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Has a Cllr 'handed a golden ticket to terrorists' by posting pictures of his security pass on Facebook? Print E-mail

Councillor Vincent Waters has posted a picture of his security pass which will be used to gain entry to the 2014 SNP conference in Perth on his Facebook.

Cllr Waters

Akin to recent coverage concerning high-profile Olympic athletes sparking potential terror alerts by posting pictures of their official Olympic Village passes on Twitter, the photograph shows the Councillors membership number and his branch code.

During the Olympic's several competitors caused security headaches by tweeting high resolution images of their Locog accreditation, just days before the opening ceremony.

Their tweeting of high security passes raised fears that the barcodes - which do not feature infra-red or microchip technology - could be duplicated by fraudsters.

East Renfrewshire SNP Councillor Vincent Waters uploaded a full size version of his accreditation next to a comment which said "Even more excited than usual to get these in post this year"

Conference Pass

But visible in the picture was his full membership number alongside his branch details.

It is thought that any fraudster sophisticated enough to copy a photo of the pass could gain access to the entire venue which is being held at Perth Concert Hall on the 14-15 November 2014.

Threat management firm IPC even believed the carelessly tweeted photos could be a 'golden ticket' into Olympic venues for terrorists and that access to venues could be gained by duplicating the official Locog lanyards from Twitter.

Perth Concert Hall · SNP Annual National Conference 2014

What cost the referendum ? Print E-mail

The latest estimated cost of holding the Scottish independence referendum stands at £13.3m, a rise of about £3m on previous figures.

An impact assessment report to the Scottish Parliament said running the referendum itself would account for £8.6m of the total sum.

Another £4.7m will be spent on regulation and campaign mailshots.

Scotland’s voters went to the polls on 18 September, an impact assessment report to the Scottish Parliament said running the referendum itself would account for £8.6m of the total sum. Another £4.7m will be spent on regulation and campaign mailshots.

The last time the costs of the referendum were looked at was in the Scottish government’s consultation paper Your Scotland – Your Referendum, published at the beginning of last year.

On page eight of the report it said the total cost of the referendum “is likely to be around £10m, the bulk of which will be spent on running the poll and the count”.

The business and regulatory impact assessment report, signed off by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and lodged at Holyrood on 21 March, said the costs associated with the referendum could be separated into four broad categories.

They are:

• Costs of running the referendum incurred by chief counting officers, local counting officers and electoral registration officers

• Costs of funding the Electoral Commission for overseeing and regulating referendum campaigns and reporting on the conduct of the referendum

• Publicity costs incurred by the Electoral Commission in the fulfilment of its duty to provide information to the electorate on how to cast their vote

• The costs of allowing each of the main campaign organisations – Yes Scotland and Better Together – a free mailshot to every elector or household in Scotland.

East Renfrewshire Council was capable of recovering a maximum of £159,276 from the Scottish Government in order to cover administration and payments to staff.

Freedom of Information requests to East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire (NAC) and South Lanarkshire (SLC) councils were made to make comparisons.

Counting Officers are not subject to FOI legislation and Lorraine McMillan the Chief Executive of ERC refused to reveal how much she was paid for undertaking the role, however NAC had no problem revealing that their Counting Officer was paid the sum of £5,283 for the evenings work.

Lorraine McMillan ERC

ERC employed 45 members of staff at the counting centre and once again Lorraine McMillan was not prepared to share how much she paid these staff, however once again NAC was prepared to do so.

Caroline Inness, Deputy Chief Executive of ERC  was given the post of Count Supervisor, as were Jim Sneddon, Head of Democratic Services and Gerry Mahon, Chief Solicitor to the council.

Their equivalents in SLC were paid £250 gross each, for their roles on the night of the count.

ERC provided their staff with a days paid leave on Friday 19th September 2014.

A spokesperson for ERC said “The Council has a long standing arrangement that they are given the following day off in view of the fact they have been working overnight. Not all staff took up this entitlement.”

Yet none of the other two councils provided staff with paid leave on the Friday.

During the day, polling stations reported unprecedented turnout across the area.

There were queues to vote when many of the polling stations opened at 7am, members of both groups happily chatted away with no hint of the anger that had marred some of the campaign in the closing weeks.

However, advertising company JCDecaux had to call in engineers to remove a pro-Yes structure that had appeared on top of advertising billboards at Clarkston Toll.

Vandalised Billboard

Two Clarkston Community Councillors were observed actively campaigning within the Clarkston area, also outside the polling station and inside at the subsequent count on behalf of the Yes campaign (Known as yessers to activists)

The Community Councillors code of conduct states: You are free to have political and/or religious affiliations; however you must ensure that you represent the interests of your community and Community Council and not the interests of a particular political party or other group.

Given that Ccllrs are meant to be available and responsive to the community at all times, we would have to ask if these activities are in keeping with the CC code of conduct.

To have your own opinions as an individual is right and proper, however to take these onto the streets of the area which you are there to represent as an impartial person may be construed by some as incompatible with the role and function of a Ccllr.

Clarkston Community Council were approached for comment and their spokesperson said ” Clarkston Community Council is not responsible for the activities of any member acting in a private capacity on matters not affected by the affairs of the Community Council. The Scheme of Establishment for Community Councils clearly states that “you are free to have political and or religious affiliations; however you must ensure that you represent the interests of your community and Community Council and not the interests of a particular political party or other group.”

“As a Community Council we always conduct our business and activities from an apolitical stance in full adherence to the Scheme. Clarkston Community Council responds to Newsdesk to reaffirm and reassure our residents and the public of our apolitical status.”

Both Community Councillors were provided with the opportunity to respond, however both failed to do so.

Surprisingly immediately after they were provided with the opportunity to comment Councillor Vincent Waters, the campaign manager for Yes East Renfrewshire Tweeted the following.

Cllr Waters is no stranger to controversy, and he has consistently refused to comment to certain news outlets.

Cllr Waters

However it is interesting that Cllr Waters should mention North Korea, it has been noted from the Clarkston Community Council minutes of October 2014 that two Cllrs were allegedly attempting t0 prevent a democratically formed CC from responding to a fully credited member of the press.

The CC minutes state: Response to Mr T Taylor, Newsdesk

The Chair referred to the communication from Mr Taylor of the 19th September 2014 that the office bearers agreed should be circulated to all members of the CC prior to any response and stressed that we are here for the community and we are duty bound to respond to such a communication.

Kirsten Oswald and Vincent McKechnie both felt that there should be no response to Mr Taylor. EK (Chair) stated that we have a duty to respond to members of the public and have always done so. VMcK questioned this and stated that we should ignore Mr Taylor and not embroil ourselves in meaningless distraction, VMcK referred to an email that he had marked confidential and previously sent to restricted members of CCC stating that we should ignore the Newsdesk communication. KO said that she had no issue with what we were saying but would be happier if the response was a lot briefer. It was pointed out that the response could not be made any briefer as it was already very short… (Full details of the minutes can be read at      )

It may appear that an unknown cost of the referendum has been the exposure of a few who claim to represent the people who are actually keen to silence any reporter prepared to speak the truth and they don’t like them and see them as a threat, it would appear that there are a few within the SNP ranks at East Renfrewshire who are not keen on freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Yes Cllr Waters please keep making the analogy with North Korea, we would have to suggest that this may ring bells with the public of East Renfrewshire when they think of you.

Parking misery continues in Clarkston. Print E-mail

A council review in relation to parking regulations, which has taken 18 months to complete and resulted in a final scheme being proposed by the council will come into force on 13th November 2014.

However Newsline has learnt that the council did not factor in disabled parking within the proposed final traffic order despite this being flagged up as a necessity.

Clarkston Community Council (CCC) submitted their response to the review in April 2014 and one item specifically related to disabled parking facilities.

CCC response

Clarkston Main Street - There is no provision for disabled parking spaces in the high street on the proposals and we would suggest disabled spaces at strategic points e.g. outside the chemist and as near as possible to the post office. The only disabled spaces at present are at Clarkston Hall Car Park, which is too far to walk for some disabled people and at Clarkston Clinic which will go once the new Health Centre opens.

A Spokesperson for Clarkston Community Council told Newsline “Our response highlighted concerns over the lack of disabled parking spaces in our main street.”

Yet in the order due to be invoked in 12 days time, there is no provision for disabled parking on the Main Street.

If you have disabilities there will be no special provisions provided by the council for you to access the shops or other facilities on Main Street, Clarkston.

Councillor caught parking in disabled zone Print E-mail

Cllr Vincent Waters has been engulfed in a PR disaster after his car was caught parked in a disabled parking zone.

The Vauxhall Zafira parked in a disabled drop off zone at Council Headquarters, in Giffnock.


Cllr Vincent Waters

A COUNCILLOR whose car was pictured parked in a disabled drop off zone has refused to comment or apologise.

Cllr Vincent Waters, the convenor for the environment of East Renfrewshire Council, was snapped by a member of the public parking his Vauxhall Zafira in a disabled drop off zone at Council Headquarters, in Giffnock.

Despite not displaying a blue badge, Cllr Waters, SNP member for Giffnock and Thornliebank, parked in the spot closest to the Headquarters main entrance.

The photo was taken on Wednesday 24th September 2014 when the Cllr parked at 6.30 pm and the vehicle remained in that spot until 7.45pm whilst he was at a meeting.

Cllr Waters has been criticised for his “inconsiderate actions” by fellow East Renfrewshire councillors.

Conservative shadow Environment spokesman, councillor Stewart Miller said, “I was shocked when I saw one of the Councillors responsible for the parking restrictions just dump his car in a disabled zone. He has, quite obviously, no regard for others, no regard for disabled people which, given all the work his partner has done over the years with disabled folk, is quite shameful, and he has absolutely no regard for all the businesses and their customers who have been ticketed over the past eighteen months.

And to make matters worse, the council meeting was about to discuss the Clarkston and Busby area (waiting and loading) order therefore it would appear he just doesn't care about his own remit with the Council. It would appear he is just happy to take the money.

And given her knowledge in working with the disabled, I'm very surprised his partner didn't correct him.

It looks like they are both too lazy to park in the Councillors car park and walk the few extra metres to the office 

I hope, when they see this,  they both hold their heads in shame”

A resident who is disabled and holds a blue badge told Newsline “I feel that when an able-bodied people parks in a disabled bay it is a sign of someone who lacks compassion and has a huge sense of entitlement.”


Sign displayed at the front of Council Headquarters, Giffnock.

The Blue Badge scheme is for disabled motorists whose condition affects their ability to walk.

The sign above is prominently displayed on a post at this drop off zone which is designed to permit people with disabilities to access the nearby ramp to the council building.

At the time Cllr Waters parked his car there were numerous spaces within the general car park and also many spaces within the dedicated councillors car park which is adjacent to the front door of the building.

Not only is there surprise that the convenor with responsibility for enforcing parking regulations in East Renfrewshire parked his vehicle in this area, but that his passenger condoned this.

Cllr Waters passenger who alighted from the vehicle when he parked it was his partner Lisa Patton. Ms Patton is the treasurer of East Renfrewshire Disability Action and a prominent member of a number of other disability groups and is currently employed as a community living worker, she is able bodied.

Disability Action aim to achieve equality for disabled people and have recently campaigned in relation to the Blue Badge scheme in East Renfrewshire.

Ms Patton has also refused to respond to requests for comment.

Cllr Waters and his partner Ms Patton

Cllr Waters and Ms Patton left together at 7.45 pm, presumably driving to their home in Thornliebank which is located ½ mile from council headquarters.

Perhaps we should take a leaf out of some French no parking signs which state:

Take my space, take my disability.










Mystery surrounds Eastwood Pool closure Print E-mail

The council web site currently is displaying a message that “The pools at Eastwood Park Leisure have closed for essential work.”

The web site goes on to say “Repairs are to take place at both the main pool and the small pools to solve ongoing technical issues.”

However the public in numbers have been asking questions and getting no proper answers.

On the council facebook page one contributor, Graeme Turner asked “But yet again, you will not tell the Public, who Pay to use your Pools what the problem actually is, just continually state "Technical Problems"

East Renfrewshire Council responded “Graeme, routine tests of water quality have given readings that are higher than normal, There is no risk to health from using the pools but the readings are over the limit allowed for public swimming.” “We are working with water industry experts to find out why this is happening and to come up with a permanent solution.”

Another contributor Philip Wilson said “I am grateful for Mr Turner eliciting a reply from ERC but I think it is less than complete as I would expect to be told what causes readings to rise and what long term steps need to be taken to produce the kind of product the public has paid for. Indeed a "need to know" apology is not good enough. It is the ratepayers pool not ERC's”

Other contributors are looking for refunds for fees already paid. Alison Coyle said “This really isn't good enough. I want refund on my swimming lessons that have been missed and not a discount from the next block because at this rate we won't be staying for another block - the kids need consistency when learning to swim and you don't appear to be able to give this.” and Jaclyn Andrews said “I am waiting on a refund for cancelled lessons during the summer. I was told a cheque would be in the post a few weeks ago.”

This would appear to have been an ongoing problem since at least 27th June 2014.

The Eastwood Park Leisure web site on 27th June said “Please note our pools are closed at present but will re-open again on Sunday we apologise for the disruption.”

However every week since then there would appear to be updates that it would open, then these were rescinded and further opening dates announced only to be rescinded once again.

Between September and October 2003, 50 suspected cases of cryptosporidiosis linked to the Eastwood Pool were reported to the Public Health Protection Unit.

East Renfrewshire Council, which owns and manages the pool, closed the pool following the rise in the number of cases and an outbreak control team (OCT), led by the then Greater Glasgow NHS Board, was convened to investigate the cause of the infection. East Renfrewshire Council addressed the actions required immediately at the time of the outbreak and the pool was reopened.

The pool was closed for three months and £30,000 spent on refurbishment.

NEWSLINE has requested information from the Head of Communication of East Renfrewshire Council, Louisa Mahon and we await a reply. We have also provided the convenor Mary Montague with the opportunity to comment.

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