Tag Archives: SNP

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.

SNP Cllr Bill Duff excuses attacks on BBC’s Nick Robinson

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

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

Scottish Government Underspend a body blow for Angus investment

Angus Liberal Democrats have reacted angrily to news that the SNP Government has left £444 million unspent last year, despite closing key services across Angus and failing to invest in local infrastructure.

Accounts have emerged showing that the Scottish Government has underspent:

  • £92 million on Justice
  • £10 million on the Procurator Fiscal Service
  • £102 million on Infrastructure
  • A whopping £165 million on Education
Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the Closed Police Counter in Montrose

Sanjay Samani and Cllr David May visit the Closed Police Counter in Montrose

Lib Dem Campaigner for Angus, Sanjay Samani said,

“The SNP have been steadily closing down services in Angus. They have closed Sheriff’s Courts, Police Counters, Noranside Prison and Angus College. They have failed to build a flyover at Laurencekirk that we desperately need to protect drivers. Yet in all these departments there was plenty of money left to be spent.”

“Meanwhile our SNP elected representatives, Mike Weir MP, Nigel Don MSP and Graeme Dey MSP, have done absolutely nothing to stop the closure of key Angus services by their SNP colleagues in Edinburgh. This has cost Angus jobs, made it harder for students to study, left Laurencekirk junction unsafe and had a negative impact on our local economy.”

“The SNP have blamed all the cuts on Angus services on Westminster, and yet they had close to half a billion pounds left to invest.”

Lib Dem Montrose Cllr David May said,

“As an ex-teacher and head master, I am appalled to see £165 million go unspent on Education. The merger of Angus College with Dundee and loss of hundreds of college places has had a huge impact on our young people, just trying to get on in life.”

“In Montrose we have a major issue with parking on double yellow lines that are not being policed due to SNP cuts, that they have blamed on Westminster, despite having £92 million left over.”

“Sanjay and I have backed Jill Fotheringham’s campaign for a flyover at Laurencekirk for many years. The news that on Infrastructure £102 million was left unspent will be a body blow for those desperate to see safety at the junction improved.”

Sanjay Samani concluded,

“We have an SNP MP and two SNP MSPs who have badly failed Angus residents. This year they will blame cuts on Westminster to gain votes at the General Election. Then we will see a big spending spree in the run up to Scottish Elections in 2016 and they will try to claim the credit.”

“The SNP need to stop playing politics and start investing in Angus.”

Angus Flood Defence Funding Application Welcome

The news that Angus Council are applying for a £12m grant from the Scottish Government for flood defences in Brechin is highly welcome. However the SNP Government needs to change the funding formula for flood defences and Angus Council need to reconsider their recent decision to cut funding for flood defences for Edzell.

Responding to the decision, Lib Dem Cllr David May commented,

“This is a positive move by Angus Council and there should be cross party support for the application for funding from the Scottish Government. As a member of the Angus Council administration in 2009, I called for financial aid from the SNP Government for the Brechin Flood defence scheme five years ago. It is welcome that a formal application has now been made.”

“Having visited the site of flooding in Brechin in 2009, I expressed my frustration at the time about the SNP Government’s funding formula that left Angus at a severe disadvantage. At the moment the Scottish Government uses a crude formula based on population, that boosts funding for big cities at the expense of rural communities such as Angus.”

“Angus Council should also work with the River South Esk Catchment Partnership to ensure that the flood defence schemes are sustainable and do not simply transfer the problem from Brechin to Montrose.”

From my perspective, this news is very welcome. However I do wonder whether it would have been necessary to apply for such a large grant, if the SNP Government had not changed the way flood defence funding is distributed in Scotland in 2009.

Had the SNP Government responded to our calls to change the funding formula, Angus Council may have had substantially more funds to deal with flooding in Brechin and elsewhere in Angus quite some time ago.

We now have detailed maps of the whole of Scotland showing where risks of flooding are the greatest. It will come as no surprise that rural communities in Angus are some of the most at risk. We therefore repeat our call on the Scottish Government to change the flood defence funding formula to be based on need not just a crude headcount.

Both Cllr David May and I have also called on Angus Council to reconsider their decision to cut funding for a flood defence scheme in Edzell.

Cllr David May said,

“Flooding in December 2012 left well over £1m of damage to homes and property in Edzell. I voted against the decision to cut the £600,000 scheme that would have prevented this from happening in Edzell again.”

Across Angus, in Brechin, Montrose, Arbroath and elsewhere, flooding has had a devastating, expensive impact. The SNP administrations on Angus Council and in the Scottish Government should be working together to ensure that Angus receives the funding it needs to address funding across the whole of Angus, as well as Brechin.

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.