Sanjay SamaniCampaigner for Angus, Stonehaven & Mearns

I can understand why a lot of people want to use humour to deal with Trump’s win. It helps us to rationalise something that feels incomprehensible to any liberal. And yet I find the humour profoundly uncomfortable and cannot bring myself to see the funny side.

As with Brexit, racist abuse is already on the rise in the US, along with homophobia, Islamaphobia and sexism. There have already been violent attacks both here in the UK and in the US. These attitudes towards others is becoming normalised in our society.

Trump Nazi Salue

People angry at being left behind have been told for decades that it is fault of “the other”, with no evidence to back up this easy explanation. They now feel emboldened to openly voice and enact their misogyny, homophobia, racism, hatred & bigotry.

Nigel Farage feels free to call Barack Obama a loathsome “creature”, and to suggest that Donald Trump “should schmooze May but not touch her”.

Racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamaphobia is now regularly voiced in public, radio and TV without being challenged. They are claimed to be legitimate grievances and dressed up as religious freedoms, concerns about immigration and support for family values. There is nothing legitimate about these attacks because they are baseless.

Many have been left behind in this recession, but they have been left behind by white, wealthy, middle aged, heterosexual men. Men like David Cameron, Tony Blair and George Osborn. White, wealthy, middle aged, heterosexual men like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage.

So I’m in no mood for humour. I am now an angry black man. I am now an angry feminist. I have a right to be angry. Hugely angry. I am in no mood to reconcile, be patient or unite with sexist, racist, homophobic bigots like Farage, Trump, Le Pen and their ignorant followers.

I have nothing in common with them, I find no humour in their ascendancy and am profoundly angry at the deceit, lies and self interest that led to their rise.

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.

I was delighted to be invited to the first General Election hustings hosted by Dundee & Angus College’s Arbroath Campus. The hustings, organised by students, took place on Wednesday at the Keptie Street Campus. I took the opportunity to meet with students on the Introduction to Construction course.

It was an excellent first hustings for the election campaign, with great chairing by Student President, Marc Winsland. It was also a real pleasure to meet the students on the Introduction to Construction course.

Sanjay visiting D&A College

Questions focussed on the job opportunities for young people, the impact of welfare changes, the lack of affordable housing and low pay. In addition there was a frank discussion about Further Education funding.

During the debate, I discussed the Lib Dem’s record in Government, delivering on our front page manifesto pledges from the 2010 election. We discussed the 1 million jobs created by the coalition, along with 2 million apprenticeships. To tackle low pay, we can point to the record increase in the minimum wage announced on Tuesday.

Lib Dems promised a £700 tax cut every year for workers. In today’s budget we announced that we have over-delivered, with a £900 tax cut every year from next April. I also pointed to our record on house building across the rest of the UK, with 190,000 additional affordable homes built.

I expressed disappointment that the Lib Dems have not been able to do more in blocking the Tories’ idealogical attacks on Welfare and Benefits. I called on the two main parties to end their rhetoric of treating those on benefits as being burdens on our society. Only then can we change the target culture in Job Centres which is leading to deeply unfair sanctions.

On Further Education funding, it was clear to everyone in the room that SNP could not lay the blame for massive cuts in College places and bursary funding on Westminster. The SNP Government have prioritised Universities at the expense of Further Education funding.

Colleges provide keys skills that Angus students need to get the jobs being created across the whole country. Skills that our local businesses desperately need to thrive. Colleges form a crucial part of the economy and education for Angus and Scotland.

That is why the Scottish Lib Dems have placed guaranteed education funding from nursery to College on the front page of our 2015 manifesto. As we demonstrated with the front page of the 2010 manifesto, the Lib Dems can be relied on to deliver on our headline commitments in government.

I was very saddened to read in The Courier on 9th March that 1/4 of Angus Council Staff and Angus Teachers who are off sick are, in fact, suffering with stress. Many of them will not be met with the understanding and sympathy they deserve, as Mental Health is poorly understood and there is a huge stigma attached to it.

Having been off work with stress myself last year, my heart goes out to all of them and hope that they are able to receive the support and treatment they desperately need. Personally, I was fortunate that I was getting great support from the magnificent Maggie’s Centre in Dundee, who have helped considerably in my recovery.

The figures published highlight the need to treat Mental Health on an equal footing with physical health. As the Lib Dem candidate for Angus in the upcoming election, I was delighted to see my party put Mental Health front and centre, adding it as one of our top five priorities on the front page of our manifesto.

However this is an issue that should cross all party political lines as Mental Health effects so many people across Angus and the rest of the country.

I have therefore written to my fellow candidates to politely request that we all agree on a simple set of commitments, if we are elected at the forthcoming election:

  • Challenge the stigma around Mental Health so that anyone effected by it feels able to come forward and seek support and treatment as early as possible.
  • Treat Mental Health on an equal footing with physical health, with maximum waiting time targets and additional funding for treatment.
  • Provide education at schools so that young people are better equipped to understand mental illness should they be effected by it.

If we can dramatically improve Mental Health treatment we can help sufferers to recover more quickly and, as a secondary benefit, help to improve Angus Council’s sickness rates.

Montrose SNP Cllr Bill Duff has excused CyberNat attacks on the BBC’s Nick Robinson following his diagnosis with cancer. Cllr Duff’s tweet suggested that as he had met people wishing ill of Alex Salmond, that celebrating’s Nick Robinson’s cancer diagnosis was therefore acceptable

Replying to a comment I made on Twitter about ugly nationalism, Twitter user @TheQuietNo tweeted, “Burning Smith Report, saying Murphy stole from the Clutha fund, laughing at Nick Robinson getting cancer, etc. etc. #SNPout”. In response, Angus SNP Cllr Bill Duff tweeted, “Met plenty of people who wished Alex S ill . What’s your point?”

Cllr Duff had previously received criticism for a tweet during the referendum campaign in which he described No Voters as “second class Scots”.

To excuse horrible CyberNats attacks on Nick Robinson is disgraceful. Bill Duff should withdraw his tweet and condemn the attacks on Nick Robinson. Given the “second class Scots” saga, I seriously doubt that he will.

Having watched my mother, father and mother-in-law all lose their battles with cancer, and seeing my wife go through the hell of chemotherapy, I would not wish cancer on anybody. The disgusting comments by CyberNats about Nick Robinson are a new low in the nastiness of the independence debate.

I am on record condemning any abuse by both supporters of keeping Scotland part of the UK and by those supporting Independence. I would expect the same from any elected SNP representative and that includes Bill Duff.

Montrose Lib Dem Cllr David May commented,

Like Sanjay Samani I have had many friends and relations who have lost their battles against cancer and Cllr Duff should withdraw his tweet as there is no excuse for such abuse, from whatever source it comes.

Twitter Conversation

Angus Liberal Democrats have launched a petition calling on the sale of so called Legal Highs to end immediately. Following the news that the Montrose Evape-o-lution shop has been broken into for a second time, concerns have been raised that dangerous drugs are finding their way onto our streets.

The petition calls on the owners of the shops in Montrose, Arbroath and across Tayside to stop selling Novel Psychoactive Substances with immediate effect.

The petition can be found online by clicking here. If you want to share the address of the petition, Citi is http://bit.ly/StopLegalHighs

Montrose Legal High Shop after break in

There is no legitimate use of these products, which is why the UK Government has indicated that they will be banned in future. The owners should stop exploiting the vulnerable and stop selling them immediately.

With the Montrose shop is getting broken into repeatedly, these dangerous drugs are finding their way onto the streets and may lead to serious health issues for people living in Angus.

Lib Dem Montrose Cllr David May said,

“The shop was broken into twice today and this is at least the third time of being broken into. There is no doubt many of their products have been stolen. There are some very serious questions about security in the shop if the so called legal highs products can be removed so easily.”

“This is especially worrying as it is clear that the products so many of these types of shops sell are not safe and have led to deaths as well as real long term health problems for so many people.”

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Printed (Hosted) by 1&1 Internet Limited, Aquasulis House, 10-14 Bath Road, Slough, SL1 3SA. Promoted by David May on behalf of Sanjay Samani (Scottish Liberal Democrats), both at Evanston, Lamondfauld Lane, Montrose, Angus, DD10 9HX.

© Sanjay Samani 2010 - 2015

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