Today at Holyrood – Old Edinburgh Club – Tonight at the Usher Hall – Portobello – Reader’s Stories

Law and order is the focus for more than 150 sixth year pupils who have been taking part in the Advanced Higher Modern Studies Conference event today at Holyrood. Included in the programme is an opportunity for Justice Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP to be cross-examined about the role of the Justice Committee in the legislative process.

The Conference, which was chaired by Deputy Presiding Officer Elaine Smith MSP, aims to support students studying Advanced Higher Modern Studies and researching Law and Order themed dissertations.

Deputy Presiding Officer Elaine Smith MSP, who chaired the event, said:

“In the past few years, this event has grown in popularity with students and teachers alike and I look forward to welcoming young people from right across Scotland to the Parliament’s Chamber. This conference is a unique opportunity for school pupils to meet with and question some of Scotland’s key individuals and organisations in the field of law and order.”

Speaking ahead of the event, Ms Grahame said:

“The Justice Committee has supported this event since it began in 2010 as it offers great insight into young people’s thinking around legal matters. I am proud to once again support the Modern Studies students in developing responsible and considered approaches to justice themes. Seeing their views and opinions develop and evolve during the workshops is always interesting.”

Among those joining the Justice Committee Convener in delivering seminars to the students were:

* The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP – talking about the criminal justice system.

* John McTaggart from Modernity Scotland – talking about the Electoral System and the US election.

* Alan Britton from Glasgow University School of Education – talking about the role of Central and Devolved Government.

* Dr Elaine Webster, lecturer at the University of Strathclyde – talking about Scotland’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights.

* Members of the Commission on Women Offenders.

In addition to the key note speakers, the pupils had an opportunity to talk to the Parliament’s team of researchers, and representatives from Scottish Youth Parliament, Young Scot, Scottish Commission for Children and Young People, The UK Parliament Education Service, Young Scot, United Nations Association, Education Scotland and Modernity Scotland.


Old Edinburgh Club, your local history society, was founded in 1908 and is concerned with all aspects of the city’s history and development.

At their last meeting on Wednesday 17 October the first lecture of the winter programme was given by Dr Neil McGillivray who spoke to a full house about “Epidemic Disease in Edinburgh, 1840-1850”.  Lack of clean water, non-existent sanitation, and malnourishment all led to an Edinburgh which was vulnerable to disease. Also property was lost through fires and development, resulting in overcrowding. Fever (Typhus, Relapsing and Typhoid) struck the lice-ridden population – then came the dreaded Cholera. ‘Cures’ such as petroleum, rhubarb and bleeding were totally ineffective. Sanitation and water for all was the cure.

At  7.00 pm on Wednesday 21 November, Geoffrey Bertram, former Manager at the Scottish Gallery and Author will speak about “The Etchings of John Clerk of Eldin”. The venue is Augustine United Church George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.


RSNO play Naked Classics…. The website explains how they are planning to do that:-“Sex, drugs…and symphony orchestras! Maddened with unrequited love, Hector Berlioz imagined the ultimate in musical opium-trips – but the real drug in his astonishing Symphonie fantastique is the sound of a 100-piece orchestra doing things no-one thought possible. Paul Rissmann teams up with the RSNO’s brilliant Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Søndergård and the full RSNO to uncover the stories, the scandals and the fabulous tunes behind classical music’s first great tabloid shocker!” More details here.


The Reporter has heard from Councillor Maureen Child who represents Portobello with a plea for nominations.

For a bit of fun, please nominate somebody who you think deserves to be the “Portobello Person of the Year 2012”. Nominations so far include Andreas “the accordion” Rosinski, Jim Morrison from Dalriada quiz; all the guys at the fishmonger; and Mark Tweedie – tireless chair/organiser of POD. Who else deserves to be nominated? See

I reckon this young man deserves a nomination!

As some of you may know, Steve Wheatly recently persuaded the local community council to ‘adopt’ the decommissioned phone-box at the top of our street, before BT removed it. Many old telephone boxes have been adopted by communities around the UK, but we believe this is the first one in a city. The aim is to strip it, paint it, give it new glass and fix opaque diffuser screens on the inside, with extra fluorescent tubes within, creating a large “light box” to display images by local artists, schoolchildren or other groups.

The old phone box has attracted a lot of comment whilst Steve and others have been working on it and quite a few of the older people remember using it to phone boy/girl-friends! Conversely many kids are surprised by what it was originally used for, in this age of mobile phones. It is a nostalgic addition to the street and part of the local heritage, but rather than just keep it as a relic we would like to turn it into something a bit different and fun. The ‘lightbox’ is just one of many incarnations that the phone box might go through over the years.

There is currently an online fundraising campaign to raise the £1785 necessary to fund the materials and the printing of the initial artwork to be displayed. Please could you contribute, even if only a pound or two, to help us raise the necessary target. And please forward this message – we need to meet the target or we don’t get ANY of the funding.

For more information and impressions of what it will look like see



The Reporter is having a holiday right now but is very grateful to the people who are contributing their stories through our Submit Your Story feature which is proving very popular. Do you have something to say? Then tell us and we will edit it into an article which will be attributed to you. Please only send your own photos with any article however as we cannot use images without proper permission.