I am not long back from the AV referendum count at DISC after three hours sleep last night and a 22.5 hour working day on polling day, so I’ll try to keep this necessarily short …
The election result has been exceptionally disappointing for the Liberal Democrats and in Dundee it was no different. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who voted Scottish Liberal Democrats in Dundee yesterday and also place on record my appreciation to Alison Burns in Dundee City West, Allan Petrie in Dundee City East and our team of party workers for all their hard-working efforts in such difficult circumstances.
The SNP has won a famous victory across Scotland and they deserve congratulation for their slick, professional campaign. They have promised the earth. Their majority government has no excuses for failure to deliver. So let’s wait to see the effect of on council services of their unfunded 5 year Council Tax freeze, how long they put off an independence referendum, and if they deliver on the many other costly promises they have made.
I am by nature a party loyalist, and my natural instinct is always to be supportive to the party and the leadership. But I am gutted at what happened the Scottish Liberal Democrat vote in Scotland yesterday and the loss of so many good, hard-working MSPs. I am awfully relieved at the re-election of our North East regional MSP Alison McInnes and at the election of Willie Rennie to the parliament – the Scottish LibDem MSP to watch. But I cannot pretend it was anything remotely like a half decent night for the Scottish Liberal Democrats. But we’ll bounce back. In the immortal words of Yazz, the only way is up.
Another beautiful morning in the West End whilst campaigning for Alison Burns – this photo was taken in Pentland earlier today :
Dundee City West Liberal Democrat candidate Alison Burns was featured in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday.
With a varied career, starting as the first female apprentice at Timex, becoming a lawyer, running a hugely successful artist management company and having a career as a superb jazz singer, Alison has a bit more to offer than run of the mill career politicians
Residents have really warmed to Alison’s campaign and she is indeed jazzing up the hustings and adding sparkle to the campaign in Dundee City West!
Liberal Democrats in Dundee were today quick off the mark in formally adopting well known Dundee lawyer and jazz singer Alison Burns as their parliamentary candidate for the re-named “Dundee City West” parliamentary seat, that includes the West End.
Brought up in Downfield, Alison became one of the first female apprentice engineers at Timex in 1977, before going on to have success as a professional actress working at Dundee Rep and on TV shows for Channel 4 and BBC Scotland.
Her career as a singer also took off and she worked with Danny Wilson, Michael Marra and co-founded the well-known Dundee singing group The Penny Dainties.
Having gained a law degree at the University of Dundee in the 1990s, Alison worked as a solicitor for Thorntons WS in Dundee and Arbroath before moving on to becoming a consultant for a leading London law firm. In 2001 she co-founded a successful music company.
Alison also sits on the board of Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) as an external trustee and is a practising solicitor specialising in Intellectual Property law.
On becoming parliamentary candidate Alison said, “It’s a real honour to have been selected as the LibDem parliamentary candidate for Dundee City West, the city where I was born, grew up in and love.
I am not a career politician but I got involved in politics because I feel passionate about creating a fairer Scotland and a more prosperous and vibrant Dundee.
I am personally meeting with as many local residents as possible in order to act on their concerns and to establish a credible alternative to Labour and the SNP in Dundee.”
My Dundee Liberal Democrat colleagues – parliamentary candidates Alison Burns (Dundee City West) and Allan Petrie (Dundee City East) have met up with Alison McInnes, Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Scotland, in the West End to show their support for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign. They are pictured below in Taylor’s Lane.
Alison Burns said, “At the moment, MPs can be elected with fewer than one vote in three. With fairer votes, MPs would have to aim to get more than 50% of the vote to be sure of winning. This is good for democracy.”
Allan Petrie added, “We need political reform now and the Alternative Vote is our best chance. For far too long we’ve had a situation where a monkey could get elected just by wearing the right colour of rosette.
That must change if we want the right people in government taking decisions on our behalf. We must say goodbye to First Past the Post, and vote Yes to AV.”
Alison McInnes MSP said, “I am delighted that Dundee Liberal Democrats are campaigning for a YES vote on 5th May. The campaign for Fairer Votes is gathering momentum in Dundee and across Scotland.”
As featured on tonight’s STV News and on local radio, North East Scotland MSP Alison McInnes, together with myself and Dundee Liberal Democrat colleagues, today launched a petition outside Tayside Police’s Headquarters that invites the public to support the campaign to stop Scotland’s emergency services being centralised into Scotland-wide force.
Alison then visited the Broughty Ferry and West End shopping areas to meet local people and explain why she and the Liberal Democrats oppose the abolition of Tayside Police and Tayside Fire and Rescue and believe that centralised police and fire services would be to the detriment of areas of Scotland outside Strathclyde & the central belt.
Alison said, “The SNP Scottish Government is aggressively pursuing the creation of a single nationwide police force and a one-size fits all approach to policing. It is clear that this proposal is being driven by personal preference rather than facts.
“However the Justice Minister has failed to give any details of where the £200 million savings that he purports will be made is to be found. In reality, it will be hugely expensive, increase political interference and could reduce the number of officers on the beat. Indeed there are fears that the proposals could result in the loss of up to 4,000 officers across Scotland.”
Allan Petrie, former Dundee Councillor and now Convener of Dundee Liberal Democrats, added, “The Scottish Government has failed to account for the costs of implementing a merger. This could amount to millions of pounds and was the reason similar plans were previously scrapped both here and in England and Wales.
“Tayside is already one of the most efficient police forces in the country. It would be extremely foolish to see an efficient force like Tayside become part of a Scotland wide force, to the detriment of the people of Dundee, Angus and Perthshire.”
Allan added that a merged Fire Service could result in re-opening the debate over the future of the Balmossie Fire Station. He said it was very clear that the people in Barnhill, Monifieth and across Broughty Ferry who are served by Balmossie do not want to see the fire station downgraded and he was concerned that, in a single Scotland-wide fire service, local voices would be drowned out.
Alison Burns, Liberal Democrat candidate for Dundee City West, said, “Inevitably, with a single force run from either Edinburgh or Glasgow, bureaucrats would be given far too much say over local policing without full awareness of local circumstances and issues.
“This policy poses the greatest challenge to our local police service for a generation and would be disastrous for Dundee and Tayside.”
From my own perspective, it is clear, speaking to constituents in the West End today that they are very concerned by these Fire Service and Policing centralisation proposals. People in Dundee value local Police and Fire services and centralising the services into a national service is something they view with concern.
THE PETITION READS :
“We are concerned that a one-size-fits-all approach to our emergency services will leave our area worse off. We are concerned that it will lead to a loss of local accountability, increase political interference and reduce the numbers of officers on the beat and firefighters in our local fire stations.
Help Alison and the local Scottish Liberal Democrats oppose the proposed centralisation of the Police and our Fire and Rescue Services by signing our petition and returning it to: Alison McInnes, Dundee Liberal Democrats, Freepost SCO3668, Dundee, DD4 7ZR.
“I/We the undersigned oppose any moves toward a single nationwide Police Force or Fire and Rescue Service”.
Some photos from today :
Above: From Left – Me, Alison McInnes, Alison Burns and Allan Petrie
Above : Alison McInnes in the West End
Above : From left – Alison McInnes, Alison Burns and I take the petition to Blackness Fire Station
Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, was in Dundee earlier today and, along with our two Dundee LibDem parliamentary candidates Alison Burns and Allan Petrie, I had the pleasure of meeting him during his visit.
The photograph below is of (from left) Allan Petrie, myself, Michael Moore and Alison Burns, pictured at RRS Discovery.
Following the announcement of her selection as the Lib Dem candidate Alison said, “It’s a real honour to have been selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Dundee West, the city where I was born, grew up in and love.
Brought up in Downfield in Dundee and educated at St. Columba’s Primary Dundee, Lawside Academy and the University of Dundee, Alison Burns brings wide ranging experience and energy to politics.
In 1992 she went to college and studied to attain the academic qualifications to be accepted into the Law Faculty at the University of Dundee. Upon graduation she worked as a solicitor for Thorntons WS in Dundee and Arbroath before moving on to becoming a consultant for leading London law firm.