City Council tonight

Following my ward surgeries at West Park Centre and the Mitchell Street Centre this afternoon, I participated in tonight’s City Council meetings.
Immediately prior to the meetings starting, along with councillor colleagues, I signed the ‘Be The Change’ declaration to show support for people with learning disabilities – see below:
Representatives of all the groups on the City Council, together with the Chief Executive on behalf of Council employees, signed the declaration, which is part of a campaign organised by ENABLE Scotland, promoted by local organisation Advocating Together (Dundee) to stop the use of offensive and hurtful language towards people with learning disabilities.    The message of the campaign is – don’t put up with it, don’t use it, let’s lose it!   
The major issue tonight at council committees was the debate over the V&A Museum of Design Dundee budget at Policy and Resources Committee.   On behalf of all the opposition members, I put forward the following amendment :
Dundee City Council – Policy and Resources Committee – 26th January 2015
Item 4 – Construction of the V&A Museum of Design, Dundee
Amendment by Councillor Fraser Macpherson
Add  :
2.1.4    notes the Chief Executive’s intention, as discussed in Para 9.3, to carry out a full review of the background to the project and its cost, but recognises that if such a review is to have any credibility it must be undertaken independently of Dundee City Council.    Committee therefore instructs the Chief Executive to engage with the External Auditor and appropriate bodies to ensure that an inquiry is established independent of Dundee City Council.    Committee also instructs that this inquiry should report its findings as soon as practicable.
In a lengthy debate, the administration conceded an independent chair for the enquiry (proposed to be procurement expert John McClelland) and establishment of a Project Board with equal representation of administration and opposition members.   After assurances given to me by the Chief Executive, I was able to withdraw the amendment.    It is now important that John McClelland’s review moves forward speedily and the project can learn from his findings to enable the V&A project to be delivered without further budget difficulty.
You can read more about the V&A discussion on the Evening Telegraph’s Twitter account and at The Courier.
Later this evening, I attended a meeting at the University of Dundee at which Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie spoke with students on a variety of issues.    Willie is pictured (below) after the meeting with my Dundee LibDem colleagues Daniel Coleman and Craig Duncan:

Willie Rennie’s Dundee visit today @willie_rennie

I was delighted, along with Dundee LibDem colleagues, to welcome Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, to Dundee today.
As well as media interviews and a walkabout in the West End, we also did door-knocking and speaking with local residents in Broughty Ferry.
Here’s some photographs from today :
With Willie and local party secretary Daniel Coleman at Riverside
Willie at Wave 102 Studios
Outside Dundee Contemporary Arts in Nethergate

LibDem campaigning in Leven!

Along with my Dundee local party Convener Craig Duncan, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie MSP and Tim Brett and his North East Fife LibDem team, I had a very enjoyable evening campaigning in a lovely, sunny Leven – a couple of photos below :
With Tim, Willie and Team in Leven
Willie, Craig and me – campaigning for a stronger Scotland after Scotland rejects independence

Willie Rennie’s New Year Message @willie_rennie @scotlibdems

“I am hopeful for 2014.  I’ve been checking the tea leaves and it’s going to be a good year.
I am confident the economy will continue to grow and that we’ll create more jobs, cut taxes further and increase pension higher.
I am also confident we’ll reaffirm Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom family of nations so we can share risk and reward for generations to come. We won’t undermine the progress by splitting Scotland from the UK.
My confidence also extends to a boost to nursery education to give children the best start in life.
And I am confident that there will be critical steps towards more powers through home rule for the Scottish Parliament.   Our plans means we can determine our destiny on the domestic agenda whilst sharing with the rest of the UK to benefit from the best of both worlds.
With this progress we are anchoring the UK in the centre ground.  Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society so that everyone can get a chance to get on.
We can’t trust Labour to deliver a stronger economy, we can’t trust the Conservatives to deliver fairness and the SNP are too obsessed with independence to deliver either.
Scotland has a shop window to the world with the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and decision on our constitutional future.  Rarely will we get such an opportunity to show who we are and how we carry ourselves.
This year we can also discover a bit more about who we are and what makes our country tick.  
I think we will show the world we are an outward looking, confident, compassionate and economically thriving nation.  That we are proud Scots who want to share in good times and in bad with our friends in Liverpool, Manchester and people right across the UK.
But to make this year the great success we want it to be we need everyone in Scotland to be a part of it.  It’s now up to you.”

Christmas messages from Nick Clegg and Willie Rennie @nick_clegg @willie_rennie

As we mark the loss of close friends and distant heroes it’s important to take a moment to think and reflect on the year.
Christmas is also a time to make a special effort to reach out to others.  Whether it be the distant friend, the estranged family member or the quiet neighbour, Christmas is a good excuse to make new.


It’s also a time to reflect on the year past with its successes and its challenges. It’s no different for me.  

The progress with the Liberal Democrats in the last year has been significant.

We’re delivering our £700 tax cut for those on low and middle incomes.

Pensions are rising thanks to the Liberal Democrat triple lock that guarantees decent increases every year.

There’s higher employment with over 1 million new jobs in the private sector.

And the economy is growing with improving prospects for years to come.

We’re building a stronger economy and a fairer society so that everyone can get a chance to get on. Without the Liberal Democrats this would not be happening.  

Scotland is heading in the right direction thanks to the action taken by Liberal Democrats in Government. We are anchoring politics in the centre ground.

But we don’t like to stand still as there is so much more to do.

That’s why we are pressing the Scottish Government to improve early education, particularly for two year olds, to match what is being delivered in England by the Liberal Democrats in Government. We know it can change lives for the better.

Despite the Scottish Government’s White Paper we still don’t know what the nationalists’ independence plans will mean.  It is no less risky because of the White Paper.  And why would we undermine the progress we are making with the UK economy, cutting taxes, increasing pensions and more jobs by breaking up the country. We should share that progress together. 

It’s why we’re also making the case for more powers for the Scottish Parliament with the Liberal Democrat Home Rule plans.  With more tax and constitutional power we can determine our own destiny on the domestic agenda whilst sharing risk and reward with the family of nations that is the UK.  It’s the best of both worlds.

My compliments of the season to all.”