Wednesday, 26 November 2014
For the past few years there has been a cycle race here in Perthshire called ‘Marie Cure Cancer Care Etape Caledonia’.
It involves over 5,000 cyclists and they undertake the 81 mile course which passes through some breathtaking views.
It hasn’t been without its critics though as some people object to local roads being closed. In remote areas it’s understandable people feel trapped and some have taken extreme measures in protest. Although I disagree with such actions I can sympathise with the disruption such road closure events make in areas where there is only one route in and out of a community.
Most people have accepted the inconveniences because the participants were riding for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity and assumed all, or most, of the entry fees would be given to this reputable cause. On the sponsorship page of their website there’s nothing to indicate that only 10% of places booked are permitted to be used for fundraising purposes. The entrants still pay their fee (£70 in 2015) and the profits from their entrance fee goes to one of the richest showbiz and sport talent agencies in the world, IMG. Not a penny goes towards Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The only entrance fee profits which go to the charity are when all the 500 places are sold 50 ‘gold bond’ places become available. The writer of the article can’t discover how much of the entrance fee the charity made this year as IMG will not disclose the cost of overheads but he’s certainly disappointed that Marie Cure ‘feels the need to use a pan-global, profit-driven event management group to run their Etapes’. I agree.
In past years some of my acquaintances have contributed towards this event by volunteering to assist and although necessary travel expenses could be claimed, none has done so. This year I think it will be very different. My physiotherapist has donated her skills free of charge to this event for 6 years and has emailed the organisers to say she is withdrawing her labour for 2015. She’s well known in Perthshire and intends to spread the word.
Should there be an Etape cycling event in your area perhaps you could let your friends know that should they decide to volunteer they will be lining the pockets of a global profit-making organisation and not the Marie Cure charity.
It’s time the Marie Curie charity had a rethink on who they use to assist with fundraising events. I’ve no answer to the question I asked in the title other than the administrators of their fundraising section are quite content with the current arrangement.
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Nicola Sturgeon is now leader of the SNP. I’ve read in the media that she is more popular, within SNP circles, than Alex Salmond and this bodes well for the future. My MSP, John Swinney, is now Deputy First Minister.
It will come as no surprise to many of you that I like Alex Salmond and have great respect for the man, although I dislike some of the policies he has introduced during the SNP’s time in government. He’s an astute politician, a superb orator as well as being a clever and intelligent person. Not many politicians today carry all these attributes.
When he announced he was standing down as First Minister and leader of the SNP in September, my first thought was he must be retiring from the political scene. Silly of me I know, but where would he go? Then he gave the answer on Question Time; or rather gave the Dimbleby the hint.
There is a rumour floating round Scotland that he is considering standing in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey for next May’s Westminster elections. Currently this seat is held by LibDem Danny Alexander who will be defending a large majority of 8,765.
An early rumour suggested he intended to stand in Gordon, where the LibDem Malcolm Bruce, who had a majority of 6,748 at the last general election, is standing down and Gordon covers the Aberdeenshire East constituency represented by him at Holyrood. However, the LibDem candidate for Gordon is a former journalist, Christine Jardine, who has no public profile and senior SNP members are rumoured to have stated ‘Alex wants a scalp. He won’t get that in Gordon and he has a pick of any seat’.
The SNP has not yet chosen its candidates for next May’s election. Alex Salmond will, almost certainly, not contest his old Banff and Buchan seat as it’s already represented by the party’s Elidh Whiteford.
In Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Danny Alexander’s main challenge came from Labour in the 2010 general election. But the Holyrood seat of Inverness and Nairn is represented by the SNP’s Fergus Ewing, who won in 2011 with a massive majority of nearly 10,000 and SNP strategists believe they can therefore challenge Danny Alexander next May.
The LibDems are relying upon the result of the Independence Referendum, when around 60% of voters voted No, to keep Alex Salmond from gaining a seat from them. Some of the quotes around: ‘He’s something of a spent force’. ‘People used to see him as invincible but that’s not the case now’.
So now we’re entering the general election campaign. David Cameron insists the austerity measures must continue. Not good news for the less financially secure in our society. We can but hope that the weather continues to be mild and thus heating bills are kept low enough to avoid many falling into debt.
Friday, 7 November 2014
The Scottish Branch of the Labour party leadership contenders has changed since the above poll. 43% of you thought A N Other would be the next leader with Mr Murphy following closely behind.
I’ve placed a new poll over there >> with the confirmed candidates. There appears to be an tinge of arrogance in Murphy’s television interviews this week.
Will he be good or bad for Scotland?
Thursday, 6 November 2014
The commercial Christmas is upon us. Shops crammed with Christmas non-perishables, although I did see Christmas puddings yesterday. They can last for a year if unopened I’m reliably told, but my informant prefers to wait until after Christmas and stock up at bargain prices.
According to Adweek the above video, ‘Monty the Penguin’, cost £1m to make and is part of the company’s overall £7m investment in the Christmas campaign.
Does it encourage you to buy at John Lewis?
These days there are always some geeks waiting in the background to capitalise on videos, but Redshirt Films are very smart and professional geeks. They’ve made a parody of John Lewis’s Christmas Advert.
Hope you enjoy. I did.