Monthly Archives: May 2016

13293222_10156981230770434_869809264_nThe Liberal Democrats are supporting remaining in the EU and as such we are hosting a competition – whenever you see a sign showing a project that has been financed by the EU, take a selfie with it, tweet it to us (@DunfLibDems) using the hashtag #EUInMyTown or if you don’t have Twitter, you can Facebook it with the same hashtag or email it to us to tweet for you (james@dunfermlinelibdems.org.uk) – The winner will get a yet to be determined prize – and to win you just need to be the one who has tweeted the most pictures! You can see an example here of what to do featuring Aude Boubaker, who suggested the idea! The competition ends when voting starts!

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James Calder and Tony Martin

James Calder and Tony Martin

By Councillor Tony Martin

In 1966 the first house in Cedar Grove was sold to the first resident of a brand new estate in Dunfermline, Pitcorthie. Pitcorthie was to become a good place for families to live in and children to grow in over the next 50 years.

To celebrate this passing of time South Dunfermline Community Council have organised a couple of events. On April 20th this year the John Marshall Community Centre held an event with memorabilia, photographs and a short history of the area over previous centuries. The event was well attended with some residents giving more information and interesting recollections. A second event will be held during the Gala on the 13th August which hopefully there will be more information to celebrate this anniversary.

As a more permanent memorial of 50 years the fence on Laburnum Road has been replaced with a more contemporary looking structure and the Pitcorthie wall is to be replaced with a larger one with Pitcorthie 1966 written in gold letters. Fifty years is a long time but the estate still looks good with nice gardens and well maintained houses . Over the next few years the resurfacing of the top of Pitcorthie Drive must be finished and pavements and the Groves brought up to standard. Given the Council’s reducing budgets this will take longer than envisaged but Pitcorthie looks forward to another 50 years.

James Calder and Bryn Jones next to a site of EU Investment in Dunfermline

James Calder and Bryn Jones next to a site of EU Investment in Dunfermline

Dunfermline and West Fife has benefited in a number of ways through membership of the European Union. This includes direct funding from the EU, including a recent grant from the European Structural and Investment funds of £4.5 million to boost employment and overcome barriers to finding work to the Fife region.

The funds  that have been awarded will help Fife Council run programmes to grow small and medium-sized enterprises as well help get people back to work, and will have wider benefits as a result on the local economy. This is just one example of the huge level of support Fife has received over the years, evidenced by the numerous signs showing EU support across the area such as the one that James Calder and Bryn Jones are pictured next to above.

Dunfermline Liberal Democrats Convenor James Calder has said, “A lot has been said by the Leave campaign about how much we pay in for our membership of the EU, but they neglect to say how much we get back. It is estimated for every pound we pay into the EU we get £10 back.”

“In West Fife there have been many examples of direct spending by the EU locally over the years. This recent tranche of European funding to help boost employment locally will be a welcome boost when local jobs are lost in places like Longannet.”

“What the backers of the Leave Campaign also don’t want you to know is also all the indirect benefits of being in the EU for the local economy. Not only do British businesses have access to a Single Market of 500 million people to sell their goods to, but the EU has also negotiated Free Trade Agreements with over 50 countries. It would take the UK years with much less clout to negotiate the same and would almost certainly result in damage to the economy.”

“For a stronger economy to ensure more jobs and investment in Fife and across the UK, I am strongly support the campaign to remain in the EU and would urge others of each political persuasion to do so too.”

profile pic retouchBy James Calder

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, and I think those involved in Scottish Politics should take time to reflect on this as we go forward with the new Parliament. With us now having a minority Government, this gives us an excellent opportunity as a country to have a cross-party consensus on how to move forward and ensure that Scotland has the best possible mental healthcare.

Many people that I care about have suffered from mental health issues, and these are incredibly common for the population as a whole.  Mental Health issuer could have affected yourself and almost certainly someone you know. There are a few key facts we must be aware of when looking into Mental Healthcare:

  • 1 in 4 of us will suffer from a mental health problem this year
  • An average of two people each day in Scotland die by suicide
  • Half of adults who are mentally ill experienced the onset of their problems by the age of 15
  • 79% with severe and enduring mental health problems are not in work

(Source: SAMH Scottish Manifesto for the Scottish Parliamentary Election 2016 – link)

These are startling statistics but unfortunately they do not surprise me. We as a society have not done enough yet to ensure mental healthcare is at a standard that is fit for purpose and all too often there is a stigma attached.

Fortunately there seems to be some green shoots for the future. One of the things I was happiest about from a political point of view is how prominent mental health has been in shaping Liberal Democrat health policy on both sides of the border. Willie Rennie has taken a particularly strong stand and I was proud to stand as a candidate with a manifesto that looked to ensure mental healthcare is given parity with physical healthcare

Indeed I have noticed that across the political spectrum, not just in the Lib Dems but with other parties as well, there is increased awareness as well as support for action to improve mental healthcare. This should be welcomed, it can only be a good thing if more is done at Holyrood to improve on Scotland’s mental health record.

Now there is a minority Government, consensus is now key again in Holyrood. Now is the time to work together on an issue that matters to so many of us. We may share our differences between the Lib Dems and SNP (as well as with the other Parties), but this should be an issue to unite us all. Willie Rennie and the Scottish Lib Dem Team must keep fighting for mental healthcare to be given the support it needs and he is in an excellent opportunity to do so.

My message to everyone in the Scottish Parliament, not just to the Scottish Liberal Democrats is this: Let’s do something that has a positive impact on the lives of so many. Let’s make Scotland have the best Mental Healthcare.


James Calder is the Dunfermline Liberal Democrats Convenor and stood as a Candidate at the Holyrood Election

The Dunfermline #INTogether campaign team

The Dunfermline #INTogether campaign team

The Dunfermline Liberal Democrat campaign to keep Britain in the EU launched today on the High Street. A stand was run by both local Party members, people from further afield ho wished to help as well as other enthusiastic volunteers who want support a vote to keep Britain in EU who have joined the #INTogether campaign.

Dunfermline Liberal Democrat convenor James Calder commented, “It was great to launch the #INTogether campaign to keep the UK in Europe today in Dunfermline. We had a great reception from people who support all sorts of different political Parties, and we wanted to emphasise that this is an issue that requires us all to work together in.

“It was nice to see many people signing our petition to keep Britain in the EU. Most people I spoke to want us to stay in and a few undecided voters were happy to chat too.

“EU membership supports many jobs in our membership of the single market which businesses such as the one I work for can export too. It helps to keep prices down for our families due to our low cost of trading with our neighbours. We are also more secure as we can work with our friends around the continent to help fight crime and terrorism.

“If anyone wants to join our campaign in Fife to keep Britain in the EU then please let me know. You can contact me james@dunfermlinelibdems.org.uk.”

 

Lib Dem Candidates Peter Barrett, Willie Rennie, James Calder andBryn Jones

Lib Dem Candidates Peter Barrett, Willie Rennie, James Calder andBryn Jones

Local candidates James Calder in Dunfermline and Bryn Jones in Cowdenbeath had an excellent election on Thursday. While not winning, James’ vote share increased considerably on last year’s Westminster election and Bryn managed to more than double the number of votes the Lib Dems received in Cowdenbeath from 2011.

James Calder commented, “I would like to thank everyone in West Fife who put their faith in the Scottish Liberal Democrats. We have started our fightback locally and I am sure the future is bright for Liberalism in West Fife.

“I’d also like to thank my campaign team and agent Tom Leatherland, who have provided the backbone to the campaign. We would never have achieved so much support without them. It was a great team effort in Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath.

“Finally I am delighted with the results for the Lib Dems nationally. Willie Rennie had a stormer in North East Fife defeating the incumbent SNP and he will provide a great voice of opposition to the SNP Government. Also in our neighbouring Edinburgh Western constituency Alex Cole-Hamilton had a great result in defeating the SNP and ensuring another strong Liberal voice in Parliament.”

Lib Dem Candidates Peter Barrett, Willie Rennie, James Calder andBryn Jones

Lib Dem Candidates Peter Barrett, Willie Rennie, James Calder andBryn Jones

It is the Scottish Election today, and this provides the best chance for Scotland to Be the Best Again. The Scottish Liberal Democrats offer a bold and ambitious plan to transform Scotland’s public services to be the best.

  • On education, our Penny for Education will add £500v million pounds each year to help schools and colleges that have born the brunt of cuts caused by Scottish Government policies of cutting Council funding.
  • On Health, we want to resolve the GP shortage crisis by recruiting 700 GPs, and to give mental health parity with physical health.
  • On the environment, we want to improve low carbon transport and extend renewable energy.
  • For Council Tax, we want to replace the current unfair system with a Land Value Tax which will be fairer and make most people better off.
  • We want to bring back local accountability to public services that have been over-centralised by the SNP – this includes bringing back traditional community policing.

Today the Lib Dems provide a great chance to transform Scotland.

Vote Willie Rennie in the Regional Vote

Vote James Calder in the Dunfermline Constituency Vote

Vote Bryn Jones in the Cowdenbeath Constituency Vote

Dunfermline Candidate James Calder with Willie Rennie and Tim Farron

Dunfermline Candidate James Calder with Willie Rennie and Tim Farron

The people of Scotland go to the polls tomorrow, voting n what will be an incredibly important election. In Dunfermline and West Fife, James Calder has worked as a local champion for public services. Across Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Lib Dem leader has worked hard to make sure people locally have the best possible representation.

Dunfermline candidate James Calder has said, “Tomorrow is a critical day, and we face a massive choice as a country. We can go down the route of the SNP and Tories, of continuing to bicker about the referendum and damaging our public services by not giving them the investment so badly needed.

“Or we can back the ambitious and positive Lib Dem plans. An opportunity to improve the chances of our children by each paying 1 p in the pound more for education. An opportunity to make our NHS fit for the 21st century by sorting out our GP crisis and giving mental healthcare the attention it deserves. An opportunity to fix our civil liberties and bring back local accountability to public services like the police.

“The Scottish Liberal Democrat is a manifesto of opportunity – it offers Scotland and West Fife the chance to Be the Best Again!”

In Dunfermline to elect James Calder to be your constituency MSP and Willie Rennie to be your Regional MSP make both votes Liberal Democrat.

In Cowdenbeath to elect Bryn Jones to be your constituency MSP and Willie Rennie to be your Regional MSP make both votes Liberal Democrat.

James Calder and Willie Rennie want to move past the independence debate

James Calder and Willie Rennie want to move past the independence debate

The subject of independence came up again at the Scottish Election Television Debate on Sunday, and once again the subject of independence came up. Like most people in Scotland, Lib Dem candidate James Calder wants to move on from this debate and get on with the business of improving our public services.

James has said, “Not only have the SNP taken their eye off the ball, but they seem to flagrantly want to disregard the settled will of the Scottish people. We made the democratic choice to stay in the UK. The Tories are not any better, all they seem to want to do is rehash the same old arguments and put their Party above the country by keeping the same divisions going.

“It was telling that Willie Rennie got the biggest cheer of the debate when he told Nicola Sturgeon that she was being anti-democratic when she keeps refusing to respect the will of the Scottish people. We need a Government that will work on fixing the problems caused by the SNP in schools, colleges, health, local services and policing. Not a Government that wants to keep on pushing the same old divisive constitutional debate and even try to force through another referendum.

“I urge people in Dunfermline to vote Lib Dem twice to make sure we move past the divisions of the past few years to create a better future.”

You can watch Willie saying to Nicola to respect the results of the referendum in the video below.

Watch the video of James Calder as he makes the case that to improve our education services after significant cutbacks from the SNP, we need to back the Lib Dem plan to invest £500 million more a year with a penny increase in our income tax.

Published and Promoted by Tom Leatherland on behalf of James Calder of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, both at 57 Charles Way, Limekilns, Dunfermline, KY11 3LH.