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

Apr/15

21

Legal Highs Group in Scottish Government

By David May

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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

Apr/15

16

The SNP have centralised the life out of Tayside

By Sanjay Samani

The Scottish Lib Dems have published a report showing the impact on SNP centralisation on Scotland.

You can read the full report here: The SNP have centralised the life out of Scotland.

The impact just for Tayside has been:

What has been lost:

  • Perth & Kinross Council, Dundee City Council and Angus Council stripped of financial responsibility.
  • Tayside Police abolished and their Dundee HQ scrapped.
  • Police public counters closed in Auchterarder, Blairgowrie, Brechin, Carnoustie, Crieff, Kinross, Longhaugh, Maryfield and Montrose.
  • Arbroath Sheriff Court closed.
  • Tayside Fire and Rescue Service abolished and their Dundee HQ scrapped.
  • Local Tayside Enterprise company board disbanded and now controlled centrally.
  • NHS capital funding decisions for up to 22 local hospitals now made in Edinburgh.
  • Angus College and Dundee College merged, losing local links.

What has been given:

  • Policing with centrally imposed stop and search targets up 236% in Perth & Kinross, 325% in Angus and 102% in Dundee even though the police admit there is “no robust evidence” it works.
  • Armed police routinely patrolling even the smallest towns and villages.
  • Local health services which miss important treatment time targets for children and young people suffering from mental ill-health.

From:: Sanjay Samani

Apr/15

12

Seagull nesting action

By David May

Just a reminder about what can be done if local residents have gulls nesting in their home. This was a policy and service which I campaigned for, and was passed in the last administration of Angus council

From Wednesday, April 15, the local authority will resume its free gull egg and nest removal service which is available to householders and tenants.

And those affected by seagulls nesting at their homes are urged to get in contact while action can still be taken.

An Angus Council spokesperson said: “The free service is available during the period when gulls are typically building nests or have eggs in a nest.

“We encourage residents to make contact before the eggs have been laid as we are unable to undertake treatments after the eggs have hatched.

“For further information, or to have gull egg and nests removed, please contact ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778.”

Please note that this free service does not apply to commercial premises whichwill still be expected to deal with gull nests as part of their general maintenance programme and meet the cost involved.

From:: David May

Apr/15

11

Borrowfield Playground Improvements

By David May

Excellent news for youngsters in Borrowfield that Playground Improvement Works at Borrowfield will be taking place soon. I have been informed that the work will start on the 20th April and it is expected that the work will take place about four weeks. The work consists of the replacement of most of the existing play equipment and safety surfacing with the exception of one item which is to remain.

From:: David May

By David May

The nomination papers were accepted today for Sanjay Samani as the Scottish Lib Dem candidate for Angus Constituency at the forthcoming general election. Cllr David May who is acting as Sanjay’s agent commented “ Our party are delighted that Sanjay has agreed to be our candidate as he is a very hard working Angus activist who has been involved in various of our local campaigns such as the closure of the legal highs shop, a flyover at Laurencekirk and lack of action by Police Scotland on parking in our burghs.

Sanjay added “Sanjay added, “I was honoured to be selected as the Scottish Lib Dem candidate for Angus again. Angus needs an MP who will ensure that the local economy and local jobs continue to grow. We need to finish the job of repairing the economy, ruined by Labour, but do it fairly.”

“For that to happen, Scotland needs to remain part of the UK, as it has already voted to do. It need to remain part of the EU. We need to balance Government spending and cut the deficit, but do so fairly. The SNP want to take us out of the UK against Angus voters’ wishes.”

“The Tories risk taking us out of the EU, which will ruin our local economy and jobs, and they want all their cuts to fall on some of the poorest. Both Labour and the SNP are committed to borrowing far too much, which threatens to ruin our economy again. Only with a Lib Dem MP can Angus be confident of a fair economic recovery.”

“In Government, Lib Dems have cut taxes for ordinary people, raised taxes on the wealthy, created millions of new jobs and apprenticeships and got our economy growing again. We have restored the link between pensions and earnings, taken away by Margaret Thatcher. And we have delivered more powers to Scotland.”

“In the next government, there we will deliver even more – even lower taxes for ordinary people, higher taxes for the wealthy and more powers for Scotland. Only the Lib Dems have committed to giving the NHS the extra £8bn it will need, which will mean £800m extra for Scotland. We have also committed to make sure that Mental Health is treated equally with physical illness.”

From:: David May

Apr/15

10

Some issues of concern of the elderly

By David May

Recently, I have had meetings with several elderly people about issues they are concerned about. This has included real worries about the removal of the council home help service and the potential loss of home helps who have made all the difference to the lives of some. I have as result made contact with the council to seek reassurance for those sometimes very vulnerable and frail residents. Self directed support has also been raised with me and I have also liaised with council staff about this. Council cuts to funding of our day care centre has been another issue of concern and I went over the council thinking on this.

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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