I SEE that Glasgow, as part of its drive to become one of the UK's 'Smart Cities', has signed a deal to place Ordnance Survey maps on its new open data portal.

Last year, the city was given a grant of £24m from UK Government to become smarter.

The new information will enable us to identify the precise location of cycle tracks and gritting bins.

Quite what value this will add, I cannot see, but it looks like a facility that few, if any, will use.

Glasgow's Leader, Gordon Matheson, has described the new deal as a "another coup for Glasgow."

Given that the data will also provide information on refuse and recycling centres, it may be wise to check with Glasgow's leader exactly how he is pronouncing "coup."


I WAS surprised this week, to learn that some one million Scots voters are unlikely to cast any vote in the forthcoming Independence Referendum.

According to the latest figures, 25% of the Scottish electorate, eligible to vote, regularly do not. I find that an astonishing number.

The Yes campaign this week urged these people not to miss out on a "once in a lifetime opportunity"to help decide Scotland's future.

They launched their appeal on National Voter Registration Day (NVRD ), new one on me.

I would venture that many of these potential voters have become disenfranchised with a political system that offers few real alternatives and occupies the middle ground.

With most parties in that middle ground, voters see little distinction and aren't motivated to cast their vote, believing that, in either case, the outcome will be the same.

In recent weeks, I have reflected upon the extent to which both the Yes and No campaigns have graduated towards the middle ground.

The result is that the 'Independence Light' option being offered by the Yes campaign, and the 'Devolution Max' of the Better Together campaign are beginning to look and feel rather similar.

If we are to incentivise those disenfranchised Scots voters, the level of the debate needs to rise and real alternatives emerge.

If not, then the perception of many might be that the referendum is more important to those politicians hoping to make a living from it, than to those for whom making a living, has more to do with hope than politics.


ALL of us should welcome the decision of our Parliament, by 105 votes to 18, to recognise same sex marriage, via the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.

We are all equal in our society and that fact needs to be reflected in our law.

The history of our people has been one of struggle - struggle against racism, sexism and prejudice, an upward struggle to real equality.

I see that Northern Ireland now remains the only part of the UK that has failed to recognise this basic right of equality.

It is no coincidence that it is also the only part of the UK where its lawmakers have not yet evolved to understand the need to separate religion from politics.

Thankfully, we do not have much of that in our country.

It will be important to those who hold a more traditional view of marriage that their rights and opinions are protected, and that appropriate safeguards are provided for religious bodies.

Yet equality should be held as important to us as our liberty, for without either we are never truly free.

I would also wish to reach out to those 18 MSPs who decided to oppose the Bill and ask them to reflect upon, what kind of contribution they feel, a less equal society would have made, to Scotland's future.


I SEE that the imperious George Galloway has been grabbing headlines on his "Just Say Naw" speaking tour. The Respect MP for Bradford West, formerly Labour MP for Glasgow Hillhead/Kelvin, is attempting to persuade Scots to vote No in this year's Independence Referendum.

As always however, there remains a twist in this Galloway tale. George has conceded, that in the event of Scotland choosing independence, he would like to become Scotland's Prime Minister.

Other politicians would be described as being confused in relation to holding such disparate views. George, however, is characterised as colourful.

His views have sparked protests from both sides of the referendum debate, and the Yes and No campaigns will be keen to keep their distance.

Galloway, however, remains something of a triumph, a triumph of political ambition over ability.

I find him less controversial, colourful and charismatic, than self-centred, self-publicising and self-important.

Perhaps if we just ignore him, he'll go away...in the meantime, my advice in relation to George Galloway's views is...

Just Say Naw.