Campaign blog

ALEX SALMOND CAMPAIGNING FOR JULIE FORD

Have a look at the local media coverage on the links below.

http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/local-headlines/salmond-hits-out-at-labour-as-glenrothes-by-election-draws-near-1-3902019

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/fife/alex-salmond-in-town-to-support-snp-glenrothes-by-election-candidate-1.902619


COUNCIL TAX FREEZE OVERFUNDED BY THE SNP GOVERNMENT

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The council tax freeze has been overfunded by the SNP Government. A report published by independent, impartial experts at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has found that the council tax freeze has been more than fully funded, prompting SNP MSPs to call on Labour to withdraw their “inaccurate and misleading” claims that the council tax freeze has been ‘underfunded’.

The report finds that the SNP Government provided local authorities with an estimated £164.9m over and above what was needed to pay for the council tax freeze. Additional money that local authorities should be using to improve our vital local services.

SPICe’s research stands in stark contrast to the claims made by senior Labour Party figures, including the party’s new deputy leader Alex Rowley who said in February this year that “the on-going council tax freeze remains underfunded putting even greater pressure on front-line council services” and Labour’s finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie who wrongly claimed that “the council tax freeze has been underfunded by the Scottish Government”.

As it has now been proven that the council tax freeze is more than fully funded by the Scottish Government, any cuts we see in Glenrothes West and Kinglassie are entirely down to Labour’s mismanagement of Fife Council. That is why we need a strong local voice to speak up for the community.

The Scottish Government’s council tax freeze policy has saved the average Band D household in Fife a total of £1,211. I hope that in light of this new SPICe report, we can all now support the council tax freeze that provides substantial savings to family budgets during tough economic times.


FOR THE LOVE OF … LIBRARIES!

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Since it became clear that Labour’s cuts posed a threat to 16 libraries throughout Fife, I have been perplexed, desperately trying to understand why they would decide to cut such a vital community service.

During the final year of my History degree, I relied on many of the libraries throughout Fife. And Glenwood Library was one location where I could normally be found. I was usually seated in the corner of the library with my head stuck in local newspapers while studying the social history of 1960s and 1970s Scotland.  I would have been lost without this resource.

Throughout the long days and nights spent in these libraries I witnessed first-hand those who used the local service and I wondered why they were there. Everyone had a different story; no two visitors were the same.

Visitors varied from members of our older generations taking arranged classes to become computer literate, to people of all ages using the IT services to search for employment. And from people like myself, researching our own history, be it for personal or educational reasons, to children visiting after school to complete their homework, or to parents taking their kids to Bookbug sessions.

Like pirate radio, it seems that to Fife Council, our local libraries are nothing more than remnants of the past. And, arguably, the proposed closures shows the extent to which Fife Council are completely out of touch with the needs of our community. Libraries are not businesses to be judged by their economic value. They are community and cultural centres, places where people can learn, meet, and grow. Their value may be harder to ascertain, but it is no less real.

One quarter of children in Glenrothes West and Kinglassie are living in poverty, and only 33.6% of Ward 14 school leavers go into Higher Education. Libraries can play a key role in our fight against poverty. They are gateways to learning, and learning is a pathway out of poverty. Closing libraries is the complete opposite of what we should be doing. We should be investing in libraries—in reading groups, classes, areas for teenagers—not cutting back.

Let’s use our campaigning experience to make this argument to Fife Council: Hands off our libraries!


WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

We, the people of Scotland, no matter what background we are from, are in this together in the fight against austerity and cuts to our vital public services.

The SNP is the only anti-austerity party, and, if elected, I will advocate that on the front line, wherever possible, and will ensure that I am a strong voice for Glenrothes West and Kinglassie.


STANDING UP FOR THE COMMUNITY

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SNP MPs can fight the Tories’ agenda in Westminster, but it’s SNP councillors that must fight the battle on the front-line, in our communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

I’ve worked as a political caseworker and researcher for a couple of years and the most common issue we deal with is people suffering from the effects of poverty brought on, in some cases, by recent welfare reforms.

If I was privileged enough to be elected as your councillor, I would be able to use my casework skills for the benefit of people in Glenrothes West and Kinglassie: assisting constituents to appeal against benefits sanctions, ensuring that people are receiving the correct support (including supporting people to apply for appropriate housing etc.), supporting and promoting employment advice services like Business Gateway and Skills Development Scotland, and being a strong voice on Fife Council arguing for investment in our community.

It also means holding the current Labour administration to account when they preside over a massive underspend or do not properly allocate Scottish Government funds targeted at alleviating poverty.

24.8% of children in Glenrothes West and Kinglassie are living in poverty. That’s a quarter of our children. Compare that to 8.6% in Ward 18, Tay Bridgehead.

This is not acceptable. I promise to be your strong voice at Fife Council. I will work for you and represent you in every way I possibly can.

#FordforWard14

(Statistics taken from: Know Fife Dataset – compiled by the Scottish Government and UK Department of Work and Pensions)


HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI: 70 YEARS ON

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Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Today, 6th of August 2015, marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most tragic actions taken by mankind. The order was given and the A-bomb was dropped, dropped on the city of Hiroshima – wiping out 90% of the city and immediately killing 80,000 people. The shadows of people still mark the city, memories of ordinary innocent lives burnt into rock. The radiation from these new bombs lingered, causing sickness, tumours and cancer, killing tens of thousands more over the next months and years. And the radiation even injured unborn babies, changing genes and harming the health of future generations.

“Humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist indefinitely. How much longer can we allow the Nuclear Weapon States to continue threatening all life on earth?”  – Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of Hiroshima.

Three days later saw this action being repeated on the  city of Nagasaki, killing another 40,000 innocent people, and leaving the surrounding area suffering from the same horrific fate.

We know of the devastating effects, some of us were primary witnesses to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki catastrophes. So why do we still maintain on keeping these weapons of mass destruction? Weapons that can wipe out a nation of people in seconds. We are told that they are ‘deterrents’ and that they are to keep us safe. That is not a convincing argument. Our history since 1945 is littered with disasters and wars.

Westminster’s position on the international stage is out of touch. With the majority of MSPs and Scottish MPs opposing nuclear weapons, it is about time that Westminster begins to listen to Scotland. We do not want these immoral weapons based on the River Clyde – and it is time for them to go.

I am proud to have stood should-to-shoulder with the SNP’s Depute Leader, Stewart Hosie, this evening at a vigil in Dundee where we paid our respects to the innocent people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I am proud to be a member of a party that says No to such inhumane weapons, a party that has been clear that nuclear weapons are a moral and economic disgrace.

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