Willie Rennie and Bryn Jones are campaigning for better education

The SNP have come under fire as Scotland’s schools have recorded their worst ever performance in an international survey of pupils.

Scotland’s scores for maths, reading and science have all declined in the latest PISA figures. Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said, “After 10 years of SNP rule, we are not even as good as England anymore.”

The Liberal Democrats propose a ‘Penny for Education’ to support a Pupil Premium, an expansion in nursery education, reversal of college cuts and stopping school cuts.

Mr Rennie said: “Liberal Democrats have an ambitious plan to get Scotland back on track by making the biggest investment in education since devolution.”

Prospective Council Candidate Bryn Jones brings the campaign to Dunfermline North. Bryn says, “Scottish parents expect world leading schools. As a father and a council candidate, it is my ambition to see Scotland rise up the rankings and be the best in the world.”

Dunfermline South bad state streets

James Calder observing the bad state of the streets of the Dunfermline South ward

Dunfermline South’s prospective candidate, James Calder has hit out at the lack of action by Fife Council in dealing with uneven pavement and road surfaces. Much of Dunfermline, including in the Dunfermline South ward, has significant problems in this regard.

Mr Calder stated, “I have lost count of the number of times that I have tripped up over damaged pavements in Dunfermline, and there are areas where this presents a serious risk. However this presents an even greater danger to the elderly and disabled. Recently I have had close family in a wheelchair, and this opened my eyes into how bad the situation is in some areas.

Councillor Tony Martin has made great progress in pushing Fife Council towards improving road surfaces, included in some parts of Pitcorthie. However Fife Council need to do more to ensure these are safe for the public, and I will continue to push for this to be resolved.

Bryn will champion Mental Health

One in four Scots will suffer from a mental health issue in their lifetime.

Bryn Jones writes: “Key targets in Fife are being missed: at least 90% of Psychological Therapy patients are meant to start treatment within 18 weeks of referral, but in Fife only 71% get seen that quickly, compared with 97% in the Highlands. It’s just not acceptable that those with mental health problems in Fife are having to wait longer than elsewhere.”

“My priority as a council candidate is to fight for better services.”

The time for action is now.

Scottish Liberal Democrats are committed to improving mental health. We want to double the funding for Child and Adolescent Mental Health services. And we want an expansion in mental health provision within primary care.

Mental health services have been neglected for too long. The time for action is now.

The Reporters from the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environment Appeals Division (DPEA) agreed with local residents that Middlebank should not be included in housing allocation land.

James Calder and Cllr. Tony Martin

Dunfermline South’s prospective candidate James Calder and current Cllr. Tony Martin

Liberal Democrat’s Councillor Tony Martin had supported the campaign and was naturally delighted at the decision of the DPEA’s Reporters.

Mr Martin said, “This is an excellent result for residents not only living in Middlebank Holdings whose lives would have been enormously affected by this but also for the wider community in Dunfermline South.

I always felt that local residents in Middlebank Holdings deserved to keep their community in a rural setting. Moreover, local schools such as Pitreavie Primary School would have faced severe capacity issues and we would have seen it have effects on roads locally.

James Calder, prospective candidate for the Dunfermline South ward,  added, “This is a great result for ensuring that the views of people locally are taken seriously. It was clear that this development was completely inappropriate, would have led to dreadful changes to people’s lives and would have further overstretched our local public services.

Woodmill High School

James Calder will make sure that schools such as Woodmill High School are not overcrowded for a better education.

Over the next few years projected figures have shown that Woodmill High School will be operating considerably over-capacity, as Dunfermline faces a schools crisis. Over the next decade it will find itself under current trends with 500 more pupils than it is currently designed for.

James Calder has commented, “The Fife Council administration has been sitting on their hands too long when it comes to schools in Dunfermline. We are facing the prospect of severe overcrowding in our schools and this will badly affect our children’s education.

We need to see action now from Fife Council to make sure Woodmill High School is not overcrowded. This would be helped if the SNP Government matched the Scottish Liberal Democrat commitment to increase our funding of education to the tune of £500 million a year which they have so far refused to do.

Before and After

Liberal Democrat Bryn Jones has been hard at work getting potholes filled and graffiti cleared up in Dunfermline North.

Bryn said, “Potholes are a nuisance to pedestrians alike. On pavements especially they caused huge problems for people with mobility issues.”

One Dunfermline North resident had trouble walking on Townhill Road due to a large pothole on the pavement, as she was using crutches following surgery. She reported this to Bryn who chased the council to get the hole filled. You can contact Bryn to report your own issues by emailing him at BrynRichardJones@gmail.com

Willie Rennie

After the Prime Minister’s recent speech, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has reiterated his concerns over the Tory plans to force through an unwanted hard Brexit.

Mr Rennie has said, “The Prime Minister’s speech has confirmed that the Conservatives are hell bent on a hard Brexit regardless of what the impact will be on millions of people through higher prices and greater instability.

“Withdrawing from the Single Market and the Customs Union is not in our country’s interest nor was it what people voted for on the 23rd June. The Tories are turning Brexit into a democratic stitch up and this afternoon’s speech shows how vital it is that the public be given a say in a Brexit Deal Referendum.

“The Liberal Democrats stand for Scotland in the UK and the UK in Europe.”

By Tony Martin

Jim Burke, former Lib Dem Councillor for Dunfermline North and local Party Convenor, sadly passed away after a battle with Cancer. Jim made his mark on many of us involved with the Dunfermline Liberal Democrats, and below is part of Jim’s Eulogy by Tony Martin.

I met Jim in 1994. A colleague of mine knocked on Jim’s door canvassing in the Fife Regional Council elections and asked if Jim would vote for me. Not only will I vote for him he said, but I want to join the Party. My friend told him I would be in touch. Two weeks later at the polling station Jim approached me and said “I thought you were going to visit and sign me up.” Well I had been busy knocking on doors. I wasn’t confident of winning. “If you had come round I would have helped,” he said. Two weeks later when I did knock on his door, he said, “Where have you been? I suppose you better come in.”

Since that day we have been friends. At the Local Party AGM later that year Jim joined the Executive Committee and year later he was Chair of the local party. Jim was a man of extraordinary ability. He showed it in everything he did. It was not lost on the Liberal Democrats and for 20 years he played an important part in the success of our local Party. Working hard in every election. Helping Willie Rennie and Jim Tolson to be elected to Parliaments. Knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, putting up boards. He was Chair of the party several times over the years, as well as Treasurer and Secretary. He was attended every social event. He loved to read Burns at our Burns evenings. A master of the barbecue every year, his barbecued pineapple was legendary. At every meeting held in his house, Jim baked a cake – an excellent cake! Attendance was always good, not perhaps because of enthusiasm for what was on the agenda, but as a recognition of excellent baking.

He was also a powerful support when things were going badly. Never wavering in his belief in the Liberal cause. Never giving up. Another of his admirably qualities.

When Jim joined the coal board it was on the same day as Jim Whyte, someone who remained a friend ( indeed he was Jim’s best man) for the rest of Jim’s life. When we were an hospital during Jim’s final days, Jim Whyte said to me, “Jim was quickly recognised at being very clever and really good at the job. He was quickly marked out for further training and promotion. After he came back to the pits from the merchant navy he was quickly promoted to a manager.”

In the Merchant Navy, Jim was a very young Electrical Engineering Officer. The ship he served on was one of several built during the war to run freight, mostly fruit and vegetables, from South Africa to Britain quickly, outrunning U-Boats and German destroyers. The ship was light, fast, cheaply built, poorly constructed and very unstable. However they were still in use in the 1960s when Jim joined up.

One night in the Atlantic they hit a very strong storm. The ship was tossed and turned. The power line to the engine room was lost. The captain told Jim he would have to run a new cable from the bridge to Engine Room. Jim had to lash himself to the railings and with a seaman faced driving winds and rain until, after several hours, they made good the connection. There was a deck cargo of fruit on board. A young officer went out to inspect the cargo and came back shouting above the wind. “Captain I think the cargo is going to break loose. What shall I do?” “Well I would get out of the bloody way son if I were you,” replied the captain. Although he didn’t say bloody, I asked Jim what happened. Nothing, he said. The Officer was panicking. “So you saved the ship Jim”, I said. “No” he said, “the Captain saved the ship. I just did what I was told.” I think Jim was being modest.

When Jim was at the carpet factory he didn’t really like it. He thought the senior electrician was incompetent. The factory was being equipped with new machinery and this meant increasing the electrical capacity. The two other electricians, both older than Jim, didn’t now how to do the drawings and manage the project. Jim was asked if he could do it. “Yes”, he said, “but I want a rise.” “We can’t do that,” was the response, “you are the junior.” “Well that fine,” said Jim. Next day he applied to rejoin the coal board.

In 2007, after a very successful career Jim stood as a candidate for the Council. He was elected and proved an excellent Councillor. Working hard for his constituents, playing an important role in our group and being well respected across the political divide. Jim chaired the Appeals Panel and the Planning Appeals Committee. He was Vice-Chair of the Regulation Committee. He soon gained a reputation for thoughtfully coming to fair and well considered decisions.

Jim enjoyed helping his constituents and solving their problems. He had carried out a significant amount of work for an elderly gentleman. Sitting at home he received a call form the hospital.
“We have a patient here who needs a heart bypass. He won’t sign the consent form unless Councillor Burke says its OK. Would you speak to him. He is really not well.” “You silly old fool,” said Jim, “sign the form!” Jim visited him in hospital and often when he returned home.

Although not a demonstrative man Jim was a very kind person.

When a colleague Cllr Dave Herbert was very ill, coming to the end of his time and not finding that easy, Jim visited him frequently – taking him out for walks, going out for coffee and importantly talking to him. Dave’s stroke was making him frustrated in not being able to communicate as he wanted. Jim was patient, kind and there for Dave right up until the end.

Jim was a keen traveler. With Norma he loved to go to Lake Garda, “a paradise on earth” he said. He also liked river cruises on the European rivers. Always enthusiastic when he returned. Telling you about it and wanting you to share his pleasure

Jim faced up to his health issues in a very stoic way. His failing eyesight meant had to stop driving. That didn’t stop him doing things, for himself, the party and his family and friends. He got on with it. Without complaining. Still making an effort. An example to us all.

When he was diagnosed as terminally ill, he was so strong it was truly amazing. His concern was not for himself but for Norma and his daughters Alison and Lesley. He told me the bad news in late April last year, but didn’t tell his daughters until after Alison’s wedding so as not to spoil it for her. He so enjoyed the wedding, showing me all the photos. He daughters happiness and Norma’s comfort was his main concern during his final illness.

When I asked how Norma, Alison and Lesley were coping, he said “Their fine. They have been supporting me at all the difficult times. Do you know Tony that I have the best daughters in the world?” “No you haven’t,” I said, referring to mine. “Ok,” he said, “but you have to admit mine have the better Father!”

When I told a mutual friend of ours, Teresa Little, that Jim’s illness was terminal, being a committed Catholic and believing in the power of prayer, Teresa’s immediate reaction was to say she would pray for him. The next week I visited Jim and told him of how friends had reacted to the bad news. I said to him, “Teresa said she will pray for you. However I told her you are an atheist therefore it may be against your principles.” The conversation moved on but later Jim said to me “Tony I wish you hadn’t done that.” “What?” I replied. “When you told Teresa not to pray for me. After all God doesn’t know I am an atheist does he?” He was laughing at me.

We’ve seen a rise in vandalism in Dunfermline, with incidents including parked cars being damaged overnight.

Both Lauren and Bryn Jones have been leading the Dunfermline Liberal Democrat campaign against the nuisance of vandalism.

Launching the campaign in Dunfermline Central, Lauren said: “Not only does mindless vandalism cost us all money, it makes our town a less cheery place to live.”

The Dunfermline Lib Dems are encouraging concerned citizens to report suspicious activity to the police on 101, and to report any graffiti to the council.”

The Dunfermline #INTogether campaign team

The Dunfermline #INTogether campaign team

Today is the day of the EU Referendum, and after many weeks of campaigning one thing is clear- almost all experts, whether they are economists, scientists, civil servants or prominent business leaders agree we are stronger staying in the EU.

Here are some great reasons to vote remain:

1-A stronger economy: By accessing the Single Market British businesses are able to trade freely and sell their goods around the EU

2-Safer Streets: We can work together with other EU countries to make sure cross border crime is dealt with and criminal suspects extradited

3-Lower Prices- our trade with EU countries makes sure we get the best prices

4-Investment in Fife- the EU has invested in jobs in Fife

Today for a stronger Britain vote Remain