UK Local Elections – Councils

Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and loc...
Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and local elections. Picture taken in Edinburgh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a bad night and day for David Cameron and the Conservatives last night. A bad night that the Liberal Democrats joined them in. Labour managed to surpass the modest target they had set. In the 181 councils across the UK that elected new councillors Labour gained 32 of them. The Conservatives lost 12 councils and the Liberal Democrats lost 1. Labour gained councils in the South and Midlands where they needed to regain ground if they are to have any hope of electoral success in the future.

In terms of councillors themselves Labour gained 823, while the Conservatives lost 405 and the Liberal Democrats lost 336.

It was one of the worst nights for Liberal Democrats since they were founded in 1988 and of course the Conservatives took a battering also even David Cameron’s own Whitney constituency elected a Labour Councillor.

This is to be expected during a mid-term election with the Government taking tough economic decisions which are dislike on the ground.

Interestingly 9 cities rejected the idea of having a locally elected Mayor, while Bristol voted to have one and Doncaster voted to keep theirs.

This is again been seen as a defeat for the Government but it must be remembered that they were brought in by the Labour Government.

In Scotland both the Scottish National Party and Labour gained 2 councils each and gained a similar number of councillors. They failed to beat Labour and the end it was the other parties, especially the Liberal Democrats who lost out to Labour and the SNP.

In Wales it wasn’t a great night for Plaid Cymru who lost control of their only council, Caerphilly, and they lost 41 Councillors. Those weren’t the highest looses, as again the brunt was felt by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

In England, the Greens are now the fourth largest party on English Councils and they gained 5 seats in England alone (11 nationally). The BNP lost all the seats they were defending in England and failed. It is also unlikely that they will do well in the London Assembly. UKIP whose vote went up, but they have failed to convert that into seats as they may have allowed Labour victories by splitting the Conservative vote.

So a good result for Labour and the SNP, while the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will have to reconsider their party strategies.

The Catholic Church in the UK to be the Vanguard against Gay Marriage?

English: A photo of the Cardinal Keith Michael...
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The Catholic Church in the UK has stepped up its opposition to Gay Marriage being introduced in the UK. Today mass-goers will be urged to oppose any moves towards Gay Marriage in a pastoral letter from Archbishop of Westminster Most Rev Vincent Nichols and Archbishop of Southwark Most Rev Peter Smith. They argue that they must save marriage for “Future Generations”. They of course join the hierarchy in opposing this move as Cardinal Keith O’Brien last week compared Gay Marriage to slavery.

Two polls also appeared in the UK this week on this issue. One for the Catholic Voice and one for the Telegraph.

In the poll for Catholic Voice by ComRes 70% of respondents said “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman.” This poll seemed to have found opposite results to nearly every opinion on the subject in the UK. Thankfully Pinknews have done some analysis of the poll, which only had four questions, and shows what is wrong with the poll.

To set the record straight a poll in todays Sunday Telegraph has a poll showing 45% of respondents support Gay Marriage in comparison to 36% against. The rest had no firm view.  Excluding those with no firm view 55.6% are in favour and 44.4% against.

Interestingly only the Catholic Church and the Church of England are the only two religions to express their opposition to Gay Marriage while Quakers, Unitarians, Liberal Judaism and just yesterday, Reform Judaism wish to conduct religious same sex marriages.

Also on Monday the Times became the first UK daily paper to back Gay Marriage. It said “It would enrich the institution of marriage, enhance social stability and expand the sum of human happiness. It is a cause that has the firm support of The Times.”

It continues ”

“Opponents accuse the Government of undermining the foundations of marriage and abusing the power of the State. It was predictable that some Conservative backbenchers would deride the proposals as (in the words of one of them) “completely nuts”. But more influential figures are deploying similarly heated rhetoric.

“Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, yesterday branded the Government’s position a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has accused the Government of acting like a dictatorship. More temperately, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, maintains that changing the law to allow gay marriage would force unwanted change on the rest of the nation.”

It finishes with “Earlier ages considered that allowing women to own property was against God and nature. Changing the law abolished a gross injustice and thereby enhanced the legitimacy of marriage. It is time to lift another form of discriminatory treatment. Reforming the law would enrich the lives of same-sex couples who wish to marry in order to affirm by rite that they love and are loved in return. By that commitment, they will enrich the society and culture that their fellow citizens share.”

Blood Ban to be Lifted in the UK on November 7th

The University of Nottingham's LGBT society ho...
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From November 7th Gay and Bisexual men in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to give blood. Any Gay or Bisexual Man who has not had homosexual sex in 12 months will be able to give blood.

While its not the most ideal of situations, it is better then a blanket ban on gay and bisexual men.

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service national director Keith Thompson said: “We are pleased that this new donor selection criteria has been made possible by the most up to date scientific advances in screening and testing.”

He added: “Blood donation works on the principles of kindness and mutual trust.

“In order for us to safely introduce this new rule we ask all potential and existing donors to adhere to the selection criteria by providing completely honest answers to all the questions, both for the protection of their own health and that of patients.”

Mr Thompson said the blood donor selection criteria and other blood safety measures, including stringent testing, mean that there has been no documented transmission of a blood-born virus in the UK since 2005, with no HIV transmission since 2002.

The National Aids Trust has welcomed the changes.

The organisation tweeted: “NAT welcomes the lifting of the lifetime blood ban for gay men and the new evidence-based approach.”

With our nearest neighbour now lifting the ban, it will give support to those advocating a more scientific based approach to the ban here in Ireland. While there will be those opposed to any sort of ban, a short term ban is better then a blanket ban.

It is interesting to note that the ban will not be lifted in Northern Ireland. So then ban, for now, is still in effect across the Island of Ireland, and I cannot see that changing despite what the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs have found in their review earlier this year.

The IBTS will have to change eventually, especially if it is confirmed that the blanket lifetime ban is against EU Law.


New Blogs- Easter Sunday Special

I havent done one of these in awhile so what better way to bring in back then on Easter Sunday. Since i moved the blog, my blog roll has grown immensely and here are some of the brilliant new blogs added to that list.

TheWonderFullWorldof Joe

I’ve linked to Joe’s blog a few times since he started blogging and he is a new blogger. He seams to like tennis, but there are a few non-tennis posts in there too. Hes a good friend of mine so I am hoping he enjoys the blogging

Irish Opinions Blog

This is a new group blog from an old college friend of mine. Its a politics blog, and he seams to have a few things on that I missed, like the abolition of the Forum of Europe


Subrosa is a Scottish blog, with a good interest in politics. I dont subscribe to many scottish blogs so maybe, I might find a few through this. Its an excellent blog and has some interesting things on it that I didnt know such as JK Rowling stepping down as Patron of the MS Society Scotland due to disagreements with the English Office

Improve Ireland

I like the idea of this blog. It sets out ideas in a few sectors on how we can improve Ireland. There are some good ideas in there and I hope they continue the blog and things havent been updated there in awhile!

Happy Easter all!

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An interesting Night in Scotland….

Well the counting is back under way since midday in the UK Elections that took place last night. Of course there is huge issues with the number of spoiled votes in the Scottish Elections.

The State of the Partiesat this time

Labour 32 Seats
Scottish National Party 30 Seats
Liberal Democrats 12 seats
Conservatives 7
Green 1

The SNP have had a huge up surge in results taken a number of new constituency seats, including Alaxander Salamond, the leader taking Gordon from the Liberal Democrats. The SNP are also doing very well on ths lists have been declared getting 14 out of the 21 seats declared. What will Gordon Brown do with the Nationalists in Scotland?

Morning Briefing, December 28th

Dia Duit!

Conas atá sibh? An nuacht ar an maidin seo! (Thats the end of the Gaeilge!) reports on the IDA and ESB warnings on power cuts. There is also a good post over on Irish Election on this

It also reports that the Vatican is against giving Saddam the death penalty

CNN reports on a ‘significant’ earthquake in Scotland!

CNN also is running a report on predictions for future Tsunami’s in Asia

France 24 reports on the fighting in Somalia

Al-Jazeera has a report showing the difficulties faced by immigrants attempting to enter Spain

Thats it for now!


The cause of it all

Recently, I’ve posted two articles relating to Scottish Independence well, the Scottish National Party are the cause behind all the talk.

What do they want?
* An independent Scottish Parliament
* A Confederal Europe
* A Non-Nuclear Defence Policy
* International policy that reflects the principles of the UN Charter and our obligations under international law

among others listed here

According to the SNP, their are many benefits to an Independent Scotland

With more powers for the Scottish Parliament, we can grow our economy, tackle social injustice and ensure a brighter future for all. It’s time for a parliament with real powers.

they continue with

The SNP campaigned for the Scottish Parliament because we believed it was a move in the right direction for our country. But devolution is not the same as Independence – and it is not nearly enough to make a real difference to Scotland.

They also say

Independence is not only normal; it is also desirable. Small independent nations like Norway, Ireland and Finland are much more successful than Scotland in terms of both economic prosperity and living standards. Independence gives those nations the powers to shape their country for the better. Scotland could have this too.

Scotland is a wealthy country. We have abundant natural resources like oil and renewable energy potential, an educated and skilled workforce and a globally recognised identity and reputation for quality and integrity.

The SNP claim that the Scottish economy will benefit hugely from Independence from the UK

Our economy is under performing under devolution, because the Scottish Parliament lacks the powers we need to escape Scotland’s cycle of low economic growth and population decline.

Independence will give the Scottish Parliament the powers to harness our economic potential and transform Scotland into a high growth economy and a prosperous society.

How are they going to achieve Scottish Independence?

Scotland will only gain Independence when the people of Scotland vote for it in a democratic referendum. An SNP led Executive in the Scottish Parliament will hold a referendum on Independence in its first term of office. If a majority of those who vote in the referendum vote for Independence, representatives of the Scottish Executive will then begin negotiations with Westminster to agree an Independence settlement. While negotiations are under way, a written constitution for an independent Scotland will be drafted, which will guarantee rights for Scotland’s citizens and set out how Scotland will be governed.

The SNP list the following as prime examples for Independence for Scotland:
* Norway
* Ireland
* Iceland
* New Zealand
* Australia
* Finland
* Estonia
* Montenegro

Due to historical links and similarties, I think alot of Irish people would support Scotlands bid for Independence. I certainly do

Another reason for Scottish Independance

International Herald Tribune Article on Scottish Language

Really interesting article

Currently spoken by fewer than 2 percent in Scotland, Gaelic is enjoying a revival here that has blossomed since the country held elections in 1999 to create a Scottish Parliament for the first time in almost 300 years.

Thats really interesting that its since they got their own parliament that the language is been revived so it must be the start of a Scottish Political and Social Identity

In research carried out by the agency and the BBC in 2003, 66 percent of 1,020 people questioned saw Gaelic as an important part of Scottish life that needs to be promoted. Although 87 percent were not Gaelic speakers, nearly 90 percent were in favor of children learning Gaelic in schools.

if thats not demand then what is???