November’s monthly branch meeting for 2015, was a well attended event in the Golden Lion Hotel. Proceedings as usual were opened by convener Andrew Szwebs giving a brief run down of the branch activities over the last month. The focus has been of course the Party conference in Aberdeen of which more later.
Andrew announced the resignation of our Member Secretary, Peter Dempsie, due to work commitments and he was thanked for his work over the last 9 months or so. Andrew will take on role for the moment while the situation regarding the AGM is finalised within the party (The AGM might be moving to September).
As our branch treasurer was also absent this month from the meeting Andrew gave the treasurers report which didn’t see much change in the financial situation, though a contribution from the CA is due for fees spent in the recent council by-election which will be helpful.
Morag, our Disabilities Officer, mentioned a Disabled members group being formed by the party and which we will post more on in a separate post. Also members are invited to buy one of our 2016 campaign Both Votes wristbands from her for £1 each. (Stylishly modelled by Mo on the image left )
Lee Rob, Steven Paterson’s Communications Officer, gave a report on the Westminster parliamentary activities, covering the cuts to Tax Credits which were stopped in the Lords after the SNP put up a huge fight against the bill in the Commons, the Scotland Bill where the elected representatives of Scotland put up lots of amendments but all were ignored by a Tory administration supported by a willing Labour “opposition”. We use the term opposition very loosely! And EVEL, English Votes for English Laws where rather than take a bill for scrutiny through the house, the Government has used standing orders to manipulate a situation where Scottish MP’s have no say on matters deemed England Only despite them having potential impact North of the Border. The SNP group is now entrenched in fighting against the draconian Trades Union Bill now passing through the House.
Jim Thomson gave the councillors report which did not have a lot to add as there has not been a council meeting since last branch meeting and he covered a few points about the councils forthcoming “Priority Based Budgeting” events to be held around the Stirling area in the next month where members of the public provide input to the Council’s spending plans. ( the first PBB event is tonight by the way in Bannockburn High School). There was discussion with the floor about one such proposal to cut children’s school hours in Primary school by 2 and a half hours per week.
The branch fundraising lead and vice convener, David Devenney, gave some update on a forthcoming race night which sounds like a fun event, and plans for next years annual Robert the Bruce Dinner to be held in the Golden Lion Hotel on Saturday, 5th March 2016.
The next piece was a discussion on the Party conference from the chair and the floor. Everyone who attended reported it was a fabulous event and that aside from the main event in the hall, the breakout events were very exciting and would have filled the conference period on their own!
Finally our political education officer, Susan McGill gave a talk on the new GIRFEC ( Getting It Right For Every Child) scheme, which she said seemed to be the subject of a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding as to the scope and purpose of the system. Susan was accompanied in her talk by a fellow professional in the scheme as a child passes through the school system, Julie Russell, a Deputy Head Teacher. Both stated that the vast majority of children will not require more than the regular checkups that all children have received from birth for many years but that GIRFEC was designed to focus more resource on the process and to provide a means of support to parents when their were concerns whether they were to do with development, learning, health or environmental, in order to prevent a cascade of unfortunate events in future years. The talk raised a lot of discussion from the floor and highlighted the lack of understanding from many, as well as heightened awareness for those who perhaps have passed the age of being aware of such a scheme. ( old folk like me for instance 🙂 )
The talk was well received and Susan and Julie were thanked for their time and effort.
There was no other business and the meeting was concluded. Our next meeting will be on the 10th December