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Too busy to blog: or why meeting the First Minister of Scotland meant I was offline

I have no idea what the form is for bloggers in general but I am aware that some of the most successful (ie widely read and influential) political bloggers are successful because their blogs are constantly current. These folk appear to have either hours of spare time every day or are so mentally – and possibly physically - hyperactive that they can toss off the daily blog as quick as a wink and get on with doing whatever else it is that they do.

The reason I haven’t blogged for so long - fun as it is, and it really is - is because I’ve been struggling to come up for air from under the current stormy sea of work in the actual world. Up in Scotland WRVS is experiencing a mini-flood of visits by Scottish politicians to WRVS services or by WRVS to various public events and it all takes organisation, preparation and of course, some performance on the day/night.

In this last fortnight (that is the last half of March) alone, we have seen:

  • The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond MSP, MP, welcome WRVS Chief Executive Lynne Berry – with a supporting cast of Angela Geer, Head of Older People’s Services UK, Margaret Paterson, Head of Older People’s Services Scotland and... er... who else was there, oh yes, me! – to his official residence in Edinburgh, Bute House, to talk about WRVS’ work.
  • A visit to visit our Auchinairn lunch club by the Labour leader in the Scottish Parliament, Iain Gray MSP, plus his Scottish Parliamentary colleague, deputy spokesperson on finance and skills David Whitton MSP (don’t let that junior shadow post fool you; Whitton’s one of Labour’s policy-brains and ex-right hand man to two previous Scottish Parliamentary leaders). Hats off to the patient older people who are members of the club and all credit to the volunteers, particularly Eleanor Swann, and to Local Service Manager Jackie Gallagher and Service Delivery Manager Alison Love (I promised I'd include a thanks on the Blog so there it is!).
  • WRVS talking about the future of older people’s care on BBC Reporting Scotland TV news and BBC Radio Good Morning Scotland, which for those unfamiliar with the UK’s northern nation is much more like being on the 6 o’clock news and Radio 4’s Today than it is being on ‘North West Tonight’. (Scotland isn’t a region after all, he said, waving his Saltire!
  • WRVS at the British Irish Council Ministerial dinner in Edinburgh (that’s representatives of every administration in the British Isles) delivering a speech about volunteering, voluntarism and handing back power to people and communities to better support older people.
  • Our tireless Scottish staff continue to help plan what is now approaching a dozen visits by MSPs to our Scottish services to make sure MSPs understand what WRVS is all about in their constituencies and how much our volunteers matter to the places they live.

And since I last blogged we had a phenomenally successful reception in the Scottish Parliament on 10 February that saw around 50 WRVS volunteers, various WRVS staff, including Lynne Berry, Angela Geer, Margaret Paterson and the Scottish Service Delivery Managers, meet and talk to 45 MSPs (making it one of the most highly attended Parliamentary events I have experienced in my eight years working in this field) and a host of public and third sector luminaries about what WRVS does. I measure success here by the number of people who turned up and the fact that they were buzzing about what they’d learned about WRVS.


So while I love blogging, I am not enough of a desk jockey to be able to do it as much as I’d like. After all, if anyone inside or outside WRVS is going to be interested in what we’re up to, we have to be up to something! But blogs are about opinion as well as fact, so next time I'll try to get worked up about something and let rip, right here, with some entertaining invective!

Posted by Andrew Jackson at 13:37 Thursday, 01 April 2010.

Labels: Alex Salmond, Iain Gray , Scotland, Scottish politics, WRVS