James Calder has been both speaking and listening to constituents, and one of the concerns that have been raised is the poor level of provision of bus services in West Fife. James wants to see more bus services each day in a number of areas as well as new bus services to better connect the towns and villages of West Fife together.
James has commented, “One of the things I want to promote is higher use of low carbon transport, and this means having public transport available to all. However at the moment we have the situation where people have to either use their cars, take a number of buses that takes a considerable amount of time or even effectively stranded if they are elderly without adequate bus provision.
“I am calling Fife Council to work with local bus companies to ensure we have better provision of bus services and so everyone can use them. It is not right that if someone lives in a village such as Crombie and has to take the bus to work in Rosyth Dockyard that their journey times are considerable due to no direct bus services.”
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.
Figures released have shown the Scottish Liberal Democrats have punched above their weight in scrutinising the Scottish Government over the first four and a half years of the Scottish Parliament. The following figures have been shown:
- Lib Dem MSPs have asked an average of 483 Written Questions each
- Labour MSPs have asked only 342 questions each
- The Tories lag even further behind a 201 questions each, quashing Ruth Davidson’s assertion that they provide the strongest opposition
- SNP MSPs have only asked a measly 38 each on average
Commenting on the figures Mr Rennie said: “These figures are testament to just how much Scottish Liberal Democrats MSPs punched above their weight in the last Parliament.
“Voters want elected representatives who can be trusted to hold the government to account. Instead, what they got in the last election was a herd of backbenchers who nodded through £500 million in council cuts and the creation of Police Scotland without a single voice dissenting.
“MSPs should be making sure government is working for voters. These figures prove Liberal Democrats have the strongest record in parliament of making sure Ministers are actually doing that. We have the guts to challenge Ministers and provide the scrutiny government so desperately needs.
“With just five MSPs we won the argument for childcare for deprived children, put an end to industrial scale stop and search and threw out the SNP’s attempts to abolish corroboration. With that strong record in Parliament and ambitious, positive programme for Scotland for the next five years, our team in Parliament will grow at this election.
“Just think what we could do with more Liberal Democrat MSPs.”
Dunfermline candidate James Calder has also added, “It is clear the best Party at holding the Scottish Government to account has been the Scottish Liberal Democrats. If elected, I would ensure that the constituents of Dunfermline are put first and that I will work as hard as possible to scrutinise the Scottish Government and ensure no stone is left unturned.”
One in four Scots will suffer from a mental health issue in their lifetime.
If you’re reading this now, there’s every chance that you or somebody you love have faced a problem like this at some point. And those who have will know one thing: the treatment of mental health in Scotland still has a long way to come.
Suicide remains one of the biggest killers of men aged 20 to 34. UK businesses lose £30.3bn a year due to staff sickness with mental health causes, and depression/anxiety are some of the most common reasons we go and see a GP.
And yet not every GP surgery has a mental health specialist. Key targets in Fife are being missed. 90% of patients should start psychological therapy treatment within 18 weeks of referral, but in Fife only 71% get seen that quickly, compared with 95% in Glasgow. It’s just not acceptable that those with mental problems in Fife are waiting so long for treatment.
My vow is to fight to put mental health on top of the political agenda, and I will fight so that Fife gets its fair share. Mental health problems can be just as painful, just as lethal and just devastating for those who suffer as a physical illness. But we can treat mental illness too, if we invest in treating it.
If you agree with me, you need to vote for the person and the party who will fight for this change. Vote for me, Willie Rennie and the Lib Dems.
James Calder, Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Dunfermline, has called for the Scottish Government to give parity to mental healthcare treatment after speaking to constituents in the area who have discussed their problems accessing adequate treatment.
James has commented, “Mental Health is critically important and it is simply unacceptable that mental healthcare has gone backwards over the last few years under the SNP Government. We need to see more done to ensure Mental Health is taken seriously.
“I have heard concerns from the people of West Fife regarding this. One constituent told me that they had to wait over six months to see a mental health professional after going to their GP. This is a completely unacceptable state of affairs.
“If elected, I would fight to ensure Mental Health is taken seriously by the Scottish Government.”
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.”
With Scotland not meeting its climate change targets, James Calder is calling for more to be done in Fife to ensure we have cleaner air and cleaner transport. This includes a commitment to public transport, expansion of provision for electric vehicles and encouraging active travel.
James has commented, “Certain areas of Fife do have pollution problems, and we also need to look at the big picture worldwide and face up to our climate change obligations. There are a few easy ways that we can make big changes.
“More can be done to encourage the use of public transport and make it more appealing. We saw how crucial the rail service was when the Forth Road Bridge was closed. I call on the Scottish Government to work on making public transport easier and better by speeding up rail services and phasing in contactless payment systems.
“We can also do more to improve infrastructure locally for electric vehicles as well as increasing the share of the transport budget to make it safer and easier to take part in active transport such as cycling and walking.”
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 Democrat manifesto, Be the Best Again, has been published today. This sets out Lib Dem priorities for the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections, including education, NHS and policing.
James Calder, Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Dunfermline, has welcomed the manifesto, saying, “Be the Best Again sets out our priorities for Scotland, and I firmly believe this presents a vision for a fairer, more prosperous society.
“The penny for education will ensure that Scotland’s education standards that have declined under the SNP will be the best again. We have also made commitments to deal with the GP crisis in the NHS, ensure mental health has parity and that democracy is brought back to policing.
“The manifesto will be good for Dunfermline, good for Fife and good for Scotland.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie commented, “The Liberal Democrats are back to our best. Scotland should be the best again too.
“Our programme for Scotland is ambitious and progressive. We are offering the biggest investment in education since devolution, new plans for mental health services, new laws to guarantee our civil liberties and new investment so we can exceed our climate change targets.”
Key Manifesto Pledges:
- A Penny for Education – we have proposed a penny for education to reverse education cuts, support our colleges, pay for a pupil premium to ensure every child reaches their potential and more Nursery places. This is a real investment in our future.
- An NHS Fit for the Future – tackle the GP crisis in Scotland by recruiting and training more GPs as well as giving mental healthcare the same support as physical healthcare.
- Protecting our Environment – Encouraging warm homes to make them more energy efficient, low carbon transport and maintaining the commitment to make 100% of our energy needs renewable.
- Restoring freedoms – We want to reverse the relentless centralisation to Holyrood, bring back traditional local policing and restore our civil liberties including opposing the SNP’s Super ID Database and the Conservatives’ Snooper’s Charter.
- Freedom for the Public Sector – ending top-down targets from Holyrood so that public sector has the freedom to work for the best way with the Community.
You can read the manifesto here.