Angus & Mearns Liberal DemocratsWorking Year Round for Angus, Mearns & Stonehaven

May/15

20

Legal Highs

By David May

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There is no doubt that there is also a need for fuller awareness of the risks and dangers associated with use and consumption of what are called legal highs or as they are more accurately called New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). The term commonly used term ‘legal highs‘ is totally inaccurate and misleading as it does seem to indicate that these substances are safe, however it is clear that these substances can contain toxic substances which are harmful. Indeed across our nation there have been a number of deaths and hospital admissions linked to the use of NPS.

A concerned parent in Montrose that I met told me about his son had taken substances said ” I know how dangerous these substances are not only due to the effect it had on my son who has spent time on hospital overnight and was found on one occasion on the ground seemingly unconscious. The medical staff arrived on the scene and as he was not able to explain in detail what he had taken he was very difficult to treat. This should be a warning to all youngsters and their families that these substances can be lethal.”

I have also heard from others where family life and employment has been directly affected due to taking these substances. In reality I have been told from the medical profession that individuals can never be sure what people are actually taking when they take NPS. The message we are trying to get across is that there is no safe way to take NPS, as is the case with controlled drugs, there is always a risk to your health or indeed your life.

The Angus groups against the Legal Highs all we want these shops to close in our area as we have huge concerns about the effect the substances sold have on individuals and their families both in the short run and also in the long run. I have also personally been in touch with national politicians both at the Scottish and the Westminster level about the need for legislation to get these substnces banned, and i am pleased

Thanks to Angus activist Sanjay Sanjay we have devised a petition calling on the sale of so called Legal Highs to end immediately. Following the news that the Montrose Evape-o-lution shop has been broken into for a third time, concerns have been raised that dangerous drugs are finding their way onto our streets.

The petition calls on the owners of the shops in Montrose, Arbroath and across Tayside to stop selling Novel Psychoactive Substances with immediate effect.

The petition can be found online at http://bit.ly/StopLegalHighs

Sanjay Samani said, “There is no legitimate use of these products, which is why the UK Government has indicated that they will be banned in future. The owners should stop exploiting the vulnerable and stop selling them immediately.”

The shop was broken into twice in one day and this is at least the third time of being broken into. There is no doubt many of their products have been stolen. There are some very serious questions about security in the shop if their products can be removed so easily.This is especially worrying as it is clear that the products so many of these types of shops sell are not safe and have led to deaths as well as real long term health problems for so many people.”

It is good news that the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs has now established a Ministerial Cross Party Group on New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) or as commonly known legal highs.

I have been told that NE MSP Scottish Lib Dems Alison McInnes has been nominated to serve on the group and this is to be welcomed as I have regularly been in touch with Alison about these substances and also my huge concerns about the shops that sells these substances in Montrose and elsewhere.

Apparently, the group’s aim is to “to work together to build a shared understanding of the issue and have a collective look at the challenges”. The group’s terms of reference will be established at its first meeting which is expected in May. It will then meet at the Parliament at six week intervals until December 2015.

From:: David May

May/15

17

Montrose win to stay up.

By David May

Great result yesterday from the game between Montrose FC and Brora Rangers at Links park as it was a very tense match especially after Brora scored soon after the start of the second half. However, the two goals scored by Montrose within a minute later in the half, made all the difference and like most of the huge crowd who were there I am delighted at the win by 2 goals as it means Montrose Football club stays up in the top flight. It is inconceivable to the people in the town that we would not having top flight football next season especially after such a long history which goes back to 1879.

From:: David May

May/15

13

Montrose Partnership meeting

By David May

I attended the recent meeting of Montrose Partnership and among the items discussed were the problems caused by the seagulls in the High Street, and the state of some of the closes. The railings at the library were praised as were the newly produced Montrose heritage trail leaflets. I commented on the changes made to the Broomfield golf course which would benefit golfers of all ages and encourage busy employees to be more likely to play. I also informed the members of the forthcoming Montrose Academy bicentenary event on 19/20 June. Peter Davies gave considerable details of the visit by a group of Russians to the highly regarded Montrose Heritage Centre this weekend.

From:: David May

May/15

11

Soup and sandwiches at YM

Apr/15

27

Montrose Golf Links launch 9 hole courses

By David May

BROOMFIELD LAUNCH (1)

Broomfield Golf course has a new layout as the previously 18 hole course has now been changed so that golfers now have the flexibility of either playing 9 or 18 holes. The new layout was launched on Friday 25th April by the chair of the golf committee and representatives of the golf Clubs, and is one of the ideas from the marketing committee as evidence shows the demand for 9 hole courses has increased.

The new layout on the Broomfield Cours now means thatboth the front 9 and back 9 finish in front of the Caledonia Golf Club. The new 9th was previously the 7th, therefore altering hole layouts was an easy way to achieve what Montrose Golf Links Limited required. The new layout was launched on Friday 24th April by the Chairman of Montrose Golf Links and representatives from two of the three Montrose Clubs, and is one of the ideas from the Marketing Committee as evidence shows the demand for 9 hole courses has increased. The holes on the Broomfield Course order of play, using the old numbers, will be 1 – 3, 16, 15, 4 – 14, 17 – 18. As part of the process of changing the course alignment, all eighteen holes were re-measured which has resulted in small changes to the length of most holes.

CONGU recommendations and an analysis of playing difficulty have been used to produce a new stroke index for the Broomfield Course. New cards have been printed which will be available from today.

Andy Boyd, the Chairman of the Montrose Golf Links Limited commented “The new layout will I am sure be very popular with golfers of all ages and our greens staff have been busy adapting the Broomfield course to the new layout.”

Attached picture shows Mr Derek Bruce, Club Captain Montrose Caledonia Golf Club, Mr Andy Boyd, Chairman Montrose Golf Links and Mr Ray Wilkie, Club Captain Montrose Mercantile Golf Club

From:: David May

Apr/15

21

Legal Highs Group in Scottish Government

By David May

IMG_6061

As someone along with others such as Sanjay Samani, who devised a petition, I have been actively involved in trying to get the local legal highs shops closed and also in making contact with national politicians about the dangers of these shops and legal highs,and the need for the national politicians to take action. It is, therefore, good news that the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs has now established a Ministerial Cross Party Group on New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) or as commonly known legal highs.

I have been told that NE MSP Scottish Lib Dems Alison McInnes has been nominated to serve on the group and this is to be welcomed as I have regularly been in touch with Alison about these substances and also my huge concerns about the shops that sells these substances in Montrose and elsewhere.

Apparently, the group’s aim is to “to work together to build a shared understanding of the issue and have a collective look at the challenges”. The group’s terms of reference will be established at its first meeting which is expected in May. It will then meet at the Parliament at six week intervals until December 2015.

From:: David May

Apr/15

21

Action on lift in Southesk Court in Ferryden

By David May

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I was informed by one of the residents that the lift in Southesk Court had broken down and it had been out of action for over a week. Apparently the failure was caused by a power cut and I was told that the company who are responsible for the maintenance have said they are having problems obtaining a spare part.

However, as I am well aware there are some of the residents in the court have heart problems and others also with severe arthritis so the lack of a working lift it is taking its toll.

As a result of hearing this I made direct contact with a senior council officer and am delighted that there was a very fast response and later the same day I heard that an engineer had been on site with the required part and the lift was repaired later that day.

From:: David May

The war on drugs has failed.
At a time when prisons are becoming increasingly overcrowded, 42,000 people in England and Wales are imprisoned each year for drug possession offences, their only crime being the possession of a substance for their own use.
This comes at a hefty cost to the taxpayer of about £15 billion a year.
Is it really worth that much money to imprison people who have brought harm to nobody?
Should we not be focusing our efforts on the organised criminals who run these drug empires rather than people who have done nothing but possess these illicit goods?
A peace treaty needs to be signed and this war on drugs must come to an end so that a more effective route can be taken in protecting the British people from harmful substances and in my opinion, the best place to start in rethinking our strategy is by copying America and reevaluating our relationship with marijuana.
So here are my four reasons that we need to rethink our approach to Cannabis.

 

1. Criminalising Marijuana pushes business into the hands of criminals.

Criminal gangs often make their money from selling drugs. If you can buy your weed at Tesco then criminals will have less money to buy guns and other bad guy stuff. They might even have to get a real job! That can’t be a bad thing right?

But taking our supply of cannabis out of the hands of criminals has other benefits too. When you’re shopping for food, which do you prefer? Going to a supermarket where you know that all of the food meets a high standard of quality and you are confident of what’s in the product you’re buying or would you rather buy dodgy bits of unlabeled meat from a dealer in an alleyway, without even being certain of what’s in it?
It’s exactly the same with cannabis. When things are illegal they’re unregulated.
However, if Tesco ever does start to sell weed, you might want to check your joints for horse meat before you smoke them.

 

2. Weed isn’t actually that bad for you.

No study to date has managed to show a link between cannabis smoking and lung cancer, even if there were a link, that doesn’t seem to affect the legality of smoking *cough* cigarettes *cough*!
However, even if cannabis does have some adverse effects, should we as adults not have the freedom to weigh the pros and cons and decide for ourselves? Many things in society are harmful to us either physically or mentally whether it be alcohol, cigarettes, unhealthy food or crossing the street before the green man lights up.
The point is, can we not be trusted to use cannabis in a safe and moderate way, just like we are trusted with alcohol and Big Macs? As long as we bother no one else whilst using it then I see no real crime.

 

3. Cannabis legalisation would raise a lot of money.

It was recently calculated that legalising cannabis would raise £900 million in Scotland alone. In a time of austerity when our Government is penny pinching in every way it can, would this money not be hugely welcomed?
This money raised through taxation, partnered with the money we’re saving from not imprisoning harmless stoners would be a massive aid in funding our schools and the NHS.
We would probably see a boom in profits for food suppliers as well…

 

4. America seems to be doing ok.

 Since the full legalisation of Marijuana in Colorado, there has been a 10.1% decrease in overall crime and a 5.2% drop in violent crime, the state raised over $10 million in taxes in the first four months which is being put into public schools and infrastructure and the marijuana industry is creating thousands of jobs and lowering unemployment.
Talk about a wonder-drug, right?

 

It’s clear that despite our governments best efforts, the war on drugs has failed. Whilst some drugs are very obviously dangerous and deserve to be illegal, what we need is a sensible, science-based approach to things like Marijuana as we’re massively wasting resources on tackling a victimless crime.
This is why the Liberal Democrats are planning to end the use of imprisonment for possession of drugs for personal use, diverting resources towards tackling organised drug crime instead, as a first step towards reforming the system.

You can find out more about the LibDem’s approach to drugs at http://www.libdems.org.uk/the-time-for-action-on-drugs-reform-is-now 

 

 

Apr/15

16

Development and Enterpise committee meeting

By David May

This is what I said at the meeting

In the backdrop of collapsing oil prices and job losses in the oil industry I am delighted to welcome the news for the Montrose and Angus economy that GE Oil & Gas is undertaking a £11 million investment in the town.

It is also very good news about the take up of Economic Development property in our area but I have concerns as there seems to be hardly any space left.

I have particular concerns about Lauries application for the airfield, and also the developments near the harbour as they might be under threat due to the lack of Scottish Government action to build a much needed flyover at Laurencekirk.

I asked the Chief Executive about the threat to economic development in Montrose and Angus of being able to attract oil related jobs and off shore wind jobs due to the lack of a flyover, and he seemed to agree with me when he said that there was a risk that future jobs were at risk if no flyover is built. It appears that there may be problems with getting planning permission and then attracting jobs will be threatened.

The Scottish Government have massive underspends so I call on them to use some of this to build the flyover before Montrose and Angus loses much needed growth.

Angus campaigner Sanjay Samani backed the call by commenting “ The SNP have for almost 9 years ignored the calls to build the flyover and there is now no excuse to do it. They have the funds and by ignoring these calls they will now put future jobs in Montrose and in Angus at risk. “

From:: David May

Apr/15

16

U turn on the planned cuts

By David May

Unknown

This is what I said at the council meeting

I am delighted that the SNP administration have done a u turn on not making massive cuts they had planned on museum jobs and hours. This change came about following a meeting with staff and has meant we have kept our front line staff in post and the council have found the savings elsewhere.
Angus campaigner Sanjay Samani added “ This is very good news as the planned cuts would have have had a devastating affect on the museum service we offer but it is a great pity this change was not considered earlier as this must also have been appalling for the staff whose jobs were under threat”

I also commented “ I am personally well aware of the very quality staff we have in our museum service across the county, and in particular in Montrose through visiting their exhibitions, but also due to the role they played in the superb exhibition that they put together for the 450 years of Montrose golf links when I chaired the 450 Golf committee. As I am now involved in planning the bi-centenary exhibition of Montrose Academy I am delighted that there will be no cut in the hours and staffing. Putting these exhibitions together is expensive and it would be more difficult to attract funding if the hours the museums are open are cut so the u turn is welcomed.’

Picture of Sanjay Samani outside the museum with Angus resident Elisabeth Wilson.

From:: David May

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Printed (Hosted) by 1&1 Internet Limited, Aquasulis House, 10-14 Bath Road, Slough, SL1 3SA. Promoted by Peter Bellarby on behalf of Robert Smith (Scottish Liberal Democrats), both at South Linn, 13 Westfield Road, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, AB39 2EE, and by David May on behalf of Sanjay Samani (Scottish Liberal Democrats), both at Evanston, Lamondfauld Lane, Montrose, Angus, DD10 9HX.

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