Monthly Archives: November 2015

Dunfermline Lib Dems with Willie Rennie at the Conference

James and Matthew with Dunfermline Lib Dems and Willie Rennie

In Dunfermline North and Rosyth today there are two by-elections taking place. James Calder is the Lib Dem candidate for Dunfermline North and Matthew Hall is the Rosyth candidate. Both candidates have pledged to provide the community’s they hope to present with a much stronger voice in Fife Council.

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. If given the chance, I would work tirelessly to represent the interests of the people of Dunfermline South in Fife Council.’

Matthew commented ‘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.’

If you want strong, hard-working Councillors to represent your local community in Dunfermline North and Rosyth, vote for James Calder and Matthew Hall today.

Matthew Hall at the Forth Bridge

Matthew Hall at the Forth Bridge

Matthew Hall is standing as the Dunfermline Liberal Democrat candidate for Rosyth tomorrow – here are the reasons he would provide the strongest voice for Rosyth and North Queensferry in Fife Council:

• Matthew will put the concerns of local residents above tribal party politics
• Matthew wants to ensure the Forth Bridge’s heritage status is handled properly by Fife Council
• Matthew wants to tackle poor air quality
• As a former teacher Matthew wants to give education a head start
• Matthew will always be available to speak to local residents

The best way to guarantee a strong community voice for Rosyth and North Queensferry in Fife Council is by voting Matthew Hall on the 26th November.

James Calder with Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie

James Calder with Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie

Reasons why James Calder will provide the strongest voice for the community in Dunfermline North:

  • James’s focus is primarily on the local community, not on political point scoring;
  • James has campaigned for Dunfermline to get the investment it deserves;
  • James wants to make education spending a priority;
  • James wants real action on dealing with litter from the Council;
  • James lives in Dunfermline North and would provide a local voice in the Council.

The best way to guarantee a strong community voice for Dunfermline North in Fife Council is by voting James Calder on 26th November.

Matthew Hall at the Forth Bridge

Matthew Hall at the Forth Bridge

In July 2015, the Forth Bridge was declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations body UNESCO.

Matthew commented ‘The awarding of World Heritage status to the Forth Bridge is a fantastic way to mark the 125th anniversary of this incredible feat of engineering. It is something that we can all be proud of and should encourage more tourism to the area which will help to support our local businesses and economy. However, with limited parking nearby and the high volume of road works and construction taking place at the moment, it is important that the council makes sure that this fantastic achievement does not become a burden for local residents.

‘If elected, I would campaign to ensure that the local community fully benefits from the tourism boost that this unique opportunity should bring but will make sure that residents are at the forefront of any planning decisions made by Fife Council – especially in relation to road works and parking.’

The AGM took place yesterday and we can report the following information:


New Committee

  • Convenor – James Calder
  • Deputy-Convenor – Wendy Chamberlain
  • Treasurer-Tom Leatherland
  • Secretary-Matthew Hall
  • Membership Secretary-Aude Boubaker
  • Ordinary Members: Tony Martin; Claire Chalmers; Anne O’Brien; Jim Burke; Russel McPhate



We would like to thank Peter Barrett for coming in to be our speaker for the AGM – he provided an excellent speech detailing his political experiences and our plans for next year’s election.


Thank you to all who participated – we will be posting more information about the new committee soon. There was a lively discussion and minutes will be sent out shortly.


James Calder at Pilmuir Works

James Calder at Pilmuir Works

Dunfermline North candidate James Calder has been campaigning for Dunfermline to get a fix, and his campaign includes areas in Dunfermline North. In particular, James is concerned about the historic Pilmuir Works building near the centre of Dunfermline.

James has commented, ‘Pilmuir Works has a long history and the building is an important reminder of our industrial heritage in Dunfermline. However the building is now being left in a potentially dangerous state of disrepair. With developments such as the new museum, Dunfermline is making excellent steps to help boost the local tourism economy, but it is a shame that a piece of our history is being left into becoming an eyesore.’

‘I’ve seen plenty of proposals for development including flats or moving the College to the location. However I would like to see action being taken on this so that this historic building can provide real benefits to the wider community.’

Matthew Hall with Willie Rennie

Matthew Hall with Willie Rennie

This year, Fife Council launched their “Air Quality Strategy for Fife 2015-2020” which outlines the council’s plans for protecting and improving air quality throughout the region.

Matthew stated ‘I am very pleased to see that Fife Council is serious about protecting the local environment and the health of residents through managing and monitoring air quality in the region. As the people of Rosyth and North Queensferry know though, the ever-increasing traffic and heavy construction means that local air quality can be very poor.

‘If I were to be elected this November, I would be committed to ensuring that the council follows through with their pledges on improving air quality. With local schools situated next to busy roads, it is more important than ever to make sure that our young people and families can live in an area with clean air and low pollution.’

James investigates litter

James investigates litter

Dunfermline North has been blighted by litter problems for a number of years, and James Calder is campaigning to get this problem sorted out once and for all.

James commented ‘In the last Council election I campaigned vigorously for the Council to work to deal with problems related to littering and dumping in the local area. If I had been elected I would have made this a priority, and I still feel this is something to campaign on. I get especially annoyed when I step out my door and see litter or dog dirt and I feel residents should not need to deal with this.’

‘I know of some great grassroots efforts to solve this which I applaud, but the Council should do more to deter offenders and also provide more public bins. If elected, I would campaign to both get this mess sorted out and also to properly deal with the culprits.’

Wendy on Stage at the Conference

Wendy on Stage at the Conference

I was one of a number of Dunfermline and West Fife members to attend the Scottish Conference at the Vine Centre, Dunfermline on Saturday 24th October. As a new member, having joined post the General Election in May, this was also my first conference. I’ve been asked to write an article for the newsletter to give an overview of the day and my impressions as a first time attendee.

On arrival, I picked up my identity card (which is also used for voting) and headed through to the main hall where members of the Conference Committee provided new members and first time attendees with an overview of the day and what to expect in terms of debates and processes. We were also given bright yellow shopping type bags that will be great for leafleting in future!

Just time for a coffee before introductions and the first debate of the day (a penny for the NHS). I was really impressed with how inclusive and non hierarchical the whole day was. Debates were introduced and supported by the members who had raised the motions and there were plenty of opportunities for everyone to get involved. I lost count of the number of new members and maiden speakers who contributed. Local members were well represented – James Calder, Beryl Leatherland and Matthew Hall all spoke eloquently on motions including an evidence based approach to GM crops and a genuinely impassioned debate on developing a federal approach to the future of the UK.

I made a concious decision to remain the hall and get a good handle on the debates and processes. I plan to get better involved in the training, fringe events and exhibition stands at a future conference!

Having attended a Scottish Liberal Democrat Women’s event in August, I was approached by the Conference Convenor prior to the day and asked to introduce Willie Rennie as he made his leader’s speech. After a delay caused by a fire alarm and evacuation, I was used the opportunity to detail my own journey to membership and the friendly welcome I have received locally and at other events. If you are a local member who hasn’t attended any events as yet, I would encourage you to do so – everyone will be delighted to welcome you!

Following a typically rousing speech from new Federal Leader Tim Farron, the day ended with an emotional tribute to Charles Kennedy. This included photographs and recorded memories from senior MPs, as well as very touching recollections from friends in the hall.

A final chat with everyone over a glass of wine and I left tired, happy, energised and keen to develop the party locally.