Sanjay SamaniCampaigner for Angus, Stonehaven & Mearns

Angus Lib Dems are backing proposals by Angus Council officers to repair the Esk Road Coastal Path in Ferryden.  Due to coastal erosion and the resultant safety concerns the very popular coastal path has been closed, for many, many months. 

I back the hard work which has been put in by the council to reinstate the previous line of timber wall and path along the section affected by the erosion. I am aware that local walkers will be delighted when the coastal path finally re-opens due to its popularity

Sanjay Samani and David May visit damaged footpath

Lib Dem Cllr David May said,

“A number of people in the area have spoken to me about this as it is a path much used by local walkers and I have been regularly in touch with council officers for it to be re-opened. However, it has taken them time to establish ownership as well as developing a coastal defence structure which would provide increased protection against further erosion of land, and reduce the risks to the reinstated Core Path, as well as other local assets and infrastructure, including utilities and rail.”

“The good news is that most of the planning of what is needed to reinstate the path has now been done, and the roads staff are now in the position of currently seeking formal consent from the statutory bodies and the landowner to carry out the  proposed works.” 

See more on this story at the Montrose Review by clicking here

Angus Liberal Democrats have reselected me to be their candidate for next year’s General Election.  I have campaigned on behalf of Angus residents for many years and as candidate at the 2010 General Election and again at the 2011 Scottish Elections.  
 
It is a real honour to be selected to represent the Angus Lib Dems again and I would like to thank the members for their continued support.
 
Angus & Mearns Select Sanjay Samani as their General Election candidate
 
There has been a clear message from voters in every election since 2010.  We are all fed up with the the same old politics, where our voices are not heard and we feel we cannot make a difference.
 
Angus voters made it very clear that we want to remain part of the UK at the Independence Referendum, but also that we want the way we do politics to change.  All political parties are committed to further devolution to Scotland and, as a Lib Dem MP, I would work for Home Rule for Scotland.
 
But that does not go far enough.
 
Only the Lib Dems are both committed to changing politics and could also be in government to force through the changes we all need.  Labour and the Tories have repeatedly blocked change.  The SNP cannot and will not be part of the government.  The Lib Dems gave you a say on voting change, but our plans for giving you real power to sack your MP, clean up money in politics and having an elected House of Lords have all been blocked, by hard right wing Tories and Labour – desperate to hold on to power.
 
With only 6 MPs, the SNP cannot make a difference and as they are determined to split our country apart, are not worried about how Westminster is run.
 
Only with a Scottish Lib Dem can people in Angus be confident that their MP is working for real change to make sure their voice is heard.
 
Montrose Lib Dem Cllr David May welcomed my selection, saying,
 
“Sanjay has backed keys campaigns in Angus and in particular the Montrose area.  This includes better funding for flood prevention and coastal erosion across Angus and the need to back plans to develop the Harbour here in Montrose.  He has backed small businesses, the need to reinstate traffic wardens and backed the need to ban Legal Highs.”
 
Sanjay has also criticised the SNP for their huge cuts on college places, closure of our police counters and lack of action on a flyover at Laurencekirk. 
 
“Sanjay understands that all MPs should work hard on local issues for their constituents, but that they also need to drive through changes at Westminster so that our views are heard.  All too often SNP MPs sit on their hands on Westminster issues because they are only worried about independence. Angus voters gave a huge majority for being part of the UK and they need an MP who can and will deliver more powers for Scotland and clean up politics at Westminster.” 
 
Chair of the Angus & Mearns Lib Dems, Clive Sneddon said,
 
“Sanjay is a worthy candidate and I am delighted that he has agreed to represent the party again at the General Election. Sanjay has stood up for families working in Angus and the elderly. He will work hard to represent everyone in Angus at Westminster.”
 

Last week I wrote about how the verbal and physical abuse of No Campaigners by Yes supporters had brought a new low. However it looks as if No campaigners are determined the game of stupid one upmanship that has marked the independence debate.

When it was £500 better off, £500 worse, then £600 better, £800 worse, £1,500 better, we can put it down to the fact that there are simply too many variable to reliably answer key economic questions reliably, so politics took over and that’s just to be expected, however disappointing.

However the abuse online demonstrated best by the behaviour of the CyberNats has until now been the ugly underbelly of this campaign.

As we get closer and closer the critical vote – and my postal vote will go into the letter box today – the abuse has spilled into the streets and the meeting halls and the public debate.

Many No supporters are telling us that they feel intimidated and are scared to show their support. Many Scottish companies believe that their businesses will suffer if they declare their position in favour of keeping a stronger Scotland within the UK. We have seen that abuse first hand at the treatment of Willie Rennie, JK Rowling, Gordon Brown and Jim Murphy. None of which is acceptable.

However there are two reports over the weekend of disgusting, stupid behaviour by No Campaigners and supporters, that I utterly condemn. This is the most important debate of our lives and the most important vote. Inevitably emotions will run high. But there is no excuse by intimidating or violent behaviour from supporters of either the Yes or No campaign.

The first is of a man tailgate Alex Salmond’s car and the other is of a No campaigner kicking a woman in Glasgow. Both are completely unacceptable.

The leaders of both the Yes and No campaigns need to come out together and make a stark call to all their supporters to calm the debate down and head into the final fortnight with a positive debate.

We all need to take a tip from these guys who are campaigning in a fun, positive way:

I was deeply disappointed to read today that Jim Murphy MP has decided to suspend his tour of Scottish Towns to take the Better Together message across Scotland.

Reading in The Courier that over the last few days Jim Murphy has received abuse from Yes campaigners in Glasgow, Dundee, Montrose and elsewhere, culminating in the egg throwing in Kirkcaldy has been very troubling.

Supporters of a stronger Scotland within the UK have been attacked viciously online by the CyberNats for a long, long time. The treatment of JK Rowling in particular has been disgusting. With the online abuse, we can at least keep it at arms length and step away from it.

However that nastiness is now being targeted at campaigners in public, with Jim Murphy, Gordon Brown and Willie Rennie all being abused by Yes supporters.

The Yes campaign has repeatedly moaned about bullying when supporters of the UK have simply expressed their opinions. They should have a hard long look a themselves to understand what bullying really is.

We have seen campaigners forced off the street and not allowed to have their say. We have been branded as traitors and second class Scots, which Angus Cllr Bill Duff still refuses to apologise for. We now hear that 100′s of companies are too scared to voice their opinion in case of recriminations from the SNP government.

The people of Scotland deserved a civilised debate that allowed everyone to have their say without intimidation, but many voters are now too scared to admit they are voting No.

Supporters of the Yes campaign have brought the whole debate to a new low this week. It is time they respected that others have a different view and have a right to express themselves without a barrage of abuse being thrown at them.

With less than 3 weeks left, I worry that the abuse will get a lot worse before the referendum is over.

The announcement today that there will be inquiries into historic child abuse allegations is a huge step forward for this country.  It is a real indication that child abuse needs to finally be brought out of the shadows and something we need to listen to, stop hiding, stop being silent about and start challenging.

You can read about plans for inquiry in allegations against MPs and a wider enquiry by clicking here.

You can listen to Tess Munt’s interview by clicking here.

As an adoptive parent and as someone who is deeply aware of the impact of child abuse; whether it be physical, mental or sexual, today’s developments are highly welcome.  It feels as if we have opened a new chapter in bringing justice to the victims of decades of abuse.

If the legacy of the catastrophes of the behaviour of Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Cyril Smith and others is a sea change in our attitudes to child abuse and our willingness to discuss it openly, challenge it as unacceptable and also brings forward justice, support and resolution for victims 

The wide ranging needs to have no limitations and investigate what was known and covered up by Government departments, by the BBC, by institutions and by the Catholic Church.  No stone should be left uncovered, no voice unheard.

We need to transform our culture where too many people cannot cope with hearing about child abuse, refuse to believe what they hear or see and are too willing to remain silent.

I highly welcome today’s developments and as an MP would fight to ensure that the inquiry meets the needs of victims who at all times should remain the primary focus. 

The letter below was published in The Courier on Friday, 4th July, which you can find online by clicking here.

Dear Sir,
 
I was very disappointed to hear your report about the behaviour of Kathy Wiles, Labour’s candidate for Angus for the General Election next year.  Comparing the children of Yes Scotland campaigners to Hitler Youth and calling for Jeremy Clarkson to be shot are unacceptable.  It is welcome that she has resigned as candidate and apologised for her comments.
 
Angus Labour and the Scottish Labour Party need to be open about how Kathy Wiles was selected as their Westminster candidate, what vetting process was in place and whether they had made even some basic checks on her opinions and behaviour.  It seems they have had little regard or respect for Angus voters by selecting someone with such nasty views.
 
We have seen similar actions by the notorious CyberNats, such as the horrendous treatment of J K Rowling since her decision to back the Better Together Campaign and the heckling down of Willie Rennie MSP at a debate in Dunfermline.
 
The tone of the Independence debate has plunged in recent weeks.  Both Better Together and Yes Scotland should strongly condemn any personal attacks on supporters of the other side of the debate.  Angus and Mearns Lib Dems have maintained a positive, friendly approach to the debate throughout.
 
It is time we stopped the nastiness towards our neighbours and accept that we are all trying to find what is best for Scotland.  We may have a big difference of opinion on whether that is to stand united or split up our family, but we are all striving for the best outcome.
 
Angus voters deserve a better level of debate from both sides of the Independence debate and they deserve Westminster candidates who will respect all sides of the political debate.
 
Yours,
 
Sanjay Samani

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