James Calder

by James Calder

Christine Jardine making her speech

On the 29th July we had our Annual Summer Barbecue in Crossford, with this year newly elected Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine in attendance. The event was well attended, with myself acting as chef again.

The event provided a great opportunity for people in the party to chat in a friendly environment without the pressure of any upcoming election. We also had Councillors from past and present there, alongside Christine Jardine MP.

Tony Presented with his Quaich

Before Christine’s answer dinner speech, I presented to retired Dunfermline South Councillor Tony Martin a Quaich for 25 years long services as a Councillor. Having been my predecessor in Dunfermline South, it had been obvious to me for some time that he has been an excellent Councillor, and the local Party committee agreed with me and we clubbed together to get the Quaich. Tony gave a quick speech about his experience as a Councillor, but also passed on a message to me after. He said:

Thanks to everyone for the quaich presented to me yesterday. I am very grateful for the support I have received over the years from my close friends the are Dunfermline Liberal Democrats. I was proud to represent you as an elected member for what’s was for the most part 25 happy years. I was very touched. Thanks again and good luck in the future.

Afterwards Christine Jardine gave her speech. It was great to hear from a newly elected MP her experiences on campaigning but also on how she has found being an MP since being elected. Her insights of how the current Tory Government are performing (apparently as poor from the point of view of someone working at Westminster as it seems to be for the rest of us from afar) were especially interesting.

I would like to thank Christine Jardine for coming to be our speaker, everyone who helped with organising and most of all to everyone who came to help make it such as successful event. I look forward to next year.

 

Woodmill High SchoolWith the publishing of The Local Benchmarking Framework Report by Fife Council for 2016/17, Fife Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Councillor James Calder, has commented this shows the need for Fife to receive a higher level of Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding.

James Calder has said, “With all indications that Fife should be due significantly higher levels of Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding due to the high numbers of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, the 2016/17 Local Benchmarking Framework Report has given further signs that Fife schools should be receiving more from the Scottish Government.

“While we are making progress in Fife, we are still below the national average in S4-6 exam performance on all levels of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This shows Fife should be a priority for the Scottish Government’s Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding.

“My question is why does the SNP Scottish Government instead feel Fife children don’t even deserve to be in the top 10 of local authorities when it comes to funding?”

After the recent announcement by the Scottish Government that Fife would only receive £1 million in Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding, Fife Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Councillor James Calder has expressed concerns that children locally are missing out. This compares with over £5.6 million for Dundee.

Cllr. James Calder has said, “In Fife we have the third highest number of pupils living in the areas with most deprivation and the fifth highest number of pupils attending schools with high levels of deprivation. This indicates to me that Fife Council should be receiving very high share of the resources required from the Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding.”

“Amazingly despite the indications that Fife should be one of the highest recipients of this important funding to help address the attainment gap, the Scottish Government has decided to see fit that we are not even in the top 10 local authorities when it comes to funding. This seems to be ludicrously unfair and I call on the SNP Government to review their formula in deciding how tis funding is delivered to ensure Fife children get their fair share.”

The Dunfermline Liberal Democrats have welcomed Vince Cable as new leader. Cable became new leader today and takes charge in turbulent times for the UK.

Dunfermline South Councillor and local Party Convenor James Calder has commented,

Vince Cable provides the experience and gravitas that is required by our politicians at such a turbulent time. With Brexit negotiations being handled disastrously so far by Theresa May’s Tories, he will keep the Government on its toes.

Vince not only has a wealth of political experience, but is also a well renowned economist. I am sure that he will provide an excellent guiding hand as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Woodmill High SchoolWith the long-awaited release of the Dunfermline and West Fife catchment area review, James Calder, Councillor for Dunfermline South, is raising concerns on the impact for both parents and children in the area. Children in the catchment areas for schools such as Masterton Primary would be moved to Inverkeithing rather than go to school in Dunfermline.

Councillor Calder has commented, “Parents and children will rightly be concerned at the proposals. In particular I am worried that children in Masterton aren’t getting to go to their local High School and are being bussed out of town. After so many years of problems with capacity at the Primary School, this acts as a double-blow.”

“We should be seeking to ensure children can go to their local High School. We can surely do better and ensure that all children in Dunfermline can go to school in Dunfermline. For that reason I will continue to make the case at the Council on behalf of local parents and children.”

By Aude Boubaker-Calder

Aude and James at Fife Pride

On this first of July, Kirkcaldy was the centre of the first celebration of its kind in Fife. Known as well as the Lang Toun , Kirkcaldy welcomed the first Pride event of the Kingdom.

Councillor Jame Calder and myself, Aude Boubaker-Calder, joined the festivities organised by a local LGTBQ+ activist group Fife Pride.  The festivities were kicking off a bit before 1pm where the parade strolled on the High Street where a lot of the Saturday and Payday shoppers stopped to see this coloured-rainbow assembly celebrating Love for everyone disregarding gender and beliefs.

The parade finished on “The Square” where a massive marquee was waiting the celebrants with food, drinks but also various animations and stands representing associations and businesses supporting the LGTBQ+ cause.

There was a wonderful turn out for a first time event with the hope from the organisers and the participants of a come back the next year!

James with Lib Dem leader Tim Farron

Last week the General Election took place and in Dunfermline and West Fife our candidate was James Calder. Although he was not elected, he increased the Lib Dem share of the vote locally from the previous election and gained a significant number of votes.

Nationally the Liberal Democrats were successful in gaining seats, including big hitters such as Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire and Vince Cable in Twickenham. In Edinburgh West, one of our neighbouring constituencies, Christine Jardine gained the seat back from the SNP.

James Calder has commented,

It was an honour to stand as a candidate for Dunfermline and West Fife. I would like to take the time to thank all those who supported me and I will continue working for Liberal Values locally. Nationally  I was delighted with the Liberal Democrats’ improvement in our support. It sends an important message to both of our Governments:

This was a  big no to another divisive second Independence Referendum to the SNP Government at Holyrood, who lost huge numbers of seats.

This was also a big no to Theresa May’s plans for a Hard-Brexit – she lost her majority and she should now be seeking to compromise and look for access to the Single Market to keep our economy strong.

 

 

James Calder with Willie Rennie

With the General Election approaching, the Scottish Liberal Democrats offer many strong reasons why they could best represent Dunfermline in the UK Parliament. Some of the reasons include:

  • As a Pro-UK Party, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently supported a strong Scotland in a strong United Kingdom. We will oppose another divisive Independence Referendum.
  • The Scottish Liberal Democrats have a strong track record locally for getting things done with local Councillors like Tony Martin and former Dunfermline MP Willie Rennie.
  • The Scottish Liberal Democrats believe in getting the best deal with Europe. We want to avoid an economically damaging hard-Brexit by negotiating Single Market access and giving the British people the chance to have the final word on the deal.
  • Willie Rennie and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have backed additional funding for our schools locally to meet the challenges of the Dunfermline Schools’ Capacity Crisis. We will seek to ensure education spending is increases locally.
  • The Liberal Democrats nationally have backed extra funding for the NHS which will also improve funding available for the Scottish NHS.

On Wednesday Scottish Liberal Democrat Candidate James Calder attended to Fife Equality Hustings in Kirkcaldy along with candidates from the Conservatives, Labour and SNP. The evening provided an interesting forum to debate many issues, especially in the field of equality, between representatives from all the Parties standing in Fife in the General Election.

Some of the issues that were highlighted included the impact of Brexit on equalities, diversity in politics, the Refugee crisis and impacts on disabled people regarding equalities.

In the hustings James argued vigorously on these points. On Brexit, he made the point that in some quarters of the Conservative Party there was a suggestion that this could lead to a Singapore-style economy with reduced workers’ rights. He also described the fact that he was proud that the Liberal Democrats had fought in Parliament for the right to stay for EU citizens living in Britain.

On diversity in politics, James mentioned the work of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in ensuring all-female shortlists in target seats as well as the formation of the Diversity Working Group in the Party to improve our performance. He made the point that this was something all Parties needed to work towards.

On the refugee crisis, James mentioned that he was ashamed of the British Government for not doing more and was pleased at how Tim Farron had been campaigning strongly on this issue.

He also mentioned his disappointment that cuts on the local level that affected people with disabilities were made due to SNP underfunding Councils and that the Liberal Democrats had proposed a modest tax increase to avoid this, which the SNP rejected.

James also mentioned his disgust with the Rape Clause and the fact that he is opposed in General to the two-child limit to Child Tax Credits.

Overall the evening provided a lively atmosphere with the audience getting involved.

 

Today all of the Dunfermline General Election candidates united together in a show of solidarity to remember murdered former Labour MP Jo Cox. Liberal Democrat candidate James Calder joined with Douglas Chapman (SNP), Cara Hilton (Labour) and Belinda Hacking (Conservative) by visiting the new Museum and Art Gallery that has just opened to the public.

James Calder has said,

This showed an important message today- that no matter what some individuals may try to do, politicians from across the spectrum will unite to show we will not bow down to evil. Jo Cox was an MP who served her community and her murder was a tragic event. All of the candidates today showed though that we are united in wanting to make our community a better place and in honouring the memory of Jo.

Today’s event in Dunfermline mirrored other events around the UK to remember Jo Cox.