Firstly, may I offer my thanks to Sheila Thomson and the Conference Committee for asking me as a new party member to speak and introduce Willie to you to deliver his leader’s speech.
My name is Wendy Chamberlain and I joined the party earlier this year, like many others, just after the May General Election.
Although I now live just outside of Dunfermline, I’m originally from Greenock. My Argyllshire grandfather was always a Liberal and I remember Rae Michie visiting my grandparents’ small hotel for a convivial afternoon chat. My father has also advised me that he knew Jo Grimond, so I very much grew up with this Liberal tradition. I also recall a small hardworking number of Liberal Democrat councillors in Inverclyde – an area in which – until recently, the Labour vote was weighed rather than counted.
Since joining in May I’ve attended a number of party events, including the Scottish Parliament policy events, an everyday sexism open mic and the leadership hustings in Edinburgh (I met Tim in Haymarket station afterwards – I know he made it to Aberdeen as I must have directed him to the correct platform). At each I’ve been made to feel hugely welcome – thanks especially to the Leatherlands, James Calder, and other Dunfermline and West Fife members.
At a number of these I’ve been applauded as a new member. I’ve met some of my fellow new members this morning, and I might be speaking for myself here, but I don’t feel I deserve this. I’ve engaged with the party in the past, and even delivered a few leaflets. The Liberal Democrats have always had my vote, but the 8th of May (and in particular Nick Clegg’s impassioned speech) made me realise that having my vote is not enough. I needed to be active, involved and part of the fight back.
So, I apologise, for not being here sooner and for letting all of you here, the members and activists of longer standing, shoulder the load to date.
Willie’s victory in the Dunfermline Westminster by election was the first time that a person that I voted for in a first past the post process actually won – it was both a novelty and a great feeling!
As liberals we have a different set of priorities to the SNP. And Labour and the Tories too. Our values are what make us liberals. They are what define our party. We all took different paths to joining the Liberal Democrats. This was Willie Rennie’s journey.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Willie Rennie to the stage.
You can watch Willie Rennie’s speech in the video below:
The Dunfermline Liberal Democrats have selected James Calder as the candidate for the Dunfermline North Council by-election on November 26th. James, who lives and works locally for a small IT business, has stood as a Candidate in Dunfermline North in 2012 and is focussed on serving the interests of local people and improving the area.
Outside of work and politics, James has a variety of interests including fencing, where he has competed for Dunfermline Fencing Club, as well as playing guitar.
James has declared ‘I am really happy to stand for election in Dunfermline North again. As a local resident it is very important to me that we have the best possible representation in the Council and would really like to opportunity to do my bit to help out. There is so many things that I think can be improved. My campaign to deal with litter problems in Dunfermline North continues. Earlier this year I launched my “Dunfermline Needs a Fix” campaign to get Dunfermline proper investment from the Council. In Dunfermline North this includes derelict buildings, potholes on our roads and damaged pavements. If given the chance, I would work tirelessly to represent the interests of the people of Dunfermline North in Fife Council. ‘
Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has commented ‘James has been a strong Liberal Democrat campaigner for local residents and has a strong desire to do the best for the area. He would be a great Councillor for Dunfermline North and I urge voters to support him.’
If you want a hard working councillor to represent your community, give James Calder your vote this May.
The Dunfermline Liberal Democrats have selected Matthew Hall as the candidate for the Rosyth by-election which will take place on 26th November 2015. Matthew is passionate about the area and is excited by the prospect of standing up for local people and making their voices heard.
Matthew has declared ‘I am thrilled to be standing in the Rosyth by-election. There are so many encouraging things about the area that we can be proud of but I believe that more can be done to allow Rosyth and North Queensferry to reach their potential as exceptional places to live and work. I would love to have the opportunity to contribute to the community and to make the voices of local people heard in the council. If I were to be elected this November then I would be determined to make an impact on the area and ensure that the needs of the people in this ward are listened to so that we can make real and positive changes.’
Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has commented, ‘In Matthew Hall the people of Rosyth and North Queensferry have an excellent Liberal Democrat candidate who is passionate about promoting the interests of local residents first. I would encourage everyone who wants a strong councillor to represent them to vote for Matthew on the 26th November.’
If you want a councillor who will be able to make a real difference to the local area, vote for Matthew Hall this November.
The Scottish Lib Dem Conference took place yesterday in our very own Dunfermline at the Vine Venue. In a bustling atmosphere, filled with many new members, we were treated to a host of debates, speeches and fringe events.
The morning started with a number of debates, including ‘A Penny for the NHS’, ‘Evidence based policy on genetically modified crops’, ‘VAT on feminine hygiene products’ and ‘Creating opportunities for young homeless’. Dunfermline Lib Dems Beryl Leatherland and James Calder rose to the podium to take part in the GM Crops debate.
The morning finished with a speech from Willie Rennie. Another Dunfermline Lib Dem, Wendy Chamberlain, introduced Willie, making an excellent speech in the process on her first Conference. Willie’s speech emphasised the need to take on the SNP on their failings in public services, and called on voters whether they voted Yes or No at the referendum to give the Lib Dems a chance.
The afternoon commenced with an emergency motion calling on the Government to do more on the refugee crisis. Later we debated ‘Towards a new Federal United Kingdom and a new Treaty of Union’ and ‘Putting democracy back into Scottish policing.’ Matthew Hall from Dunfermline Lib Dems rose up to debate on the Federal UK motion and Wendy Chamberlain came back on stage to use her experience in policing to for the police debate.
Later we were treated to a rousing speech from UK Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, where he emphasised the need for strong liberal values in the face of attacks on civil liberties from both the SNP and Tory Governments. Later we also heard back from the Policy Roadshow, before the Comference ended on a touching note with an emotional tribute to Charles Kennedy.
The Conference saw many great discussions, debates and speeches in a friendly atmosphere. We will be publishing more on the Conference later this week.
Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference
We are fortunate to have the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference taking place this Saturday at the Vine Venue in Dunfermline. We would encourage all Dunfermline Lib Dem members to take the opportunity to come along. You can find out more details at this link.
Dunfermline Liberal Democrat AGM
This year’s AGM has been announced to take place on the 12 November. We would encourage all local members to come along and help shape the direction of the Dunfermline Liberal Democrats. The AGM will help us decide on Office Bearers and Committee Members. If you want more information please contact myself at email@example.com