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

By David May

NE Lib Dem MSP and Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP today called on SNP Ministers to help protect Scots from so-called ‘revenge porn’.

Ms McInnes was speaking after the House of Lords backed new UK government proposals that will see people posting private intimate images without consent face criminal sanctions in England and Wales.

Earlier this year, Scotland’s Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC called for new laws in Scotland to deal with individuals who post explicit images of others online without permission. Following the vote yesterday, Ms McInnes has written to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill calling on SNP Ministers to follow the lead that the UK Government has taken on this issue.

She has also tabled a Parliamentary Motion at Holyrood calling on the Scottish Government to bring forward legislative proposals to help tackle revenge porn.

In a letter to the Justice Secretary, Ms McInnes said:

“The House of Lords this week unanimously agreed to amend the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill to make revenge pornography a criminal offence in England and Wales. I am writing to urge the Scottish Government to follow its example and introduce specific legislation to tackle these vile and damaging acts.

“The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, has expressed concerns that there is significant under-reporting of this issue. It is important that victims don’t suffer in silence and know that they have done nothing wrong. I believe that introducing specific legislation to tackle these despicable and cowardly acts will give victims confidence that such violations of their privacy are unacceptable and illegal.

“In addition to empowering more people to seek justice, creating a specific criminal offence would help overcome any archaic attitudes towards the use of revenge pornography as a cruel tool to distress, embarrass, manipulate or humiliate someone.”

From: David May

By David May

Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said new figures showing an increase in the number of drug and weapons confiscations in Scottish prisons underline the scale of the challenge facing prison service staff as they work to keep inmates safe.

Cllr David May added “The information gained by Mrs Mcinnes reinforces the need for the need for the Tories to back the call not to block the information on what other countries do in their drugs policies, as it is is clear our present policy is a failure and the need to look at best practice elsewhere in the world and change what we in Scotland and the UK do.”

Ms McInnes was speaking after new figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats showed an 85% rise in the number of weapons confiscated from inmates between 2012 and 2013.

Statistics revealed in Freedom of Information requests also showed a 15% increase in the number of drugs confiscations over the same period. In 2012, 1328 articles of contraband were confiscated from prisoners. In 2013 this increased to 1538 articles.

Alison McInnes MSP commented: “The fact that more weapons and more drugs are being taken out of prisons is welcome. But there are serious questions over how these items found their way into cells in the first place.

“It is hard to see how inmates can commit themselves to rehabilitation programmes if they are living under the threat of violence. Similarly, it will be hugely challenging to help inmates overcome addiction if drugs and alcohol are freely available.

“These stark figures underline the scale of the challenge that our prison service staff are facing. The Justice Secretary needs to ensure that prison officers are getting all the support they need to help keep inmates safe as they serve their time.”

From: David May

Oct/14

20

Carrier Bag charge introduced.

By David May

I welcome the fact that a carrier bag charge has been introduced in Scotland for the first time. This means that all shoppers will now have to pay at least 5p per bag with the net proceeds going to local good causes. This applies not only to supermarkets but also all retailers across Montrose, Angus and Scotland. Scotland follows this being introduced in Wales 3 years ago and then last year by Northern Ireland.

According to the Scotland government our supermarkets last year issued 800 million plastic bags. It is clear to many of us that large numbers of these bags end up as litter in our area and we can see that in our towns,, the beach and countryside affecting many sorts of wildlife and marine species in particular so this move is to be welcomed.

The next step for our Scottish Government should be to meet the supermarkets to get them to take action on packaging, as this would massively cut back on the need for recycling and help reduce what is put into landfill.

From: David May

Oct/14

17

Angus and Mearns Lib Dems fund raiser

By David May

Last night at Brechin’ s excellent Northern Hotel, Angus Mearns Lib Dems held a meal and then a fund raising auction of promises for the party. There was attendance from NE MSP Alison McInnes, local councillors as well as members and friends from across the constituency. The evening was hosted by non party member Joe Wishart who was in his usual sparkling form and there was a large range of promises from party members. These promises included a self catering apartment in Alyth for a week, a guided tour of St. Andrews, soup, vegetarian meal, golf at local courses, language lessons, a meal for 6, and baking lessons.

The members were delighted to hear off a record sum raised for the party at a one of event and the money will help to future party activities.

From: David May

By David May

At the Lib Dem conference last week, I attended a fringe meeting on drugs and it was made clear that the Tories are blocking the reports on international comparisons of drugs policies and another on Legal Highs. I cannot understand why the Tories are doing this because drugs policy should be based on evidence and not on prejudice.

Due to the fact that the Tories are refusing to release these reports I have sent in Freedom of Information requests on both reports and there is no reason these reports should not be made public. As a Montrose councillor and member of the Montrose group against legal highs it is clear that that both drugs and the so called legal highs are causing huge problems in our country and in Angus. It is also evident that the present drugs policy is not working as we are losing the war against drugs and release of these reports is essential.

Sanjay Samani, Lib Dem campaigner for Angus commented, “Countries across the world are experimenting with new approaches to tackling the problem of drug abuse. Evidence is emerging that some of these approaches are producing real results and we need to be investigating which would work in this country.”

“Treating drug abusers as criminals without understanding the causes that lead to them turning to drugs fails the victims of drug crime and the families and children of drug users.”

“Reports into methods being used around the world should be published as soon as possible to identify the best approach for Scotland and the whole of the UK.”

Danny Kushlick, spokesman for the Transform Drug Policy Foundation who was a key speaker at the Lib Dems fringe meeting said “Both Tory and Labour governments have a long and shameful history of withholding drug policy analysis that contradicts the prohibitionist orthodoxy.

“Yet again they are playing power politics with the lives of ordinary people in order to maintain an illusion of safety and security. It is citizens’ right to see the evidence and it is the right of all of us to have policies that are genuinely effective, just and humane, and that provide health and security.”

Liberal Democrat Norman Baker, the drugs minister last week commented that the documents were gathering dust despite being ready for publication since July. There are concerns that the reports are being sat on because the department does not want to be seen to endorse less hardline drugs policies.

He blamed the Conservatives for blocking the reports and accused his Coalition partners of playing politics with addicts’ lives.

From: David May

By David May

I am totally supportive of our council’s new household kerbside recycling service which will very soon be in operation in the Montrose and Brechin area. I back not only the need for environmental reasons of recycling but also know that the cost of seining waste to landfill is very high and the more we can recycle the less we will have to cut from other much needed services.

I am aware that householders are being sent information about the new system and the new bin collection calendars. As a councillor I have already had some householders getting in touch with me as they have raised concerns about what has been suggested for their particular household and I have been in touch with council officers and when needed organised a site visit with them. This has led to some changes for the collection point following suggestions from the householders.

The timescale for the new system is that the new bins will be delivered over a four week period starting on 20 October and the first collections using the new system will start in the Brechin/Edzell area on 27 October. There are information displays about the new system in the libraries and ACCESS offices in Brechin and Montrose this week.

Anyone keen to find out more about how the system works is invited to drop in to one of the local roadshows next week and speak to the team. The roadshows are taking place between 10.30am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm at the following venues:

Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 October: Co-op, Trinity Road, Brechin

Wednesday 15 October: Tesco, Western Road, Montrose

Thursday 16 October: Co-op, Basin View, Montrose

Friday 17 October: Tesco, Western Road, Montrose
The new household recycling collection service comprises of:

a fortnightly collection of a new smaller purple bin for general waste
a fortnightly collection of the current grey bin, which becomes the new recycling bin for cardboard, paper, cans, plastics and glass
a weekly collection of the new indoor and outdoor food waste caddies
a fortnightly collection of the green garden waste bin

From: David May

Oct/14

9

Montrose museum exhibition

By David May

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There is a superb exhibition in our Montrose Museum which details the key role played by Montrose in the 1920′s Scottish Cultural Revolution. Having been to the exhibition I would certainly recommend a visit as there is much to see and also fascinating information about our town.

From: David May

By David May

It is good news that the cost of the Queensferry Crossing will be £50 million lower than previously estimated so as a Montrose and Angus councillor I call on Keith Brown the Scottish Transport minister to use some of the money saved on the much needed flyover between Laurencekirk and Marykirk. The reasons for the flyover have been made time and time again and the case is overwhelming, so Keith Brown can now at long last make the decision and get the work started. There is no reason for the delay as it clear that the funds are now there in the Scottish Government’s budget.

From: David May

Oct/14

2

Meeting on various traffic issues

By David May

Following complaints by several local residents I have arranged to met the council traffic officer next month to visit 3 sites round the town to discuss speeding and traffic issues. At the various locations we will meet and discuss the problems with the local residents where I hope we can agree on some solutions to the issues raised.

From: David May

Oct/14

2

Advice on electric blankets

By David May

Angus Care and Repair

I recommend that this advice on electric blankets is considered by everyone that has an electric blanket from the superb Angus Care and Repair, a service that does so much for so much for Angus residents.

“The life span of an electric blanket is approximately 5 years. Now that the colder months are approaching please make sure that you check the age and condition of your blanket before using. We can carry out an electric blanket test as part of our Home Safety survey and if you blanket fails we have single or double replacements to give out. The Home Safety service is free to people over 65 years of age or disabled people in Angus. One blanket per eligible client. Please call Helen on 01307 463232. Please note that there are only 16 single and 16 double blankets so ……………….. first come first served. Please feel free to share this post.”

From: David May

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Published and promoted by Sanjay Samani on behalf of David May, Alison Andrews, Kevin Barthorpe, Lorraine Barthorpe, Avril Simpson, Elizabeth Petrie, Jennifer Graham and Janet Cowan, all at Viewpark, Meethill Road, Alyth, PH11 8DE.

Published and promoted by Michael Reid on behalf of Peter Bellarby and David Fleming, all at 4 Robert Street, Stonehaven, AB39 2DN.

Published and promoted by Tom Fleming on behalf of William Howatson, both at Ramsay Place, Fettercairn, Laurencekirk, AB30 1XX.

© Angus and Mearns Liberal Democrats 2011-present.

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