bookmark_borderDougie’s funeral

Cowglen Golf Club
Originally uploaded by viralbus

The funeral of my father-in-law, Dougie, took place today.

The ceremony was held at Linn Crematorium at noon and was conducted in a very nice and personal manner by a lady from the Humanist Society Scotland, just the way Dougie would have wanted it. He was always very insistent he didn’t want “any of that religious shite” at his funeral. 🙂

Afterwards we went for refreshments at Cowglen Golf Club, where Dougie spent a very large part of his retirement, and the club had therefore put the flag at half mast in his honour.

There were lots of people at both events, as was fitting for a man as popular as Dougie.

In spite of the horrendous weather, I think the day was a beautiful tribute to the man and his life.

bookmark_borderDouglas Buchanan 1943-2012

Dad with Anna and Amaia
Originally uploaded by PhylB

My father-in-law, Douglas (Dougie) Buchanan, passed away in the afternoon last Friday, the 11th of May.

He had been diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago and told he only had a few months to live, so making it past his 69th birthday was quite an achievement!

Even so, we didn’t expect his death so soon. He was out playing golf less than two months ago, and the scans were good, so we had hoped he might have stayed around a little longer.

In the end, it was a stomach ulcer combined with a chest infection that proved too big an obstacle for Dougie, and he spent the last few weeks in Hairmyres Hospital (where parts of Ninety Eighty-Four was written).

I’ll miss him. Apart from being a loving grandfather (“Pumpa”) to my children, he was a fellow blogger, and like me, he was passionately in favour of Scottish Independence, proudly wearing the “Independence 2014” wristband I gave him until he went into hospital. One of the last things he said was that something needed to be done about BBC’s bias. I wish he had managed to hang on until the Independence referendum — he would have been so keen to go and vote Yes!

He was always very helpful — we have put down a good number of laminate floors together, and he and Ann (his wife and my mother-in-law) wallpapered many of our rooms. He was also very good company and a great host.

He will be sorely missed by all of us.

bookmark_borderBBC’s bias

Originally uploaded by baaker2009

The SNP did really well in Thursday’s local elections, gaining 61 extra councillors (compared to 46 extra for Labour), with these gains mainly coming from the Tories and the Liberal Democrats.

East Renfrewshire is actually quite typical in this regard: Labour 8 (+1), SNP 4 (+1), Tories 6 (-1), LibDems 0 (-1), Independents 2 (n/c).

However, if you’ve been watching the BBC, you’d think the SNP actually had a bad election. To achieve this negative image, they’ve had to doctor the figures, so instead of comparing the number of seats with the last election — as is the norm for reporting elections — they’ve decided to to compare the number of seats with the status quo ante bellum, which helps Labour immensely because they were hit by numerous defections of councillors to the SNP over the past few years.

According to the BBC, Labour therefore gained 58 seats compared to 57 seats to the SNP, and they then turn this into a story about Labour doing significantly better than the SNP. Of course they also conveniently focus more on these figures than on the absolute numbers, which are 424 SNP councillors compared to 394 Labour ones.

To reinforce their version of events, the BBC have been focusing strongly on Glasgow (where the SNP admittedly were too ambitious and thus didn’t gain quite as many seats as hoped, increasing their number of councillors “only” from 22 to 27), and been ignoring the parts of the country where the SNP had an excellent election, such as Dundee, which now has an absolute SNP majority.

The BBC’s biased reporting is not just affecting the SNP, but also the other pro-independence party, the Scottish Greens. They increased their number of councillors from 8 to 14, but this has been more or less ignored by the BBC.

This anti-independence bias has to stop now! The BBC are supposed to be impartial, and surely that should apply in Scotland as well as in England.

bookmark_borderMultilingual Wordfeud

I’ve always enjoyed a game of Scrabble every now and then, but I must say it’s much more enjoyable on a smartphone than in real life. 🙂

To be honest, it’s not official Scrabble that I’m playing, but Wordfeud; however, for all practical purposes it’s the same.

In particular I like to play simultaneously in several languages. I’m struggling a bit with Norwegian (because it doesn’t do Nynorsk, which is the variety I know), but I’ve played very enjoyable games in Swedish, Dutch and Spanish, apart from the obvious Danish and English.

PS: If you’ve got an HTC ChaCha, too, did you realise you can take a screenshot by holding down the red button and pressing Home?

bookmark_borderWhat to vote in East Renfrewshire tomorrow

Tomorrow (Thursday the 3rd of May 2012) there will be local elections in all council areas of Scotland.

For the second time, it will be held using the Single Transferable Vote, which basically means we’re being asked to rank the candidates.

In East Renfrewshire, last time the result was Labour 7, Tory 7, SNP 3, LD 1 and Independents 2, and the council is currently being controlled by a everybody-but-the-Tories coalition.

I live in Ward 1 (“Neilston, Uplawmoor and Newton Mearns North”), which last time voted Tory 2, Labour 1, SNP 1 — see the graph on the left, which to some extent is based on this posting by Lallands Peat Worrier. The coloured lines show the votes for each candidate; when they crash into the floor, it’s because the candidate was eliminated, and when they go up, it’s because of votes transferred from other candidates.

The SNP is much stronger nationally now than five years ago, so the decision has been made to put forward two candidates in this ward, Cllr Tony Buchanan and Frank Rankin, who I know well from SNP branch meetings and who I’m happy to endorse.

Because of the electoral system, it’s very important to use all your priorities if you want to maximise your influence — even if you’re first priority gets elected in the first round, parts of your vote can still get transferred to other candidates if the elected candidate got more votes than necessary (see also James’s advice on Better Nation).

I’ll definite give my first and second priorities to the two SNP candidates in my ward!