Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill will criminalise abusive behaviour

As far as I’m aware, there hasn’t been anything that would amount to ‘domestic abuse’ in my family’s past, so I’m really just mentioning this to give it some publicity, as it should be all it can get.

Looking at what it covers, I also doubt any of the women (although the legislation refers to ‘partners’) would have stood for any sort of abuse against themselves, or anyone else within the family, and would have seen to it that the abuser was dealt with, be that by legal, or any other means.

A new bill is set to be introduced next week which is being hailed by the First Minister as a “landmark moment” for Scotland.

As reported by Glasgow Live, the The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill criminalises abusive behaviour towards a partner or ex-partner.

The ground-breaking legislation, which was passed by Holyrood ministers in 2018, creates a specific offence of domestic abuse for the first time.

As well as covering physical abuse, the law refers to psychological and emotional treatment and coercive and controlling behaviour, where abusers isolate their victim from their friends and relatives or control their finances.

And for the first time in the UK, it makes the impact domestic abuse can have on children an aggravating factor, which could lead to courts handing down tougher sentences as a result.

The law will be used to prohibit subordination, humiliation, isolating a partner from friends, relatives and sources of support, and controlling or monitoring their day-to-day activities.

Scottish Women’s Aid chief executive Dr Marsha Scott said: “What an opportunity stands in front of us as our new ‘world’s gold standard’ law goes into effect.

“Women and children have been telling us for 40 years that it is the emotional abuse and controlling behaviours of domestic abuse that have the most traumatic effect, that trap them in dangerous relationships with abusive partners and ex-partners.

“Now these behaviours will be crimes in Scotland and how well we police and prosecute them will say much about our commitment to ending domestic abuse.”

New domestic abuse law Scotland – First Minister hails ‘landmark moment’

I couldn’t find a neutral graphic or pic that represented domestic abusers (or concentrated only on domestic violence, neglecting all the other options) – like the latter part of the excerpt above, the vast majority are still single issue and mainly portray women as being abused, then children, while almost completely ignoring (or not realising) abuse of males is not really all that far behind if more recent research is correct. The general claim is that 1 in 4 women, 1 in 5 children, AND 1 in 5 men, will suffer domestic abuse.

So, lacking a decent image, I thought I might as well go with something based on that nice Mr Trump, also known as the Orange Moron, who really cares about (some) victims of domestic abuse.

Orange Emergency Mysogeny Technician

Orange Emergency Mysogeny Technician

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25/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

The Cats Bill 2017-19 could make drivers take more care

Most drivers (apart from the ignorant or those who just don’t care) know that under current UK law there is a requirement to report to police or local authorities when their vehicle collides with a dog, or they risk a hefty fine if they drive off without reporting the incident. Other animals to which this legal requirement to declare collisions include horses, cattle (cows), pigs, goats, sheep, and donkeys (but fortunately, apparently NOT DEER).

There is now a Bill proposed which will “require the driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to a cat to stop and give information or report the accident to the police” according to the Parliament’s website,

The legislation was first read on 23 July 2018 and still requires a third reading in the House of Commons and approval from the House of Lord before it becomes law. If passed, the new law would also require owners of certain cats to have their pets microchipped to make identification easier in the event of an incident.

It used to be argued that dogs were included in such a requirement due to the existence of a dog licence, and the benefits brought, but that was dumped years ago, the reporting requirement stayed, and I thought cats were getting a fairly raw deal as a result of that imbalance. Either add cats, or remove dogs from the legal demand.

On the other hand, unlike dogs, cats think they own the road – just let one drive your car, and…

Cat Road Rage

Cat Road Rage

Then there’s the size aspect.

Most drivers aren’t intimidated by cats in the UK, and are probably not worried about any cat they might hit getting upset – and sitting on them!

Cat Sitting on road

Cat Sitting on road

Is that some sort of deer relative being used as a cushion by the cat?

So, they DO have a use.

25/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Wojtek surprises still keep turning up

I still find mentions of Wojtek the bear come as something of a surprise, and wish I had got around to writing about his story before he became so well known.

Like the Great Polish Map of Scotland, his story was one I came across in the early days of the Internet, while digging around for Polish history in Scotland arising from the events f World War II.

With so little to go on initially (the Great Map was a ruin and almost lost when I first learnt of its existence – now it has been fully restored), these were things I just kept collecting little pieces of info about, intending to add Wiki pages once I knew enough about them to make them worthwhile. But, events overtook me, and while I was ambling along, the ‘real world’ passed me by and they became mainstream and well-known stories, with Wojtek gaining statues in Edinburgh (and Duns) and Poland.

So, there’s not really much need, or point, in my going over the scant details I once dug up as the story of both of these subject has now been well covered in the media, and by people with access to more information than I ever managed to find.

However, that doesn’t mean new or less well known stories aren’t still to be found, as in this example of a Polish war veteran’s memories.

When Polish veteran Ludwik Jaszczur paid his respects to his wartime comrade Jozef Urbanski’s widow Zofia Urbanska at his funeral 40 years ago, little did he know it would be the next chapter in a remarkable life.

The pair, grieving from the death of a true friend and husband, found solace in each other, and vowed to carry on the late Jozef Urbanski’s legacy with their leather goods shop on Lauriston Street.

Now, at 92 years of age, Mr Jaszczur has finally decided to call it a day, and close up the shop for good.

Speaking to the Evening News, Ludwik recounted a life that involved capture at the hands of the Nazis while still a child, a daring escape, and an unlikely lifelong friendship with Wojtek, the bear whom he fought beside in the hellhole of Monte Cassino and visited regularly in Edinburgh Zoo.

Wojtek the bear was adopted by a group of Polish soldiers who had recently been released from Siberian Gulags.

The soldiers found the allegedly orphaned bear in Iran on their way to the Middle East from Siberia.

They quickly formed a close bond with the bear, which was said to behave more like a dog or a small child than a wild animal, and Wojtek eventually become the mascot of the Polish II Corps 22nd Artillery.

The bear joined the soldiers as they campaigned alongside allied forces in Iraq and Egypt and on to Italy where he carried artillery shells from supply vehicles to the company artillery positions during the 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino.

Wojtek was officially made a Polish soldier, complete with his own papers when he needed to board the boat to get to Italy, made only possible by properly enlisting him and giving him a pay book.

Wojtek was said to enjoy beer and cigarettes and received double rations due to his size of around 30 stone.

After the end of hostilities Wojtek was demobbed to Winfield Camp for displaced soldiers in Berwickshire alongside the rest of his unit and was moved to Edinburgh Zoo where he lived until his death in 1963.

Polish war veteran and friend of Wojtek the bear shares his incredible life story

The Princes Street statue, as seen the day after it was unveiled back in 2015.

Wojtek Statue Princes Street MJ Richardson

Wojtek Statue Princes Street MJ Richardson

The relief behind shows a number of scenes where Wojtek is seen with the Polish troops he helped, by carrying shells.

25/03/2019 Posted by | military, World War II | , , , , | Leave a comment

Parkhead Public School becomes a community enterprise centre

I mentioned the building shown below a few weeks ago, when I noticed the scaffolding had finally gone and the refurbishment work appeared to be complete.

What I wasn’t really sure of was how the building was to be reused, who would be occupying it, and what they would be doing.

Seems it lay dormant for 15 years, and it was sad to walk past it as it just lay derelict, and the rot looked as if it was set to begin,

Parkhead Public School Redeveloped

Parkhead Public School Redeveloped

Now:

Two decades on from last working from the premises, careers advice and guidance will once again be delivered from the historic Parkhead Public School building

The building lay empty for more than 15 years and was listed on the Buildings At Risk register, before a massive transformation.

Now the category B-listed building has been revamped into a community enterprise centre with public and office space for various organisations, including Skills Development Scotland and Parkhead Housing Association.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be in the building and to be sharing a space with local community organisations such as Parkhead Housing Association, Playbusters, Parkhead Youth Project and Baillieston Community Care.”

SDS is Scotland’s national skills body, with professionally-qualified advisers working from its careers centres, community premises and in every state secondary school across Scotland.

SDS’s Parkhead Careers Centre is situated at 135 Westmuir Street, Parkhead Cross, Glasgow, G31 5EA and is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Anyone can drop in any time to speak with a qualified careers adviser.

Historic Parkhead building gets new lease of life after massive revamp

This is probably as good an example as any of my assertion that the many old and derelict buildings lying empty around Glasgow are not going to be ‘saved’ just because someone jumps up and down shouting about their unused condition.

They need to find both occupants and funding to make the reuse viable.

There is NO POINT in raising the money (if they even could) to rescue or restore a building if all that means is there is a nice looking derelict in place of the run down and decaying one, with no tenants, businesses, or services operating from it to make it viable.

The REAL issue is not the ‘Building at Risk’, but the lack of any tenants to make it work.

25/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Time to stop grovelling to activists and campaigners

I’m not going to mention any specifics, but I think it’s time that all the various activists, special interest groups, campaigners etc were shoved down the priority list and not ignored, but also not given the apparent power they seem to have gained by being not the most RELEVANT voices, but the LOUDEST!

I could rhyme of a list of about five or so who appear in most stories about cycle lanes/routes, and transport realignment, and come to the planning table (and leave it) with one chorus, “We have been ignored” or, “We have not been prioritised”.

While all plans need to be consulted on, and modified as they are developed, the Byres Road plan is a pretty good example of what I refer to, as it is now not expected to start braking ground before the end of this year (2019), having been expected to start in December 2018.

Have a look at this article on the changes coming to this road, some of those I have in mind are mentioned:

Segregated cycle lanes and fewer parking bays feature in latest plan for Byres Road

I’ve even cycled in Byres Road, which is rather odd (the cycling, not the rad).

As a pedestrian, it looks terrible, packed with all sort of traffic.

Yet on the bike (and even observing from on board a bus), that apparent congestion seems to vanish when you are moving with it.

Also, the activists won’t like me for saying this, all but one or two drivers seem to give cyclist a wide berth – space permitting.

Dopey pedestrians and cellphone zombies are a bigger hazard.

In fact, I’m surprised there were cellphone activists at the meeting, whining about there being NO LANE FOR THEM in the plan!

Cellphone Lane

Cellphone Lane

Update

Just saw this, and HAD to include it – a real phone zombie gem…

And then there was…

SmartphoneZombies.jpg

25/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to stop grovelling to activists and campaigners

I’m not going to mention any specifics, but I think it’s time that all the various activists, special interest groups, campaigners etc were shoved down the priority list and not ignored, but also not given the apparent power they seem to have gained by being not the most RELEVANT voices, but the LOUDEST!

I could rhyme of a list of about five or so who appear in most stories about cycle lanes/routes, and transport realignment, and come to the planning table (and leave it) with one chorus, “We have been ignored” or, “We have not been prioritised”.

While all plans need to be consulted on, and modified as they are developed, the Byres Road plan is a pretty good example of what I refer to, as it is now not expected to start braking ground before the end of this year (2019), having been expected to start in December 2018.

Have a look at this article on the changes coming to this road, some of those I have in mind are mentioned:

Segregated cycle lanes and fewer parking bays feature in latest plan for Byres Road

I’ve even cycled in Byres Road, which is rather odd (the cycling, not the rad).

As a pedestrian, it looks terrible, packed with all sort of traffic.

Yet on the bike (and even observing from on board a bus), that apparent congestion seems to vanish when you are moving with it.

Also, the activists won’t like me for saying this, all but one or two drivers seem to give cyclist a wide berth – space permitting.

Dopey pedestrians and cellphone zombies are a bigger hazard.

In fact, I’m surprised there were cellphone activists at the meeting, whining about there being NO LANE FOR THEM in the plan!

Cellphone Lane

Cellphone Lane

25/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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