Sunday, 31 May 2009

EMBARRASSMENT FOR GRAY AS PURCELL PRAISES SNP GOVERNMENT.



EMBARRASSMENT FOR GRAY AS PURCELL PRAISES SNP GOVERNMENT.


The Scottish Government has been praised as doing “very well”
according to Labour’s most powerful figure in Scotland, in an
interview that brings more embarrassment for Labour’s Scottish
Parliament leader Iain Gray.

In an interview with The Observer, the leader of Glasgow City Council,
Cllr Stephen Purcell says: "New Labour as a brand is dead and the
period of opposition we're having in Holyrood is giving us a chance to
reflect on how we administer devolution. Look, there's no point in
pretending that the SNP government has not done very well, given that
none of their ministers had had any previous experience in government.
There's no doubt the processes of devolution have been helped by
having a minority government in Holyrood."

Welcoming Cllr Purcell’s praise, SNP Glasgow East MP, John Mason said:

“Stephen Purcell is Labour’s most powerful figure in Scotland and his
praise of the Scottish Government is honestly and constructively made.

“His comments will be acutely embarrassing for Iain Gray who can’t
find a good word about any of the action Alex Salmond’s government has
taken to create and protect Scottish jobs.

“It is difficult to see how the policy and profile pieces about Steven
Purcell are anything other than a clear challenge to Iain Gray'

WHO WILL WIN THE GLASGOW NORTH EAST BY-ELECTION?


WHO WILL WIN THE GLASGOW NORTH EAST BY-ELECTION?

SNP SUPPORT DOUBLES IN GLASGOW NORTH EAST.

SNP Westminster leader and party Business Convener, Angus Robertson MP, has welcomed an opinion poll of intentions in Glasgow North East showing that, before a by-election campaign has even started, support for the SNP has already doubled.

The Sunday Times survey of 517 people put Labour on 51% and the SNP on
33%.

An ICM poll just 10 days out from the SNP’s famous victory in
Glasgow East last year had the SNP on an identical footing.

Mr Robertson said:
"This is an excellent poll for the SNP - before a by-election campaign has even started, we have doubled our support in Glasgow North East, and have already achieved the same level of support as we had in Glasgow East just 10 days before that by-election.

"There should be an early General Election, but if there is a by-election it will be a clear two-horse race between the SNP and Labour, and the SNP will work hard to earn the trust of the people."

SCOTLAND A CLEAR TWO HORSE RACE AS UK POLL SHOWS MASSIVE LABOUR DECLINE.



SCOTLAND A CLEAR TWO HORSE RACE AS UK POLL SHOWS MASSIVE LABOUR DECLINE.


ONLY THE SNP CAN BEAT LABOUR IN THIS WEEK'S EURO ELECTIONS

SNP AHEAD OF LABOUR ON POLL OF POLLS FOR EUROPE & WESTMINSTER

As a ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph puts the Labour party in third
place across the UK for both Westminster and the European elections
which will be held this week the SNP published an analysis of the
Scottish samples of all polls in May which shows that this week's
contest is a clear two horse race between the SNP and Labour.

The analysis shows the SNP has enjoyed a 9% swing from Labour in the
European poll of polls and an even greater swing of 16% in the
Westminster poll of polls.

Commenting, SNP European Campaign Coordinator Joe FitzPatrick MSP said:

"The SNP is taking nothing for granted in these elections and this
poll analysis shows that the voters of Scotland see us as the only
alternative to Labour in not only this week's European elections but
Westminster as well.

"The latest UK polls look very bad for Labour but we are not
complacent and are working hard in this election campaign to win the
trust of the people of Scotland on a clear message of protecting and
creating jobs.

"Together, SNP MEPs and the Scottish Government have what it takes to
speak up for Scotland in Europe. The more votes and seats the SNP win
in the European elections, the stronger Scotland's voice will be.

"We will stand up for best interests of Scotland's traditional
industries such as fishing and farming as Europe reforms key policies.
We will work to ensure Scotland leads Europe's renewable energy
revolution - an industry which could create 16 000 jobs in the next
decade.

"A vote for the SNP on June 4th will also send a clear message to
Westminster: the people of Scotland want a Government which puts jobs
and communities at the top of its agenda - not one which slashes
Scotland's budget in the teeth of a recession."

LABOUR SLAMMED OVER ‘READY-MADE’ APPOLOGIES.



LABOUR SLAMMED OVER ‘READY-MADE’ APPOLOGIES.


Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Labour MPs after it emerged
that Labour party headquarters have issued ready-made ‘sorry’ letters
for their MPs to send to angry constituents who complain over the
expenses scandal.

Instead of writing heartfelt apologies, Labour MPs just need to insert
their constituents name and then sign. The letters are even designed
to sound personal, beginning, “I thought twice about sending this
letter because I know how rightly angry people are with MPs.”

SNP MP for Glasgow East, John Mason, said:

"This is despicable and cynical spin from the Labour party. These
letters are designed to look heartfelt, but in fact they are insincere
and miss the point of why the public are so angry.

"Labour is well known for its central office control freakery, but
these letters really do underline how low Labour has sunk in their
efforts to con the public.

"With public confidence in politicians at a low Labour should be
ashamed of themselves.

"We don't need insincere letters from Labour, we need a speedy audit
of MPs claims so that matters can be put right, and then an early
General Election so that people can have their say on Westminster."

LABOUR ACCUSED OF DISHONESTY OVER ‘CUT AND PASTE’ CAMPAIGN.



LABOUR ACCUSED OF DISHONESTY OVER ‘CUT AND PASTE’ CAMPAIGN.


POLLING CONFIRMS SNP WINNING TRUST WITH VOTERS

Labour’s European election campaign has been branded dishonest after
it emerged that identical quotes featured in party leaflets praising
Gordon Brown had been attributed to different families living at
opposite ends of the country.

The SNP's European election campaign coordinator, Joe Fitzpatrick MSP,
said Labour had been caught red-handed running a ‘cut and paste
campaign’ after the endorsements of the prime minister, supposedly by
different families in Port Seton, Wester Ross, Central Scotland, and
another in Greater Manchester, all featured the same quote.

Dundee West MSP, Mr Fitzpatrick, said:

"We have come to expect this kind of dishonesty from Labour, and I
think voters will be deeply disappointed by this charade.

”As well as cutting Scotland’s budget, Labour are cutting and pasting
their campaign leaflets too.

"Instead of producing a manifesto which addresses the concerns of the
people of Scotland Labour have gone for a cut and paste campaign.

"The SNP is working hard to win the trust of people in Scotland, and
the latest poll analysis shows that the real action that the Scottish
Government is taking to create and protect thousands of jobs is
winning approval on the doorsteps.

“With the current mess at Westminster people want honesty from
politicians and this leaflet charade underlines exactly what is wrong
with Labour.

"A vote for the SNP this week will send a clear message that people in
Scotland want a Government which puts jobs and communities at the top
of its agenda - not one which slashes Scotland’s budget in the teeth
of a recession.”

UNELECTED SCOTTISH PEERS TAKE £2 MILLION IN EXPENSES.



UNELECTED SCOTTISH PEERS TAKE £2 MILLION IN EXPENSES.



LORD FOULKES TOPS BILL FOR DAILY COSTS

SNP MP for Glasgow East John Mason today (Sunday) expressed his shock
that unelected Scottish Lords had cost the tax payer over £2 million
in expenses.

Labour Peer Lord Foulkes, also elected as an MSP, has the highest
expenses per visit claiming the equivalent of £305/day - a total of
£54,000 for 94 days work. In contrast Lord Kirkhope claimed £53,000
for 143 days work.

The most expensive overall is Lord Maxton, former MP for Cathcart who
has received £63,504 for 141 days.

Mr Mason said:

“This exposes the scam that is the House of Lords.

“At a time when the public are concerned with how their elected
politicians spend taxpayers money they will be astonished to see the
£2 million bill for unelected members of the House of Lords.

"At least the public have the opportunity to cast their judgement at
the ballot box on MPs, but they have no say over these unelected and
unwanted Lords and Ladies.

“In amongst a few respected figures with moderate claims we have a
convicted fire-raiser and another under investigation in the cash for
access inquiry.

“The House of Lords is an out of date, antiquated institution and now
we know it’s an expensive one as well. As people vote in the European
elections next week there is an opportunity to vote not only for a
strong SNP voice in europe but to send a message to Westminster that
this cannot continue.

“The SNP does not take seats in the House of Lords and while some
peers do good work, these figures suggest it is simply another way for
former politicians to top up their incomes.

“This waste of Westminster resources on unelected Lords reinforces the
case for an independent Scottish Parliament – modern, democratic, and
with the gold standard of allowances systems.”

Friday, 29 May 2009

VOTE FOR THE SNP ON DAY OF EUROPEAN ACTION.


VOTE FOR THE SNP ON DAY OF EUROPEAN ACTION.

PROTECTING SCOTLAND'S JOBS AND COMMUNITIES AT HEART OF SNP PLANS.


Date: Saturday, 30th May 2009
Time: 15h00 – 16h00 Place: Ellon Fire Station, Union Road, Ellon Contact, Richard Thomson

SNP Leader Alex Salmond MSP will join European candidates Drew
Hendry and Aileen McLeod to campaign at the Ellon Fire Station Fun Day while across the country, SNP activists and politicians will take our positive message to the people of Scotland in advance of the European election on June 4th. Commenting, European Election campaign coordinator Joe FitzPatrick MSP said:

“The party is in fine form as we hit the streets of Scotland in advance of the European poll on Thursday.

“By electing a team of SNP MEPs to work with the Scottish Government, we can give Scotland a strong voice in Europe.

“A vote for the SNP on June 4th will also send a strong message to Westminster: the people of Scotland want a Government which puts jobs and communities at the top of its agenda, not one which endangers economic recovery in the teeth of a recession.”

More info on SNP members working for the people of Scotland.

SNP European candidates will be joining their parliamentary colleagues across Scotland.


Ian Hudghton MEP - Perth
Alyn Smith MEP – Glasgow Alex Salmond MSP with Aileen McLeod and Cllr Drew Hendry - Gordon Nicola Sturgeon MSP – Glasgow John Swinney MSP - Angus Bruce Crawford MSP - Stirling Alex Neil MSP – Glasgow Stewart Stevenson MSP - Banff and Buchan Kenny MacAskill MSP - Edinburgh.

MADAME ECOSSE HITS CAMPAIGN TRAIL.



MADAME ECOSSE HITS CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

'ONLY SNP MEPS CAN GIVE SCOTLAND A STRONG VOICE IN EUROPE'

SNP Honorary President and former MEP Winnie Ewing, joined SNP MP John
Mason and European Candidate Alyn Smith on the campaign trail in Glasgow
East today (Friday).

Joining the campaign in Glasgow, Mrs Ewing said:

"Ten years on from devolution there is a clear need for a strong Scottish
voice in Europe and that a voice that will only come from the SNP.

"Europe has always welcomed Scotland and the SNP has a long track record
of speaking up for Scotland. If returned to the European Parliament, SNP
MEPs will work tirelessly to promote Scotland's interests.

"We have a strong Scottish Government fighting Scotland's corner - next
week we must ensure we have a team of SNP MEPs to work alongside our
Government in Scotland's best interests."

Visiting Brodie’s Kitchen, a new local business which pays no business
rates as a result of the SNP’s small business bonus scheme, Mr Mason
added:

“In July last year, the electorate of Glasgow East sent a powerful message
to the Labour Government.

“During the Glasgow East by-election, the choice was clear: endorse the UK
Government’s disastrous 10p tax hike and soaring energy costs or vote for
a party who would put the needs of the people of Scotland first.

“A vote for the SNP next week is a vote against the disastrous £500m cut
to Scotland’s budget proposed by the UK Government and a vote to protect
Scotland's jobs and communities. In the teeth of a recession, Labour's
disastrous plans could endanger jobs and Scottish recovery.

“From Winnie Ewing’s time in Brussels, SNP MEPs have earned a reputation
for putting Scotland’s needs first.

“Working together, SNP MEPs and the Scottish Government, have what it
takes to continue this fight – putting Scotland’s jobs and communities at
the forefront of the European agenda.

“A vote for the SNP at these elections is a vote for Scottish jobs and
economic recovery.”

MASON LAMBASTS LABOUR OVER CHILD POVERTY FIGURES.



MASON LAMBASTS LABOUR OVER CHILD POVERTY FIGURES.

The UK government has been lambasted following the publication of figures by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showing that one in five children in Scotland is living in poverty.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson, John Mason MP, contrasted the Labour government's record of failure with the range of measures taken by the Scottish Government in the fight against poverty.

Mr Mason, the MP for Glasgow East, said:

"These figures are a shameful legacy after twelve years of Labour government and show that Labour has singularly failed to close the gap between rich and poor created during the Thatcher years.

"Gordon Brown should hang his head in shame as banking bosses get multi-million pound rewards while one in five children live below the bread-line.

"It is clear that there is a particular problem with the tax and benefits system which must be reformed to ensure that nobody is overlooked or trapped in a cycle of poverty. Even the Labour weighted Treasury Select Committee has expressed its dismay that, despite repeated warnings, the UK Government will fail to meet its poverty targets by a significant margin and the Scottish Parliament's Local Government Committee has called for flexibility in Scotland over the benefits system so it can work for Scotland.

"No issue underlines more why Scotland must have full responsibility for all tax, spending and social welfare issues so that we can tackle the scourge of poverty.

"The Scottish Government is doing everything it can with the powers that are available to it. Practical steps, like freezing the Council Tax, progressive abolition of prescription charges and the introduction of free school meals in the early years, are delivering and we will do more.

"There is enormous political goodwill towards fighting poverty, and yet the UK government has failed to match its talk with action. Scotland has the will to eradicate poverty but we are being held back by a tax and benefits system that is failing thousands of people.”

SNP WELCOME SFA TEAM GB MOVE.



SNP WELCOME SFA TEAM GB MOVE.

SNP Culture and Sport spokesperson, Pete Wishart MP, has commented on news that the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football association's have agreed that they would have no involvement at all in the Olympics but would not prevent an England only team from representing Britain on a one-off basis for the London Games.


Mr Wishart, who led a debate in Westminster on the issue, said:

“The SFA are absolutely right to have nothing to do with plans for a team GB, and fans across the country will be cheering this move.

“This debate has always been about protecting the future of our national teams, and safeguarding Scotland’s long term ability to compete in international football. Cut and shut plans for a Team GB threatened our football future, and I am delighted that this meddling has been given the red card.

“We must allow no precedent that could be used against us in the future, and no reason or argument given by Gordon Brown and those others who were pushing to change the status quo has addressed that.

“Indeed, Jim Murphy the Scottish Secretary claimed repeatedly to have assurances from FIFA over the future of the Scottish side yet, when asked, the Scotland Office has repeatedly claimed they need more time to consider whether releasing such details is in the public interest. Such assurance doesn’t exist as it is merely a Labour fantasy.

“The political interference in this decision has been disgraceful, and I hope the SFA’s move will blow the final whistle on plans on any Scottish participation. The proposal to involve only an England 11 in a team “GB” is a matter for the English FA but surely the best way forward would be to let all home nations compete. This is what happened in London in 1908. That would have been a sensible way forward that would do nothing to threaten our teams.

“The Labour Government at Westminster has consistently attempted to undermine the future of Scotland’s national team for their own narrow political agenda. Supporters in Scotland, England, Wales and N Ireland are united in their opposition to this daft and dangerous idea and Gordon Brown and Jim Murphy should be ashamed of themselves.”

SNP ONLY PARTY COMMITTED TO INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.



SNP ONLY PARTY COMMITTED TO INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.


SCOTLAND HAS WHAT IT TAKE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

SNP European Candidate, Cllr Drew Hendry, has called on all Scottish
candidates in the European election to follow the SNP lead and sign up to
the NIDOS Manifesto, committing MEP candidates to work towards achieving
the Millennium Development Goals if elected. All six SNP candidates have
signed the pledge - the only party to do so.

NIDOS is an umbrella body which represents 67 Scottish organisations
involved in international development.

Commenting in advance of the Oxfam Scotland Hustings he will attend
today (Friday), Mr Hendry said:

"Scottish jobs and communities are at the top of the SNP's agenda.
However, as a responsible nation, we have an international duty to work
together to tackle global poverty.

"We have strong links with other countries, many of which would benefit
from aid, and we want to help. It is small and medium sized European
countries that are leading the world.

"The Scottish Government has already doubled Scotland's international aid
budget and is building strong links with Malawi and other Sub-Saharan
nations.

"The EU also plays a critical role in global affairs as the world's
biggest provider of development aid. The European Parliament does
important work in this field and the SNP has a long record of working in
Europe to support EU commitments.

"SNP MEPs will work in Europe and with both the Scottish Government and
stakeholders including NIDOS members to ensure the goals laid out in the
pledge are met.

"Working together, Scotland's Government and aid organisations have what
it takes to make a real difference to lives across the world."

CHANCELLOR ACCUSED OF ‘HIGHWAY ROBBERY’ ON FUEL TAX.



CHANCELLOR ACCUSED OF ‘HIGHWAY ROBBERY’ ON FUEL TAX.

UK FUEL TAX TAKE OFFICIALLY THE HIGHEST IN EUROPE

ONLY A VOTE FOR THE SNP WILL SEND MESSAGE FOR LOWER FUEL TAXES

SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson, Angus MacNeil MP, has accused the Chancellor of ‘highway robbery’ after new figures revealed tax on petrol and diesel in the UK is officially the highest in Europe.

Figures buried amongst the latest national statistics on Energy Trends and Prices produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change reveal that a staggering 71 per cent of the pump price of fuel is flowing to the Treasury, compared with 62 per cent last year. The tax take on petrol alone has increased by a 10 per cent in the last year.

Mr MacNeil said:

“The Treasury’s tax take on fuel is modern day highway robbery and these figures unmask Alistair Darling as Dick Turpin of the forecourt.

“People in the North of Scotland and Isles have had their fill of Labour’s fuel duty increases. Instead of trying to bury these figures, Alistair Darling needs to make a statement to parliament justifying why he is hammering hard pressed motorists and businesses.

“What Ministers in London forget is that for people in rural areas, a car is a necessity and not a luxury. Pushing up fuel prices is absolutely the wrong thing to do in the grip of recession and these increases will actually hinder economic recovery.

“Just a few weeks ago the SNP brought forward proposals for a fuel duty regulator to bring down the cost of fuel, but this was voted down by Labour the Tories and Liberal Democrats.


“It is scandalous that in oil rich Scotland key sectors are struggling to fill their tanks, and a Fuel Duty Regulator would have made an enormous difference. Romanian motorists are paying almost 22p less for petrol than people here, despite the fact that fuel is almost 7p cheaper here before tax.

“The SNP has supported Scotland’s hauliers and motorists from the very outset, and the chorus against these increases have been growing louder by the day.

“Next weeks European elections in Scotland are a two horse race between the SNP and Labour and it is only the SNP that can overtake Labour. It is only a vote for the SNP that can send a message that Scotland has had enough of Labour’s high fuel taxes.”

Thursday, 28 May 2009

MSP CONDEMNS UK BORDER AGENCY’S EXPULSION OF CHILD.



MSP CONDEMNS UK BORDER AGENCY’S EXPULSION OF CHILD.



CONTRAVENES UN CONVENTION ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie has condemned the UK Border Agency for the expulsion of a four year old child who had been held in Dungavel after a dawn raid in Sighthill, Glasgow.
Ms McKelvie said the move contravened Article 6 of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child and described it as underhand since the child was due to be examined by a paediatrician tomorrow. This is at odds with a commitment given by the then Under Secretary of State for the Home Office, Andy Burnham, that people seeking asylum would not have any action taken against them if they were to be seen by a medical caseworker.

Ms McKelvie has constantly campaigned for fair treatment for four year old Arouna Gaye, who was held in Dungavel with his mother Fatou Felicite Gaye earlier this month – a detention in direct contradiction to commitments given by Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy who said no more children would be detained there.

Commenting Ms McKelvie said:

“The actions of the UK Border Agency in this affair have been underhand and sleekit.

“To expel a four year child one day before a medical appointment that a Home Office Minister said should go ahead smacks of a department who are a law unto themselves.

“Their actions are also an embarrassment to Jim Murphy who gave a commitment that no child would be held at Dungavel.

“The fact that a four year old child who was traumatised by his previous experience has been recently held at Dungavel was already the cause of controversy but this latest action by the Border Agency is deplorable.”

MADAME ECOSSE HITS EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN TRAIL.



MADAME ECOSSE HITS EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN TRAIL.



Time: 14h45, Friday 29th May 2009

Place: Brodie’s Kitchen, 366 Amulree St, Glasgow, G32 7SJ

Map: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

The SNP European campaign will reach Glasgow East tomorrow (Friday) as SNP
European candidate Alyn Smith joins Madam Ecosse, Winnie Ewing, and SNP MP
John Mason as they hit the campaign trail in Glasgow East.

Commenting, Mr Mason said:

“In July last year, the electorate of Glasgow East sent a powerful message
to the Labour Government – it is the SNP and the Scottish Government they
trust to speak up for their best interests.

“From Winnie Ewing’s time in Brussels, SNP MEPs have earned a reputation
for putting Scotland’s needs first.

“Working together, SNP MEPs and the Scottish Government, will fight for
jobs and communities across Scotland from Glasgow East to Easter Ross and
East Lothian.

“A vote for the SNP at these elections is a vote for Scottish jobs and
economic recovery.”

FIRST MINISTER ALEX SALMOND'S STATEMENT TO THE SCOTTISH ELECTORATE.

FIRST MINISTER ALEX SALMOND'S STATEMENT TO THE SCOTTISH ELECTORATE.

All across Scotland families feel the impact of the recession. We face tough times and big challenges.
I have no doubt Scotland's got what it takes to weather the storm and come out of this situation strong.
Our recovery plan is already helping households and businesses through the downturn. It means extra investment this year in new schools.
Business rates abolished for small firms plus a new fund for town centre regeneration. And thousands more training places, including apprenticeships in key industries. It will put Scotland on course to lead in the big industries of tomorrow, like clean green renewable energy.
This year our capital investment will protect 50,000 jobs and our Recovery Plan creates 20,000 more.
Jobs, skills and investment - the plan is in place to recover, grow and prosper once more.
With your support on June 4th, we can make sure Scotland's voice is heard in Europe.
Vote SNP.

EUROPEAN VOTING FOR SCOTLAND'S SNP.


EUROPEAN VOTING FOR SCOTLAND'S SNP.

European voting for Scotland's SNP is important enough that some have requested information how to vote, here's how to do it... nice and easy, and simple to follow.

TOGETHER WE CAN SEND A MESSAGE ON ROYAL MAIL PRIVATISATION.



TOGETHER WE CAN SEND A MESSAGE ON ROYAL MAIL PRIVATISATION.



SNP EURO CANDIDATE VOICES OPPOSITION TO MANDELSON’S PLANS

SNP President and European candidate, Ian Hudghton, said today (Thursday)
that a vote for the SNP in the upcoming European elections will send a
strong message that Scotland does not support the creeping privatisation
of the Royal Mail.

The SNP has been campaigning for months against the Labour government’s
plans for Royal Mail privatisation which would spell the beginning of the
end for Royal Mail, opening the door to job losses, service cuts and a
deterioration in the working conditions of postal workers.

Commenting Mr Hudghton said:

“It says everything about Labour's priorities that, during a recession,
they are prepared to go ahead with these privatisation plans and the
threat they pose to jobs and services.

“When people all over Scotland are facing redundancy and fearing for their
jobs, the last thing they want is for control to be handed to a private
partner whose only concern would be to make a profit.

“SNP parliamentarians are working with the Scottish Government to support
jobs and investment in our economic recovery. We will continue to fight
for the retention of the publicly-owned Royal Mail and the vital service
it provides to Scottish businesses and communities.

“The SNP has opposed Royal Mail privatisation from the very outset, and
the chorus against the plans has been growing louder by the day.

“Labour are in the embarrassing position of defending these plans against
overwhelming public opposition.

“The European elections in Scotland are a two horse race between the SNP
and Labour. Only a vote for the SNP that can send a message that Scotland
doesn’t want Royal Mail privatisation.”

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

SNP MEP'S WILL


SNP MEP'S WILL;

With a line up like this how can the SNP go wrong?

SNP TEAM OF CANDIDATES FOR EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT.


JACQUI SMITH ASKED TO INTERVENE URGENTLY IN DUNGAVEL CHILD EXPULSION.



JACQUI SMITH ASKED TO INTERVENE URGENTLY IN DUNGAVEL CHILD EXPULSION.

UK BORDER AGENCY SEEKING TO EXPEL CHILD 1 DAY BEFORE MEDICAL EXAMINATION

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie is calling on the Home Secretary to intervene urgently in the case of a child recently held in Dungavel who the UK Border Agency are planning to expel from the country in direct opposition to UK Government policy one day before he is due to be examined by a paediatrician.

Ms McKelvie has learnt that four year old Arouna Gaye, who was held in Dungavel with his mother Fatou Felicite Gaye after a dawn raid in Sighthill, Glasgow earlier this month is to be expelled from the UK at 8.30 tomorrow morning by the UK Border Agency. He is presently being held in a detention centre at Yarl’s Wood in Bedford.

His expulsion is directly at odds with a UK Government Commitment not to deport people being seen by a medical caseworker. Four year old Arouna Gaye is due to see a paediatrician on Friday which may provide evidence to support his case for remaining here.

The commitment was given by then Under Secretary of State for the Home Office, Andy Burnham, that people seeking asylum would not have any action taken against them if they were to be seen by a medical caseworker.

Commenting Ms McKelvie said:

“The fact that a four year old child who was traumatised by his previous experience has been recently held at Dungavel is already the cause of controversy but this latest action by the Border Agency raises even more questions about their behaviour.

“That he is to be so hurriedly expelled from the UK before a medical examination raises eyebrows about what the UK Border Agency is playing at?

“When Andy Burnham was Under Secretary of State for the Home Office he said that that people seeking asylum would not have any action taken against them if they were to be seen by a medical caseworker. This is patently the case with Arouna and action must be taken.”

ENCOURAGING SIGNS THAT SCOTLAND IS WEATHERING RECESSION.



ENCOURAGING SIGNS THAT SCOTLAND IS WEATHERING RECESSION.

9% FALL IN COMPANY INSOLVENCIES

CREATING AND PROTECTING JOBS STILL THE FOCUS


Commenting on official figures which show that the provisional number of company insolvencies compared with the previous recorded year MSP Rob Gibson – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee – said that the figures were encouraging and could hopefully indicate that
Scotland is weathering the recession.

In the year 2007/08 the total insolvencies was recorded as 1,069. Provisional figures for 2008/09 have been recorded as 971 – a 9% fall from the previous year.

Rob Gibson said:

“While these are provisional figures and don't cover companies entering administration, this is an encouraging sign and hopefully an indication that Scotland's economy is weathering the recession.

"The SNP is doing all it can to support jobs and help businesses both survive and emerge stronger. That is what we are doing done through our economic recovery programme, which highlights more than 60 specific actions to help our economy.

“We are accelerating a capital spend of £350 million in total and intensifying our support for the Year of Homecoming to boost jobs in tourism. We have front loaded European funding and targeted it to maximise employment and output.

“And just last month Alex Salmond announced a further £95 million of funding to support thousands of people to get back into employment or stay in their current job as well as create 75,000 new training opportunities,

"We have also earmarked £150 million as the first step to establishing a Scottish Investment Bank to provide crucial support for the strong Scottish businesses who need help with their cashflow.

“These measures are designed to support thousands of jobs across Scotland though we also know that we must do more

“That is why the SNP Government is undertaking extensive engagement across Scotland by inviting the STUC, business organisations, local government, the third sector and Scotland's Faith Groups to help chart Scotland's way out of this downturn."

TORY SPLIT ON KNIFE CRIME COMES INTO FOCUS - ‘JUST WHAT IS THEIR POSITION?’




TORY SPLIT ON KNIFE CRIME COMES INTO FOCUS - ‘JUST WHAT IS THEIR POSITION?’



SENTENCING COUNCIL WILL DELIVER TOUGH SENTENCES THAT FIT THE CRIME

The Tory position on sentencing for knife crime is in disarray following contradictory statements by their justice spokesman in the Scottish Parliament Bill Aitken and their new recruit from Labour, Paul McBride, who has been named as a possible Advocate General for Scotland if the Tories win the next general election.

Whilst Bill Aitken has been saying that he supports a mandatory minimum jail term for carrying a knife Paul McBride has said there should only be a presumption.

Commenting Stewart Maxwell MSP - a member of the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee - said:

“For weeks, if not months, the Tories have been presenting their policy as mandatory sentences for knife crime. But their new recruit, who they have been parading as a possible Advocate General for Scotland, has totally contradicted that policy by saying there should be a presumption.

“Contrary to Bill Aitken’s claim Paul McBride has said the policy would not be mandatory but a 'presumption'. This is not the impression that the Tories have being giving to anti-knife campaigners.

“So what is their position? It is not clear and the contradiction has to be answered.

"It’s patently clear that areas of Scotland are blighted by violence and that's why the Scottish Government is already taking the tough action needed on those who carry and use knives by doing more than ever before.

"Jail terms for knife carrying have already increased by a third and Courts have been given powers recently to impose four year sentences just for carrying a knife.

“And our proposed Sentencing Council can take a considered look at sentencing for knife offences - taking into account the views of the public, victims, and police.

“Sentencing guidelines will help deliver more consistent and transparent sentencing which will help inform judges of the views of the public and victims.

“In contrast, the Tories are all over the place and standing against proper sentencing guidelines across the board to ensure that the punishment fits the crime. We want to give victims and police a voice to ensure that the punishment always fits the crime.

“It is the Tories who are against that tough approach and Paul McBride has now left them having to defend their own self-styled soft-touch approach to sentencing.”

STRONG VOICE FOR SCOTLAND'S FISHERIES 'MORE NECESSARY THAN EVER'.



STRONG VOICE FOR SCOTLAND'S FISHERIES 'MORE NECESSARY THAN EVER'.


‘FISHING IS INDUSTRY OF THE FUTURE’

SNP President and European candidate, Ian Hudghton today (Wednesday) vowed
to continue the SNP’s 30 year fight for Scotland’s fishing communities, if
returned to the European Parliament at the European election.

Mr Hudghton said figures released last week - which show expansion in the
fishing industry – are evidence of the sector’s continued importance to
the Scottish economy but warned a strong Scottish voice was more necessary
than ever as Europe geared up to rewrite the Common Fisheries Policy.

Speaking from Musselburgh, where he was visiting a fish merchant whose
business rates have been abolished by the SNP Scottish Government, Mr
Hudghton said:

“From fishermen in Scotland’s ports to the small fishmongers and all the
other business which contribute to this vital sector, the SNP is the only
party who will speak for the Scottish fisheries industry in Europe.

“Figures out last week show that the number of people employed in the
fishing has increased in the last year and the total catch of the Scottish
fleet is up by 3%. Despite its long history in Scotland, the fishing
industry also represents our future and that is a future we will protect.

"The European Commission has acknowledged that top-down micro-management
of Scotland's rich fishing grounds has failed our fishing communities and
damaged fish stocks but there is still a long way to go to ensure genuine
decision-making is returned to Scotland and our historic fishing
opportunities are protected.

“As the Europe gears up to reform the Common Fisheries Policy, this
election is an opportunity to vote for a strong voice for Scotland’s
coastal communities and a chance for a real future for Scotland’s
fisheries.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead MSP, who accompanied
Ian Hudghton as he campaigned in Musselburgh added:

"Protecting Scotland's jobs is at the heart of the SNP's European agenda.

“This election is an opportunity for Scotland’s fishing communities to
make their voice heard as Europe reforms the CFP and to make clear that it
is Scottish control of Scotland’s seas that will deliver jobs for the
future.

“A vote for the SNP on June 4th is a vote for Scotland’s vital fishing
industries and the jobs it supports.”

Call over veterans' mental health.

Call over veterans' mental health.

Royal Scots Borderers
The conference will hear the numbers needing help could rise significantly

More should be done to help former members of the armed forces cope with civilian life, charities will say.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health and Poppy Scotland will make the call at the first event in Scotland to examine the mental health of veterans.

Organisations looking after former service personnel said they were increasingly seeing cases of addictions and serious mental health problems.

They are calling for medical treatment to be provided more promptly.

More than 30 charities and voluntary organisations in Scotland look after the needs of former service personnel.

One charity, Combat Stress, last year treated 428 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The mental health of Scotland's veterans must become a national priority
Billy Watson
SAMH

William Sutherland, a speaker at the event who took part in the naval campaign in the Falklands in 1982, said it could take up to 15 years before a mental health issue was properly diagnosed and treated.

The Royal Navy veteran who also fought in the Gulf War in 1991, said: "Post-traumatic stress disorder has had some cost to me.

"I had to give up my civilian work on health grounds, my marriage broke up and my other long term relationship also failed.

"My life changed in 1982 and I, like many others, have had to make tremendous adjustments as a result of my military experience."

He warned that with the increasing numbers of service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the numbers needing help could rise significantly.

'Immediately accessible'

Recently, Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry VC, Britain's most highly decorated soldier, exposed the wait for NHS treatment that veterans with mental health problems can experience in England and Wales.

Now SAMH and Poppyscotland, which organised the conference at Edinburgh's Dynamic Earth, have pledged to work together to support veterans in Scotland.

Billy Watson, chief executive of SAMH, said: "SAMH shares Lance Corporal Beharry's concerns and is committed to working with Poppyscotland, the Scottish Government and other veterans' organisations to ensure that Scotland's provision for the mental health care of its veterans is immediately accessible and of the highest possible standard.

"The mental health of Scotland's veterans must become a national priority."

Jim Panton, chief executive of Poppyscotland, said with more and more veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the numbers needing help could rise significantly.

Report from;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8069120.stm

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

ONLY SNP WILL SPEAK UP FOR FISHERIES JOBS.



ONLY SNP WILL SPEAK UP FOR FISHERIES JOBS.



SNP CAMPAIGN REACHES MUSSELBURGH

When: 11h15, Wednesday 27th May 2009

Where: Clark Bros Fish Merchants, 220 New Street, Musselburgh,
EH21 7PQ

Map: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

As the European Union announces it is to undertake a fundamental review of
the Common Fisheries Policy, the SNP has vowed to speak up for Scotland’s
fisheries industry and the valuable jobs it supports.

Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead will join SNP European candidate Ian
Hudghton on a visit to Clark Bros Fish Merchants in Musselburgh. They will
then take to the streets with local activists.

Commenting, Mr Hudghton said:

"Protecting Scotland's jobs is at the heart of the SNP's European agenda
in new industries and in traditional areas like fisheries.

"The SNP have long argued that the Common Fisheries Policy was a failure –
needlessly damaging the Scottish fisheries industry and costing thousands
of jobs in the industry.

"We now have a golden opportunity to end the old disastrous management
system and introduce effective local management of fisheries. It is only
right that Scotland's fish stocks are managed by Scottish stakeholders.

"To support Scotland's fisheries we need a strong voice in Europe that can
only come from a strong team of SNP MEPs working alongside the SNP
Scottish Government.

"Working together, SNP MEPs, the Scottish Government and the fisheries
industry will fight tirelessly for the best deal for Scotland. A vote for
the SNP on June 4th is a vote for Scotland’s vital fishing industries and
the jobs it supports.”

FISHERIES NEGOTIATIONS NEED A STRONG SCOTTISH VOICE.



FISHERIES NEGOTIATIONS NEED A STRONG SCOTTISH VOICE.



SNP WELCOME FOR REFORM OF FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

SNP MEP and Party President Ian Hudghton today (Tuesday) welcomed the
European Council’s acknowledgement that the CFP has failed and that EU
management of fishing stocks has been a disaster.

Ian Hudghton called on voters to ensure Scotland has a strong voice in
future negotiations to bring control of Scottish fisheries back to
Scotland with a vote for the SNP in June 4th’s European elections.

Welcoming the EU decision to move toward national control Ian Hudghton said;

“The SNP have long argued that the Common Fisheries Policy was a failure –
needlessly damaging the Scottish fisheries industry.

“The SNP has been the CFP’s strongest critic and in Government we have
taken positive steps to ensure the end of this damaging system of fishing
management.

“This week’s discussions are only the first step in a long road to scrap
the damaging Common Fisheries Policy that has operated for the last 25
years and to return Scotland’s fisheries to control at home.

“Scotland’s fishing industry has suffered under the CFP as successive UK
Governments failed to defend our interests and sacrificed our industry.

“Under the SNP Scottish Government, the fishing industry has led the way
in promoting sustainable fishing using the innovative conservation credits
scheme. We now have the opportunity to assume control and responsibility
we need to protect Scottish jobs and ensure a future for this vital
industry.”

SNP GET SCOTLAND’S VETERANS “ON THE BUSES”.



SNP GET SCOTLAND’S VETERANS “ON THE BUSES”.


SNP MSP Christine Grahame has welcomed an announcement from the Scottish Government that the concessionary fares scheme which already covers older and disabled passengers has been extended to include Scotland wide access for forces veterans.

Commenting on the announcement Ms Grahame said:

"This is really good news and in such difficult economic times it is only right that the concessionary scheme be extended to our veterans.

“The SNP Government has guaranteed all the rights to free or concessionary travel in place before the review - and extended the service further. This puts into context the misleading and, quite frankly, low political scaremongering by opposition parties who claimed the entire scheme was under threat.

Working together with support for veterans, pensioners and the disabled we are able to get more people onto public transport and ensure people are able to take full advantage of opportunities around them.

More people are travelling longer distances on Scotland’s buses at a lower cost, with the average Scot taking 100 bus journeys a year – more than their counterparts in other parts of the UK and travelling further with every journey.

“The increase in funding for bus services and for concessionary fares ensures Scotland’s bus services have a strong future.

“In contrast Labour has cut the concessionary fares scheme south of the border and spending is lagging behind Scotland.
“It’s now time to encourage even more people onto buses and public transport to help Scotland hit our climate change targets.”

LIFE SCIENCE A VITAL ASSET IN DOWNTURN.


LIFE SCIENCE A VITAL ASSET IN DOWNTURN.

A STRONG SCOTTISH VOICE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.

MEP Alyn Smith and Campaign Convener and Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick today (Tuesday) brought the SNP European election campaign to Dundee with a visit to the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration at Ninewells – which has been backed with over £17 million of investment from the SNP Scottish Government to maintain Dundee’s lead as a life sciences capital. The SNP politicians called on Dundee residents to vote for a strong voice in Europe and to demand a General Election. The SNP took over the administration of Dundee City Council from Labour in March after winning a council by-election. Commenting, Alyn Smith said: “Dundee is a world leader in life sciences and the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration will ensure we remain at the forefront of advances in medicine – a move that will help protect Scotland’s jobs and build a sustainable economic future. "The TMRC has already delivered over 100 jobs and the SNP Government have created a new life sciences apprenticeship to ensure our young people are trained in the skills of the future to support this growing industry. "The coming European Parliament will coincide with the ending of the EU's current programme on scientific and research cooperation. As the EU develops the next programme, it will be vital for Scottish voices to be heard so that our pivotal role in this field is taken into account. "At a time of global economic uncertainty, the life sciences sector is a real asset and every step forward it takes during current downturn could protect a job or support a breakthrough. "Working together, the Scottish Government, the SNP and Scotland's life sciences industry have what it takes to see the sector thrive in coming years." Mr FitzPatrick added: “In March this year the people of Dundee cast their verdict on Labour with an overwhelming vote for the SNP at a council by-election and a fresh start for the city with an SNP administration. “On June 4th voters across the country can have their say too, with a vote for a strong voice in Europe and action to shake up the London parties and force a general election.” 1. The TMRC is a collaboration involving four of Scotland's leading universities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow), their corresponding health boards, Scottish Enterprise and global pharmaceutical company Wyeth. The partnership aims to raise the commercial profile of Scotland's translational research in several therapeutic areas including neurology and oncology.

LABOUR'S NUCLEAR PLANS IN PIECES AS INDUSTRY MAKES SUBSIDY PLEA


LABOUR'S NUCLEAR PLANS IN PIECES AS INDUSTRY MAKES SUBSIDY PLEA

SCOTLAND'S GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO HAVE JOBS WITH A RENEWABLES FUTURE.

Labour government plans for a new generation of unsubsidised nuclear plants have been left in tatters after the head of the UK's biggest nuclear generator warned that new nuclear stations will not be built unless the UK government steps in with financial subsidies.

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson, Mike Weir MP, seized on the admission by Vincent de Rivaz, UK boss of EDF Energy, as further evidence that nuclear power was unaffordable, unwise and unnecessary and that the SNP Government's drive for renewables was the only sensible way forward to not only create a green energy future but also provide jobs in these troubled economic times.

Mr Weir said:

“Claims that there would be no public subsidy for new nuclear stations were always fantasy, and this admission by EDF is both embarrassing and damaging for the UK government.


“The fact is that no country has developed and maintained nuclear stations without state support, nor ever will.

“The costs associated with developing new nuclear stations are mammoth, and the expense and risks associated with disposal are incalculable.

“The UK has still to make a decision on the storage of existing nuclear waste, the cost of which is now also steadily escalating, let alone how to deal with a whole new generation of toxic waste.

“This latest admission underline why the UK government must follow the example of the Scottish Government and concentrate on creating a green energy future rather than the danger, cost and worry of new nuclear stations.

“Clean, green technologies are up and running, and being deployed in Scotland already. In these troubled economic times it is green jobs that offer a future for our people. The facts speak for themselves - since May 2007 the Scottish Government has determined 26 energy applications, including consenting 22 renewables projects, totalling over 1.5 GW. That is one a month, and more than during the previous 4 years of the Labour/Liberal administration put together.

“Scotland is capable of meeting our energy needs through renewables and new technologies, and the here and now investment by the SNP Government is in stark contrast with Labour’s if, when, dim and distant and dangerous nuclear proposals.”

EDFs call for subsidies for new nuclear developments can be found at:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1369ae48-4972-11de-9e19-00144feabdc0.html

SNP GOVERNMENT DELIVERING ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING.



SNP GOVERNMENT DELIVERING ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING.



TOGETHER WE’VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO PROVIDE HOMES

Glasgow SNP MSP Bob Doris – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Committee – has welcomed today’s announcement by the independent Chief Statistician of Scotland that the number of affordable houses completed in Scotland last year has reached an eight year high.

According to the statistics which were released today:

* 6,221 houses for rent and low cost ownership were completed in 2008-09 - the highest annual figure in 8 years

* This figure is 29% higher than that achieved in 2006-07, under the previous administration

* Compared to just six council houses completed during the previous administrations time in office, 336 council homes were completed during 2008-2009

Commenting Mr Doris said:

“The SNP Government has been a welcome breath of fresh air to address the issue of social housing in Scotland. In these hard economic times the provision of over 6,000 affordable houses shows the SNP is serious about boosting jobs in the construction industry.

""And there’s more on the way, working with housing associations and local authorities the SNP Government has already announced £17 million for councils to build 940 new council houses and support for 8,000 new affordable homes this financial year.

“These independent figures put the negative moaning of the opposition into context and show it up for the crying wolf that it is.

“The 336 council houses already built by the SNP Government compares well to Labour's failure to invest in this area with only 6 council houses built in their four years of administration.

“On a pro-rata basis Scotland is ahead of the game in providing new council houses.

“The SNP's positive action to support housing, particularly at this difficult time, is keeping the industry going and delivering a renaissance in council house building.

“Affordable good quality housing is essential and the Scotland has what it takes to is deliver better housing across Scotland.”

GOOD NEWS FOR SCOTLAND’S PATIENTS AS NHS HITS TARGETS.



GOOD NEWS FOR SCOTLAND’S PATIENTS AS NHS HITS TARGETS.


SNP MSP Dr Ian McKee today welcomed the news that key NHS waiting targets are being met with 99.9% of outpatients receiving treatment within 12 weeks and delayed discharges reduced to zero.

The figures released today show that delayed discharges are at zero for the second time after the target was first reached in 2008, with a record low number of people having to wait for discharge from hospital.

Outpatient figures show 99.9% of outpatients receive treatment within 12 weeks and 99.7% of people receive inpatient/daycase treatment within 12 weeks - beating the current target of 15 weeks and well ahead of schedule to meet a 12 week treatment target by March 2010.

Welcoming today’s figures SNP MSP and former GP Ian McKee said;

“Today’s results are excellent news for patients and the NHS alike and show the SNP is meeting our commitment to improve health care.

“There is always more work to be done to improve the experience of patients in our NHS but today’s improvements are the result of hard work and effort by NHS staff who must be praised for their contribution.

“However we must all ensure these standards are maintained and patients experience of the NHS continues to improve.

“Waiting for treatment is frustrating not just for patients but for their Doctors too. As a former GP I know the distress delay can cause and the work that has gone in to achieve these results.

“Similarly waiting to leave hospital is as frustrating as waiting to get in and seeing the number of people waiting for discharge cut from over 2,000 people waiting more than six weeks in 2001 to no one waiting more than six weeks under the SNP in 2009 is a real achievement for the NHS, local authorities and all those in ensuring the best care for Scotland’s patients.”

Monday, 25 May 2009

EU CHILD ALERT BACKED BY SNP MEPS.




EU CHILD ALERT BACKED BY SNP MEPS.



Ahead of a Scottish Parliament debate on a European Missing Child alert
system to mark International Missing Childrens Day SNP MEPs highlighted
their support for the establishment of a missing child alert system across
the EU.

The European Parliament Written Declaration last year, backed by both SNP
MEPs, called for Member states to set up a missing child alert system
which when activated, would require the immediate forwarding to the
relevant news media, border authorities and customs and law enforcement
agencies of the child's details, any information on the disappearance and
suspected abductor and a telephone number to contact with information.

Commenting ahead of the debate SNP MEP Alyn Smith said;

"SNP MEPs support a European missing child alert system alongside MEPs
from other parties and other countries.

"There is cross party support in the European Parliament for greater
co-operation across countries when it comes to tracking down missing
children.

"It is by working across parties and with other nations that we can ensure
all necessary resources can be brought into play when a child goes
missing.

"The Scottish Government are already working together with partners across
the EU to strengthen co-operation in this area and International Missing
Childrens Day is an excellent opportunity to highlight this co-operation
as we move forward together to secure a safer scotland and a safer
Europe."

SNP EURO CAMPAIGN HEADS TO DUNDEE.



SNP EURO CAMPAIGN HEADS TO DUNDEE.

SCOTLAND’S HIGH TECH SECTOR CAN FLOURISH IN EUROPE

When: 09h15 – 10h00, Tuesday 26th May 2009

Where: TMRC Laboratory, James Arrott Drive, Ninewells, DD2

Map: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

The SNP will continue our campaign for a strong voice in Europe and a
demand an early general election in Dundee tomorrow (Tuesday 26th May).

MEP Alyn Smith and Campaign Convener and Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick
will visit the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration at Ninewells
– which has been backed with over £17 million of investment from the SNP
Scottish Government to maintain Dundee’s lead as a life sciences capital.

Bringing the campaign to Dundee SNP MEP Joe FitzPatrick said;

“Dundee is a world leader in life sciences and the Translational Medicine
Research Collaboration will ensure we remain at the forefront of advances
in medicine – a move that will help protect Scotland’s jobs and build a
sustainable economic future.

“This collaboration has already delivered over 100 jobs and the SNP
Government have created a new life sciences apprenticeship to ensure our
young people are trained in the skills of the future to support this
growing industry.

“In March this year the people of Dundee cast their verdict on Labour with
an overwhelming vote for the SNP at a council by-election and a fresh
start for the city with an SNP administration.

“On June 4th voters across the country can have their say too, with a vote
for a strong voice in Europe and action to shake up the London parties and
force a general election.”