June 6th, 2016

Monday 30 May

Monday morning and no train trip to London. I'm so happy to be able to spend time in East Lothian during the Whitsun Recess. On Mondays my regular column appears in The National Newspaper.
George Kerevan: Vote Leave and you risk playing into the hands of the right wing.

THIS column is addressed to friends on the left – inside the SNP and outside – who are quietly preparing to vote to leave the EU come June 23.

I will be voting Remain but I am well aware the argument is far from settled among progressives, with not a few planning to vote Leave in the secrecy of the ballot box.

That could be crucial if there is a low turnout.

In Scotland, perhaps due to the absence of any local Brexit campaign of any note, there is a common presumption that Scots will vote Remain in large numbers.

The latest poll shows that, on average since September 2015, Scots support the Remain camp by 65 per cent to 35 per cent. In England, it is a nailbiting 50:50, though most recent polling shows the Remainers ahead of the Brexiteers. For the record, the Welsh are tied, while in Northern Ireland the Brexiteers trail with only 25 per cent support despite DUP backing.

Read the full article here

Tuesday 31 May

Angela and I snatched a few days' holiday this week. It's our 25th wedding anniversary this year, so I took her to Venice, where I had proposed. By great good fortune the Architecture Biennale had just opened: almost a hundred exhibitions from most countries in the world.

Today we visited the Scottish exhibition, Prospect North, one of 19 associated events, and situated in the chapel of an old convent in the via Garibaldi, close to the two major Biennale sites. 

Prospect North explores Scotland and its relationship with its northern neighbours. It explores the relationship between people, culture, places, industries and economies and how ‘peripheral’ communities are re-energising through grassroots actions and local endeavours. Their unique situations and background are revealed through their stories from the past, present and future.

The Scottish Government has done well here, commissioning Lateral North, a group of young architects based in Glasgow, who have produced a thoughtful and good-looking exhibition.

Wednesday 1 June

Back to the Biennale today to see the national exhibitions in the Biennale Gardens. I wasn't impressed by the British Pavilion, which assumed that people don't really need permanent family homes to live in but are footloose workers forever moving and renting tiny rooms. What we really need in the UK is a major public programme to build affordable homes.

The Chinese exhibition was much more interesting, especially the garden outside, which used domestic furniture and utensils as growing points. The courgettes were ripening nicely in this chest of drawers, taking advantage of the Venetian sunshine.

Thursday 2 June

On Thursdays my regular column appears in the East Lothian Courier.

Friday 3 June

Spent travelling home and getting ready for a weekend of children's galas. My favourite time of year.

Saturday 4 June

I was invited to two Galas today - Cockenzie & Port Seton and Wallyford - and managed to fit them both in, with a struggle.

Last year I missed the first part of the Cockenzie and Port Seton Gala, so today I made sure to be on the street to see the parade pass on its way to the War Memorial. The sun shone, the pipe band played, Queen Annaliese and her Escort waved to the crowds, and the fisher girls, big and small, brought back memories of a vanished trade.  
Then down to Cockenzie Harbour to watch the children take to the boats. First the pirate ship came rollicking out, the skull-and-crossbones flying from her mastheads, then the naval boats with their Admiral in command, and finally the Queen's barge. The pirates pursued the Queen fiercely, but the brave Admiral and his fleet won the day, escorting her safely into harbour.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I left the Queen and her court to parade back to the park for her coronation, knowing that her first act would be to pardon the pirates, as I had seen that part of the ceremony last year.

And on to Wallyford, where I had missed the parade - though I walked in it last year - but was in time for the fun in the park. Said hello to eastcoastfm and marvelled at the courage of some people on the rides.

Sunday 5 June

Another fine day, and just perfect for the Tranent Gala. Last year's Queen Deri Jane put off her crown, and Gracious Lady Susan Thomson invested the new Queen, Lucy Donlevy, who was kind enough to give me an audience later, in the Children's Parliament tent. Lucy is one of the artists who is creating a new vision for Tranent, to be unveiled at Ross High School on 24 June.

The Queen has a handsome new throne this year, donated by my good friend Cllr. Kenny McLeod. Here we are enjoying the sunshine in the park together afterwards.
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