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

By David May

Lib Dem peer and former MSP, Jeremy Purvis, will co-chair the first meeting of the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Reform, Decentralisation, and Devolution in the United Kingdom.

The cross party group has been established with fellow co-chair and Labour peer Lord Foulkes.

Co-Chair of the All-Party Group, Lord Purvis said:

“The very existence of the United Kingdom is being tested this year with the Scottish referendum. The new All Party Group is designed to create the space in Parliament where we can discuss, debate and decide the future shape of the UK. I am really delighted that our first meeting has such significant figures taking part. It shows both the seriousness of the issue and the opportunities ahead for us.”

The first public meeting brings together Sir Menzies Campbell MP and Shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret Curran MP, former leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Lord Bourne, and other prominent figures in the debate on UK governance. Widely respected historian professor Lord Tennessy has accepted Jeremy’s invitation to chair the panel discussions of the figures from each party to discuss the future of the UK.

Jeremy added:

“Scottish Liberal Democrats under Willie Rennie’s leadership have been central in the debate on further strengthening the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote. The group I am co-chairing will be taking forward the wider cross party discussions on the way forward both for Scotland but also the whole of the UK. It will specifically be considering reform to the Westminster institutions and how the relationships between the nations, and governance within England can be improved.”

From: David May

By David May

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume today said that the SNP’s commitment to localism is purely cosmetic and attacked their record on protecting public services in town centres.

Mr Hume’s comments came as Scottish Government Ministers endorsed the ‘Town Centre First’ principle, which encourages public bodies such as Police Scotland to consider the consequences of removing town centre facilities before final decisions on closures are taken.

SNP justice reforms mean that dozens of Police stations in communities across Scotland will ultimately close to the public.

Commenting, Jim Hume MSP said:

“Any move to protect services in our towns is to be welcomed but it is rich for the SNP to claim that they are encouraging the public sector to invest in town centres.

“This is a government that has overseen the withdrawal of key Police services and courts from communities around Scotland. They have centralised control over front line Fire control centres and often it seems like they will take power away from town halls at every opportunity.

“Their commitment to localism seems purely cosmetic.

“The withdrawal of these key public services from towns has not happened despite the SNP’s reforms. It is the direct consequence of the decisions they have taken in government.”

From: David May

By David May

I agree with Scottish Lib Dems Jeremy Purvis on his comments that the SNP’s economic policy is in tatters and that they need to come clean on whether they would cut spending or increase taxes more than the rest of the UK, as the new oil and gas estimates show that the SNPs projections on oil and gas revenues are over stead. It is clear that it is absurd to base their economic policy on volatile oil prices.

Scottish Liberal Democrat peer Jeremy Purvis today described new oil and gas estimates from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) as a hammer blow to the nationalist’s economic credibility.

In a letter to the convenor of the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee, Robert Chote, chair of the OBR, outlined revisions to their central projections of oil and gas revenues that would reduce North Sea income by £20.6 billion by 2040-41.

Commenting, Jeremy Purvis said:

“What these figures underline is the folly of basing your entire economic policy on a volatile and declining resource. The gap between the oil and gas assumptions upon which the SNP based the White Paper and the independent assessment of the OBR is now wider than it has ever been.

“There is now a near universal view from experts that an independent Scotland would have to raise taxes or cut spending further than the rest of the UK to pay for the SNP’s plans. These new projections are another hammer blow to the nationalist’s economic credibility. It is time we saw a little honesty from the Yes camp about what their plans would mean for spending on key public services.”

From: David May

Jul/14

15

Good news about Montrose Infirmary

By David May

As I have campaigned for the re-opening of our Montrose Infirmary I am very pleased to be told that the GP Unit at the Infirmary will also be open for admissions from Wednesday, 16 July. This is obviously good news for so many people in the Montrose area and I am aware that is very welcome.

Apparently, there are currently six Montrose patients being cared for at Brechin. The individual patients will be clinically assessed, in consultation with their own GP, to see if transfer to the GP Unit at Montrose Infirmary is appropriate.

As fas as the Community Maternity Unit at the infirmary is concerned it has been fully operational including a full range of maternity services since Saturday, 21 June.and the NHS Tayside have stated that here have been two births in the unit this week and all services are back to business as usual.

From: David May

By David May

Excellent news that our police been conducting these raids on these legal high shops like the one in Montrose called ‘Evape-o-lution’, as I have heard that substances have been sold in those shops which may not be legal and may be dangerous. It is clear that people have been hospitalised and increasingly more have died across our country through taking those New Psychoactive Substances or so called legal ( or some are calling lethal) substances so the more that can be done by the justice system the better.

As a local councillor I call on the owners of these shops to show moral responsibility and put the health of young and not so young people first and close these shops down now.

Montrose Review article

“A Montrose shop was the target of a police raid as part of a regional operation against so-called ‘legal highs’ this week.

‘Evape-o-lution’ on the town’s High Street was one of three shops in the Tayside region which was the subject of the co-ordinated raid on Monday (July 7).

The other premises that were searched were similar ‘head shops’ in Arbroath and Perth.

Executing warrants in respect of drug searches and reckless conduct, a full search team of 11 officers and a sniffer dog searched the Montrose shop looking for items that fell into either category.

The Area Commander, Chief Inspector Gordon Milne, told the Review: “Monday saw the execution of several search warrants granted to Police Scotland to enter various properties, search for and then seize articles and other evidence which we believe will be evidence of criminal
acts.

“This follows on from months of intelligence gathering and enquiries by Angus based officers into the sale and supply of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

“We are working very closely with the Crown Office and Procurators Fiscal Service both locally and nationally as much of our work in terms of dealing with the supply of NPS is legally ground-breaking.

“The physical evidence which we secured on Monday will be assessed over the next couple of weeks, which will then dictate the future directions of our enquiries.

“Ultimately, as soon as possible, we hope to submit reports to the Procurator
Fiscal.

“I am delighted with the way in which the operation has gone and I am proud of my officers in the way in which they have worked tirelessly on this issue, as I am extremely aware of the significant public concerns there are across Angus with regards to the supply and sale
of NPS.”

From: David May

Jul/14

8

YM garden progress

By David May

As vice chair of the YM, I have visited the YM garden near Strathmore Place in Montrose and have been very impressed with the progress which has been made.

David Pullar of local professional gardening company Pullar Horticulture has
given his invaluable advice and help to Val Cooper and the YM staff in planting a wide variety of shrubs and herbaceous perennials which have been generously donated to the
YM. David has not only dug in and watered the plants but assisted by advising where the plants should be located for best visual effect. The work which has been done has
very considerably enhanced the garden and thanks are due by the YM to David and his staff Gabi Ujhelyi (Garden Designer) and Craig Milne (gardening assistant) for the hard work they put in.

From: David May

Jul/14

7

Child Abuse Inquiries hugely welcome

By Sanjay Samani

The announcement today that there will be inquiries into historic child abuse allegations is a huge step forward for this country. It is a real indication that child abuse needs to finally be brought out of the shadows and something we need to listen to, stop hiding, stop being silent about and start challenging.

You can read about plans for inquiry in allegations against MPs and a wider enquiry by clicking here.

Lib Dem MP Tess Munt was magnificent on BBC Radio 4′s PM programme this afternoon – standing up for children and being open with her own experiences of abuse. I heard it on the way to canvassing this evening and I was humbled by what I heard and felt immensely proud that Tessa is a Lib Dem MP, standing up for victims, standing up for the forgotten, standing up for those that need our help.

You can listen to Tess Munt’s interview by clicking here.

As an adoptive parent and as someone who is deeply aware of the impact of child abuse; whether it be physical, mental or sexual, today’s developments are highly welcome. It feels as if we have opened a new chapter in bringing justice to the victims of decades of abuse.

If the legacy of the catastrophes of the behaviour of Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Cyril Smith and others is a sea change in our attitudes to child abuse and our willingness to discuss it openly, challenge it as unacceptable and also brings forward justice, support and resolution for victims

The wide ranging needs to have no limitations and investigate what was known and covered up by Government departments, by the BBC, by institutions and by the Catholic Church. No stone should be left uncovered, no voice unheard.

We need to transform our culture where too many people cannot cope with hearing about child abuse, refuse to believe what they hear or see and are too willing to remain silent.

I highly welcome today’s developments and as an MP would fight to ensure that the inquiry meets the needs of victims who at all times should remain the primary focus.



From: Sanjay Samani

By David May

Alison McInnes, MSP for North East Scotland, has called for an urgent investigation into local ambulance delays after new figures uncovered by Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed they took more than 20 minutes to respond to life-threatening incidents in the North East on hundreds of occasions in the last year.

In Dundee ambulances took longer than 20 minutes to responds to life-threatening ‘category A’ emergency calls on 30 occasions in 2013-14. The other areas most frequently seeing ambulances taking longer than 20 minutes to respond to a category A calls included Arbroath (25 occasions), Montrose (20) and Forfar (7).

David May commented “As a Montrose and Angus councillor I have real concerns about the delay our constituents are facing in ambulances taking longer than 20minutes to respond to life-threatening incidents and I support Mrs. McInnes in calling for an investigation into this”

The Scottish Government response time target for a ‘category A’ incident is 8 minutes.

Alison McInnes, MSP for North East Scotland, has called for an urgent investigation into these delays and warned the Scottish Government needs to do more to ensure response times improve.

Alison McInnes MSP commented: “Our Ambulance Service does fantastic, life-saving work in our communities every day. But I think Ambulance Service staff would be amongst the first to recognise that the figures for towns and cities across the North East are hugely concerning.

“When people suffer serious health problems like heart attack or stroke, a rapid response is crucial. But on hundreds of occasions during the last year alone it took 20 minutes or longer to reach people in the North East involved in a life-threatening situation.

“In the most remote parts of the North East, reaching emergency response targets is always likely to be a challenge. However, people will have questions over why some of our largest towns and cities are amongst the worst performers in Scotland.

“The 8 minute target for responses to serious incidents was introduced for good reason. The Scottish Government needs to look closely at why it is being missed and why so many patients in our area have been forced to wait more than twice as long to receive medical assistance.

“Ministers need to look again at the support they offer our local ambulance teams to help get these response times downbu

From: David May

By David May

I believe that there has been no retraction or apology of the tweet from the SNP councillor but instead a restatement of his position and I am very disappointed that he has not seen sense and apologised for his tweet. As Scots we have always been tolerant of the views of others, and as politicians we should be conducting ourselves in a much more civilised way than this. After the Independence vote whatever the result we will have to work together and comments like those from this councillor does not help.

I have challenged my SNP MSP to comment on what this SNP councillor has said, and hopefully persuade the councillor to apologise to those in Angus and elsewhere who vote no.

SNP councillor sparks Twitter row with “second class Scots” comment – Courier article

An Angus councillor has come under fire after he described people who vote against Scottish independence as “second class Scots”. SNP councillor Bill Duff made the remarks in an exchange on Twitter, which has spiralled into a debate on acceptable standards for politicians.
In conversation with Edinburgh political blogger Kevin Hague @kevverage, Mr Duff said anyone voting against Scottish independence on September 18 is a “second class Scot”.The tweet now appears to have been deleted. His comments ruffled feathers among pro-Union elected members and it is understood moves are under way to refer the matter to the Standards Commission.
Mr Duff wrote: “The choice is do you want to be first class Scot, running your own country or a second class one that lets someone else?”
. 19 Jun
. Kevin Hague @kevverage @BillNorAngus @RichardLucas3 so you’re calling me a second class scot?

Bill Duff @BillNorAngus
Follow
@kevverage @RichardLucas3 if you want someone else to run your company? Yes.
7:22 PM – 19 Jun 2014 Hillside, United Kingdom
1 RETWEET
Reply
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Mr Hague stated: “So you’re calling me a second class Scot?” The response was: “If you want someone else to run your company (country)? Yes.”
Arbroath councillor David Fairweather called for a retraction of the comment, and said it is “worrying” if Mr Duff’s views are held in common with SNP colleagues. He added that he would consider reporting the matter to the Standards Commission if no retraction is forthcoming.
He said: “Comments like that will endear no one to the Nationalist cause, will cause deep offence to all Scots whether they are voting yes or no, and to be perfectly honest that kind of drivel is best consigned to where it belongs, the bin, as it has no place in the referendum debate.”
Mr Duff could not be contacted by The Courier despite repeated attempts, but fellow Montrose councillor and Liberal Democrat member David May said he “should apologise” over the matter. “It is very disappointing to read this tweet that all ‘no’ voters are being called second-class citizens. “The tweeter should apologise for this comment to all no voters.
“As Scots we should be able to disagree with each other and our differences should be conducted in a much more civilised manner.”
Independent Montrose councillor Mark Salmond said politicians “should think before they speak” on social media. “We shouldn’t label people based on their political preferences,” he said. “And we can’t differentiate citizenship based on what can be deeply-held personal beliefs.“If you’re in the public domain you have to be very careful in what you say – this is just silly.”
A spokesman for the Better Together Angus group said the outburst “goes against the spirit of the whole campaign”.
Derek Wann added: “It is an absolute disgrace that Mr Duff has said this, especially on social media and surely in this democratic country we all have the right to our opinions without an elected representative calling us second-class Scots. “I would ask that he withdraws his remarks immediately.”

From: David May

By Sanjay Samani

The letter below was published in The Courier on Friday, 4th July, which you can find online by clicking here.

Dear Sir,
I was very disappointed to hear your report about the behaviour of Kathy Wiles, Labour’s candidate for Angus for the General Election next year. Comparing the children of Yes Scotland campaigners to Hitler Youth and calling for Jeremy Clarkson to be shot are unacceptable. It is welcome that she has resigned as candidate and apologised for her comments.
Angus Labour and the Scottish Labour Party need to be open about how Kathy Wiles was selected as their Westminster candidate, what vetting process was in place and whether they had made even some basic checks on her opinions and behaviour. It seems they have had little regard or respect for Angus voters by selecting someone with such nasty views.
We have seen similar actions by the notorious CyberNats, such as the horrendous treatment of J K Rowling since her decision to back the Better Together Campaign and the heckling down of Willie Rennie MSP at a debate in Dunfermline.
The tone of the Independence debate has plunged in recent weeks. Both Better Together and Yes Scotland should strongly condemn any personal attacks on supporters of the other side of the debate. Angus and Mearns Lib Dems have maintained a positive, friendly approach to the debate throughout.
It is time we stopped the nastiness towards our neighbours and accept that we are all trying to find what is best for Scotland. We may have a big difference of opinion on whether that is to stand united or split up our family, but we are all striving for the best outcome.
Angus voters deserve a better level of debate from both sides of the Independence debate and they deserve Westminster candidates who will respect all sides of the political debate.
Yours,
Sanjay Samani

From: Sanjay Samani

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