This is a comment (and my response) sent by people who are campaigning against the SNP led council's decision to make callous and reckless cuts to school transport provision in Renfrewshire; I have decided to print it as an article for obvious reasons.
Terry, I would like to offering my public support to anyone who is opposed to the decision taken by ther SNP and the Lib Dems to effectively take away the free bus service for school childrenAs well as the meeting mentioned, in which I wasn't allowed in for lack of space (which should tell people about the anger that this decision has sparked) I was at the Education Board meeting on Thursday 25/2/10, along with around 30 concerned parents.Item 14 concerned appeals to removing free school transport.Despite opposition by the Labour Group, the religous group in the board and even the Tories, the administration gave parents another slap in the face bysignificantly watering down their right of appeal, if refused free transport.I have included a link to the report for other readers, which I hope workshttp://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/WebReplicas/agendar.nsf/00000000000000000000000000000000/03340D8AF7CB9997802576CF0053AAF3/$file/Revised%20Home%20to%20School%20Transport%20Policy%20and%20Revision%20of%20Appeals%20Procedure%20EPB%2025%2002%2010.pdfMy understanding is that The Council must provide a safe route to school and under the old system, if a parent had been refused free transport on the grounds of distance, they could appeal, either on distance or safety grounds. At that point a Councillor, presumably with council officers would walk the route and check its safety. Now, after Wednesday and in anticipation of a flood of appeals, the SNP and the Lib Dems have moved the goalposts and are placing the onus on parents to judge whether the route is unsafe and report this to the Council, at which point, the route will be investigated.I have numerous problems with this. Firstly the onus should not be put onto parents, secondly the SNP and the Lib Dems are the ones that voted to extend the qualifying distance, so they should offer to walk the routes if they are unable to deal with a flood of appeals. Finally, parents are not road nor safety experts. They should not have to be put in this kind of position.I have walked and cycled a couple of likely routes following a parents meeting at Castlehead (which was attended by Cllrs Caldwell and MacMillan, both Labour Group) and there are significant safety concerns, not least on the cycle track, which is not lit and which was the scene of a horrific sex attack last year.There is also the bridge at Elderslie, which has a very narrow pavement and fast moving traffic.These are just two routes for one school. I understand that there are even more problems with the routes to St Benedicts and St Andrews amongst others, so much so that everyone from parents councils, to community groups are all firmly against this move.Personally, I have genuine fears that this policy is going to have disastrous consequences and I am with the parents who are quite rightly furious and worried.For anyone who is opposed to this policy, I will say this - There are numerous meetings coming up, many chances to voice your opposition to this policy and I would encourage all readers of this site, whatever their politics, to get involved in opposing this decision, because whatever you think about Terry or indeed myself, surely no-one in their right mind could say that removing a free bus service for children to get get to school safely is a good idea.If you are reading this site and you do want to do something, your first port of call should be your local Councillor, and you should call on them en masse, as an organised unit. If it is a councillor of the administration, then picket outside as they go into their surgery. Opposition Councillors, at least I am certain the ones in the local Labour Group, will already be behind you, so target the ones in power, that's the SNP and Lib Dem Councillors and remember above all, that your not alone.
(My response) The SNP Lib. Dem. administration are destroying years of good progress on education in Renfrewshire this is only the last act of vandalism that they have come up with and they are not finished.
I encourage everyone who cares about our young people to get involved in the protests which are growing by the day; that means anyone who cares; this is not confined to parents; grandparents; relatives etc. it includes us all; don’t let them away with it.
Monday, March 01, 2010
HELP US STOP THE SNP/LIB. DEM. EDUCATIONAL VANDALS FOR THE CHILDREN'S SAKE.
Posted by Cllr Terry Kelly at Monday, March 01, 2010
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Parents take note.
Councillor Tracie McGee stated before being elected to Renfrewshire Council that it was her dream to get elected.
Well Tracie, thanks very much for stabbing every Parent and Child in Johnstone for what you have done, you should hang your head in shame!
Parents of Johnstone take note:
At the next elections, lets make this our ambition to Vote Councillor McGee out of Office.
Mr & Mrs Shanks
Mr. and Mrs. Shanks; Ms. McGee also campaigned on saving neighbourhood swimming pools to get elected; she is what is well-known in politics as ‘cannon fodder’ she has been stitched up and left swinging in the wind by her SNP colleagues; they required someone to “take one for the team” poor immature Tracy made the gaffe of trusting people like McFee and Mackay who knew all along she was to be sacrificed.
Politics is a rough trade and then you have the SNP; still I find it impossible to have a solitary morsel of pity for her. She does not have sympathy for anyone that I can see.
Mr Kelly, I agree with your comments regarding this shameful Council.
My wife and I were talking with some of our neighbours regarding this serious issue, it appears that many of the parents have phoned, e-mailed or written to Councillor McGee and yet she keeps cancelling the meetings at the last minute stating her son is not feeling good or she is very busy.
I appreciate that if her son is not well or she may have other issues to deal with but surely not every day of every week, I have seen the letters and e-mails and let me assure you Councillor, we in Johnstone are begging to get a little cheesed off.
Can you advise if we can report her to the Standards Commission regarding this, any assistance would be appreciated.
It appears that her ambition was to have the title of Councillor but not have the responsibility of being a Councillor.
Tom & Kate
& the Boys.
P.s Can you send our best wishes to our local hard working MP.
I have heard similar comments about Ms. McGee her reputation is toast with the people of Johnstone and district.
As far as the Standards Commission is concerned my understanding is that you can make a complaint against a councillor if you wish.
You can Google ‘Standards Commission for Scotland’ and you will find all the info. you require; they also have a telephone help line to explain things to you if required.
They will take your complaints and consider them and make a decision whether to investigate the matter.
Sad news about Michael Foot. Have you read this article by Tony Benn. It's a very honest account of both his respect for the man and their differences of opinion.
Very sad – for years now I have held my breath each time I saw a headline or a picture of Michael thinking “is this it” and this is it now.
Despite knowing that he could not possibly last much longer it still shocks and saddens; a giant in the true sense and a glowing constant in my political life for almost 50 years.
There is no one lower than Councillor than Tracie McGee, she told the parents, “I will be abstaining from the Vote”, then what does she do, goes into the meeting and voted against the parents.
The Parents of the kids affected have got to put someone to fight the seat against Councillor McGee; she has more faces than the town hall clock, speaks with forked tongue, can't be trusted and basically has got to go.
Parents Johnstone, Renfrewshire.
Cllr. McGee’s behaviour over the school buses and before that the swimming pools have put her “jaicket on a shoogly peg” I’m sure the people of Johnstone will remember these things when it comes to casting their votes.
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