November 2016 Branch Meeting Report

We had two very good speakers at this meeting.

The first to speak was Brian Goodall, SNPimage 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.

SAS and NSOur 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Lloyds jobs in Dunfermline

DUNFERMLINE and West Fife MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP has sought assurances from Lloyds that jobs in Dunfermline will be protected.

imageMs Somerville was responding to a recent announcement by the company that they will axe 3,000 jobs, and close 200 branches, across the UK. Lloyds previously announced 9,000 job losses in October 2014.

In a letter to António Horta-Osório, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, Ms Somerville wrote: “You will have noted that Lloyds Banking Group employs a number of staff in my constituency of Dunfermline, at a contact centre in Pitreavie Business Park, and at a high street branch in East Port.

“These services are vitally important to people in the area, providing employment and high street accessibility for Lloyds customers in Dunfermline.”

Commenting, Ms Somerville said: “Lloyds is an important employer in Dunfermline, creating jobs and employment opportunities for people in the town and surrounding area. I sincerely hope that management can assure their staff, and my constituents, that jobs and services are safe in Dunfermline.

“I’m looking for Lloyds management to make a public commitment to the long-term future of the contact centre and the Lloyds branch in East Port. Such an upfront and public reassurance would be welcomed by all involved and will demonstrate the company’s commitment to the town going forward.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville – Get to know your candidate.

SHIRLEY-ANNE Somerville is determined 2016 will be her year to enter Holyrood.

imageThe SNP candidate for Dunfermline had to overcome disappointment at the ballot box when she failed to win Edinburgh North against Labour’s Malcolm Chisholm in 2011, and then missed out in the Dunfermline by-election in 2013 against Cara Hilton, who was also standing for Labour.

But Somerville, who was the Yes campaign’s director of communications, believes her campaigning skills and talents as a politician have been strengthened by her setbacks.

“I have learned from my experiences of defeat and grown a lot as a politician. I believe I’ve come back a more experienced candidate,” she said. “I have a great deal of respect for Malcolm, he had a strong personal vote, which made him a difficult candidate to be against, but we ran him close and I think I just lost by about 600 votes”.

Somerville was born in the Fife village of Cardenden and attended Kirkcaldy High School before studying economics and politics at Strathclyde University.

The 41-year-old, who has two young daughters, began her working life as a housing officer before moving into campaigning roles, including for the Chartered Institute of Housing and for the Royal College of Nursing.

Interested in politics at an early age, she joined the SNP at 16 and quickly got to know fellow youth activists Shona Robison, who is now Health Secretary, as well as party leader Nicola Sturgeon.

In 2007, she entered Holyrood on the regional list as a Lothians MSP and served as a parliamentary aide to Finance Secretary John Swinney during the session, as well as being the party’s deputy whip in the parliamentary group.

She was also a member of the cross-party group on men’s violence against women and children, and a co-convener of the cross party group on climate change.

But the unexpected landslide victory of the SNP in the constituency seats in 2011 meant Somerville lost her list seat.

“It was a bittersweet feeling,” she said. “I was defeated because the SNP were so successful in the constituencies. If you are going to get defeated then you may as well do so because your party has done so well. It gave me some comfort.”

Looking ahead to next week, she hopes to be given the opportunity to represent the people of Dunfermline in the next session of the Scottish Parliament.

“I was pleased that the SNP manifesto included a commitment to look at a feasibility study for the extension of the Stirling-Alloa line to Dunfermline.

“That would be a tremendous boost to local commuters, it would give direct access to Glasgow and would be great for businesses in the area. There is so much potential in tourism and West Fife, and a link [like] this would help,” she said.

Somerville is also keen to keep up pressure on the Labour-controlled Fife Council about school facilities in a growing Dunfermline.

“A lot of families have moved over to Dunfermline from Edinburgh but one of the issues is making sure there is adequate schooling and other services to meet the extra demand,” she added. “It’s fantastic that Dunfermline is booming but the council has an obligation to make sure it is providing enough facilities – that will be one of my key priorities if elected next month.”

 

Nicola Sturgeon in Dunfermline

Chapman Adoption Mtg FullSizeRender(6)(1)

 

 

We had a special night in Dunfermline on Friday, 29th January with an array of outstanding SNP Ministers.      Why?   It was Shirley-Anne Somerville’s adoption meeting for the Holyrood Election and it was a sell out.

Stephen Gethin, SNP MP for North East Fife was the Master of Ceremonies who injected good natured banter about knowing Shirley Anne since their university days.

Our own SNP MP, Douglas Chapman, gave us an update on what key issues he has raised in the Select Defence Committee at Westminster.  He has been particularly active in questioning the use of Lariam, a drug administered to the armed forces, and his involvement with NATO.

Shirley-Anne made an excellent speech on her Fife background and upbringing, her involvement in the SNP Youth branch where she first met Nicola Sturgeon and on her determination and committment to this constituency when she becomes an MSP in May.    She wants, amongst other things, more and improved social housing, better transport, the end to the need for food banks and a continued improvement in education for all.

Last but not least there was a standing ovation when Nicola Sturgeon took to the podium.   Her key message was that to win this campaign we should take nothingimage for granted and work as hard as possible for our SNP candidate in order to win this constituency.   She stressed that if we wanted an SNP Government in May it was essential that we vote twice.  One vote for our candidate and a second for SNP on the List.

Nicola also spoke of a second referendum stating that there definitely would be a second referendum but only when she was sure we would win it.   In the meantime, our first goal is to get an SNP majority Government in May who would build upon their excellent track record to date and who would continue to improve all aspects of life for the Scottish people.

Your branch will need your help so if you have a few hours to spare to help us leaflet, canvass, man a stall or fund raise please let our Organiser know.     He can be contacted at organiser@westfifesnp.com.

 

Burns Supper

A great night was had by all.   We had an excellent turnout which included ourShirley-Anne candidate, Shirley Anne Somerville.   The food was drummertremendous, the raffle was huge, the speeches excellent, Tam O’Shanter was brought to life and the musicians were in very fine fettle indeed.    The stars of the show, however, were the children who’s recitals were fabulous.

Piper

A big thanks to Jennie for the excellent haggis neeps ‘n tatties, to all who contributed to the raffle and our splendid musicians, Dougie Smith and Charlie MacDonald.   Last but certainly not least to our wonderful piper.

 

Dunfermline and West Fife Holyrood Candidate

Shirley-AnneOur SNP candidate for the Holyrood 2016 campaign – Shirley-Anne Somerville

Shirley-Anne is an experienced Holyrood parliamentarian having been an MSP from 2007 to 2011 and a Parliamentary Aide to John Swinney.   She is a proven leader in the Yes movement and the SNP.   She was the Director of Communications in the Yes movement responsible for the grass roots campaign and Deputy Chief Executive of the SNP overseeing major campaign projects and managing campaign staff.   She also worked closely with First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon during the Westminster campaign.

Her biography is available on snp.org.

Shirley-Anne stated at the hustings she would hit the ground running to kick off her campaign. She has done so. She has set up an appeal for funds via an online “raffle” with some relevant prizes, on Crowdfunder.      If you want her to have the best chance of winning then please show your support.

Support for our candidate

“Shirley-Anne has the experience, tenacity and passion to be, once again, a great asset to the SNP group in Holyrood.  Her record as an MSP speaks for itself and she made a considerable contribution both in the Parliament and for her constituents.”            Alex Salmond MP, MSP.

“Both in the chamber and campaigning in the community she made a real impact.   It would be great to have her back in the Parliament.”       Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice

“During her previous time as an MSP she impressed all her colleagues.   She has the leadership skills not only to be a great Candidate but just as importantly a fantastic MSP.”   Bruce Crawford MSP

Shirley-Anne says,  “Friends, let’s move our Party forward.  We must win well in our constituencies, but we must also run a strong and determined campaign to ensure we elect our list MSPs too.   I have the experience to win and the commitment to take us forward to our goal of independence. ”