Monthly Archives: November 2017


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.

The Liberal Democrat  leader Vince Cable has reacted to the Budget yesterday, in which is was announced that Britain has sunk down the international league table for growth.

Vince Cable has said,

Today’s Budget saw the UK slip from the top of the growth league to deep into the relegation zone. Each person in Britain is set to be £687 worse off per year compared to forecasts before the election.

And as living standards are squeezed, the Government is setting aside £3.7bn to cover the cost of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The Chancellor found more money in the Budget to plan for Brexit than he did for our struggling NHS, schools and police.

And the Labour Party are little better and their support for Brexit makes their fantasy economics all the more unrealistic.

A Liberal Democrat budget would have looked very different today. Founded on a vision of a high-tech, high-skilled economy that is green, open and entrepreneurial.

We would invest £6bn per year in our NHS & Social Care system, paid for by a penny on income tax. And Lib Dems would kick-start the economy back to growth with productive investment of £100bn over ten years to build more homes and infrastructure for the next generation.

Today’s Budget reinforces our belief that Britain is better off in Europe. We are fighting to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union, and to give the people a vote on the final Brexit deal.

As more facts emerge, the public must be given a chance to Exit from Brexit.

You can also read about the main budget failures here.

By Cllr. James Calder

It has been over 6 months now since I was elected as the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Dunfermline South and I have to say it has been very exciting for me. It has been enjoyable to represent the people of Dunfermline South and also to be helping to advance Liberal Values in the Council.

To recap at the election I was one of 7 Lib Dems elected to Fife Council, and the only Lib Dem elected in the West Fife area. As such, for me it has been important that I am carrying the weight of our area of Fife in the Party too.  I was also fortunate that my predecessor in Dunfermline South, Tony Martin, was an excellent Councillor, and I have been aiming to try and keep up his good work in the local area.

Within the Ward I have been working on a number of issues. As Dunfermline has been hit significantly in front-line cuts in staff for Parks, Streets and Open Spaces, I have been fighting for more funds for our Green areas and in particular for staffing, as many have asked me about this. I have also been working to improve the roads locally, and have had some notable successes, including in Fir Grove, the roundabout between Morrison Drive and Masterton Road and it now looks as though there will be resurfacing on Morrison Drive too. I am also seeking improvements to pavements, including within Pitcorthie and Abbeyview. Another issue I have been tackling recently has been Amazon lorries going through residential areas, and I am pleased to say that after discussions with Amazon they will be looking to put signage up both outside the warehouse and on the Motorway to redirect lorries away from the residential parts of town.

I would also like to add that much of these successes also depended on the help and assistance of the local Community Councils, and it has been a pleasure to have been attending them.

Outside of the wonderful job of improving Dunfermline South and Dunfermline as a whole, I have also been fortunate in being made the Fife Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson. In this role I have been taking on a number of issues. I have helped to ensure that children at Masterton Primary continue to go to school in their city of Dunfermline. I have been challenging the Council Administration on teacher numbers, and the Scottish Government on the fact that Fife receives a lower share of Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding than I believe it should be. One of my key successes was getting the Council Administration to agree into looking to make the School Uniform grant for children with lower income backgrounds higher, as in Fife we are both below the Scottish Average and the Scottish Government recommendations.

Overall it has been an exciting time, and I would like to thank the hard work of everyone else who has made this possible, including the local Liberal Democrat team. I will continue to work my hardest as a local Liberal Democrat Councillor.

By James Calder

After a busy 2017 we had our AGM at the Royal British Legion yesterday. This was my last meeting as Convenor, a role that I have enjoyed but have decided to step down from since being elected as a Councillor. The AGM was well attended, had plenty of positions filled and we were delighted to have Elizabeth Riches, who was a Fife Councillor for 25 years in the East Neuk and stood as candidate in North East Fife in this year’s General Election, as our speaker. She delivered an excellent and inspiring speech that was well-received and it was wonderful to have her come down to Dunfermline.

We had a bit of a change of committee and a number of new office bearers which I am pleased with. This includes Russel McPhate as our new Convenor, who will bring a wealth of experience to the role, with Bryn Jones taking on the Deputy Convenor which I am also very happy about due to his enthusiasm and new ideas that he will present. We also have Tom Leatherland carrying on the role of Treasurer, which he has been excellent in over the last few years. Jill Blair has taken over the role of Secretary, and I believe she will be great in that role. Aude Boubaker-Calder carries on as Membership Secretary with Lauren Jones continuing as Fundraising Secretary and I am sure they will both carry on their good work there. I have taken on the role of Campaign’s Secretary, which I hope to use my experience leading campaigns over the past few years into use. FInally I am delighted one of our new members, Emma Jones, is taking on Press Secretary, and I am sure she will do a great job.

We have both new and experienced ordinary members in the committee, including outgoing Deputy Convenor Wendy Chamberlain, outgoing Secretary Matthew Hall, who have both done superb jobs over the past couple of years and made my life as Convenor much easier. Joining them include Teresa Little, Joanna Cockburn, Tony Martin (who I am delighted is keeping his hand in despite his retirement as Councillor), Anne O’Brien, Beryl Leatherland and Joanna Cockburn.

I’d like to thank the previous year’s committee for their hard work, it has been a pleasure and I look forward to the coming year.