially reminded of their existing responsibilities accurately to record and separately audit Scotland’s huge wealth of property in direct community ownership. It is now accepted that for many years this wealth has been under-reported and mismanaged; this has led in many cases to your property being improperly sold or otherwise disposed of.

Concerned individuals and community organisations are now in a position to begin a fight back! You are urged to write to the Chief Executive of your local council asking for accurate, up-to-date information on common good assets held on your behalf by your local authority. Obtain the name and address of the relevant chief executive; below are skeleton sample letters and further information and advice.

 

SAMPLE LETTER ONE:

The Chief Executive Date:
[name & address from link above]

Dear Sir,

I wish to see the Council’s current list of common good assets (heritable and moveable) on the current common good register, and the audited accounts of these assets.
Please reply to me at the address below indicating where and when this information is available.

Yours sincerely,

[your signature] [your name, address and postcode]

A local authority, if refusing information for any reason, must inform you how to use its review procedure. If there has been no reply within twenty working days (4 weeks) or an unhelpful reply, write again:

SAMPLE LETTER TWO:

The Chief Executive Date:
[name & address from link above]

Dear Sir,

I regret your decision not to respond to my request of [date of first letter] and ask that you review your adverse decision on inspection of the Council’s common good assets register etc.
Please reply to me at the address below indicating where and when this information is to be made available.

Yours sincerely,

[your signature] [your name, address and postcode]

 

KEEP COPIES OF ALL LETTERS, SENT AND RECEIVED.

If there is no reply to your second letter within twenty working days (4 weeks) or if the response is unhelpful, contact the Scottish Information Commissioner for advice on making a request under Freedom of Information legislation:

Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St. Andrews
Fife KY16 9DS

Tel: 01334 464611

IF VISITING YOUR COUNCIL OFFICES:

Ask for relevant photocopies, or take detailed notes of, for example, the number of heritable items listed, eg properties, shops, houses, streets, harbours, town halls, museums, galleries, parks, golf courses, swimming pools, etc (or rentals accrued from them); also, the total value of these assets as listed (see audited accounts, where they should be separately listed).

Ask for relevant photocopies, or take detailed notes of moveable items listed, eg, burgh regalia, paintings, furnishings, artefacts, gifts from visitors or residents, silverware, books, etc, etc. Also note the total value of these assets as listed (see audited accounts, where they should be separately listed).

 

Below are summarised a number of aspects of existing guidance given by the Scottish Executive as reminders to all Scottish councils in March 2007:

To Chief Executives:

1. Councils are the stewards of common good assets, responsible both for managing these assets and for ensuring that they are properly recorded and ensured.

2. Common good accounts are required to be shown separately.

3. “To discharge their stewardship responsibilities, councils need to maintain accurate asset registers which identify common good assets as such, distinct from the general body of assets under council control.”

4. There may be a range of formats, eg ordnance survey plans, GIS (Geographical Information System) computerised records.

5. Inalienable land may not be sold.

To Directors of Finance:

1. On 1st April 1996 any common good property should transfer to the authority covering the Burgh whose common good that property formed part on 15th May 1975.

2. Councils are responsible for common good funds within their area and for ensuring that, for example, assets are properly recorded and insured, and that these are audited . . . . . councils need to maintain accurate asset registers which identify common good assets as such, distinct from the general body of assets under council control.

3. It would appear evident that for councils to fully maximise the potential of their assets, they must hold accurate records.

 

 

Activists are encouraged to be rigorous in their enquiries and should not be deterred by the possibility that some councils will – either through unwillingness, or through their own ignorance of the true position – offer information that will quickly be seen to be either inaccurate, incomplete, or both. It is in the interests of all of us – councils included – that common good records are brought into the 21st century in a condition that benefits the whole of Scotland.

The Common Sense of the Common Good

Glasgow City Council faced the age old problem as both Aristotle and George Bush did. Regarding the public’s affairs, there are two ways of dealing with public accountability and the public’s happiness.

One is reducing poverty. The other is reducing democracy.

The former, Aristotle would have picked, the latter the choice of Bush. Glasgow City Council, concerning Glasgow’s Common Good, also chose the second option.

But what if they had chosen the other?

In the corporate speak of Glasgow City Council “An opportunity had been recognised” Namely the Common Good. Not as a shining accolade of democratic pride and accomplishment that it represents, or a tool that could be used to bolster public participation, particularly in the depressed areas of our city.

Unfortunately no. – The opportunity recognised was privatisation.

But other opportunities could have been recognised. One could have been to enhance the accountability to the job of public servant. A city council that is serious about social inclusion, is one that should be using the status of our common ownership, to encourage responsibility, pride and hope, in it’s citizens?

Why cant the facilities and profits of our Common Good, not be “recognised” as a window of opportunity to actually start encouraging our citizens especially our young, whose future these thing will affect most – to start taking some responsibility, to start taking an interest and getting involved in deciding how they want to live there lives? The Common Good, could produce a format for these real ideas, that young people could benefit and learn from and in the process, create “real” jobs that go with the responsibility?

Council workers once took pride of place in Glasgow, where, folk with a job in the Corporation, felt an achievement about what they were doing.

The resource’s of the Common Good, used in this way would not have to rely so heavily on loans, business and banks, whose only concern is to create profit margins for shareholders. (not the public shareholders)

If our city is to survive when the development bubble bursts. What will we be left with; luxury flats, shopping malls? Citizens do not gain much in the expansion of business profits. Our roll is to pay for the failures of business. When the corporate sponge leaves town taking our money and jobs with it. The rent or the mortgage does not get cheaper. When this happens (and it will sure as night follows day.) The Common Good is one of the few safety nets we have left for such times, where folk no matter how poor, can feel that they are at least part of something.

The privatising of the Common Good is both patronising as well as alienating. Patronising in the idea that we need a small elite of business people who know everything about profit and very little about our culture and who will control our city’s asset through secret meetings. This implies that we [the public] are not capable through our own council and representatives, of running our own affairs, in our own interests.

We have in our communities a talent pool that is being ignored, of people who are quite capable in deciding what is needed in the places they inhabit. And if an expert is also needed to help out, why cant folk chose there own experts?

It is a myth that we need to deal with multinationals to do our public works. Nor do we need to import endless unneeded commodities which only makes the suppliers rich and the domestic wages poor. Our Common Good assets should be working for the Common Good and avoiding where possible the debt of banks and illegitimate trusts.

lessons from Guernsey
‘…In the early 19th century the little British Channel island of Guernsey faced a smaller but similar problem. Its sea walls were crumbling. Its roads were to narrow, and it was already heavily in debt. There was little employment, and people were leaving for elsewhere.

Instead of going still further into debt the island government simply issued 4’000 pounds in state notes to start repairs on the sea walls as well as for other needed public works. More issues followed and twenty years latter the island had printed nearly 50,000 pounds. Guernsey had more than doubled its money supply without inflation. A report for the islands States Office in June 1946 notes that island leaders frequently commented that these public works could not have been carried out without the issues, that they had been accomplished without interest costs, and that as a result

“the influx of visitors was increased, commerce was stimulated and the prosperity of the island vastly improved.”…

…About the same time that Guernsey started to fix its sea walls the city of Glasgow, Scotland borrowed 60,000 pounds to build a fruit market. The guernsey seawalls were repaid in 10 years; the fruit market loan took 139. In the first part of the 20th century Glasgow paid over a quarter of a million pounds in interest alone on this ancient project. How did Guernsey avoid the fiscal disaster that conventional economics provided for it? First and foremost that understanding that when you build roads or seawalls or colleges or houses, you are not reducing your societies wealth. In fact, if you do it right, you are creating something that will add to its wealth. The money that was created was simply backed by public works rather than gold or “full faith and credit.”‘[Smith]

So is there nothing to learn from history in a town renowned for spiraling budgets?

“A council spokesman said land and property worth “hundreds of millions of pounds” was available for sale, but he could not identify specific sites for commercial reasons.” [Evening Times]

The above is typical of the quotes that our City Council is giving out daily in the sell off of our public estate. This one is concerned with funding the Commonwealth Games, The operative words being “could not identify specific sites for commercial reasons” translating as. It’s none of the publics business what we do.

I think if the public really want to try out the candidates for the next election, one of the first questions we should be asking is. “What’s your take on the privatisation of public property?”

Should our Common Good be in the hands of a private business?
Should our Common Good be the responsibility of those we voted that responsibility to?

It may not seem the most pressing question you have at the moment. But if the City council leaders can give away our wealth so easily do you really think they will stop there.

On the other hand this issue is starting to throw some light on what we do actually hold in common. In a time of disintegrating communities, debt, despair, increasing mental health problems, violence and financial disparity – The Common Good may be the very symbolic and creative tool we could use and need, to alleviate some of these problems. The refocusing on the Common Good, could create some hope in the idea that there is – such a thing as society – and that members of the general public have a responsibility and a role to play in it – and our city council have a duty to seek our opinions when dealing with such important matters.
Debt ridden britain:
Chomsky on Common Good
Sam Smith’s Great American Political Repair Manual P99

Common Good Links on related stuff

Safeguard your common good assets nation wide
From our Edinburgh friends
Some people have taken the time to collect addresses and present ideas for letters, organise petitions – and work ceaselessly to try and protect our Common Good. But “we” also need to say what we think.
Now there are official folk who can do, and have to do things when we register our complaints or queries. But if they don’t know (i.e. we don’t tell them) they can do nothing about anything. Here is some advice on how to go about having your say. It’s easy:

“Concerned individuals and community organisations are now in a position to begin a fight back! You are urged to write to the Chief Executive of your local council asking for accurate, up-to-date information on common good assets held on your behalf by your local authority. Obtain the name and address of the relevant chief executive; below are skeleton sample” letters and further information and advice.

Say bye bye – Let the Great Privatisation begin…
The following Culture and Sport Glasgow tenders are available on PublicTenders.net. They reveal officially – for the first time – the real extent of the potential impending danger to the private company’s 2,500 current employees. (GlasgowLOST)

Is there anyone involved in campaigns concerning Common Good issues, or want to start or join one, help out in one. Remember the CG covers a lot of ground. It will affect us all probably sooner rather than later – particularly in Glasgow where the privatisation plans are much more advanced than elsewhere.

Haringey Federation of Residents Associations
a wee taster of just what is possible when we get together and build democratic structures where residents groups and campaigners can come together, free from political interference or bureaucracy, which can help us co-ordinate and gain a real say in our communities, Haringey Federation of Residents Associations have produced a new film, which stands as an example of just what is possible.
Glasgow Residents Network: See here for summer Conference. If you want to help also(or make a film even): 07976718111

10 things you should know about Culture and Sport

LAND REFORM EXPERT TO GIVE EDINBURGH LECTURE

Andy Wightman, an author and researcher who has been campaigning on the Edinburgh Common Good Fund for the past 18 months, will be the speaker. He said: “Across Scotland, hundreds of millions of pounds in funds and capital assets are missing from Common Good Funds. This wealth belongs to the people and this talk will highlight how this state of affairs has come about and what should be done about it.
The Story of the Common Good Fund”, will take place at St Stephens Centre, St Stephens Street on Wednesday 27 June at 19:30 BST.

Kennington Park birthplace of People’s Democracy
Public Executions * A Radical Black Methodist * The World’s First National Labour Movement * The Chartists * the Significance of 10th April 1848 * The World’s First Photograph of a Crowd * The Occupation of Our Common by the Royal Park * The Horns Tavern and Charlie Chaplin * The Princess of Wales Theatre * The Scandal the Unmarked War Grave * The Squatters * ‘Red Ted’ * The Return of the Commons Spirit

How come they didn’t ask “City Strolls” if it backed the bid?
Is there anyone out there who was asked to back the bid? We would be interested to know how the question was put. Don’t Back The Bid!

Glasgow Core Paths Plan (More creeping ) See below
Is the intention to replace in the public consciousness the concept of rights of way with that of core paths ‘giving’ access – which gift might subsequently be bureaucratically revoked, whenever it is felt desirable so to do, by those who consider themselves to be our masters?

Common good assets being given to new leisure Trust?
For the attention of Ronnie Hinds, CEO Fife Council
Please find below for your information a copy of an e-mail sent to all 78 councillors in Fife.

Aborigines lose welfare appeal right
THE Commonwealth will remove normal rights of appeal for Aborigines in the Northern Territory, prevent customary law being considered in sentencing and give itself open-ended powers to acquire land or ban alcohol under legislation to be introduced to Parliament today. (No surprises there then)

More News and Facts at Don’t Back The Bid!
Keep your eye on those facts and figures

Maybe the megaphone is to try and tell the council leader something he doesn’t want to hear, about how the staff feel [and the public] about the councils senior management. Who knows what they will come up with next in these developing times. Maybe a comprehensive register of our common good assets would be a start. Then an “Outsider” magazine, about how the public really feel. We are not behind your farcical games Councilor Purcell. Just tell us what we own and why you’re trying to giving it away. It is time the citizens of this city demanded a Register of common good assets. Now!

We only hear of the victors of the “business” games, never the victims
(Olympics Greece)“You won’t hear about it in NBC’s gauzy coverage, but Amnesty International estimates that anywhere between 40 and 150 construction workers died in work place accidents building Olympic facilities. The new center right government of Costas Karamanlis, terrified of international embarrassment for not having a modernized infrastructure, turned the screws to finish facilities by any means necessary”

Community Management and Ownership of Assets
Government Response to Quirk Review Published

The Government has published its response to Making Assets Work, the Quirk Review of community management and ownership of public assets. A practical action plan, “Opening the transfer window” sets out how Communities and Local Government will work with partner organisations to implement the review’s recommendations in full. You can download a copy at  www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1510746 .

Don’t Back the Bid Blog
Don’t back the Commonwealth Games

Games Monitor (Olympic)

Olimpic Watch Human Rights
The mission of Olympic Watch is to monitor the human rights situation in the People’s Republic of China in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games and to campaign to achieve positive change in the lives of the people of China.

Local People Leading
calls on the new coalition government to recognise the economic, social and environmental value to Scotland of having a strong and independent community sector.
Action 1: Put power in the hands of local communities. Commit to the principle of decentralization and invest communities with greater control over decision making and responsibility for matters which shape local quality of life. Links

Klondike park
In case people are unaware the authorities are proposing to build a school in Kelvingrove Park. The experts see the idea as a wonderful opportunity, most parents and locals involved see the idea as stupid. I find it difficult to waste time on their reasoning for this school anymore. The basic difference is. One side want there kids to go to a safe, secure, local educational, environment and the other can only think of how to make money from anything, (that’s public) they can get there hands on.

Andy Wightman
The Story of the Edinburgh Common Good Fund (audio)
“Across Scotland, hundreds of millions of pounds in funds and capital assets are missing from Common Good Funds. This wealth belongs to the people and this talk will highlight how this state of affairs has come about and what should be done about it.” The story of all our Common Good funds

O Rose, thou art sick!
Outsourcing Glasgow’s Cultural & Leisure Services. Variant
On April Fools’ Day , Glasgow City councillors rushed through the removal of the City’s entire Cultural and Leisure Services and staff from the control of the people and delivered them into the hands of bankers: the Charitable Trust and Trading Company ‘Culture and Sport Glasgow’. Drawing on UNISON and activist sources this is an otherwise missing public account of the hiving off of Glasgow’s common good. PDF

Taxpayers won’t foot Games bill
” Mr Purcell said the council would sell surplus property and land to meet the costs of hosting the event.” Duh! So who owns the surplus property?

Curtain up on Tory plan for private firm to run theatres and museums Edinburgh
Comments are always more enlightning

Local Government and Transport – Session 2
Remit: To consider and report on matters relating to local government (including local government finance), cities and community planning and such other matters (excluding finance other than local government finance) which fall within the responsibility of the Minister for Finance and Public Services; and matters relating to transport which fall within the responsibility of the Minister for Transport.

Letters& comments Scotsman: Disgraceful plans

‘Pseudo-charity’ threat to Glasgow’s culture and leisure services
“Outsourcing Glasgow’s Cultural and Leisure is likely to prove an election issue. Glasgow City Council is proposing to transfer nearly 2,500 staff working in Glasgow’s libraries, museums, leisure centres, swimming pools and other sports facilities, and arts development to a private charitable trust, in order to avoid paying tax and business rates.”

Leisure Trust Failure: Alternative Option for East Hertfordshire District Council East Hertfordshire’s Leisure Services contract with Enfield Leisure Centres Ltd (Aspire Trust) had a major financial crisis in the first year of operation. It had a £500,000 deficit – a crisis in the making during the evaluation of the market testing bids in 2005.

Public Private Partnerships Staffing Protocol UNISON
The STUC and Scottish Executive have agreed a Protocol covering employment issues in Public Private Partnerships. UNISON Scotland played a major role in the preparation of this Protocol and has welcomed its introduction as an important step forward in protecting staff and eliminating the two-tier workforce

CULTURE AND LEISURE TRUST
UNISON’s Twin Track Approach Negotiations are continuing with CLS regarding the imminent transfer of the department to Culture and Sport Glasgow . While UNISON objects in principle to the transfer, talks have continued with a view to ensuring the protection of members’ jobs, terms and conditions. In tandem with this, we are obtaining legal advice and campaigning against the principle of the transfer.

Leisure Trusts Briefing UNISON
Glasgow City Council, amongst others, is considering setting up a charitable trust to manage all its cultural and leisure services. This idea is based on a belief that there will be substantial savings in taxes and that a charitable trust is more likely to attract private donations than a council department. Museum and leisure trusts have been in place for some time but there is little evidence that the savings and improvements promised actually materialise.
UNISON briefing no 36 Public Interest Companies:
” Companies (which can raise and pay dividends) and from the public sector (which cannot raise finances on the capital markets). This means a PIC can raise money when it needs to for things like new buildings, but it does not run the risk of conflict of interest between shareholders and the public interest. ““The Scottish Executive is open for business”
Big banks looking after big business
The creeping begins, as the cities jewels start to slip from its hands
Mandelson: we are all Thatcherites now
Well at least they are admitting it
UPDATES ON COMMON GOOD CAMPAIGN
http://www.caledonia.org.uk/
Andy Wightman’s Blog
Common Good Land
Who Owns Scotland
Land Reform Scotland
http://www.caledonia.org.uk/land
http://www.caledonia.org.uk/commonweal
Green Olympics?
Land reform Newsletter

Lessons from LA Gentrification of American Cities
Hacking Democracy
City Strolls
Council Votes
Subterranean methods
Rushed decision to transfer control of Common Good
We are all Thatcherites?

Parks Planning?pdf
Against Labour Policy

What are we waiting for?
The Scottish Executive is open for business
Sport Connections
London Olympics Greed
Spectator Sports
Sport and resistance
Olympic Sized Horror in Greece
Strolls Sports Page
Common Good
Politics for the common good
Americans want to engage in ‘fair minded politics’. A politics that understands that truth and certainty are not the same thing.
(Comment Gardian)
The common good
This is not the Rich List, the Power List or the Fame List. Guardian journalists interviewed 200 public servants – from a hospital porter to a general. Their voices are not often heard. The results are surprising – and inspiring (Comment Gardian)

 

From: Brian D Finch
To: Herald
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 2:10 PM
Subject: Glasgow Core Paths Plan

Brian D Finch
Maryhill
Glasgow

Tuesday 7th August 2007

Dear Sir,

On reading the expansive, and presumably expensive, Glasgow City Council produced glossy document entitled Glasgow Core Paths Plan: Consultative Draft (consisting of one page listing the contents, plus seven pages of text and colour photographs, one mapping index sheet and fifty-eight pages of single-side printed maps, plus one double-sided comment form and one page of notes for completing said comment form) I am immediately struck by the extreme paucity of the information contained therein. Apparently this Core Paths Plan was drawn up in response to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which placed the duty on (all?) local authorities of drawing up a plan for a system of paths ‘…sufficient for the purpose of giving the public reasonable access throughout their area’. The intention is that core paths will be: ‘Sign posted, Well maintained, Barrier free, Monitored, Inspected on a regular basis and, Continually improved’.
Disturbingly, though the text states: ‘A Right of Way may become Core Path but not all will; it depends on the outcome of this consultation process’, I can find no other mention of public Rights of Way anywhere in the entire document – and certainly not in any of the maps. Why not? Is the intention to replace in the public consciousness the concept of rights of way with that of core paths ‘giving’ access – which gift might subsequently be bureaucratically revoked, whenever it is felt desirable so to do, by those who consider themselves to be our masters?
Given that the public consultation period (which ends on Friday 31st August) is almost halfway through, the City Council do not seem to have been diligent in bringing this plan to public notice. I have found a few copies of the plan in Hillhead Library and none in Maryhill. As far as I am aware, they are not on public display in the Mitchell Library. Why not? Are there pallets loaded with boxes of these books piled high in warehouses, ready to be pulped when this sham consultation is concluded?

Yours sincerely,
Brian D Finch

Common good for beginners

triqueta

Protecting AND DEVELOPING THE Common Good FOR COMMON INTEREST

What is the “Common Good” for beginners: (The simplest explanation) The Common Good can be found all around you. It is what makes up our communities. It is all of our cities institutions, Art galleries, museums, schools, parks. It is also the history of how these things came about. The Common Good belongs to everyone both rich and poor alike. It is common to us all. The Common Good is what we do for each other, and what we give to each other. It is also what we pass on to our children, so it should be cherished and kept free.

The following will hopefully stimulate some interest and explanation of the many ways of approaching, first. What the Common Good means, and why in today’s market culture of “winner takes all” it needs protecting. The Common Good is the last bastion that can protect the ideas and democratic principals, with which our communities were created. Lose it at our peril. It is the best tool we have to reaffirm democratic choice for ordinary people. I have added some “What’s happening in America” reference – as our administration seem to be traveling along the same road as their corporate cousins. Also a section on how we could start using our Common Good to serve our communities.

Scenarios Things to think about Make it work for us Links
FIND-OUT
If you don’t know what the “Common Good” is, especially if your young, and haven’t heard the term. Hopefully the following will help in understanding it better – through ideas and sequence of events of what privatisation, in general and of the Common Good, can mean.
CONTRIBUTE
If you have any ideas or information you would like to contribute.How to educate the young and those who don’t know what Common Good means.How the Common Good could be further used to benefit the people of Glasgow
NO MATER WHERE YOU ARE
Contributions from any geographical area would be very helpful. All the Links I have collected are here. If you have some to add, any questions, send them to
Common Good
LinksEdinburgh
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THE COMMON GOOD IN SCOTLAND
Film Scottish land reform researcher Andy Wightman explaining the basics of Common Good assets in Scotland. Common Good are land, buildings and artefacts that have been given to the people of a burgh or town as common property and for benefit of their common wellbeing. For more information see: http://www.scottishcommons.org
OUR CULTURE TRANSFER TO £££
Firstly the only reasons being given by the Glasgow City Council for the transfer of our Common Good assets to a “pseudo charity”- are financial.
WHEN DOES IT STOP?
What then, is to stop every other decision for doing anything concerning the Common Good, merely financial?
FALSE VALUES
Think what will suffer and be first to disappeared under such a regime – All the things that can not be given a financial value. The small personal detail that doesn’t fit snuggly on the side of a souvenir mug
Pseudo-charity
FAILURE TO PROTECT
The lack of interest in protecting the Common Good by politicians and political parties illustrates the failure of the parliamentary system to protect interests of democratic importance.
SHORT TERMISM
Promoting political parties who only deal with short term interests, usually to serve the power struggles of individuals, who – “will do something when we get to power” is not an answer to protecting common interests.
LONG TERM
The Common Good is a long term interest and as such can only be protected by public interest. In the hands of city administrators it will be used to pay off their bad planning financial mistakes – short term solutions and bias business deals. Till they get kicked out of office. We need a better idea than this.
IT STARTED HERE
When Glasgow’s parks were privatised, (April 2004) at least there was an attempt at consultation. A very weak attempt
NO ATTEMPT TO CONSULT
In the privatising of the Common Good, there has been absolutely no regard what so ever to inform the public of what is, the selling-off of – public assets.
WERE DOES IT END
If the council think the public can be so easily duped – What’s up next, for privatisation? – schools, health…
Park
Links
WAIT? TO-LATE
Should we wait until the kids have to take £5 to school to pay for an art gallery visit
Fat Cat art galleries Tate Britain
Corporate takeovers of culture
What’s at stake in the land-grab
KILLING THE VILLAGE SQUARE
With so much of our land being sold off for the use of shopping malls. [Tesco Village, Partick, Glasgow] Shopping complexes are starting to call themselves “Villages”
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Remember there is no freedom of speech in the “privatised village”, nor freedom of choice. Once the “local village” and shops disappear you are at the mercy of the retail giants
START CHEAP END DEAR
Sure you will have a supermarket in your local area for a while. Till all the wee shops are gone. Then the supermarkets become bigger and less local and of course even more expensive.
All
Tomorrows
Particks
Privatisation means subsidisation
SUBSIDISING THE WEALTHY
Why should we think the same thing repeated over and over again will be any different. Did the privatisation of British Rail make the trains run any better, cheaper? No. Why are we still subsidising private rail businesses to keep the trains running? Is the subsidy used to make your ticket cheaper. That’s a laugh.
REAL COMPETITION ?
Privatised railways like supermarkets are only cheap when they have to put up with “real” competition. When the [local] competition disappears, the prices will rocket like rail fares. – and the state will have subsidised this happening one way or the other
MORE RICH – LESS TAX
Think about it. The bigger the corporation the less tax they pay. (if any) Why do you think they need all those lawyers – to think of loopholes to avoid paying tax. Who pays all the tax then? Me and you. Who does our tax subsidise then? I bet you thought it was pensioners and folk on the dole. Some of it is but -Fraud is costing the country 20 billion a year and it’s not poor people whose stealing all our money. Add this to the business incentives, business tax relief and the figures become surreal.
Business wants the popular aspects of government, the ones that actually serve the population, beaten down, but it also wants a very powerful state, one that works for it and is removed from public control. Noam Chomsky Common Good
BUSINESS KILLS DEMOCRACY
We need to hold on to our democracy while we have it. We can’t rely on business to solve our social problems.
CREATES BLIGHT
It is ironic the most deprived areas need to rely on such things as Tesco Villages as a life line for there communities.
Linwood a case in point
REPLACING COMMUNITY WITH THE MALL
It is pertinent in corporate takeover that communities are rendered hopeless, blighted and undemocratised in order that folk in these communities see the corporate shopping mall as a saviour. The message, is – don’t try anything yourself leave it to us. Then blight of consumption takes over, the community is rendered as individual shoppers.
THERE’S MORE THAN ONE VALUE SYSTEM
Do you ever wonder why listening to politicians, everything relating to the Common Good, hospitals, schools, and so on is valued as negative cost. While the language of consumption is described as “personal wealth” and “choice” and democracy becomes to mean the “freedom to buy”.
COLLECTIVE GENEROSITY
Why are we not encouraged to value our public services as an achievement of our collective generosity the same way as our private possessions are used to denote our personal achievements?We seem not to mind (or don’t know) how generous we are with our money when our government is dolling it out to business interests in cheap land, tax incentives, ignoring corporate tax evasion, and using our assets for the tourists comfort, rather than the taxpayers. Every cost saving and cut to our public expenditure will eventually find its way into the pockets of private business.
COMMON BAD?
In a capitalist market economy (where were at) it is an imperative (the same as blighted land) that ordinary citizens are properly prepared to give up what they already own. Therefore the language needs to be changed from. Common, democratic, good. To. Private, profit, good – for the few of course.
This is how council houses were sold back to the people that already owned them. And is the same theory that will be used to sell us back our culture, if we let them privatise it.
Draining the public purse
ASSET DRAIN
It’s a bit like the privatised water companies who lose billions of gallons of water every day because of lack of repairs (the share holders get all the money that should be used on repairs) our Common Good is like the leaking pipes all over the country, our assets being drained off . And to add to that we are expected to pay through the nose – as if it’s our fault.
RAILWAYS
That’s what happens with most public assets that are privatised. Check out the railways. We actually fund private businesses that belonged to the public which were sold because the government decided the private sector could run them more efficiently. Yes of course they can with the help of our taxes in bail outs when they fail. No one was mad about British Rail but it was a dam sight better than the railways now.£1.6 billion for Virgin Rail.
RESEARCH
What happens in our universities? Stuff that is researched and developed (prompted by business) in our educational institutes, if these things are successful they are are privatised. If the research is a miserable failure guess who picks up the bill?
Thames WaterThames Water misses leak target
SMALL FRY
Even if dole fraud goes into the hundreds of millions, and there’s a budget of millions on TV adverts to inform the public of this fraud. So where’s all the adverts about business fraud. It doesn’t exist? We manage to turn a city (country) into the biggest land grab in its history and no fraud is detected?
BUSINESS SOCIAL SECURITY
How come when the business community who owe not millions, but billions, of pounds in tax, and the same businesses are claiming massive back payments of taxes and incentives from the public purse –Criminalise the poor. White collar crime? Notes US ref
BIG FRY
The same businesses that are claiming these”benefits” are the same businesses who are showing profit levels that are going into space. Not a peep, hardly a whisper will you hear about business fraud in the newspapers. Guess who owns and advertises in the newspapers?
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The housing swindle
HOSTAGE TO HOME BUYING
Then the council turn round and say “There’s no demand for council housing” Why have cheap housing when the wage slave mentality will keep folk from thinking about things like the Common Good, as they hive away all day in order to meet the mortgage.
Folk are not being allowed to chose between rent or buying. Most are being forced to buy through the lack of affordable and properly maintained homes.
NO MONEY?
There’s no money we are persistently told when we ask for facilities to keep our kids occupied. We are told it’s because of bad people in our communities are destroying things, because folk are defrauding the dole, working and claiming at the same time.Working class people are well used to being blamed for their own problems. Yes there is vandals breaking things up and there are junkies and dope dealers.They are also aware, how come these things don’t happen much in middle class areas. They are also becoming aware that the lack of public facilities (not private) the lack of response to repairs, vandalism, ant social behaviour, rubbish collection, from their city administrators is becoming systematic and goes arm in arm in chasing folk out of their council houses and into the arms of the mortgage lender, or homelessness – while the process of land-grabbing for developers goes on unabated.
CREATIVE PLATFORM
It is when our social order is breaking down for what ever reason that we need a facility that can draw the collective moral of our communities. People need to feel that they are not alone to be outspoken, assertive and creative in there own affairs. The Common Good presents a democratic platform on which these urges, ideas and concerns should be heard.Any administration who does not recognise these ideas is unworthy of democratic leadership, and any leader who spouts privatisation of the Common Good, will be of benefit to the collective who own it, is not fit to represent our interests. Because these “leaders” will be to busy representing the gentrifiers.
Dole fraud?UK fraud
costs ‘top £20bn a year’
Reducing council housing is like pouring water down the drain when you can see a drought coming. The growth in the housing market is making it harder, not easier,for low-income families ands first-time buyers to buy property. Personal insolvency is at an all time high with more people declaring themselves bankrupt than ever before. Debt
ridden
Britain
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Myth of growth
NO DEMAND?
House prices on the up? At the same time we are told by Glasgow Housing Association, “there is no demand for council housing” This is straight from the Thatcher text book. Get the albatross of mortgage around peoples necks and there will be no time to worry about anything else.
INDIVIDUAL DEBT
What good does it do house prices going up: OK your a first time buyer your house is going up in price
which means the next house you buy if you have kids will probably be out of reach? What then, back to over crowding, over work, stress, paying for repairs.
GHA bill forced us to quit our home
We’ll call in cops to stop repair work
More homeowners in debt trouble
REAL COST
So, to pay the mortgage we go out and work more, less time with kids, create more goods, waste, products, pollution. The only time the house price will stop rising under the market economy (for most folk) is when their dead. Even then their kids will take on their debt, and the bank will probably still own the property.
Grass
roots
housing
process
Myth of work Welfare Capitalism We’ll do it for you
Each headline we see in the newspapers, just before another land grab takes place is the boast of how many jobs the project, mall or whatever is going to bring. What is rarely mention is the type of employment, the the rate of wages and the duration of the employment. We are bringing much wanted jobs to the area, is also a ruse for demolishing historical land marks and usable older building types. Forcing people off the dole for jobs that, either don’t exist, or are so low paid. The same as pushing them into “further education” to be trained for other jobs that don’t exist. The capitalist system can not run without an excess labour force. Pushing people off the dole for jobs that don’t exist, creates low wages and desperate people who will work for and at, anything they can get. Notes US ref If folk organise in their area for a nursery they will get a new community centre. If they want a new community centre they will probably get a sports centre, or vis versa. So long as the city administrators do it for you.
“Their resources undermined and eliminated the incipient democratic and popular structures.” Notes US ref
Keep watching the box, get pished, and everything will be fine.
WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU.
We are continuously being told what to do: What we need. How we should act. What is good for us. What’s bad for you. What the future holds. Who our enemies are. Who our friends are. What you own. What you don’t own. Where you can go. Where you can’t go. Who you can see. Who you can’t see. What’s your business. What’s their business. And here is an ID card, so we can tell what you earn. Where you live. What kind of car you have. What medication your on. What shops you visit. What you buy. What you drink. (and how much). We promise we will not sell this information to businesses to help target their sales toward you. But then we have lied to you about lots of other things.If the authorities are so benevolent towards our well beingWhy are we never told to get rid of our televisions?
DISTRACTION
While our grass roots culture is being reduced to getting pished of a weekend in a city centre that resembles a war zone. On one side the mass of outlets, and advertising, selling trinkets of every description and drink of every concoction. Our young folk stagger about oblivious from one franchise chain pub to the next. This is the city the city council allowed business to build. It is not a city designed for people. Meanwhile more of our money is used for business propaganda to further distract the fact we have so much poverty and debt to deal with while the first minister busies himself on wallpapering over the cracks. Six Cities Design which will help our designers create more abstract creations to further distract our citizens from the fact. No matter who wins the “games bid”.[commonwealth] The people in poverty of both countries will suffer even more. Anger as Games rival criticises city’s crime and poverty Remember these are the people who describe a “super casino” as a win win situation
SOCIAL SECURITY
We live in a society (which is the aim of market capitalism) that each family unit has its own television, its own car, its own drive to supermarket. As Chomsky puts it:”Social Security says, Let’s ensure that all of us have a minimal standard of living. That puts a bad idea into people’s heads—that we can all work together, get involved in the democratic process and make our own decisions. Much better to create a world in which people behave individually and the powerful win.
The goal is a society in which the basic social unit is you and your television set. If the kid next door is hungry, it’s not your problem. If the retired couple next door invested their assets badly and are now starving, that’s not your problem either. “
CRIME. Some useful thoughts from US, on violence, crime, prisons and gun culture.
In case anyone hasnt noticed we have been sold to the markets, by our government. So we need to look at what’s happening in the biggest market economy to see what’s going to happen here next. There are resemblances.
Although crime in the US is high by the standards of comparable societies, there’s only one major domain in which it’s really off the map— murders with guns. But that’s because of the gun culture. The overall crime rate hasn’t changed much for a long time. In fact, it’s been decreasing recently.
The US is one of very few societies—maybe the only one—where crime is considered a political issue; in most parts of the world, it’s looked at as a social problem. Politicians don’t have to fight during elections about who’s tougher on crime—they simply try to figure out how to deal with it.
Why does crime get all this attention here? I think it has more to do with social control than with crime itself. There’s a very committed effort to convert the US into something resembling a Third World society, where a few people have enormous wealth and a lot of others have no security (for one reason, because their jobs might be sent to Mexico or some other place where employers don’t have to worry about benefits, unions or the like).
Now that these workers are superfluous, what do you do with them? First of all, you have to make sure they don’t notice that society is unfair and try to change that, and the best way to distract them is to get them to hate and fear one another. Every coercive society immediately hits on that idea, which has two other benefits: it reduces the number of superfluous people (by violence) and provides places to put the ones who survive (prisons). Noam Chomsky The Common Good
Meanwhile Corporate Crime goes on unabated
MORE ABOUT THE US GENTRIFICATION MODEL WE ARE FOLLOWING – This is the script – See anything familiar Find more here – SAGEnet SAGEnet Home
(Our cousins across the Atlantic have been dealing with the gentrification, conference city, colonisation of space and criminalising the poor, a lot longer than us. Why aren’t we learning from their experience?)
My parenthesis
GENTRIFICATION
the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx if middle class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces earlier, usually poorer, residents. –Merriam Webster
THE TERM ‘GENTRIFICATION’ has been around for about 40 years. However, today’s gentrification is occurring in a very different political and economic context than in past years. Thirty years ago the United States had a strong public sector – LESS FEDERAL MONEY-
Today, that has been stripped down to almost nothing. There has been an 85% reduction in federal urban programs in the past thirty years.
WAR ON POVERTY
Thirty years ago the federal administration declared a ‘war on poverty’.
CRIMINALISATION OF POVERTY:
Today, our cities have declared a war on the poor and are constantly seeking ways to criminalize poverty.
PRISONS
This has caused our prison population to swell threefold over the past 20 years.
(Look at the following web site it has useful ideas on how we learn to accept bad things happening.) My parentheses The
Lucifer
Effect
UNION AND INDUSTRIAN JOBS:
Thirty years ago a person could graduate from high school, get a good union job in a factory and be able to buy a house and send their kids to college.
DEINDUSTRIALISATION
Today, in Los Angeles, and many other U.S. cities, most of those jobs have gone overseas and have been replaced with non-union, low-wage manufacturing and service jobs that do not offer benefits.
SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Thirty years ago the United States had a social infrastructure that could help people out in hard times.
PRIVATISATION
Today, much of that social infrastructure has been moved to the private sector or stripped away completely.
LOCAL ECONOMY
Yesterday’s urban economies had local and regional roots.
GLOBAL CITIES
Today the economies of most major cities respond to global demands.
LARGE MIDDLE CLASS:
Thirty years ago the United States had a large middle class.
GROWTH BETWEEN RICH AND POOR
Today, the gap between the rich and poor has widened enormously and middle class incomes have diminished.
INVESTMENT IN STOCKS
Thirty years ago much of the nation’s investment capital went into stocks.
CAPITAL MOVES FROM STOCKS TO LAND:
A few years ago, when the high tech bubble burst and the stock market became unstable, billions of investment dollars moved into real estate.
This escalated prices and created new “hot” markets.
URBAN TAX BASE
We used to have a strong urban tax base.
FISCALISATION OF LAND USE
With less public money, cities are trying to cash in on the real estate boom by using real estate development to raise taxes.Convention centers, stadiums, tourist hotels, and huge auto malls produce sales, tickets and bed taxes that keep city hall doors open.Analysts call this trend the ‘fiscalization of land use’.What that means is city administrators look at land in terms of how much revenue it can produce rather than what communities really need–like housing, community-serving-retail, parks, and good jobs.
The Commonwealth Games Games monitor (Olympic) The Common Good Games

The onus on preserving the Common Good, is in the hands of Glasgow’s citizens, not on Glasgow City Council, or any future party elect. The fact that this move [privatisation] is a surprise to most Glaswegian’s, is evidence enough, of a complete lack, or not enough attention to our common interests by any of the parties.The Common Good is not the preserve of government administrators, but the citizens themselves – if we don’t use it, we lose it.

The biggest loss to the Common Good, if it is taken from the public, is not the physical assets, but the social interaction that these assets make available, to everyone. This is what has deteriorated and allows this kind of thieving to take place. If we lose the Common Good, it will not be because of what the Council do, but what we [public] haven’t or don’t do.

We shouldn’t spend to much time in wondering why the council do such things. We should be thinking of why we let them and how to stop them doing these things. Election Time is Upon Us

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“So we’re moving from the idea that an injury to one is an injury to all, to the idea that an injury to one is just an injury to one?”
“That’s the ideal of a capitalist society—except for the rich. Boards of directors are allowed to work together, and so are banks and investors and corporations in alliances with one another and with powerful states. That’s fine. It’s just the poor who aren’t supposed to cooperate.” Noam Chomsky Common Good

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. BUT. WE NEED TO TAKE PART AND CONTROL BY TELLING COUNCILS AND GOVERNMENTS WHAT WE WANT, AS WELL AS WHAT WE DONT WANT
Common Good use Decisions and work to be done Positive alternative
PRIVATISING DEMOCRACY Simple rules
BY ANY ANOTHER NAME
It doesn’t matter what they call it charities, privatising services, outsourcing, what is happening is a corporate entity is being made out of what was formally part of democracy
SIMPLICITY
A simple rule on privatisation: Is that something about which citizens should have a say? If the answer is yes, it shouldn’t be privatised.
EASILY REMOVED
Like politicians in power – nothing should be put in our parks or open spaces that can not be removed easily. Anyone who claims to represent us shouldn’t find it difficult to agree with this.
ACT FREE
Act like your a free person – know your rights. Live and act by your principals, don’t just think you have them.
FOR THEM
If you are in doubt about how you should act think about what your kids will have to put up with if you don’t.
BY EXAMPLE
Know where you will draw the line and take a stand
WHY NOT REAL JOB CREATION
Why isn’t our public good assets being used to create jobs in our communities, and the profits from these efforts fed directly back into the Common Good fund
WHAT DO WE NEED
Why can’t each area of the city decide what facilities they need in their area. Then decide what part or people needs it most. Then order the work to be done. (After all thats what the council are supposed to do) Folk could do this themselves without to much interference from professionals?
WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO:EMPLOY OUR OWN EXPERTS.
DO OUR OWN PUBLIC WORKS.
TRAIN OUR OWN WORKERS.
MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS.
DECIDE WHAT’S IMPORTANT.
AND WHO WILL BENEFIT.
EXAMPLES OF PROPER TRUSTS GalGael Trust Coachhouse Trust Ruskin Mill Education Trust
Click audio for talk on RM
Audio
LOCAL UNIONS
Why can’t associations of local workers be formed to facilitate this work to be carried out. Imagine working in your own area making and fixing things. After all it’s what used to happen.
WORK TO BE DONE
There is plenty of work to be done in the city infrastructure. There is no need for the ridiculous unemployment figures. Why can’t local people do this work themselves. For their local community. Local works would create local pride of place, less travel pollution and better job satisfaction. And much more.
PROFIT NOT PROGRESS
We do not need corporations and banks in order to do things in our city. That’s just another myth. Corporations initially were created to handle big projects by governments. Now they now run wild over every vestige of our lives. The difference between corporations created for the publics benefit then and what we have now, are the massive profits taken out of the public purse go into private hands. Not to benefit the Common Good as corporations originally did
DEMOCRATIC
“Public” consultation. In a democratic city should the following not be a fundamental requirement? when development work is undertaken which will have a drastic effect on local residents-
LOCAL-REPS.
Representatives from the local area meet with city officials and prospective developers to state their ideas, needs and requirements for their community. An agreement is made on how the Consultation is going to be pitched. Both parties having a full opportunity to explain their case. If there is any bias it should be on the residents part, as it is their neighbourhood and their lives that will be effected by any regeneration.
PUBLIC RIGHT OF REPLY
At the consultation event
As well as charts on social housing and jobs promised projections, a chart showing projected profits and full interests of the private parties involved should also be on display.A budget should set out, as part of the project, to allow the local population to employ their own independent expert, to explain how the changes or redevelopment of their area, will impact on their community.A stronger “public right of reply” should be allowed in council publications, which at present strongly favour’s the developer, rather than the public, who the Glasgow City Council were voted in to serve.
The Common Sense of the Common Good
PREPAIRING THE YOUNG
Why are our kids not taught how to protect themselves from predatory corporations at school?
NO SUCESS LIKE FAILURE
We will teach them how business works. How “you” can succeed. How “you” can win. How “you” need to reform to fit business interests and employment. How you will need to beat every one else if you want to succeed.Someone once asked 500 or so teachers at a conference to write down half a dozen things they as teachers think should be important in educating children. The answers that come back were Love, care, thought for each other and such like. Non of these things are ever on the curriculum.
UNIONS & COOPERATION
Why do we not teach school kids equally how to create workers unions. How to cooperate in projects for the Common Good. What is more useful to most pupils leaving school. Knowing how to run a business or knowing how to protect themselves from business? A comparison of wages and profits should give most workers and school leavers the answer to where they will stand in the pecking order of things.
We need to start concentrating on what we want – Not on what we don’t want. We are being told it’s a different world now and we have to change, pull our belts in, work harder, make more sacrifices. While those who profit by our labour and debts never change, never sacrifice anything and live as they always have, comfortably and off other people’s backs – Now corporations have become so vile and greedy. Now every social taboo has been lifted they will stop at nothing until the economic system completely collapses It is not a choice if ordinary people want to stem the tide of greed and make gains for their own communities, it is an imperative. It is useless looking after number one. That’s why we have arrived where we are. It is time to look after “all” of our children.
The Max-Neef Model of Human-Scale Development
CITY INFRASTRUCTURE
The drive for short term profits means everything else’s is forgotten about. There has been little done and little invested in infrastructure of our city.All the work our public works “should” be doing has been privatise, outsourced, thus destroying the local workforce and creating cheap insecure labour for corporations
PLENTY OF WORK
The city is saturated in work needing done and unemployed folk who would be happy to do it. The economic system is so dire it can’t put people to work. It can only see marginalisation as another root to private profits and cheap labour.We need a public labour system to deal with public works and retain the benefits of these works to the publics good. Is that not why we vote for city councils?
BOASTING OF WHAT THEY DON’T DO
We now have the City Council boasting about cleaning up the city? The reason the city is so untidy in the first place is persistent council policy of cutting back on workers who do these jobs. The councils dire record on recycling is abysmal compared to the rest of Europe, and will cost us dearly in penalties. (more of our taxes).The Glasgow public should decide what public works should be prioritised and who should be employed to carry them out?If we employed more local people and train them well should it not impact on our communities health and well being, pride of place and so on.What’s the alternative cheap privatised labour. Criminalising folk for dole fraud, who are trying to make ends meet?
Clean
Glasgow
Dumocracy (pdf)
THE INDOCRINATED MINDSET
The Common Good is closely linked with Common Sense. If folk ar left to their own devices concerning common interests their is no reason why they should not be democratic about deciding what’s in there best interests, in the use of these assets.
PROPAGANDA
People are not stupid. If their public assets are to be removed from under there noses they will need lots of persuasion to make this seem like a good idea – or to impress on them, there’s nothing they can do about it.Look at the news, They will tell you about job creation, opportunity, redevelopment, a god send, a fantastic opportunity, a win win situation, et al. The only thing they seldom mention is the vast profits from all of these things that will go into off shore bank accounts. They will seldom mention the types of jobs and the low wages and low self esteem of the workers doing them. And they will fail to mention the firms who cut and run, breaking employment contracts sponsored by government tax incentives, while unfulfilling promises of the deals made to benefit working people.You will have to look at the business section in the newspaper for these kind of details. It’s about the only place where the news doesn’t lie
THE BIGGEST LOUDSPEAKER
Part of our Common Good is social education. Every corporation that hits town uses “our” money, through the support of our city councils, in promoting their projects and developments. While council/corporate ideas are presented through millions of pounds of glossy brochures, TV ads and sound bites and so on.Why is some of these millions of “our” money not spent on a glossy publication giving an independent public opinion in projects that profoundly effect citizens lives?Why don’t we demand a Common Good section in daily newspapers and on TV. Or more public local stationsSunny Govan Community Radio
Propaganda
A TOOL FOR EDUCATION.
The Common Good is the nearest both tangible and conscious idea we have that links and can demonstrate the principals of democracy –
CONSCIOUSNESS
Which is probably why it has been removed from public consciousness from the start of the Thatcher years untill now. It is testimony to the indifference of public servants that the public are so ignorant of the term “Common Good” and emphasises a long over due public information exercise, of what the term actually means.
PUBLIC PSYCHE
The Common Good can be best understood by exploring and exercising it’s potential to work in the public interest. Raising awareness of the Common Good could give both young and old and the disenfranchised a connection to a civic culture that in their eyes has nothing to offer and often seems to pass them by. Putting the Common Good back into the public psyche could go a long way in energising a sense of place and belonging, for those who need it.
A TOOL FOR ORGANISATION
While the above is a possibility it is understandable that no party used the privatisation of the Common Good as a an election campaign point, in the recent local elections in Glasgow.
– You need to wonder why? Perhaps they thought it would be to much bother for them to un-privatise our assets. Perhaps it would serve there purpose if it remained privatised. Most of the parties (apart from the one in power) seem to be saying they would reverse the decision if they came to power. The point still remains why was there practically zilch about this issue in the local elections, or in the newspapers at election time? What an incredible issue and opportunity to miss. Imagine if the citizens of this city used the facilities of Common Good to organise better representation on what they need, where the need is needed most and the profits of the operation were contained in the public purse. Could the public, by democratic decision making do the job better than a council who works in secret against them? I think the answer to this in most peoples minds would be yes. Citizens
Handbook
It does not have to be this way. But people have to understand things before they can do anything about them. We need to talk about these issues and help each other to figure out what’s going on. But we also need to do things and act on our own accord. We can’t sit around waiting for a savour
Private Parks Shades of Park Privatisation Positive alternative
Type of sell-off Description & Marketing
1. Complete sell-off Parkland sold to private company for pub, venue & car-parking. Preserve environment and heritage of public parkland.
2. Lease for 99years Parkland leased to private company – company can at any time apply for a “change of use” to become a pub/venue with extensive car-parking. Once the parkland is concreted over it is effectively gone, be it “lease” or “buy”. Unfortunately many people are swayed by the word “lease”. Preserve environment and heritage of public parkland
3. Lease for 30years Same as above, but sounds like a shorter time, so is easier to sell to the public. Preserve environment and heritage of public parkland.
4. Lease to Touchy-feely ‘Organic’ ‘Fair-Trade’, ‘Wholesome’, ‘Mom & Apple Pie’ scheme, for 99years Same as above, but sounds nicer so is easier to sell to the public. Preserve environment and heritage of park. Provide list of derelict and neglected sites near the park where such Touchy-feely ‘Organic’ ‘Fair-Trade’ ‘Mom & Apple Pie’ schemes can benefit community without removing parkland.
5. Existing Park Building restored as Private venue or ‘refreshment kiosk’ Parkland is then owned by private company and usually needs car-parking and access roads. Very easy to sell to the public as people don’t immediately realise re: car-parking and subsequent applications for change of alcohol license / change of use. Preserve environment and heritage of park.
Restore public building with co-operation from heritage and local amenity groups. Also: provide opportunities for private companies to run temporary kiosks and carts which don’t take any parkland.
6. Public Toilets become Private Toilets Parkland is then owned by private company. Very easy to sell to the public as people have been wanting toilets back in the parks. Re-open and improve public toilets (open at weekends).
Other cities manage this, why not Glasgow?
“I’m not a great tactician, and maybe this is a good way to stir people up, but I think it would be better for them to think through the issues and figure out the truth. Then they’ll stir themselves up.” Noam Chomsky Common Good

Against welfare p26

There’s another aspect of this that’s much less discussed. One of the purposes of driving people away from welfare and into work is to lower wages by increasing the supply of workers.
The New York City government is now partially subsidizing workers driven out of the welfare system. The main effect has been to decrease unionized labor. Put a lot of unskilled labor into the workplace, make conditions so awful that people will take virtually any job, maybe throw in some public subsidy to keep them working, and you can drive down wages. It’s a good way to make everybody suffer.

Welfare capitalism

Welfare capitalism was introduced in order to undercut democracy. If people are trying to take over some aspect of their lives and there doesn’t seem any way to stop them, one standard historical response has been to say, We rich folk will do it for you. A classic example took place in Flint, Michigan, a town dominated by General Motors, around 1910. There was a good deal of socialist labor organizing there, and plans had been developed to really take things over and provide more democratic public services. After some hesitation, the wealthy businessmen decided to go along with the progressive line. They said, Everything you’re saying is right, but we can do it a lot better, because we have all this money. You want a park? Fine. Vote for our candidate and he’ll put in a park.
Their resources undermined and eliminated the incipient democratic and popular structures. Their candidate won, and there was indeed welfare capitalism…until it wasn’t needed any more, at which point it was dropped.

People in charge of their own assets – Breaking solidarity 28

There’s a campaign to undermine public confidence in Social Security, by saying it’s going broke and that when the baby boomers reach retirement age, there’ll be no money for them.
Most of the talk about Social Security is pretty fraudulent. Take the question of privatizing it. Social Security funds can be invested in the stock market whether the system is public or private. But putting people in charge of their own assets breaks down the solidarity that comes from doing something together, and diminishes the sense that people have any responsibility for each other.

Corporate crime p37

Why should rich and powerful people allow themselves to be prosecuted? Russell Mokhiber of the Corporate Crime Reporter contrasts two statistics: 24,000 Americans are murdered each year, while 56,000 Americans die from job-related accidents and diseases.
That’s another example of unpunished corporate crime. In the ’80s, the Reagan administration essentially informed the business world that it was not going to prosecute violations of OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] regulations. As a result, the number of industrial accidents went up rather dramatically. Business Week reported that working days lost to injury almost doubled from 1983 to 1986, in part because “under Reagan and Bush” OSHA “was a hands-off agency.”
The same is true of the environmental issues— toxic waste disposal, say. Sure, they’re killing people, but is it criminal? Well, it should be.
Howard Zinn and I visited a brand-new maximum-security federal prison in Florence, Colorado. The lobby has high ceilings, tile floors, glass everywhere. Around the same time, I read that New York City schools are so overcrowded that students are meeting in cafeterias, gyms and locker rooms. I found that quite a juxtaposition.
They’re certainly related. Both prisons and inner-city schools target a kind of superfluous \ population that there’s no point educating because there’s nothing for them to do. Because we’re a civilized people, we put them in prison, rather than sending death squads out to murder them.

Drug related crime

Drug-related crimes, usually pretty trivial ones, are mostly what’s filling up the prisons. I haven’t seen many bankers or executives of chemical corporations in prison. People in the rich suburbs commit plenty of crimes, but they’re not going to prison at anything like the rate of the poor.
There’s another factor too. Prison construction is by now a fairly substantial part of the economy. It’s not yet on the scale of the Pentagon, but for some years now it’s been growing fast enough to get the attention of big financial institutions like Merrill Lynch, who have been floating bonds for prison construction.
High-tech industry, which has been feeding off the Pentagon for research and development, is turning to the idea of administering prisons with supercomputers, surveillance technology, etc. In fact, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see fewer people in prisons and more people imprisoned in their homes. It’s probably within reach of the new technology to have surveillance devices that control people wherever they are. So if you pick up the telephone to make a call they don’t like, alarms go off or you get a shock.
It saves the cost of building prisons. That hurts the construction industry, true, but it contributes to the high-tech sector, which is the more advanced, growing, dynamic part of the economy.

It sounds like an Orwellian 7984 scenario you’redescribing.
Call it Orwellian or whatever you like—I’d say it’s just ordinary state capitalism. It’s a natural evolution of a system that subsidizes industrial
development and seeks to maximize short-term profit for the few at the cost of the many.

Noam Chomsky interviewed by David Barsamian
The Common Good

Strategic Review of Parks and Open Spaces Public Consultation – April 2004

Glasgow City Council Land Services

Strategic Review of Parks and Open Spaces

Public Consultation – April 2004

Response Paper

Introduction

Glasgow’s parks and open spaces have provided opportunities for active and passive recreation, relaxation, play, peace and tranquillity for generations of Glaswegians. As the pressures of the modern world increase, it is vital that these opportunities are still available for all and it is therefore very important that the Council works to ensure the parks and open spaces service develops to reflect the changing needs of the city and its people.

Sustainable development – meeting our needs today, without affecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, is a significant challenge to councils, individuals, communities and businesses. Our parks and open spaces make a crucial contribution to the sustainability of the city and this public consultation document is intended to provide opportunities for everyone to help the Council ensure that the city’s parks and open spaces achieve their true potential.

Glasgow’s future will be increasingly based on tourism, finance, the media, technology and other services. Our parks and open spaces can play a key role in supporting this future by ensuring Glasgow remains a “dear green place”.

 

Councillor Aileen Colleran
Convener
Parks and Facilities Committee

 

Purpose of the Consultation

Glasgow City Council is presently undertaking a review of its parks and open spaces service. This consultation document sets out the main elements for consideration by all groups, agencies and members of the public who wish to express preferences for the way they would like to see the service managed and developed in the future.

You are invited to comment on a range of issues through a series of questions, which have been gathered from an initial analysis of the service.

It is important to the success of the review that the views and opinions of the public are actively sought and considered as part of the review process. This gives you an opportunity to help shape the parks and open spaces service to better meet your needs and preferences.

This consultation document contains a range of issues facing parks and open spaces which require your consideration. We would like to hear your views on the following:

• Have we addressed the right issues?
• What do you think we should do about them?
• Are there other issues that we need to look at?

Following this public consultation process a strategy document will be produced which will demonstrate how Glasgow’s parks and open spaces can be developed and improved to fully support the regeneration of Glasgow for both residents and visitors.

Please feed back your views to us by filling in this document, if you need more space, please continue on a separate sheet and include this with the document. When you are finished, please return to;

Parks Review
Glasgow City Council
FREEPOST SCO5260
Glasgow
G2 7BR

Alternatively, you can respond online at www.glasgow.gov.uk/parksreview

The consultation period will close on Friday 9 July 2004.

All responses received by this date will be entered into a free prize draw for one of the following;

One Glasgow City Council Golf Season Ticket for unlimited play at all 5 courses for 1 year

One Block of 5 Horse riding lessons at Linn Equestrian Centre

3 pairs of Tickets for Live n’ Loud at Glasgow Green

5 Family tickets for the Glasgow Show at Victoria Park

A bouquet of Flowers delivered to your home from Glasgow Flowers (5)

**** To be eligible for the draw, please complete the section at the end of this document

All the comments and views we have received by 9 July will be considered and used to develop the new parks and open spaces strategy. The final strategy document will be published in autumn 2004.

 

1. Glasgow’s parks and open spaces provide a variety of different services and form a
fundamental part of the urban environment.
Parks and open spaces have:-
An environmental role.
An educational role
A role in providing for the recreation and leisure needs of the community.
A role in providing opportunities for passive leisure.
An ecological role
An economic role
What do you consider to be the most important role(s) of parks and open spaces?
What do you consider to be the most important role(s) of parks and open spaces?

2. Community involvement is one of the keys to success in the regeneration of our parks. This fosters ownership by the community and encourages people to respect and use their parks.
How could Land Services improve the level of community involvement in relation to parks and open space improvements?

Community involvement in relation to parks

3. As the Council develops the city, regenerating and renewing neighbourhoods, sometimes areas of parkland or open spaces can become isolated from local communities, no longer serving the purpose for which it was intended.
Should the Council remove some areas of greenspace if these areas could be replaced with alternative sites that would be more accessible to local people?

4. Land Services together with other partners promote and deliver a wide range of events and activities that are well supported by local communities and many draw a considerable number of visitors to the city. This is an important role as attracting more visitors and tourists has an impact on the economic health of the city and helps to consolidate Glasgow as a stylish destination for tourists
What could the Council do to encourage more community involvement in events and activities in parks?

5. The Display Houses at Queens Park, Tollcross, Botanic Gardens and Glasgow Green Winter Gardens offer visitors the opportunity of viewing extensive collections of tropical and subtropical plants, displayed within a glasshouse setting.
Do you think that plant display houses currently offer enough interest for visitors. If not, how could they be improved?

6. There are a number of children’s play areas sited within parks. These usually consist of fixed equipment such as swings, chutes and climbing frames.
What types of children’s play facilities would you like to see provided in parks?

7. Outwith the provision of formal traditional play areas, there is a need to provide suitable youth facilities in parks. The provision of facilities for skateboarding, BMX bikes and in-line skating have been provided in response to local demand. There are facilities at Queens Park Recreation Ground, Barrachnie Park, Orchard Park and Darnley with additional skate parks to be provided at Nethercraigs and Kelvingrove Park.
What types of youth facilities would you like to see provided in parks?

8. A major issue in maintaining play areas to a high quality is the problem of misuse and vandalism. This can often lead to items of equipment having to be removed or closed for safety reasons.
What measures do you think should be taken to combat problems of vandalism to play equipment?

vandalism
9. Municipal golf is available at 5 courses in Glasgow on a pay and play basis and in recent years usage figures have been declining. The clubhouse facilities are in need of upgrading and considerable investment is required to improve comfort and facilities.
Should the Council continue to develop and promote golf as a recreational activity?

10. Horse riding is available at Linn Equestrian Centre and caters for all ages and abilities.
Should the Council continue to develop and promote horse riding as a recreational activity?

11. Outdoor activities that are currently provided within Glasgow parks during the summer are, pitch and putt, tennis and bowling. In general, usage figures have declined in recent years.
What other recreational activities would you like to see provided in parks?

12. Various surveys indicate that the public feel there is a lack of general amenities such as toilets and catering facilities in parks.
Would you support the Council entering into arrangements with commercial operators to provide; you support the Council entering into arrangements with
YES NO
An enhanced golf service?
Expanded horse riding services?
Boating?
Pony trekking?
Five-a-side football?
Café/Restaurant facilities?
Others?

13. The parks service also maintains farm and livestock operations in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow Green and Tollcross Park. These are popular visitor attractions but are only available in a small number of parks.
Do you think that there should be more animal and bird display areas within parks?

14. Recent surveys of both adults and children reveal that personal safety in parks is a concern. It is intended that the review will address this issue by developing local strategies to improve the feeling of personal safety in our parks and open spaces. The basic opening hours for our parks are traditionally from dawn till dusk, at the height of winter this can be from 09:00 till 16:00.
Do you agree that, where possible, parks that have gates should have them locked at night?

What measures do you think the Council could take to improve your personal safety in parks and open spaces?

15. Litter and broken glass is a problem in parks and open spaces and the Council spend considerable sums of money each year clearing litter from parks.
Can you suggest any ways in which the Council could enlist the help of local communities in assisting with the problem of litter in parks and open spaces?

16. Just over half of the people who took part in The Citizen’s Panel survey in autumn 2003 said that dog fouling was the poorest aspect of Glasgow’s parks. This is a difficult issue for the Council to deal with as it depends largely on the willingness of dog owners to be responsible and remove it themselves. There are already waste bins, dog exercise areas and enforcement initiatives undertaken in selected parks.
What measures do you think the Council should take to combat the problems of dog control and dog fouling in parks and open spaces?

17. Thinking about all aspects of Glasgow’s Parks
If there was one single change or improvement to be made to the Parks Service what would you propose?

18 . Roadside verges central reservations and roundabouts are considered an integral part of the greenspace network across the City. Many road verges throughout the city are in disrepair due to inappropriate parking practice by local car owners and as a result of damage done by vehicles.
Should the Council adopt a policy of replacing areas of grass verges and soft landscaping damaged by parked cars with hard standing areas?

19. A Play Area Improvement Programme is underway to identify old, derelict or poor quality play areas in need of upgrading or replacement to meet safety standards and to improve levels of provision in line with the City Plan standards. Until now, replacement and improvement programmes have been based on the provision of specially designed and constructed play equipment. There is an opportunity to consider other approaches such as home zones, where informal play facilities are designed into local streets, or to adopt an approach based on play landscapes rather than play equipment.
What should the priorities be for the improvement of children’s play provision?

20. Glasgow has a range of woodland areas consisting of trees in parks, trees in streets, new woodland plantings and older wooded areas. The Council is developing a City Woodland Initiative to address the woodlands and their management as a single resource.
Do you agree that the Council should work in partnership with other agencies to extend and develop woodlands in the city for environmental and leisure purposes?

21. Allotments are recreational facilities provided by the Council that enable residents to participate in gardening activities. The Council is working to develop partnerships with local allotment associations aimed at improving the management, quality and layout of allotment holdings. Horticultural advice is available from Land Services to plot holders and allotment associations.
How can the Council best support the development of allotments in the City?

22. Thinking about all aspects of parks and open spaces.
Are there any other aspects of parks & open space maintenance that you would like to see changed or improved?

23. Glasgow’s parks and open spaces contain a rich variety of landscapes ranging from designed parks such as Kelvingrove and Queens Park to the natural landscapes of Dawsholm and Pollok Country Park. Within these environments there is a vast range of habitats and species in woodlands, ponds, rivers, wetlands and meadows.

Land Services works in partnership with Education Services and a number of other agencies to develop various environmental education and awareness programmes.
There is also an Environmental Centre in Tollcross Park that focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting education to residents and visitors.
Should the Council continue to extend the range of environmental interpretation and information services that it provides throughout the city?

24. Signage and environmental interpretation is important to assist visitors understand the purpose and rationale behind providing wildlife conservation sites. Good interpretation leads to a better visitor experience and raises people’s awareness, which increases their enjoyment and ensures that heritage is passed on to future generations.
How could signage and interpretation of wildlife and conservation sites be improved?

25. There are currently two designated Local Nature reserves in Glasgow, Hogganfield Park and Bishop Loch. Through Land Services involvement with wildlife conservation areas, there has been a notable increase in several plant and animal species. Previous surveys have highlighted the general public’s desire for further wildlife conservation sites in the city and its parks.
Can you suggest ways in which local communities could become more involved in the management and development of identified nature conservation sites?

Are there any other aspects of the management of Glasgow’s ecology and environment that you would like to see changed or improved?

 

26. Within Glasgow there are 32 burial locations for which the Council have maintenance responsibility. However currently there are only 5 locations with the potential to accommodate new burial lairs.

Many memorial stones in the city’s graveyards have been vandalised or otherwise damaged. Whilst Glasgow City Council has overall responsibility for the safety of the cemetery, the Council do not own the headstones. The owners of the memorial are normally the family of the deceased. In many cases there may not be an identifiable owner to deal with any damage.

There have been complaints from the public regarding the poor quality and variety of memorials available from the council. This has led to an increase in unauthorised memorabilia throughout the cemeteries which creates problems for access, ground maintenance and health & safety.
Do you believe that the Council should be stricter in allowing only particular kinds of memorials and headstones to be placed on or around graves?

Would you support the Council removing non-permanent memorials from graves, after a specified period of time, where they have become unsightly?

27 .One of the major problems facing cemeteries is vandalism, this includes toppled headstones, flower beds being destroyed, graffiti and stolen or burned out cars.
Would you support the Council in using powers under the restorative justice scheme to make good any damage caused by vandalism?

28. There have been regular requests from members of the public who have been unable to tend family graves, for the Council to introduce a grave tending service. The type of service that could be made available would involve headstone cleaning, planting out, and tending to plants.
Would you support the introduction of a grave tending service for which a charge would be made?

29. Due to a lack of lair space, consideration has to be given to alternatives. One such alternative could be woodland burials where only one interment takes place and a tree is planted to mark the area. This is a new concept in burial management.
Should the Council consider developing facilities for woodland burials within Glasgow?

30. The environmental and visual value of cemeteries to the local community can be important. There can be environmental benefits in turning old burial areas into wildlife reserves, increasing bird and other wildlife population, creating a valuable resource, which enhances leisure and educational possibilities for the community. This process does not impact on graves visited by mourners.
Should the Council develop cemetery and burial grounds as habitats for nature conservation as well as their primary purpose?

31. Land Services are responsible for Linn Crematorium in the south west of the city and Daldowie Crematorium in the east of the city.

The time that is allowed for cremation services is an issue often raised by relatives of the deceased, particularly where there are several cremations booked in succession. A time of 30 minutes is allocated per service but a range of factors contribute to this sometimes being insufficient. These factors include the custom to meet and greet prior to, or after the service, the funeral cortège not arriving on time and comprehensive religious services being carried out at the crematorium rather than at the church.
Do you support the idea of extending the length of time for cremation services even if this were to increase the cost?

 

Are there any other aspects of the management of Glasgow’s burial and cremation service that you would like to see changed or improved?

 

Are there any other comments you would like to make about the Review of Glasgow’s Parks and Open Spaces?

 

 

NAME …………………………………………

ADDRESS …………………………………………
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POSTCODE …………………………………………

PHONE …………………………………………

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If you are interested in taking part in further research and consultation in relation to Glasgow’s Parks and Open Spaces Service, please delete as appropriate. YES / NO
Land Services

Glasgow City Council, Richmond Exchange, 20 Cadogan Street, Glasgow G2 7AD
PHONE 0800 027 7362 E-MAIL parksreview@ls.glasgow.gov.uk

If you would like additional copies of the Response Paper, please contact Glasgow City Council at
Freephone 0800 027 7362. Large print versions can also be provided on request.

Colonisation page

City parks to invite private companies to join in shake-up

 

GLASGOW’S reputation as the “dear green place” is to be reinforced with a multi-million pound plan to breathe new life into its parks and open spaces.

The council is expected to approve a masterplan for the city’s 74 parks which will allow private companies to provide a range of facilities.

Golf driving ranges, garden centres, cafes and restaurants will all be considered for inclusion in city parks and open spaces.

The review followed an extensive public consultation. More than 3,000 children responded with their views on the parks and open spaces and 670 members of the public and organisations contributed.

Key issues of concern included safety and security, dog fouling, insufficient toilets and the lack of a visual presence of park attendants and rangers.

This year, the council will spend 41 million on maintaining the city’s parks and other outdoor areas such as golf courses and allotments.

However, Robert Booth, the director of land services, said that figure should increase by 9 million next year, with 3 million of the total coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

He added: “We’re asking the council for a substantial investment in the parks.

“The latest poll we did shows the parks are still highly regarded by the public.

“This isn’t a service which is sick, but we can work with others to make the service better before there is any dip in use.”

Glasgow’s parks currently attract up to 20 million visitors a year.

The collection is divided into five city parks, such as Pollok and Kelvingrove parks, 12 district and 57 local parks.

However, Mr Booth said he was keen to see the management of the parks overhauled, so that decisions on their future are taken at a local level, with managers empowered to implement change.

Local communities will also be encouraged to put forward their own plans.

Mr Booth admitted that during the review, the possibility of the parks being run by an external organisation was considered. However, the option was dismissed amid fears that private contractors may charge for some of the facilities which are currently free.

Aileen Colleran, the convener of the parks and facilities committee, gave an assurance that none of the city’s parks and open spaces would be sold off to private companies such as housing developers.

She added: “We’re kicking off the debate about our parks and what we want to use our public spaces for.

“My gut reaction is that the people of Glasgow will say it’s not before time.”

The council hopes to encourage greater use of the parks as part of its agenda to tackle the city’s poor health record.

Already, the city’s parks have been undergoing a multi-million pound makeover, with the Kibble Palace being restored and glass houses in Tollcross Park resurrected.

Skateboarders have been flocking to a new 350,000 facility at Kelvingrove Park which opened at the weekend and a mountain bike trail which opened earlier this month at Pollok Park.

If accepted, the new strategy will be implemented from March next year.

Parks Public Insulation Document

The public have been consulted,
So everything can go ahead as planned

Scotsman article in full:

“City parks to invite private companies to join in shake-up”

 

The questionnaire in question, copy

Quotes from Scotsman article:

“GLASGOW’S reputation as the “dear green place” is to be reinforced with a multi-million pound plan to breathe new life into its parks and open spaces.”

We are not talking wildlife here, all be it predatory

“The council is expected to approve a master plan for the city’s 74 parks which will allow private companies to provide a range of facilities. ”

Says the Scotsman newspaper. So when was this master plan thought out you may ask – last week. After the public consultation period. Not before surely. The city council who hold our parks in trust, have allowed private companies into our parks through only the views of 670 members of the public !!!

“Golf driving ranges, garden centres, cafes and restaurants will all be considered for inclusion in city parks and open spaces.

Funny thing is, this article makes the parks consultation document look like a statement rather than a questionnaire.
“The review followed an extensive public consultation. More than 3,000 children responded with their views on the parks and open spaces and 670 members of the public and organisations contributed.”

It would be interesting to find out how the council managed to get 3,000 children to respond to their tendentious consultation document.

Q. would you like a new skateboard park.
A. Yes please.

Q. How would you like a cafe in the park selling sweets hamburgers and ice cream.
A. yes please.

Q. Would you like more amusements that you could harass your parents to get money for.
A. O’ yes please.

Q. You don’t like that boring old green stuff do you. If we made nice houses facilities on these bits. you would have a lot more parking space tarmac to play on with your bikes. Oh and more cafes, yes of course. Would you like some more sweets.
A. Yes please.

I don’t think the park is noisy enough do you. What about more pop bands. But remember it will use up more of that green stuff at the weekends.
A. Yes please.

Maybe you children should go out to play and let me fill in the rest of this boring form. OK
A. Yes please.
“Key issues of concern included safety and security, dog fouling, insufficient toilets and the lack of a visual presence of park attendants and rangers.”

 

There for we will need new partners to facilitate these shortcomings. The public in this day and age can’t expect the parks department to think of everything. Toilets and parkies, indeed. This will cost.

“The latest poll we did shows the parks are still highly regarded by the public.

“This isn’t a service which is sick, but we can work with others to make the service better before there is any dip in use.”

So therefore we need to do something about this “high regard”. We can’t have people being happy with our parks the way they are. But just in case by some miracle, people stop going to the park on sunny days, or for a quiet walk in the winter, we shall take the precaution of having a few companies in to check the place out for commercial outlets. Just in case the park gets sick, or there is a dip in usability, or something.

“Glasgow’s parks currently attract up to 20 million visitors a year. ”

– So we will really have to be careful with this dip in usability – as a possibility.

“However, Mr Booth said he was keen to see the management of the parks overhauled, so that decisions on their future are taken at a local level, with managers empowered to implement change.”

And of course

“Local communities will also be encouraged to put forward their own plans.

Mr Booth admitted that during the review, the possibility of the parks being run by an external organisation was considered. However, the option was dismissed amid fears that private contractors may charge for some of the facilities which are currently free. ”

Of course decisions taken at a “local level” can also mean making it easier to privatise when they are out-with the central structure. Divide and rule, nice one.

“the parks being run by an external organisation was considered” By whom!!! The parks are in trust to the council to be looked after for the public – who own them. I do not remember anything in the Public Consultation Document about external organisations running our parks. Auto-suggesstion. OK.

“She added: “We’re kicking off the debate about our parks and what we want to use our public spaces for.

I believe the city council are kicking off a non debate because they know exactly what they want to use our public space for

“My gut reaction is that the people of Glasgow will say it’s not before time.”

My gut reaction is the people of Glasgow will wonder what the writer is on about. But no doubt The people of Glasgow, will find out soon enough when the bulldozers start rolling and our parks become extensions of the commercial enterprise that Glasgow City Council hold so dear to their heart – no matter what the public think.

I would strongly advise anyone concerned about their local park and how the councils “master plan” will affect it, to use the box below and make their views heard. Just in the off-chance that this is the first time that they have heard that there was a debate going on .

 

FaxYourMP.com

 

Can we rekindle a people’s vision for our parks?

Thoughts on – Plans to build a school and Music Therapy Centre, in Ruchill park.

First off, I doubt whether it was an idea dreamt up by the school or the care centre to situate their institutions in a public park. It is more likely that these ideas are being pushed by Glasgow Parks Department and Glasgow City Council, as part of the ongoing plan to privatise public green space. If this is not the case how come most of what they are doing in our parks fits a business strategy rather than a public one? The fact that council park developments are moving towards more publicly acceptable installations such as schools, only exacerbates the problem of public understanding of the longer term impact of losing green space to concrete.

Other things we need to remember before we start. One is the flagrant disregard for public opinion and the arrogance of Glasgow city council pushing these deals mentioned below through. The city council work for us. We employ and entrust them to conduct proper stewardship of public assets. The scale of abuse of these powers of control, particularly over the last 6 years is incredible. If certain councilors were punters from Govan, they would be in jail for some of the things they are up to. Why does it seem as if they get our blessing for robbing folk in Govan, Maryhill, Ruchill, Dalmarnock and every other place of their Common Good land, schools, community centre’s, services and proper jobs, to casualisation? Local people are finding out about many these building plans, not from the community council or any kind of proper consultation, but from the newspapers. Glasgow City Council consult newspapers more than they do the public. They do not need to find consensus in the public anymore, they just have to make the biggest noise so no one else can be heard – till it is to late. Building in our parks is all about money and land – not about what is being built at present, that can be a school or a anything else – this is not the point.

The important point is – Once the dangerous animal “developer” is let loose in our park lands it will be very difficult, if not impossible to get it back out again. Schools in the park will be the least of our problems. When prime public land is up for grabs, the same developer feeding frenzy as is happening all over the city will be allowed in the doors of our parks.

We need to keep this in mind when we ask. Is a Glasgow park the best place to put buildings of any description – particularly in those parks that are surrounded by an abundance of derelict land begging for community development? Should it not be the duty of Glasgow City Council to protect the most valuable and treasured land in our city (parks) for the benefit of “all” of of our citizens? I think most councilors who take the time to look are aware of the long term impact of the councils “commercial business project” for our parks. For whatever reasons good or bad apart from a few committed councilors, there is hardly a murmur of dissent coming from the city chambers about the fate of our parks or our cities Common Good, or Common heritage – as these public assets move speedily towards the control of business interests.

But. We shouldn’t waste much time trying to convince the master planners at GCC that putting specialised buildings, or any other kind, in our parks doesn’t serve the best public interest? – They already know this. It is the public who are kept in the dark and left out of the debate for very good reasons, and it is the public who need to be informed. (See: The New Bohemia)

No truer words from Bridget
After an eloquent speech on the merits of transferring the control of Glasgow’s Common Good into the hands of “Culture and Sport”. I questioned Bridget MacConnell on squaring this idea with plans to build nightclubs, private business projects and such like in our parks. She answered my question with a very useful and truthful piece of information. She said “I cant do anything about that – that’s up to activists. My job is to balance the budget.” (A line used to screen a multitude of sins)

“That’s up to activists”. Activist, meaning those who exercise their democratic rights – that’s you and me and everybody else – ordinary people with an opinion on how they want to live their lives. We activists will still be here long after council chiefs and their budget balancing ideas come and go. We need to be in it for our communities long term, because we can’t up and run when our budgets don’t balance – we need to live with the consequences of these decisions – it is therefore important that we become part of the decision making process and become aware of the long term impact of these building proposals being planned for our “public” space.

Therapy is an apt topic when we speak about parks. The therapy centre proposed for Ruchill park has a reputation of doing great work – “Through music, the charity transforms the lives of children and adults affected by illness, disability, trauma or isolation.” – and they should be commended for this.

But the same could be said about our famous Glasgow parks. The park is one of the original therapy centre’s where young and old can escape from the trauma of city life. The park offers an autonomous space where we are allowed to let our imagination run free, unimpeded by noisy city life, the car and the isolation created by the over dependence of television. If we are concerned with the holistic health of our communities we need to work in partnership with each other in order to create as diverse a choice and use of the facilities available to us. Our ideas also need to be guided by a long term vision in order that we do not make mistakes that are difficult or near impossible to rectify.

We would be hard pushed to find folk who would think it a bad idea to build a Ruchill Music Therapy, Play & Respite Care centre. But that is not really the issue. The issue here is: In a public park? To understand why this is not a good idea it has to be put in the context of Glasgow City Councils vision for our parks – which given the evidence over the last five years is to privatise them, or at least make them available for business enterprises. This is not controversial – it is policy. A few recent ideas that were council driven. Go Ape – The idea to build an £45 a time adventure playground in Pollock Park. Stopped (Common Good). Another idea to build a nightclub in the Botanic Gardens was stopped (Common Good). And another a while back to turn football pitches in Victoria park into 600 + car-park spaces – Described by the council as a “win win situation”? This was also stopped by community pressure (Zero tolerance. No cars in our park). Privately run cafe’s have been given leases to use what were once park toilets to trade from (Kelvingrove) and there are many more of these kind of ideas in the pipe-line. Those at the city chambers pushing for the commercialisation of our parks know fine well, it is more difficult to fight a campaign against a school than it is a nightclub in the park. These installations are being used to pave (literally) the way for more – less benign commercial business projects for our parks.

The therapeutic service our parks present to us, is a “preventive therapy” – that is a treatment that is intended to prevent a medical condition from occurring in the first place. In their history, Glasgow parks have created respite from the ravages of the industrial revolution and today serve the same purpose in creating respite from the ravages of motorways, traffic, gentrification of local green space, consumerism, school, (kids may think) and many other ills bought on by business encroaching on every part of our public space.

Our government tell us – In the coming years we will be expected to pay even more taxes and suffer loss of employment, loss of public assets, cuts to services for the folly’s and rash business deals – seemingly carried out for the public benefit? Glasgow parks are the jewel in our crown and their autonomous nature, sense of ownership and pride represent a social, cultural, mental and physical safety net, we lose at our peril – especially in these days where we seem to be losing so much of the public estate and our resources to finance bad debt that was not of the public’s making.

But you were consulted?
Around 6 years ago. “seemingly” the public were consulted about the idea of business being allowed to profit of of our parks. Only the obsessed would have found the consultation document, so don’t blame yourself if you didn’t see it. Do you ever remember being consulted in such a major shift of council policy, concerning our parks and our Common Good? Here is a snippet of what is happening – There is a link below to the consultation document.

The results of the consultation were interpreted like this:
“The council is expected to approve a master plan for the city’s 74 parks which will allow private companies to provide a range of facilities. ” Scotsman Sept 21, 2004.

And from the same article: “Aileen Colleran, the convener of the parks and facilities committee, gave an assurance that none of the city’s parks and open spaces would be sold off to private companies such as housing developers.”

But an example of what is happened is this:
In 2010. “Richmond Park (a city park) is being transformed as part of a multi-million pound regeneration scheme for neighbouring Oatlands. A total of 1318 homes will be built as part of a £160m plan for the formerly rundown community.” And also. “A high quality family pub/restaurant is proposed overlooking the model boat pond in Richmond Park.” Houses, pubs in the park? So in six years following from the above assurances, about a fifth of Richmond park has had houses built on it. The plans for licensed premises overlooking the boat pond – will be built on the spot the boat club takes up. The club, a well loved feature of the “boat pond” will be moved some place else?

In protecting our parks we need to separate the business from the Common Good and Common heritage – and the ideas from the emotional blackmail. We need to think of schools, therapy centre’s, in our parks the same way we would think of private run bars, restaurants, 600 place car-parks, night-clubs, £45 a time adventure playgrounds, renting park-space for exclusive £50 a head new year parties next to residential housing (Kelvingrove stopped) and all the other exclusive and strange ideas Glasgow City Council have come up with for our city parks. They are purely to make money. (Glasgow parks department employ business managers for this very purpose.) To do what? – Spend profits on social inclusion? To put back into the Common Good fund? I don’t think so. One thing that is never talked about are profits and where they end up.

Why do we need to keep this in mind before we let the Glasgow City Council do what they want in our parks?

Our parks actually work – and for hundreds of years. We do not need to make them dysfunctional by placing in them things that go against the very nature of a park and what they were put here for in the first place and who they should serve – namely the poorest in the city.

It is conveniently forgotten that Glasgow has some of the worst areas of poverty in the whole of Europe. Our parks become important places to the poorest in our communities, which makes it important that they do not become the new cafe scene that most of us can’t afford, nor places of exclusive interests, formal education included.
“The World Health Organization published a report in 2008, revealing that the difference in life expectancy between a child born in the wealthier south or west of Glasgow, and one born in a poor area in the east, was 28 years. The report found that some areas of Glasgow had the lowest life expectancy in Europe: 54 for men and 75 for women. Its recommendations included universal access to clean water, food, housing, healthcare and energy; also improvements in education, lifestyle, town planning and working conditions. It should have caused a storm, but it hardly caused a ripple.” See: Glasgow’s Two Nations

Our parks have become a battleground between business interests and the Common Good (two nations). Our present administration, given the evidence, seems to be on the side of business.

It is a lot easier to muster sympathy in stopping the idea of a night club in a park. (not easy just easier) but touchy feely ideas like schools, therapy centre’s, cafe’s placed in our parks are more difficult ideas to attack – because we like them.

If building schools in parks are for the benefit of our children and the councils theme of closing and selling local schools then relocating them in the local park is allowed to continue. What happens next? Can all of our kids have a school in the park?

Is it not strange – choosing a park to build an industrial building in an area (Ruchill) with the biggest amount of derelict land in the whole of Glasgow? Would it not be a better ideas to redevelop some of the derelict land and create even more green space around a new school that would fit seemingly one of the city councils remits of creating green space – rather than taking it away? Or is the school in the park to attract clients for the luxury flats that the derelict land and the old hospital will be used for?

What happens when the school in the park needs to expand when the surrounding area is developed? Who decides how big a school should be in a park, how many cars should it accommodate – What about the impact of cars and pollution on the park? Has this been even thought of? Why is there no public money available to pay independent public representation of the impact these schemes will have on the community infrastructure. Why do the developers have all the lawyers and those representing the public’s opinion non?

There appears to be no long term vision of what should happen in our parks. (apart from business exploitation.) We are constantly dealing with council representatives who work on four year time scale projects for the duration that they are in power. Then the public need to restart the battle with “the next intake” who will most probably, sell and allocate more space to more developers before leaving office.

Does anyone remember voting for a councilor on the remit that the Common Good would be removed from council control? Or that money from sales and rent from Common Good assets should go into council coffers, not back into the Common Good fund for the benefit of the public?
We need to ask. Why do Glasgow city council persistently deny us of a proper assessment of our common good? (which parks are a big part) Why are people kept in ignorance that these assets even exist. Could it be because – Common Good knowledge, stopped Go Ape, in Pollok Park? and the planned nightclub in the Botanic gardens? – and the same knowledge is helping communities around the country to reclaim their Common Good assets?

The Common Good fund is 500 years old in Scotland – has assets worth millions of pounds There is laws to protect the funds assets, to ensure that they are used for the benefit of the public – Why do those who wish to lead us, not want to talk about the Common Good. Is it because the Common Good is democratic and has structures in place that could help folk decide what they want in their communities and parks, not just what the council decide we need?

So who is deciding? The same council led ideas that tried to put 600 + car park spaces onto Victoria Park football pitches and pushed for a nightclub in the Botanic Gardens, is part of the same council led idea vying to put schools in our parks (Administrations change but the same ideas remain). Putting schools in parks is not for the benefit of children being educated in a nice environment. (although it may be for some children for a period of time.) Will we have “private schools” in the park to? Will fences be erected around park facilities for the use of schools? (Kelvingrove) It is also worth remembering the running of schools is moving closer towards a privatised model – just like our parks. But where does the public stop and the private begin? This is not being made clear in any of these parks “business initiatives” nor in any vision for our schools for that matter – we only hear after the decisions are made.

As far as our parks go, schools in parks are technically just another lever to open more avenues of business interests taking control of parkland. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Some of these projects are deemed justifiable because certain parks are “not used enough”?

Parks even for those who do not go into them often – offer peace of mind by the fact that they are there. Looking at a park and admiring the vistas even for the elderly who can’t run around in them brings piece of mind. As soon as concrete is formed in a park it is inevitably followed by tarmac and then by the car. Once the “car” takes hold in our green space it will not be controlled it will make the use of legs redundant and proliferate like hog weed on the Kelvin. A park is about the only open air car-less place our kids can run free. It is the countryside in the city and the retinal experience (looking) of the park is as important as any other, especially for those without the ability to make physical use of them.

I do not have any ax to grind concerning schools or therapy centre’s but only to make it clear that these projects in our parks are detrimental to the wider value the park has to offer in the future. A future when the city is jammed with traffic housing and shopping complexes and none of us can get to the countryside due to the gridlock conditions expansive motorways bring. (the math has already been done) We can’t wait till then to realise the only thing we should put in our parks is people. The folk who are pushing for the commercialisation of our parks are doing it undemocratically, have no interest in the long term vision of the parks for ordinary peoples use – but only in the duration of their short term administration period and sharp denial of our Common Good and Common heritage. Our parks are much to valuable for this and their value will increase incrementally with the spiraling mental health problems we are seeing in our communities as their assets are squeezed out of existence along with their jobs to pay off debt that is the fault of banks and business. Our attitude to development (buildings) in our parks should be zero tolerance for the benefit of the Common Good and Common heritage. But remember Bridget’s words, their job is to balance the budget – our job and ours only, is to make sure it balances in our favour not the rich business partners out to make big bucks selling our parks back to us – the same way they did our housing.

Maybe a useful thing could be to liberate a part of the abundance of derelict land in Ruchill to open a centre dealing with “political behavioural therapy” which could help to teach folk in the so called “depressed” areas about the real socioeconomic origins – of their despair. Or maybe we don’t need to build anything – just expand the use of the present community centre’s and schools that the council are over keen to close down in their rush to sell off buildings, land and local schools, and at the same time turning our dear green space into developing lots for gentrifiers – to the detriment of the car-less and those who need our parks most – ordinary people.

Rekindling the peoples vision for our parks?
What we need in the city is a coalition or association of groups representing Glasgow parks – to discuss the history of how the parks got here – what is there function – and how they can be best run to suit the public, as they are “public parks”. We also need a consultation process that is “visible” to the public and in a language that cannot be construed to mean the opposite of what it says and a proper accountability process that is also open and visible to the public. If we do not demand these kind of things – a vision will be created for us and it will be one where our wallet will need to be in our pocket any time we venture towards the park with the kids.

To conclude
We employ councilors to manage our parks for the health and well being of the population of the city not to turn them into real-estate. The so called consultations, when the exist, for park “developments” consist of bullies from the council and parks department telling the public what they are getting – in the pretense of listening to what the public want. The utter disregard for sensible discussion for what communities need for their local parks and the lack of imagination in the thoughtless generic structures that seem to be the councils answer for every problem encountered. A complaint about needing a few wardens in the park and some dog-dirt control is met by another (council) ‘opportunity” to – Build, ring fence, CCTV, contract out, cut down, take away, redevelop. All to keep a variety of out-sourced – partners, consultants, architects, builders and service suppliers in profit. Sure it creates jobs, but undermines park employees jobs and takes away labour and money that would be better suited and more needed in other parts of the community – like the above mentioned brown field sites?

As for councilors who do not do what they are told to do, or say they will do, we can get rid of them – we have done it many times in the past (without a pay-off) and it is easy enough to do again. Just keep remembering Bridget’s words – It is up to us.

City parks to invite private companies to join in shake-up
http://business.scotsman.com/medialeisure/City-parks-to-invite-private.2565904.jp

Regeneration of Oatlands
http://tinyurl.com/oatlandsdevelopment

3 Poverty, Philanthropy and Charity – Glasgow’s Two Nations
http://www.counterpunch.org/brygo09242010.html

Common Good Awareness Project
http://www.inthecommongood.org/

Common Good Watch
http://commongoodwatch.wordpress.com/

Nordoff Robbins – Ruchill Music Therapy Centre
http://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/

The New Bohemia
http://www.variant.org.uk/32texts/CSG.html