We had two very good speakers at this meeting.
The first to speak was Brian Goodall, SNP Group Leader on Fife Council who spoke on the possible branch affiliation to CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). Brian has been a member of CND for some time and has represented Fife Council on the NFLA (Nuclear Free Local Authorities) organisation.
CND’s strategic objectives are:
a) the elimination of British nuclear weapons and global abolition of nuclear weapons
b) abolition of other threats of mass destruction
c) nuclear free, less militarised and more secure Europe and
d) the closure of the nuclear power industry.
To learn more of CND’s activities go to http://www.cnduk.org/
There is also a Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Scottish CND) which aligns with these objectives. To learn more of what they do go to http://www.banthebomb.org/
Ways in which these organisation have assisted us in this region are:
a) reports on possible radioactivity waste from the processes involved in fracking.
b) supporting Fife Council in negotiating with the Ministry of Defence regarding the radioactive presence in Dalgety Bay.
c) what happens to the radioactive debris from the dismantling of obsolete submarines in Rosyth Dockyard and what are the MoD’s plans for disposal.
d) campaigning against radioactive waste being transported on roads in highly populated areas of Scotland. This may be pertinent to c) above.
We have all of this in our “backyard” so it is something for real consideration. Come along to our next meeting and let us have your views and vote on whether we should become affiliated.
Our next speaker was our MSP and Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville.
Shirley-Anne is delighted to be part of John Swinney’s Education team in Holyrood. She has been working closely with John and the other members of the Education team on closing the attainment gap and this will be the key objective for that team. Regular updates on their progress can be found on snp.org.
In order to meet job demand and to build our economy we must ensure we have appropriately skilled people in place. It has been identified that we need more skilled personnel, particularly in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The majority of people studying these subjects are young men and there is a drive to encourage young women to enter into this skills path too.
The Autumn statement will be issued shortly and this will effect the budget being announced by our Finance Minister. It is clear that there will continue to be cuts from Westminster which will impact our Scottish budget but the Scottish Government will continue to protect key areas such as health and police budgets.
In West Fife specifically:
a) Shirley-Anne is a member of the Longannet Task Force and she updated the audience on its activities.
b) She is also supporting the creation of the West Fife Rail Link between Dunfermline and Kincardine and beyond and will keep us updated on progress.
c) One of her researchers is looking into what can be done to attract further tourism to both Dunfermline and West Fife.
d) Held a meeting with Phil Verster of Scotrail to discuss an improved rail service in Fife. There is an article in the Dunfermline Press which gives more detail on this subject and can be accessed at http://www.dunfermlinepress.com/news/14918842.MSP_meets_rail_bosses_after_trains_miss_West_Fife_stops/
There was a wide-ranging Q&A session covering a variety of topics e.g. the Edinburgh airport expansion consultation particularly in relation to new flight paths, student accommodation costs, abuse on social media, budget cuts and Scottish Power’s plans for the Longannet site.
Please note there is no branch meeting in December.