Column: Olympics in London would help Glasgow


LONDON was buzzing last week following the long-awaited report by the International Olympic Committee. It suggested that the capital¹s bid for the 2012 Olympics was closing the gap on rivals Paris, which has long been seen to be in the lead.

As this comes within my portfolio of Culture, Media and Sport, I have been following the debate closely, with a particular interest in the Scottish point of view.

In one debate, the SNP said that a London Games wouldn¹t be good for Scotland, but I¹m more inclined to accept the views of Scottish athletes such as Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson, who believes that a home Olympic Games would be ³the stuff of dreams.²

I also reckon that having Olympic football matches played at Hampden would be a great boost to Glasgow  both during the Games themselves, and afterwards.

Once people come to Glasgow they are often surprised and impressed at the cosmopolitan, friendly nature of the city. People who visit Glasgow once often come back. Enticing fans of football and other sports to Scotland¹s largest city would have a long-lasting benefit.

€ I¹ve been experimenting with a new online democracy tool this week.

Pledgebank.com aims to enable people to get things done, especially where a critical mass of participants is required.

So I¹ve pledged to organise a public meeting on phone masts if 20 people show an interest in coming along.

Lots of residents in Bearsden, Milngavie and Kirkintilloch have contacted me recently with their concerns over applications for phone masts. Clearly, almost everyone has a mobile nowadays, and there¹s no doubt that they are highly convenient  nevertheless, there are still concerns that need to be addressed.

I hope that enough people are interested and we can have a positive meeting, bringing together representatives of the mobile phone industry with local residents and phone mast campaigners. We would aim to demystify some of the science surrounding the issue and also discuss ways forward.

PledgeBank can be used in all sorts of ways. A Bearsden councillor is pledging to give her councillor¹s allowance for July to charity if four local schools sign up the BBC¹s Africa schools twinning programme. Other people are maximising donations to charity or encouraging others to join them in campaigning on issues by using the website. Check it out for yourself!

This week, I also followed up on a recent public meeting about the future of Stobhill Hospital.

At the meeting, I asked if the plans were a fait accompli, or if the views expressed by residents would be taken into account and the plans altered accordingly.

This was somewhat evaded on the night, so I have now put the question in writing to Health Minister Andy Kerr, and the Chief Executive of NHS Greater Glasgow.

I hope they¹ll take time to reflect on the strength of feeling at the meeting, and be open to changing some of the plans.

June is a busy month for local communities. The challenge I¹ve faced is managing to fit in all the gala days and events across the constituency  especially as many are often held on the same day.

On Saturday I enjoyed attending the Bearsden and Milngavie Highland Games. The glorious sunshine was perfect for an outdoor event.

I remember going to the Games as a teenager, enjoying the Highland dancing, eating candy floss and trying to win prizes on the stalls.

On Sunday evening the Kirkintilloch Gala festivities closed with Praise in the Park, a service featuring hymns at the bandstand in Peel Park. With stunning views out to the Campsies, and more than 100 people joining in the singing, the atmosphere was very special. Indeed, the service was so popular that the local midge population had decided to attend in force as well!


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