In August 2017 Fife Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Councillor James Calder, raised the issue that Fife Council paid less than the Scottish average for the school uniform grant for children of lower incomes. The proposed budget by the Fife Council Administration would provide an increase of £200,000 for the grant and this has been welcomed by James Calder.

Councillor Calder has said, “Last year I uncovered that Fife paid both below the Scottish average and the £70 recommended by the Scottish Government for the school uniform grant and I subsequently raised this at the Council. I am delighted that the Fife Council Administration has taken heed of this and are proposing in their budget to increase the funding.

“This funding plays an important part of decreasing the cost of the school day for many families with lower incomes. This will be welcomed by many.

“It is my hope that Fife Council will continue to put in measures to help reduce the cost of the school day. I will continue to call for measures to help in this and also for the Council to build on this welcome increase in the school uniform grant. This would ensure that we would be one of the leading local authorities in making school affordable for all.”

James Calder - Lib Dem candidate for Dunfermline North

From Cllr James Calder

As 2018 is getting underway I thought I would discuss how things are going at Fife Council. It will be a busy year and there is plenty to get on with locally.

The start of the year brought my motion to make Single Carriageways in Dunfermline to a maximum speed limit of 30 mph. This was passed with one amendment to bring a report back to the Dunfermline Area Committee, and I am pleased this is now on the agenda. It will have huge beneficial effects on the communities affected.

Schools continue to be a challenge. The catchment situation is a mess and it appears that many children who wish to be in school in Dunfermline are being put in place in Inverkeithing. This needs to be resolved quickly, and I am hoping children will get to go to the school of their choice. I will be working on this in the Education Committee

Alongside this we have the spectre of rising class sizes. Supersized classes of over 30 may be acceptable to the SNP, but not to me. We must do more to help our children’s education. After the Administration have said they will be looking to increase Fife’s lower than average school uniform grant, which I highlighted last year, I will be holding them to account on this. We will see what happens at the budget meeting later in February.

I will also be battling for my local community. We need to see more frontline staff for Dunfermline’s green areas, which have been cut significantly over the past few years. Many of the roads and pavements are also in a poor state and this is becoming a health and safety issue. I will be looking to deal with this.

Finally, I am always happy to discuss issues with people. You can find a list of my Council surgeries on the Fife Council website, along with my contact details. I hope to be a helpful Councillor to my local community primarily.

Cllr Jane Ann Liston reciting a Scottish song


On Friday the 26th, the Dunfermline Liberal Democrats had their annual Burn’s supper in Limekilns, Gellet Hall.

Everyone enjoyed their haggis, neeps, and tatties, after listening to Bryan Little address the haggis. Others took turns reciting Scottish poems and songs as well. After the meal there was a raffle to help raise funds for campaigning. A great time was had by all and haste ye back!



The recent motion proposed by Liberal Democrat Councillor for Dunfermline South James Calder at the City of Dunfermline Area Committee to reduce speed limits on single carriageways to 30 mph passed unanimously earlier this week with one ammendment to bring a report on the implications of this to a future Committee meeting.

Councillor Calder has welcomed this, stating “I am delighted that Councillors have agreed to proceed onwards with this motion and I was happy to accept a sensible ammendment to it. We should hopefully see a report soon with the implications of making single carriageways in Dunfermline a maximum 30 mph speed limits.

“This will have obvious benefits in safety, especially as children have to cross some of these roads for school buses. We should also see environmental benefits and reduce noise pollution for residents who live along these roads. Finally this will show Dunfermline is leading the way in an era where urban areas are putting safety over speed first.”


2017 was far from a predictable year in politics: Theresa May calling a snap election in June and the task of negotiating Brexit not going smoothly to say the least. But in May 2017 Liberal Democrat James Calder was elected as councillor in Dunfermline South.

As 2018 starts we look back at a few of James Calder’s main achievements since becoming councillor in May and what he has done for Dunfermline.

Cllr Calder highlighted the fact that Fife pays significantly less for School Uniform Grants than both the Scottish Average or Scottish Government recommended amount. Since then Fife Council has committed to look into increasing the grant which will hopefully be reflected in the upcoming budget.

He has also been liaising with Amazon on the issue of lorries travelling through residential areas, disrupting residents due to noise pollution. Amazon have subsequently worked with the AA to put in place signs to divert Lorries to Halbeath Junction on the M90.

Cllr Calder arranged for works to help improve John Marshall Community Centre in Pitcorthie such as outside lights to be repaired which should make it safer when dark as well as a replacement carpet inside the centre.

James Calder also organised for the grass to be cut before events such as the South Dunfermline Gala at Pitreavie Primary and the Community Picnic in the Dovecot area. In addition, he has helped to arrange for the garden of the former janitor’s house at Pitreavie Primary (Council owned property) to be tidied up.

He also brought the Department of Transportation’s attention to the condition of poor roads such as Fir Grove and Willow Grove which lead to them being repaired as well as getting drains fixed in places such as Holly Crescent and Heather Grove.

James Calder has already made improvements to the lives of residents in Dunfermline which he will continue to do into the new year. We wish you all happy holidays from the Dunfermline Liberal Democrats.

James Calder

Story from Teresa Little

LibDem Councillor James Calder rescued 92-year-old John Gray when the Council stonewalled him, says his daughter, Teresa Little.

Cuts to council services meant that a mysterious ‘policy’ appeared. This strange policy forbade council officers to sign forms requesting proof of elderly pension recipients’ being still alive. John Gray was set to lose his French pension because the French Authorities would accept no other proof of his existence except that from his Local Authority, Fife Council.

At the last-minute James Calder stepped in, signed the form and obtained the appropriate stamp from officers. No Councillor has ever heard of the mysterious policy. So do officers make policy or should policy come only from elected councillors? James knows! Do you?


Vince Cable protests Trump visit

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has demanded that Theresa May cancels the expected government to government summit with the “evil racist” Donald Trump.

Vince Cable said:

“Many of us warned when Theresa May walked hand in hand with Donald Trump that any relationship with such a racist was bound to end badly.

“But the prime minister, desperate for a trade deal, ignored the advice from across the political spectrum.

“Britain is now paying the price for her bad misjudgement. Theresa May’s extreme Brexit has alienated our European allies and now she has lost her last remaining friend on the world stage, leaving Britain isolated and alone.

“The solution is clear: an exit from Brexit and a divorce from Trump.”


James Calder wants to see the Queensferry Crossing Completed…Once and for all.

News has come through that the Southbound Section of the Queensferry Crossing will be shut for a week starting from the 30th November. Liberal Democrat Councillor for Dunfermline South James Calder has reacted with disappointment at this decision.
Councillor Calder has said, “We experienced considerable delays with the opening of the Queensferry Crossing, and within a few months of it opening half of it is now closed. This is apparently due to the work effectively being unfinished.
“The SNP Government need to answer questions on the continued shambles of the Queensferry Crossing. Already we have seen even worse delays than at the Forth Road Bridge before and increasing congestion. This will make things worse and it feels as though the Scottish Government does not have a handle on the situation.”

By Jo Swinson

Number 10 hinted earlier today that Northern Ireland could stay in the customs union to prevent the return of a hard border, saying the issue would be a matter for the negotiations.

However, Downing Street then backtracked around forty minutes later, saying the government’s policy has not changed and the UK will leave the single market and customs union.

It comes as Theresa May attends a crucial meeting in Brussels with EU Council President Donald Tusk.

Theresa May’s Brexit plans have descended into utter chaos on the same day she’s trying to secure a breakthrough in negotiations with the EU.

The simplest way to solve the issue of the Northern Ireland border would be for the UK to stay in the single market and customs union in the long term.

Ministers must change course and stop recklessly ruling this out as an option

By Russel McPhate

I first joined the then Scottish Liberal Party, as a 17 year old, in 1983 and was active in student politics as well as my Constituency – Glasgow Hillhead. I moved to Shetland in 1987 to complete my Legal training and was active in the local party as well as Shetland Campaign against Douneray Expansion and Shetland’s anti-Poll Tax group – SCRAP. At the end of 1990 I arrived in Dunfermline and attended my first Dunfermline AGM in 1991 at which I was, in the best Liberal tradition, “volunteered”  to join the Committee! During the 90’s I held a number of positions on the Committee including Treasurer and while I was mainly an Agent at election times I had the honour of being the Party’s candidate for the 2001 general Election. After 2002 I took more of a back seat – mainly as my children were born in 2002 and 2004 – but over the last few years I have again been more of an active member and have returned to the Committee.

It has been as difficult, if not more difficult, a few years for Dunfermline Liberal Democrats as it has been for the party nationally. To go from having an MP, an MSP and 6 Councillors across 5 wards at the start of 2010 to having just 1 Councillor and losing our deposit at the 2015 General Election was extremely traumatic for the party and during the hard years it was only a small band of activists – and the prodigious leafletting of Tom and Beryl Leatherland ! – that kept us going. Fortunately, we have benefitted from the Lib Dem Fightback that started in 2015. Our membership has grown and is not too far off where we were in the 90’s. we have a whole new team of activists – including, but not limited to, Wendy Chamberlain, Lauren Jones and Bryn Jones – all of whom have worked very hard and were excellent candidates in the 2017 Council elections. We have a new Councillor, James Calder, who is already marking himself out as one to watch on Fife Council and who is a very able replacement for the excellent and long serving Tony Martin who did so much for Pitcorthie, and for us, over many years.

It has been busy – 2 General Elections, 2 Referendums, a Scottish Parliament election and a full set of Council elections in just under 3 years. There has been no time to draw breath or to take stock. We managed to increase our vote share between the 2015 and 2017 General Elections (unlike the party nationally) and we put up a very creditable fight in the 2017 Council elections. However, what that showed us is that it is not possible to overcome poor poll ratings nationally with a few weeks or months campaigning – no matter how good. We now have a period of a few years before the next Scottish parliament and Council elections and we have the time to grow our membership; engage with our Communities and build our profile. We cannot elect an MP, or even an MSP, without an upturn in the national fortunes but we can contribute to that upturn and improve our position and we absolutely can get more Liberal democrat Councillors elected by using that time wisely.

During the 90’s and into the naughties a similarly placed Dunfermline local party managed to pull itself up from 4th place in the Constituency to 2nd and into a position where Willie Rennie could win his famous By-election victory. We increased our membership and we also managed to increase our number of Councillors. We have the people and the energy to do it again and I look forward playing my part in that process.