Yesterday’s election – our many thanks

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.

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Campaigning in the West End for Fairer Votes!

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.”

Liberal Democrats campaigning for local policing

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

Leading Dundee campaigner chosen for Dundee East

Announcement from Dundee Liberal Democrats this afternoon :
Dundee Liberal Democrats have today announced the selection of well known Dundee community activist and child protection campaigner Allan Petrie, as their Scottish Parliamentary Candidate for the Dundee East.

Allan has a wealth of experience in representing people and working to improve local communities. He served as Dundee City Councillor for Pitkerro Ward from 1999 to 2003. Although elected as an SNP councillor, he left the party given increasing concerns about the direction of the SNP, and he joined the Liberal Democrats four years ago.

Allan has also served as chairperson on many community groups as well as serving on the advisory group of the national Community Voices Network that held Ministers to account for their policies on the regeneration of local communities, until that body was abolished by the SNP Government.

Allan said, “I have put my name forward due to many people asking me to stand as they are fed up of politicians who not only make promises they do not keep but also spend more time trying to run our lives instead of the country.

“The people of Dundee are fed up of being treated as second class citizens by this government. Despite promises, Dundee citizens still have to pay for parking at Ninewells Hospital and still experiencing real deprivation while this government and local council play about with the cosmetics of the issues.

“We need to tackle the social, economic and physical regeneration of our communities by giving more power to the communities themselves. Local communities know what the problems are and how they can be fixed and I will campaign at local community level on behalf of all the citizens of Dundee East.”