Category Archives: Justice

The SNP have centralised the life out of Tayside

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.

Petition launched to stop sale of so called “Legal Highs” in Angus

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.”

Busier Sheriff Court in Angus Closed by SNP #SNPFail

Figures revealed yesterday have shown that the SNP Government chose to close the busier of the Sheriff’s Courts in Angus. This was despite there being over £100 million unspent in the last year for Justice and the Procurator Fiscal Service. 

Angus Lib Dems strongly objected to the closure of Arbroath Sheriff Court and the figures reveal that the court was heavily used.  Forcing witnesses and victims to travel long distances will undermine the effectiveness of the justice system in Angus.

SNP representatives for Angus, Mike Weir MP, Nigel Don MSP and Graeme Day MSP seem to have little or no influence on their SNP colleagues making decisions centrally in Holyrood.

It is now clear that closing yet another service in Angus was a big mistake by the SNP.

Click here for the full article in The Courier which gives the following figures:

Between April 2012 to the end of March last year, prisoner journeys to Arbroath totalled 2,568, compared to Forfar’s 991.

Dundee received 5,262 prisoner movements in 2012/13, 5,284 in 2013/14 and 3,588 between April and November last year.

In the same periods, other sheriff courts received the following number of individual prisoner transport journeys:

  • Arbroath (closed in May) — 1,163, 1,405, 255
  • Forfar — 504, 487, 928

Angus Lib Dems call on Shop Owner to close Legal High shops now

Angus Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that Legal High or “Head” shops in Angus will soon stop selling the controversial products, but have called on the shop owner to close the shops immediately.

The owner of shops in Arbroath and Montrose has said that the campaign against the selling of Legal Highs has been successful and has forced him to reconsider.  In addition, the Lib Dem led policy to make New Psychoactive Substances illegal in future will mean that he will no longer be able to sell the products legally.

Sanjay Samani and David May outside Montrose Legal High Shop

Lib Dem campaigner for Angus, Sanjay Samani, a member of the Montrose Against Legal Highs Group said,

“Angus Lib Dems have fully supported the Montrose and Arbroath Against Legal Highs and we are delighted to see that their campaigns will be successful.  Many parents have been concerned about the effects these Head shops are having on their children.”

“The Lib Dems have taken a grown up approach to tackling drug abuse with the realisation that the current War on Drugs is not working.  As part of the UK Government, Lib Dem Ministers conducted research to show that Legal Highs should be banned, and that those suffering from drug dependence should be treated for their addiction, rather than treated as criminals.”

“We are the only party that are taking common sense, evidence led approach to tackling drug abuse and have a plan than can properly address the issue.”  

Lib Dem Montrose Cllr David May said,

“I am delighted with the news that these shops will soon stop selling Legal Highs but they should stop selling them right now.  They have been a blight on Montrose and Arbroath for several years.  It is fantastic to see a grass roots campaign get wide spread backing from the community and be successful.  Everyone who has backed the Montrose and Arbroath Against Legal Highs should be congratulated on their success and thanked for their hard work.”

“Too many of our residents of all ages, including many youngsters have suffered as a result of easy access to cheap drugs.  We have to take a more grown up approach and help victims of drug abuse, by understanding what led them to drugs in the first place.  We also need to stop an easy supply of cheap dangerous drugs.  That is why I am delighted Lib Dem Government ministers have, despite Tory opposition, indicated that these drugs should be made illegal in future and proper treatment provided for those who have become addicted.”

Child Abuse Inquiries hugely welcome

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. 

Labour Hypocrisy on Lobbying

In the wake of the Adam Werritty scandal surrounding Liam Fox MP, the Labour party are apparently demanding a lobbying register.  It might surprise you to know that such a bill was introduced to the House of Commons by the Lib Dems in 2006 and it was voted down by 284 Labour MP’s.

You will be pleased to know that just such a register is in the Coalition agreements from 2010, as demanded by the Lib Dems.

Gareth Thomas MP, Shadow Cabinent Office minister said:

“David Cameron has still not introduced the compulsory register of lobbyists he promised.

“In the wake of the Adam Werritty and Atlantic Bridge activities it is now essential we have greater transparency.

“The government should bring forward as a matter of urgency plans for a compulsory register of lobbyists with records being kept of meetings between lobbyists and ministers.”

Read the full article on the BBC by clicking here.

Every Lib Dem member, supporter and MP agrees.  Which is why we have been calling for regulation of lobbying for years.  In fact we introduced a bill to the House of Commons calling for a reporting of corporate expenditure on lobbying and putting a cap on their lobbying expenditure.

Remember, this is all before the Stephen Byers “Cab For Hire” incident.

Any guesses for Labour MP’s who voted against the motion?  You guessed it Ed Milliband, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, and one Gareth Thomas.

Also of note, the Conservatives did not bother to vote.  And 5 of the 6 SNP MPs also voted against the Lib Dem bill, including Angus MP, Mike Weir.

You can see full details of the Bill and all those MPs who voted against it by clicking here.

Image courtesy of BBC

Image from BBC.