Forecast update: 5 May 2015

Nepal Earthquake Appeals

Same Difference

I have spent the weekend watching news of Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal. Countless lives have been lost and countless others changed forever. I am thinking, in particular, of all those who have been left disabled by the disaster.

Several charities have set up fundraising appeals. The Independent published this list of links yesterday:

Here are some of the ways you can help with those affected by the devastation:

The easiest thing to do is donate £5 to Unicef by texting ‘DONATE’ to 70123 or visiting

If you are outside of the UK you can donate $10 to Unicef by texting ‘Nepal’ to 864233.

You can also follow the links below and donate to any of the following agencies:


Oxfam is an international organisation dedicated to fighting poverty. Donate to Oxfam’s relief efforts in Nepal, here.


Actionaid supports women and children in extreme poverty. To donate to…

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Conversation With Patrick Grady (SNP National Secretary)

Mairi and I went along to discuss the General Election with SNP National Secretary Patrick Grady. He is the SNP candidate for North Glasgow. We went to discuss the results of our Survey. We also hope to talk to Ann Mckechin soon to get answers to the same questions from a Labour perspective. We discuss many things including the NHS, Trident, Benefits, Tax Avoidance and Constitutional change.

The MP3 of this recording can be downloaded by right clicking here and selecting save link as.

You can listen to the recording on podcast form by searching for Autonomy Scotland on your podcast player.

Music: One  by Sanxion7.

The General Election survey results are in

At Common Weal North Glasgow, we believe that the most important role of a politician is to serve his or her constituents. We came up with the idea of talking to each candidate for the North Glasgow constituency in order to find out how they would address our concerns if elected. We hope to do this in the next few weeks and publish our conversations on this site. In order to find out what issues to discuss with them we created a survey which has been completed by 898 people.The survey is now closed but you can see the template here. In this blog we will detail our main results but you can view the raw data using the links below.

We should point out that the survey was open to everyone. So of the 898 people, 101 could be North Glasgow constituents. I say “could” because we asked for the first part of postcodes in order to minimise the amount of personal data collected . After we started collecting data we realised that this is insufficient information to accurately place a person in North Glasgow. This is an error we will learn from for the next time.This withstanding, when we compared the group likely to be from North Glasgow (G11,G12,G20) with the group as a whole, levels of concern and issues raised were broadly similar.

In the main part of the survey, respondents rated their levels of concern in relation to eight key national issues, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = not concerned at all; to 5 = very concerned). The results are summarised in the following graph and you can access the raw data here.

As you’ll see from the chart above, NHS privatisation was the most concerning issue for both North Glasgow and the whole group. In contrast, Immigration was generally reported as “slightly” or “not at all” concerning.

We also asked if there were any other issues that were of concern. As you can see from the raw data sheet here, we had a very broad range of responses. It was not possible to show 57 issues in a meaningful chart (many were only mentioned several times). However, it may be interesting to see the 15 most frequently raised issues in the chart below. You can scroll over the bars for more detail.

As you can see from the chart, the most frequently reported other issue was Constitutional Change. This issue encompassed a range of specific responses including “more local government”, “abolishing the House of Lords”, and “electoral reform”.

A stair heid rammy with ma mammy

Wee Ginger Dug

I’ve not been too well this past week, loaded with a bad cold while at the same time I’ve started a new part time job because I’m still not working for your other national newspaper. Meanwhile I am still battling the nasty side effects of the nasty medicine that I’m on for my nasty skin condition. So I’ve been too knackered to blog much. Give up smoking, they say. It’s good for your health, they say. But since giving up smoking it’s been one bloody thing after another. Anyway, onwards and upwards, or in the case of the Labour party in Scotland, backwards and into the gutter.

A few days ago a friend asked what it was that I have against Magrit Curran. “She’s just a Labour hack like all the others,” he remarked, “so why do you keep picking on her and not on some of the other equally…

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Podcast: Scotland’s Gender Pay Gap

The Wee Scoop

Are women valued less than men? Why does the pay gap exist?

We spoke to Lindsey Millen from the Close the Gap Campaign about these questions and more, you can listen below.


How is the Pay Gap Calculated?

There’s no definitive way to report a single figure that fully captures the complexities of the gender pay gap, but there are two main ways we use which is the mean and the median. The government equalities office in Westminster uses the median, excluding overtime, to report on the pay gap but the Equality and Human Rights Commission uses the mean. The Office of National Statistics publish both so we use that annual survey of hours and earnings to calculate the pay gap for Scotland. To describe the difference between the mean and the median: The median is a measurement used to calculate the average by finding the mid point…

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Man burned alive in Britain – but does anybody care?

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

A man was burned alive in Britain – and nobody seems to care.

Malcolm Burge, 66, found himself more than £800 in debt as a result of a government decision to cut his housing benefit by 50%.

The council dealing with his case was also unable to correspond properly with Mr Burge because of a massive backlog they were experiencing – again due to government cuts to local government funding.

And so – on the same day he received a letter telling him he had to repay the money – Mr Burge drove to Cheddar Gorge and burned himself alive in his car.

Just the latest victim of Iain Duncan Smith’s war on the poor:


Iain Duncan Smith’s portrait made from photos of people who died for being poor (click on image to enlarge)

Iain-Duncan-Smith Mosaic05

Some of his victims:

Malcolm Burge:


Edward Jacques:edward jacques

Graham Shawcross:graham shawcross

David Coupe:David-Coupe


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If Jesse were alive today, would he give Boots the boot?

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Boots has its roots in the mid-19th century when John Boot, an agricultural worker, moved to Nottingham to start a new business.   He opened a small herbalist store on Goose Gate in 1849, from which he prepared and sold herbal remedies.  His business soon proved popular, especially with the working poor of Nottingham’s new industries, who could not afford the services of a doctor.  After John’s death in 1860, his widow, Mary, continued trading, with the help of her young son, Jesse, who became a full partner when he was 21.  The store continued to flourish, and, in 1877, Jesse took sole control.

Jesse Boot

Jesse Boot

“Health for a shilling”

Jesse’s talent for business was soon evident.  He expanded the range of products he sold to include proprietary medicines and household necessities.  He adopted a strategy of buying stock in bulk and selling his goods much cheaper than his competitors, advertising…

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