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.


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!

Bryn Jones has been working for Local Residents

Bryn’s work on potholes

Bryn Jones, the Dunfermline Liberal Democrat Candidate for Dunfermline North, has been working hard to ensure the best environment for everyone. Some of the examples of his work include:

  • Bryn has been reporting graffiti and vandalism to the council across the ward.
  • In Kingseat, Bryn had a faulty light in the town park fixed after a resident contacted him.
  • On Townhill Road, Bryn has had pavement potholes repaired.
  • On Arthur Street and Tuke Street, Bryn has had all new dog fouling posters put up in the area, and is fighting litter.
  • On Torwood Place and Drummond Place Bryn had a street of faulty lights fixed as a priority.
  • On Whitefield Road Bryn has had potholes filled in.

If you want a Councillor who will put Dunfermline North first on the 4th May, give Bryn Jones your First Preference Vote.

Lauren Jones at Crossford Primary School

£3 million cuts coming to Fife Schools

Fife Council have put forward £3 million worth of education cuts, at a time when Scotland’s Schools have recorded their worst ever performance and schools are struggling to keep up with demand for places in an ever expanding Dunfermline.

The £3m cuts will result in larger class sizes which Liberal Democrats are warning will result in teachers having less time to spend with individual pupils. Dunfermline South Council Candidate Lauren Jones said, “These cuts are a direct result of the SNPs failure to properly fund education in Scotland, and we’re feeling the impact here in Dunfermline.”

Scotland’s scores for maths, reading and science all declined in the latest PISA figures. The Liberal Democrats propose a “Penny For Education” to stop the cuts. Lauren said: “As a mother and council candidate, it’s my ambition to see Scotland rise up the world rankings and be the best in the world.”

My speech in Parliament this afternoon opening for my party in opposition to a second referendum on Scottish independence. It was my second appearance in this debate as last week I ground to a halt mid way through a memorised speech just moments after news of the attack on Westminster had filtered into the chamber. It wasn't pretty and the SNP have taken great delight in using the footage against me. So this in part, is for them.

Posted by Alex Cole-Hamilton on Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Video above of Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton arguing against another Referendum

Today the SNP backed by the Greens passed a motion asking for another Independence Referendum, which the Scottish Liberal Democrats have opposed. The Scottish Liberal Democrats believed that not only was this divisive, but meant that important issues such as education and the economy were being ignored by the SNP Government.

Dunfermline South Candidate James Calder has argued,

This is not what Scotland or Fife needs right now. People have had enough of the SNP’s divisive obsession with independence and instead want to see them get on with the day job of Governing. What is worse is there is no mandate for this – the SNP do not have a majority and the Greens had promised they would only support a referendum if they had a petition asking for it with a million signatures – so far we see no sign of this!

I would rather see our public services be dealt with first. In Dunfermline we have a schools capacity crisis brought on as a direct result of SNP policy of under funding Councils. We have roads and pavements falling to bits. We have Mental Health services seriously underfunded. Let’s get on with fixing our country. We need local Councillors, MSPs and MPs who will get on with their day job instead of obsessing about independence.

James wants to see more public bins

James Calder has spoken to concerned residents in Dunfermline South about littering in the area. Despite some community initiatives to help clean up the area, too many people are making a mess and James is determined to do something about it.

James has said, “Just earlier today a resident showed me a nice natural area just south of Pitcorthie near the Golf Course that has had litter left all over it. While I call on the Council to clear it up, we shouldn’t have to solve it that way.”

“Instead I want to see a carrot and stick approach to deal with this. More public bins will encourage people to deal with litter themselves, and better policing including through litter wardens will discourage people by using the threat of fines.”

James Calder and Willie Rennie want public services, not independence, put first

This morning Nicola Sturgeon announced she will seek a Section 30 order to grant her yet another independence referendum after the Scottish public decisively rejected this less than 3 years ago. The Scottish Liberal Democrats are opposed to this and want to see the SNP get on with the day job of governing.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said,

No independence referendum, either at Westminster or in the Scottish Parliament – that’s the view of the Liberal Democrats. You’re asking me to go against what I believe. I believe that we shouldn’t have another one because it’s divisive. I would vote against the Conservatives at every possible opportunity just like I’d vote against another independence referendum.

Local Liberal Democrat prospective Council Candidate for Dunfermline South James Calder has added,

Nicola Sturgeon continues to ignore the wishes of the Scottish people here. Not only this, but the SNP have spent their time fixated on the damaging spectre of independence just like the Tories obsess about a damaging hard Brexit. The Scottish Liberal Democrats not only will fight this but put our public services first. I can categorically say now that a vote for myself and my Liberal Democrat colleagues locally first will be a vote for a Councillor who will make local communities the priority, rather than being another SNP cheerleader for independence.

Willie Rennie

After the Prime Minister’s recent speech, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has reiterated his concerns over the Tory plans to force through an unwanted hard Brexit.

Mr Rennie has said, “The Prime Minister’s speech has confirmed that the Conservatives are hell bent on a hard Brexit regardless of what the impact will be on millions of people through higher prices and greater instability.

“Withdrawing from the Single Market and the Customs Union is not in our country’s interest nor was it what people voted for on the 23rd June. The Tories are turning Brexit into a democratic stitch up and this afternoon’s speech shows how vital it is that the public be given a say in a Brexit Deal Referendum.

“The Liberal Democrats stand for Scotland in the UK and the UK in Europe.”

By Tony Martin

Jim Burke, former Lib Dem Councillor for Dunfermline North and local Party Convenor, sadly passed away after a battle with Cancer. Jim made his mark on many of us involved with the Dunfermline Liberal Democrats, and below is part of Jim’s Eulogy by Tony Martin.

I met Jim in 1994. A colleague of mine knocked on Jim’s door canvassing in the Fife Regional Council elections and asked if Jim would vote for me. Not only will I vote for him he said, but I want to join the Party. My friend told him I would be in touch. Two weeks later at the polling station Jim approached me and said “I thought you were going to visit and sign me up.” Well I had been busy knocking on doors. I wasn’t confident of winning. “If you had come round I would have helped,” he said. Two weeks later when I did knock on his door, he said, “Where have you been? I suppose you better come in.”

Since that day we have been friends. At the Local Party AGM later that year Jim joined the Executive Committee and year later he was Chair of the local party. Jim was a man of extraordinary ability. He showed it in everything he did. It was not lost on the Liberal Democrats and for 20 years he played an important part in the success of our local Party. Working hard in every election. Helping Willie Rennie and Jim Tolson to be elected to Parliaments. Knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, putting up boards. He was Chair of the party several times over the years, as well as Treasurer and Secretary. He was attended every social event. He loved to read Burns at our Burns evenings. A master of the barbecue every year, his barbecued pineapple was legendary. At every meeting held in his house, Jim baked a cake – an excellent cake! Attendance was always good, not perhaps because of enthusiasm for what was on the agenda, but as a recognition of excellent baking.

He was also a powerful support when things were going badly. Never wavering in his belief in the Liberal cause. Never giving up. Another of his admirably qualities.

When Jim joined the coal board it was on the same day as Jim Whyte, someone who remained a friend ( indeed he was Jim’s best man) for the rest of Jim’s life. When we were an hospital during Jim’s final days, Jim Whyte said to me, “Jim was quickly recognised at being very clever and really good at the job. He was quickly marked out for further training and promotion. After he came back to the pits from the merchant navy he was quickly promoted to a manager.”

In the Merchant Navy, Jim was a very young Electrical Engineering Officer. The ship he served on was one of several built during the war to run freight, mostly fruit and vegetables, from South Africa to Britain quickly, outrunning U-Boats and German destroyers. The ship was light, fast, cheaply built, poorly constructed and very unstable. However they were still in use in the 1960s when Jim joined up.

One night in the Atlantic they hit a very strong storm. The ship was tossed and turned. The power line to the engine room was lost. The captain told Jim he would have to run a new cable from the bridge to Engine Room. Jim had to lash himself to the railings and with a seaman faced driving winds and rain until, after several hours, they made good the connection. There was a deck cargo of fruit on board. A young officer went out to inspect the cargo and came back shouting above the wind. “Captain I think the cargo is going to break loose. What shall I do?” “Well I would get out of the bloody way son if I were you,” replied the captain. Although he didn’t say bloody, I asked Jim what happened. Nothing, he said. The Officer was panicking. “So you saved the ship Jim”, I said. “No” he said, “the Captain saved the ship. I just did what I was told.” I think Jim was being modest.

When Jim was at the carpet factory he didn’t really like it. He thought the senior electrician was incompetent. The factory was being equipped with new machinery and this meant increasing the electrical capacity. The two other electricians, both older than Jim, didn’t now how to do the drawings and manage the project. Jim was asked if he could do it. “Yes”, he said, “but I want a rise.” “We can’t do that,” was the response, “you are the junior.” “Well that fine,” said Jim. Next day he applied to rejoin the coal board.

In 2007, after a very successful career Jim stood as a candidate for the Council. He was elected and proved an excellent Councillor. Working hard for his constituents, playing an important role in our group and being well respected across the political divide. Jim chaired the Appeals Panel and the Planning Appeals Committee. He was Vice-Chair of the Regulation Committee. He soon gained a reputation for thoughtfully coming to fair and well considered decisions.

Jim enjoyed helping his constituents and solving their problems. He had carried out a significant amount of work for an elderly gentleman. Sitting at home he received a call form the hospital.
“We have a patient here who needs a heart bypass. He won’t sign the consent form unless Councillor Burke says its OK. Would you speak to him. He is really not well.” “You silly old fool,” said Jim, “sign the form!” Jim visited him in hospital and often when he returned home.

Although not a demonstrative man Jim was a very kind person.

When a colleague Cllr Dave Herbert was very ill, coming to the end of his time and not finding that easy, Jim visited him frequently – taking him out for walks, going out for coffee and importantly talking to him. Dave’s stroke was making him frustrated in not being able to communicate as he wanted. Jim was patient, kind and there for Dave right up until the end.

Jim was a keen traveler. With Norma he loved to go to Lake Garda, “a paradise on earth” he said. He also liked river cruises on the European rivers. Always enthusiastic when he returned. Telling you about it and wanting you to share his pleasure

Jim faced up to his health issues in a very stoic way. His failing eyesight meant had to stop driving. That didn’t stop him doing things, for himself, the party and his family and friends. He got on with it. Without complaining. Still making an effort. An example to us all.

When he was diagnosed as terminally ill, he was so strong it was truly amazing. His concern was not for himself but for Norma and his daughters Alison and Lesley. He told me the bad news in late April last year, but didn’t tell his daughters until after Alison’s wedding so as not to spoil it for her. He so enjoyed the wedding, showing me all the photos. He daughters happiness and Norma’s comfort was his main concern during his final illness.

When I asked how Norma, Alison and Lesley were coping, he said “Their fine. They have been supporting me at all the difficult times. Do you know Tony that I have the best daughters in the world?” “No you haven’t,” I said, referring to mine. “Ok,” he said, “but you have to admit mine have the better Father!”

When I told a mutual friend of ours, Teresa Little, that Jim’s illness was terminal, being a committed Catholic and believing in the power of prayer, Teresa’s immediate reaction was to say she would pray for him. The next week I visited Jim and told him of how friends had reacted to the bad news. I said to him, “Teresa said she will pray for you. However I told her you are an atheist therefore it may be against your principles.” The conversation moved on but later Jim said to me “Tony I wish you hadn’t done that.” “What?” I replied. “When you told Teresa not to pray for me. After all God doesn’t know I am an atheist does he?” He was laughing at me.

We’ve seen a rise in vandalism in Dunfermline, with incidents including parked cars being damaged overnight.

Both Lauren and Bryn Jones have been leading the Dunfermline Liberal Democrat campaign against the nuisance of vandalism.

Launching the campaign in Dunfermline Central, Lauren said: “Not only does mindless vandalism cost us all money, it makes our town a less cheery place to live.”

The Dunfermline Lib Dems are encouraging concerned citizens to report suspicious activity to the police on 101, and to report any graffiti to the council.”