Monday, 8 June 2015

Ticket Machine Victory and the View from Yellowcraig

Last night’s meet up for members of the Scottish Greens in Musselburgh gave time for reflection on the Westminster election, plans for Holyrood next year and local government the year after that. Those of us who live in the Honest Toun had the start of a good discussion on a Green vision for Musselburgh. It’s a town with good points but also challenges, and so much untapped potential. I’m looking forward to more of that discussion.

Victory is mine! The ticket machine at Musselburgh station is back in action. I think if we look at the log of Scotrail activity we’ll notice what spurred them into action: Week 1 - no action; Week 2 - no action; weeks 3 to 6 - no action; week 7 - Green Dad appears on the front of a local newspaper looking slightly grumpy; week 8 - machine is fixed!

A week on and I’m still waiting for a reply from either First Group or East Lothian Council’s “environment” spokesman clarifying if First will roll out new low emissions buses to routes in Musselburgh. The company has trumpeted its investment but hasn’t given details. They also said “we support the efforts of our local authority partners to improve air quality for all,” prompting my query to Cllr Norman Hampshire. Given the silence I can only conclude that East Lothian Council has done nothing to make the case for low emissions vehicles on routes through Musselburgh. Cllr Hampshire certainly seems to have time to retweet messages about “SNP muppets” and Nicola Sturgeon on Panorama. Curious.

To the Primary School Show! The Brunton is packed and the kids give us mums, dads, grandparents and carers a great performance of different songs and TV shows from the 60s to today, ending with the school song composed to mark its 50th anniversary.

I’m cheered by the words of Gordon Henderson of the Federation of Small Businesses, writing in one of the local papers. He’s on about cycle tourism and sporting competitions, and how East Lothian has yet to seize these economic opportunities. East Lothian is a great place for both off and on road cycling and it’ll be a great spectacle when the Tour of Britain comes through in September. But we really should be offering the keen cyclist more. The Cycling Scot blog by Colin Baird has some good ideas for how to join up some of our great cycle paths, tourist attractions and railway stations.

I love libraries. If that makes me uncool, so be it. But they’re brilliant! Even better, I’ve discovered I can reserve titles online to collect next time I’m in. On Saturdays I like to read the review sections of the papers and if I spot a new author or piece of non-fiction that sounds good I can look it up online and ask the lovely librarians to put it aside for me. The simple pleasures in life…

To Yellowcraig! This is Wife-features’ favourite beach, and I love the walk through the countryside from Dirleton to get to the coast. As our bus leaves Musselburgh I look out at the fields at Goshen on the way up to Wallyford. There’s a big planning application to carpet this greenbelt land with housing, industrial units and a school, Handy for the buses and the train station, yes, but is building on the last bit of green space between two towns really the only option? There’s a Facebook page run by local campaigners. Worth a look.
The view from Yellowcraig

We get back from Yellowcraig to catch the end of the Junior Cup Final. Commiserations to Musselburgh Athletic but what an amazing result to get to the final. Let’s see if they can go all the way next time.

So, this “City Deal” that East Lothian is part of. Will it make our economy fairer and greener? I have my doubts! Read more about it here. I’ve asked council officials how they intend to measure the success of the deal and what effort will be made so that low carbon investment is a priority, tackling poverty is a priority and that local people get a say in what projects get funding. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one!

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