UK Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie joined local candidate James Calder to campaign in Dunfermline High Street today. Alongside them was a group of local activists as well as Cowdenbeath Candidate Bryn Jones and Mid Scotland and Fife Regional Candidate Peter Barrett. All of the candidates enjoyed chatting to people from Dunfermline and West Fife, with Willie getting an overwhelmingly positive reception from people in a constituency he has many ties in, both as former MP and having served as MSP in the region for the past 5 years.
Tim Farron stated, “Ten years ago, Willie Rennie fought a winning campaign in Dunfermline that was upbeat, energetic, optimistic and packed full of ambition. That is exactly the sort of campaign James Calder and our local team are running again this time round and it was great to get out on the campaign trail with them today.
“Right across Scotland, people are voting Liberal Democrat for the first time based on the bold and positive programme for Scotland that Willie Rennie has set out. Liberal Democrats want Scotland to be the best again and we are back to our best too.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat Candidate James Calder took part in the hustings hosted by the Salvation Army in Wellwood yesterday. The hustings had a fascinating and civil debate between the candidates as well as a strong level of audience participation.
James answered various questions.
- On tax, he highlighted Liberal Democrat plans to raise £500 million per year to invest in our education.
- For poverty, he outlined his wish to see more done to bring in jobs locally as well as ensuring firms like Amazon who receive Government grants pay a living wage and fair tax.
- Mental Health also featured, with James stating it was unacceptable that constituents had to wait over 6 months for specialised appointments and that the Lib Dems would ensure parity between physical and mental health as well as increasing MPs.
- James also wished to ensure that we diversify our energy from oil to include further renewable energy as an alternative for oil sooner rather than later.
- On Longannet, he wants to see better funding for those laid off from the Scottish Government
James concluded his remarks by saying if people want a politician who will improve education, healthcare and put the people locally first, to make both votes Liberal Democrat.
Local Candidate James Calder was joined by fellow Mid Scotland and Fife Candidates Bryn Jones (Cowdenbeath Candidate) and Lauren Jones (Kirkcaldy Candidate) as well as other members of the Dunfermline Liberal Democrats on Dunfermline High Street yesterday. This gave the people of Dunfermline and West Fife the chance to press James on a number of issues and to discuss Lib Dem plans for Fife.
James has commented, “I had a great day yesterday and this was a brilliant opportunity to speak to people locally and hear their concerns. We discussed plenty of things, from local bus services, education cutbacks to concerns regarding independence.
“Lots of people also signed my petition calling the Scottish Government to match Lib Dem commitments to spend almost half a billion pounds more a year on education. So many people were worried about the state of our schools and colleges.
“My message to people in Dunfermline and West Fife is the most important role of an MSP is to represent their constituents in Parliament and listen to them. I pledge to ensure that I will always do so if elected.”
I believe it’s time to move on from the referendum and get back to focusing on what matters. While we continue to focus on the prospect of a second referendum, Scotland’s public services will continue to slip. The most pressing matter on my mind is not what Scotland’s constitution will look like in 5 years, it’s what Cowdenbeath Primary School and Queen Margaret Hospital will look like in 5 years.
I got into politics to transform people’s lives and let people realise their ambitions. It’s for that reason my top priority for Cowdenbeath is investment in our schools. We’ve seen Scotland’s schools slip down the international performance league, and it’s time we turn this around. I will push for investment in early years education and defend our colleges places from further cuts, so that every Scot has the chance to develop the skills we need for the future.
Over the last parliament the Lib Dems and Willie Rennie have been a strong voice against the SNP’s handling of Scotland’s affairs. We led the fight against the centralisation of Scotland’s police, fought against the SNP’s plans to use our health records to create an ID database and have kept the plight of those with mental health problems high on the agenda.
Scotland needs Liberal voices in its parliament. It needs a voice to fight against power being taken away from local communities and to fight for every Scot to be able to achieve. My fundamental vision for Scotland is for it to become a place where any individual can achieve anything, limited only by their effort, talent and character.
Scotland needs a liberal voice to fight for this vision. If elected I will be that liberal voice for Cowdenbeath.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have campaigned for big businesses that receive Government grants to pay fair wages and also pay fair taxes. Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie was joined with local Liberal Democrat candidate James Calder and other campaigners today outside the Amazon base in Dunfermline demanding that changes are made. In 2014 Amazon paid only £11 million in tax despite earning £5.3 billion in British sales.
Speaking outside Amazon today Mr Rennie said: “For Scotland to be a fairer society where everyone has the chance to get up and get on there cannot be one set of rules for massive corporations and another for everyone else.
“Tax avoidance rules and paying workers fairly should apply to both the Davids and the Goliaths of the business world. But at the moment corporations like Amazon are being rewarded for failing to pay their workers properly and for only paying measly levels of tax.
“If the other political parties are committed to reducing wealth inequality in Scotland, they should be guaranteeing that they will not dole out taxpayer support to these kind of corporations.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats will not pay government grants to companies if they do not pay the Living Wage or their taxes.”
Local candidate James Calder has added: “Many in the constituency will be disappointed to hear that despite receiving so much Government funding, Amazon locally does not pay many of its workers fair wages or enough in taxes.
“We need to see a change in attitude in employers such as Amazon who receive huge levels of Government support – if they do not pay fair wages and taxes, they should not get grants!”
Tomorrow (Thursday 7th May) is Election Day and our candidates are Gillian Cole-Hamilton for the General Election and James Calder for the Dunfermline South Council By-Election.
Gillian and the Lib Dems nationally are fighting to take the lowest paid out of income tax completely, improve on our NHS and education as well as having a stronger Scottish Parliament in the UK.
James is campaigning on local issues and is putting local residents first, including improving road and pavement surfaces, dealing with litter problems, encouraging community sport and improving education provision.
James has commented, ‘Tomorrow is going to be one of the closest elections in years and I encourage everyone to come out and make their voice heard. The Lib Dems will provide a strong voice for people locally. If elected, my priority is to serve the local community.’
Polling opens at 7am on Thursday 7th May.
James Calder, by-election candidate for Dunfermline South, has been campaigning for the Council to do more about litter. One of the most obvious ways to deal with this is by additional bin provision, which James has been keen to highlight.
On a recent trip to Anstruther to enjoy the seaside, something else caught James’ eye – the high tech Big Belly bins. After discovering this new innovation, James felt compelled to investigate further.
James has commented, ‘The Big Belly bins in Anstruther use green solar power to compact the waste, in order to reduce the issue of overflowing bins and reduce the necessity to empty bins as often. They also can apparently alert staff as to when the bin is full.’
‘This has obvious implications for helping to reduce litter, as they prevent litter from flying about when it is getting full. While I am sure there is an expensive start-up cost, over the long-term the benefits could be superb if it can help reduce litter problems. This would make Dunfermline a more attractive place to live in the long-run and could also boost its tourism potential if it is a cleaner environment.’
Parts of Dunfermline South 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.
Areas of the ward have a number of issues regarding litter, and James believes that the Council can take proactive measures to resolve this, and he has made this part of his Dunfermline Needs a Fix campaign.
James commented ‘Whenever I walk around some of Dunfermline’s wonderful parkland, I always find it frustrating when I see litter flying around. There are some great community initiatives to deal with this. However, despite the best intentions of the current council administration, they are not doing enough to tackle this blight on the local environment.’
‘I have had some interesting conversations with local residents, including some commenting that wind can blow over recycling bins which adds to this problem. I am a massive fan of recycling and I am sure there must be a way to make sure all recycling is recycled and not becoming part of the litter problem.’
‘If elected, I would campaign to both get this mess sorted out and also to properly deal with the culprits. Moreover, I would also work to have more public bins put in place in our parks, as this to me seems something basic that the Council could achieve with a minimal amount of spending.’
If there are any areas of Dunfermline South that you feel the Council could do more in, please contact James, he is available at:
For James Calder, the most important thing is to know what the people of Dunfermline South want. As a result, James has produced an online survey that residents can let him know what is important to them.
James commented ´In my opinion the most important thing for a local Councillor to do is to represent their constituents in Council. I would like to continuously engage with everyone in Dunfermline South to find out what is important to them. I have made this survey to find out what people would like and would encourage everyone in Dunfermline South to fill it in.
`If elected I would make a point of continuing this engagement.´
If you want to fill in the survey please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QTFTN5J
Over the past few years, it cannot escape anyone’s attention that Dunfermline has lost some of its character and vibrancy. This needs to be reversed.
There are far too many problems like dangerous pavements, which pose a serious safety risk for many, as well as potholes which left unchecked, could cost the Council more money in the long-terms as compensating for car repairs becomes inevitable.
James has mentioned ‘More needs to be done to make Dunfermline better. The town centre has become drab and there are far too many problems like potholes on the roads. We need Dunfermline to get the investment it deserves. A certain amount can be done through self-help measures, but these will be greatly assisted by Council investment. The floral displays are good, but more is needed.’
Please comment below or contact James by his email (email@example.com) if you have any suggestions or ideas on how the Council can make Dunfermline better. James would also like to know if you have any damage to your street and would be delighted to come and chat.