Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some of you may have noticed that there appears to be two Lord Provost blogs now. I have started a knew one through the Council's website so that it will be more visible. I was keen to communicate the diversity of events and duties of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.
I will still keep this one but use it more for the Ward stories or more personal comments on life in general.

You can see it at - .
..or click the link of course.   

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

There are so many issues across the huge Sighthill Gorgie Ward it has proved almost impossible to create a general leaflet. With 23,000 in a ward that stretches from Haymarket to the by-pass it is a tall order.

I have tried to keep it local in my campaign. Now we are decoupled from the Scottish Parliament it will, no doubt, affect the turn out but I believe people have the right to expect that we will talk about local issues in a local election!

I take personal pride in the fact that know what the issues are in every corner of the Ward and I think this is a testament to the work I have put in over the last five years (longer in the case of Gorgie). I was interested in the Tory leaflet that came through my door where Susan Dewhurst comes out with a fantastic list of what she would have done if she had been a Councillor for the area. In reality it is an accurate list of what I have actually done over the last five years so clever wording there. Saving the Dalry Swim Centre is something I played a lead role in at the Council as well as bringing the Sainesbury's to Longstone! When the Sainesbury's went to Planning I attended as the local Ward member (the only local Councillor to do so -  Eric was on the Committee and therefore took no part prior to the meeting) I spoke at length and persuaded the Committee to overturn their own officers recommendations and vote for it (9 votes to 3). I was representing the views of the  Longstone Community Council who were passionately in favour of the development which will bring 500 jobs to the area and revitalise a brown field site that has been a problem for the area since the B & Q were forced to leave (another issue locally).
My visits to Planning have been frequent, representing local views, mostly opposing things like hotels that were too high or balconies that looked straight into peoples windows. My attendance at local meetings such as surgeries, Residents Associations and Community Councils whilst not 100% (impossible in such a  large Ward) has been better than all the other Councillors for the area put together!

As Chair of the South West Neighbourhood Partnership for five years I have struggled with the fact that they were made into 'Advisory bodies' instead of the decision making Committees they were originally designed (by me as Executive Member for Modernising Government) to be.  In spite of this I have made it into a positive force for good in the area taking on issues such as surface crossings for the Calder Rd. and the fire in the Shandon Colonies. I was and remain the Chair of the Europe wide 'Demos' project which looks at citizen participation in local governance. I have tried to bring this to bear at the SWNP. It is a testament to my efforts and passion that local Councillors of all parties have voted me back into the Chair of the South West NP every year in spite of the fact that it was meant to change.  

I have done lots of local leaflets but here is my general Sighthill Gorgie one....

Friday, April 06, 2012

Campaign in full swing!

We are now well into the 'short campaign'.

I look forward to meeting people on the streets over the next four weeks and if anyone wants to speak to me or help with the campaign drop into our shop at 104 Gorgie Rd. (6 - 8pm weeknights except Friday). Remember it is elections for the City of Edinburgh Council on May 3rd and you must put numbers against the person you want to vote for .
If you want to vote for me put a '1' against my name and a '2' for Eric.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Edinburgh International Science Festival

The Science Festival (I'm on the Board) will be back from 30 March - 15 April. Doesn't time fly! To those who have been it is an unmissable event. To those who have not it is a mental delight that awaits discovery.

See the program at-

In particular I would draw peoples attention to the Edinburgh Enlightenment Exchange which is shaping up to be a great event, with details of the line-up and contacts at

Info about the event appears online (see above link), but in summary:

Edinburgh E2
Hosted by Broadcaster Quentin Cooper (BBC Radio 4, Material World) E2 will celebrate the Science Festival’s potential as a perfect playground for ideas. It will bring together scientists, technologists, artists and creatives of all persuasions for a day of short, sharp presentations on everything from stem cells to quantum physics and circus, via experimental music and why leaves are nature’s capital. With plenty of time for the audience to ask questions of and meet and mingle with participants, E2 will celebrate the common theme of creativity and brilliance across disparate fields; and who knows just what might emerge from this meeting of minds?!
Beats Sudoku!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Libraries under threat!

There is a questionnaire underway by the Council Administration (SNP/Lib.Dem) to try to cut the hours of Libraries. particularly for Sighthill Gorgie (my Ward) it is proposed to cut the hours of Fountainbridge and Sighthill. They have decided they need to make £550,000 of cuts in the library services and they are 'consulting' on options (Only one option proposed though and whats more you receive a threat of if you don't agree - where do you think the cuts should be make! That old trick, expecting the average citizen to make the cuts themselves. They still have not realised that they are the Administration and are supposed to come up with proposals.). It is too easy for them to hit the libraries as they clearly do not understand how vital they are, particularly in this economic climate and particularly in areas in need of regeneration like Sighthill. People there have been worried about the future of the library and the community centre as a result of the North Sighthill redevelopment.  It would appear they were right to be concerned. The consultation lasts till 30th Jan. so I would urge all community activists and representatives to respond.
Click here to respond - 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Totem Pole Project Update & Action

I received the following appeal from the WHALE Arts Agency.....

'Subject: Totem Pole Project Update & Action


After much discussion and planning I am delighted to attach a copy of the schedule for the design and carving of the first Wester Hailes Totem Pole.

I would like to request your help in spreading the word about the project as widely as possible throughout the community so that we can ensure a high turn out at all of the sessions which are open to people of all ages.

Friday 13th January 14:30 - 16:30 at WHALE Arts Centre
Saturday 14th January 14:00 - 16:00 at Wester Hailes Library
Saturday 21st January 14:00 - 16:00 at WHALE Arts Centre

The 3 design sessions will be chance for people to work with
Robin Wood the lead artist on this project and put forward their suggestions for what the carved design of the pole will look like.
By the end of the 3rd session we will have an agreed design which can then be worked up as a carved pole at the end of January.

Saturday 14th January 10:00 - 12:00 at WHALE Arts Centre
Friday 20th January 14:30 - 16:30 at Wester Hailes Library
Saturday 21st January 10:00 - 12:00 at WHALE Arts Centre

The Tech 'digital inclusion' sessions will be taking place in January to ensure local people of all ages can get practical help and guidance on how to access the wide variety of Wester Hailes social history resources that are available through QR (quick response) Codes via mobile phones and online via computers as part of the project.

These sessions will also be an opportunity for people to add their own stories, photos, films and memories to the Wester Hailes social history archive.

Furthermore the sessions will allow people to suggest what other information they would like to have available through the QR codes on the pole for example 'What's On' info, a chance to suggest what they would like to see in the area, volunteering/timebank opportunities etc

If you would like a Tech Session to be run at/for your organisation or any local group please let me know and I will try to get it arranged.

Taking place at WHALE Arts between the 30th January and 8th February

Morning Session
The morning session will be a chance to watch Robin Wood at work as the community's design starts to take shape and a 20ft, 300 year old, piece of timber becomes the only 21st Century Memory Pole in Wester Hailes - and possibly the world!!

Afternoon Session
The afternoon session will be a chance for individuals or small groups to get 'hands on' and have a go at carving the pole under the expert guidance of Robin Wood.

I will be in touch again early in the New Year to discuss the project with you but in the meantime any help you can offer in publicising the events would be much appreciated.

Have a great festive season.



Allan Farmer

Interim Chief Executive


30 Westburn Grove
EH14 2SA
Mob: 07737 032 034
Tel: 0131 458 3267 
WHALE Arts Agency is a company limited by guarantee (SC180118) with charitable status (SC020305)

We're on FACEBOOK - search for WHALE Arts Agency

Make a Donation to WHALE Arts - '

This project is good on many levels. It is participatory  and gets people involved with the history of the area with a hands on skills approach.