The other battles in Scotland

Rayleen Kelly reports on her re-election bid

This campaign has been an interesting one so far, the new boundaries can make campaigning quite difficult but not impossible.

Since my election in 2003 I have been working hard to represent my constituents and help them with every problem that they bring to me, you can't help all of the time and you can't know everything so being able to say sorry I don't know, is a definite strength.

Working within the new arrangements means this time I am have a running mate, Jim Sharkey, he has been great and is such a hard worker that it is exhausting just watching him!

One of the positives of having the Scottish Parliament elections on the same day as the council means that
we get to run a really tight campaign with the MSP candidates, because of the new arrangements the new Paisley East and Ralston ward has two MSP Labour candidates Wendy Alexander and Hugh Henry.

Having worked with Wendy for a number of years I know her campaigning style and can just about keep up!

With Hugh this has been a learning experience but one that I have enjoyed and I know both of them work really hard, I have even had assistance from the neighbouring MSP candidate Trish Godman in the
guise of advice and moral support.

The last few weeks have been hectic what with council meetings still going on and the campaign in full swing, despite the polling nationally the results are not being replicated on the doors/telephone in
Renfrewshire and that is heartening.

Both my dad and I are standing again and I am lucky to have both his support and that of my Convenor
Tommy Williams - my dad's running mate.

I am proud of the achievements of the Labour administration of Renfrewshire Council, 3 new elderly care homes, 10 new schools, the modernisation of every school in Renfrewshire by 2012, the new dry
sports centre at the Lagoon Leisure centre in my own ward costing £4.2m, the St Mirren training academy at Penilee Pavilion, the increase in foster carers for children in need, 17,000 additional police officer hours, zero tolerance on anti social behaviour and the regeneration of Paisley, Linwood and Renfrew Town Centres to name but a few, all of this can and hopefully will continue under a new Labour Administration, we are aiming for a Labour victory and with the support of the electorate this is possible.

http://rayleenkelly.blogspot.com/

Rayleen Kelly, 30, has been the Labour councillor for the Seedhill area of Paisley since May 2003.
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You may call me a monster – but I'm glad that girl's lemonade stall got shut down

What's wrong with hard-working public servants enforcing perfectly sensible regulations?

Who could fail to be moved by the widely shared tears of a five year old whose innocent lemonade stall was brutally shut down by evil bureaucrats? What sort of monster would not have their heartstrings tugged by the plaintive “I've done a bad thing” from a girl whose father tells us she “just wanted to put a smile on people's faces”?

Well me, actually.

There are half a million cases of food poisoning each year in the UK, and one of the reasons we have stringent controls on who can sell food and drink, especially in unsealed containers, is to try to cut those figures down. And street stalls in general are regulated because we have a system of taxation, rights and responsibilities in this country which underpins our functioning society. Regulation is a social and economic good.

It’s also pretty unfair to criticise the hard-working public servants who acted in this case for doing the job they are no doubt underpaid to do. For the council to say “we expect our enforcement officers to show common sense” as they cancelled the fine is all very well, but I’m willing to bet they are given precious little leeway in their training when it comes to who gets fined and who doesn’t. If the council is handing out apologies, it likely should be issuing one to its officers as well.

“But these are decent folk being persecuted by a nanny state,” I hear you cry. And I stand impervious, I’m afraid. Because I’ve heard that line a lot recently and it’s beginning to grate.

It’s the same argument used against speed cameras and parking fines. How often have you heard those caught out proclaim themselves as “law-abiding citizens” and bemoan the infringement of their freedom? I have news for you: if you break the speed limit, or park illegally, or indeed break health and safety or trading regulations, you are not a law-abiding citizen. You’re actually the one who’s in the wrong.

And rarely is ignorance an excuse. Speed limits and parking regulations are posted clearly. In the case of the now famous lemonade stand, the father in question is even quoted as saying “I thought that they would just tell us to pack up and go home.” So he knew he was breaking the rules. He just didn’t think the consequences should apply to him.

A culture of entitlement, and a belief that rules are for other people but not us, is a disease gripping middle Britain. It is demonstrated in many different ways, from the driver telling the cyclist that she has no right to be on the road because she doesn’t pay road tax (I know), to the father holding up his daughter’s tears to get out of a fine.

I know, I’m a monster. But hooray for the enforcers, I say.

Duncan Hothersall is the editor of Labour Hame