“NO DEMOCRATIC MANDATE” FOR FORMER PM TO HANDPICK UK LAWMAKERS

 

Mental Health DebateThe SNP has called into question the legitimacy of the 13 new members of the House of Lords selected by David Cameron upon his resignation as Prime Minister – arguing that the former Prime Minister has forfeited his mandate to do this by resigning as an MP this week. The call comes on the UN International Day of Democracy – a global event celebrating democratic values.

 

Mr Cameron selected a host of former aides, Tory party hacks and former Downing Street staff as nominees for seats in the undemocratic and antiquated House of Lords when he resigned as Prime Minister earlier in the summer.

 

Following his resignation as an MP on Monday, the SNP have now called for his nominations to be annulled – as he has now “foregone his mandate” to have made any such appointments.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said:

 

“With today being the day that the world celebrates democratic values, it seems absolutely outrageous that a man who no longer holds any political office and has absolutely no democratic mandate would be allowed to cherry-pick former aides and staffers to become UK lawmakers.

 

“Mr Cameron has suffered an extraordinary reversal in fortunes over the last year, from winning a majority at Westminster only 16 months ago to resigning as Prime Minister following his disastrous EU referendum gamble, and now turning his back on Parliament altogether.

 

“It would be staggering if these latest batch of nominations to the out-of-date and unelected House of Lords, from a man who has forgone his mandate, are allowed to go forward –  and would fly in the face of democratic values promoted by today’s International Day of Democracy.

 

“Above all, the whole affair merely reiterates the fact that it is time for this antiquated institution to be scrapped for good.”

 

SNP House of Lords Spokesperson at Westminster, Kirsty Blackman, said:

 

“It is quite clear that Mr Cameron’s resignation honours list no longer possesses any legitimacy, if ever it did to start with, following his decision to quit parliament this week.

 

“Allowing someone with no democratic mandate to continue swelling the ranks of the unelected chamber is completely unacceptable. The House of Lords is well past its sell-by date – it must be scrapped and replaced with a fully elected second chamber.”

 

ENDS

Notes:

Details of the International Day of Democracy are available here: http://www.un.org/en/events/democracyday/

Linda Fabiani MSPLinda Fabiani MSP is encouraging local community groups in the town to apply for up to £25,000 of funding from the Aviva Community Fund.

 

Linda said:
“The Aviva Community Fund offers groups the chance to get funding for community projects across a range of six categories, with four levels of funding to choose from.

 

“This year’s fund is bigger and better than ever before, so I advise everyone who applies to really sell how funding for their project can make a difference.

 

“Every vote counts, so it is important the project is promoted to as many people as possible once submitted.”
ENDS

 

Groups in East Kilbride have until October 11th to make an application and the winners will be announced in January.

Click here to apply for an award

East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani is this week highlighting 105 as a new number for constituents to call to report or get information about a power cut. The free service can be used no matter who provides the electricity, and is available in Scotland, England and Wales.

The service can be used to report power outages and damage to substations that could put people in danger.

 

Linda said:

 

“Many people mistakenly call their electricity supplier, rather than the local electricity network operator if they have a power cut. That is one of the reasons why the networks introduced 105 – so as to allow customers an easy-to-remember number to call which will put them through to the local people who can help.

 

“I understand that electricity network operators will run a consumer awareness campaign throughout the rest of this month, with social media, advertising and media relations to ensure as many people are aware of the service, and how it can benefit them. This new, free phone number will make life easier for electricity customers when they wish to report a problem.”

linda 12Scotland’s independence referendum in 2014 truly engaged people in thinking about their future and the future of our country. No matter how people voted, the participation in both the vote and the decision taken was energising – from school pupils through to our oldest residents everyone had something to say.

 

We should have something to say; we should be listened to. That’s why I was delighted to be there last Friday to hear Nicola Sturgeon launch the new national survey. The Scottish National Party wants to gain a nationwide understanding of people’s views on Europe, Brexit and independence. We want to grow consensus across Scotland in the wake of recent political events. Things have changed since the UK chose to leave the European Union, against the wishes of Scotland’s voters, and we have the right to discuss exactly how we deal with this.

 

So, look out in East Kilbride for SNP activists asking for your opinion. We want to know the concerns that people have and we want to know your views – whether for independence, against independence or undecided. Please take part. Everyone’s point of view is important.

 

Of course, it’s not just on the National question that people should have the power to make changes and take decisions on what affects day-to-day life. The well-worn phrase “all politics is local” holds much truth. So much that affects us, our families and friends, is decided and implemented at a local level.

 

I have long espoused the view that often the best decisions are made by those who are most closely affected by them. Indeed, prior to being elected to the Scottish Parliament, I saw the truth of this in action in my career with community-based housing associations. It was the voluntary management committee of local people in East Kilbride who took the initiative to maintain a stock of social-rented housing in the town. This in the face of the erosion of the rented housing supply through the right-to-buy legislation. People who cared about their town.

 

Local decision-making and finance for communities is a good way forward – the jargon is Community Empowerment and Participatory Budgeting and the Scottish Government has introduced both. I would like to see South Lanarkshire Council really taking this on board and recognising that the needs and aspirations of East Kilbriders are not necessarily the same as those of, for example, the residents of Hamilton or Biggar. To be fair to SLC they are, I understand, considering some of this, but I would hope for a much more proactive regime in community ownership and public services. True involvement of local people who care about their town could be transforming and cost-effective.

 

Most councils in Scotland are highly-centralised organisations that too often become distant and disengaged from the day-to-day concerns of those they serve, despite the best intentions of elected councillors and hard-working staff. Here in East Kilbride we have seen the removal of Council functions and services at a local level. Many residents have told me of their view that decisions are handed down from the County Buildings in Hamilton in a top-down way. People end up feeling that they have no control over what the Council does to the places they live in, the services and facilities they use, and pay for, and sometimes even their own lives. Time for a major rethink? Let me know your view.

 

So, let’s not listen to those who try to close down healthy debate. We’re perfectly able to have informed and sensible discussion about what’s important to us, to our communities, our towns and our country. We all have the right to be heard!

Benson, FabianiEast Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani last week had the pleasure of hosting Harry Benson’s Shoot First documentary at the Edinburgh Film House and then hosting a presentation and question and answer session with Harry himself in the Parliament Chamber. This was all part of the Festival of Politics 2016, and complimented by a Parliamentary exhibition of Harry’s photographs which runs until December 3rd.

 

Born in 1929, Glasgow born Harry Benson CBE had his first break aged 24, when he worked for the Hamilton Advertiser, the largest weekly newspaper in Scotland at the time. Harry’s connection to East Kilbride helped catapult his career, as he was the only photographer to get a close up on the location of a murder on East Kilbride golf course by infamous mass murderer Peter Manuel. After the photographs were published, Harry was hired by London’s Daily Sketch to cover Scotland, and went to the USA to cover the first tour by the Beatles. He stayed in the US where he married and raised his family.

 

Perhaps best known for his famous coverage of the Beatles initial US tour in 1964, Benson has since photographed every US President from Eisenhower to Obama, and took photographs of Senator Robert Kennedy just moments after he was tragically shot. Working for Life Magazine from 1968-2000, Harry covered the IRA hunger strikes, as well as the conflict in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Israel and the West Bank.

 

Commenting after the events, Linda said:

 

“It was an real privilege to host the first screening of the documentary and then the conversation with Harry Benson himself in our Parliament Chamber – it was a fascinating insight into someone who has photographed some of the most captivating and iconic images of the 20th Century.

 

“I was fascinated to learn of Harry’s time working with the Hamilton Advertiser and covering East Kilbride. The murder on East Kilbride Golf course by the infamous Peter Manuel was his first big story and led to his moving to London, and then the USA. He went on to produce some of the most interesting portraits of the past sixty years – from US presidents, the Beatles, Cassius Clay, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland through to Amy Winehouse. The list is endless and I am sure that everyone has at some time viewed a Harry Benson photograph without realising that he is a Glasgow boy who began his career in Lanarkshire.

 

“Harry Benson – Seeing America is on display in the Scottish Parliament until the 3rd December at the Scottish Parliament, and I would encourage everyone to get along to see it if they can.”13926034_1016208425144250_3995979249740869880_o

Sainsbury'sEast Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani recently paid another visit to Sainsbury’s Olympia store to meet staff and local customers. She was welcomed by store manager, Nick Wood and taken on a tour of the store in East Kilbride’s town centre.

 

Linda learned about the store’s new Local Charity Partner – Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, the history of the store, the store’s food donations to their partners, Loaves and Fishes, and just how much work Sainsbury’s and their staff team do in the community.
Linda Fabiani MSP said:

 

“It was great to visit the Olympia store again and discuss the charitable work – the management and staff do so much in our community. The Olympia store with its town centre location is so much appreciated by its regular customers.

 

“It is great that this coming year’s efforts will go towards raising money and awareness for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Last year’s fundraising for Lifesavers was a real success, and I am sure the store will continue to impress going forward.

 

Nick Wood, Store Manager at Sainsbury’s Olympia added:
“It has been great having Linda in to our store to introduce her to our customers and colleagues. She was very interested in discussing our work within the community and hearing about the money we raised for last year’s Local Charity partner. She couldn’t believe the figure! It was a pleasure to meet Linda and to host the visit.”

 

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT SETTING FRAMEWORK FOR CHILD POVERTY ERADICATION BY 2030

 

Linda Fabiani MSP.jpgEast Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani has welcomed the Scottish Government’s newly launched consultation on ending child poverty. The consultation comes ahead of the Child Poverty Bill which will be introduced next year and will form part of the overall approach to tackle poverty and inequality in Scotland.

 

The Scottish Government aims to eradicate child poverty – and this consultation asks for comments on the proposals to introduce four statutory income targets seeking to drastically reduce child poverty by 2030, as well as how existing work can be strengthened.

 

These next steps will build on the range of work the Scottish Government already has underway to tackle poverty and inequality, such as the commitment to the Living Wage, free school meals, expansion of funded early learning and childcare, and the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

 

Commenting on the consultation launch, Linda said:

 

“The launch of this consultation shows that the Scottish Government is taking seriously the action needed to tackle poverty and inequality across Scotland.

 

“I am delighted to see the Scottish Government taking this active approach to end the blight of child poverty. We need everyone across local authorities, business, the third sector and those who experience poverty to work together to help tackle deep-seated inequalities.

 

“The Child Poverty Bill consultation will allow further evidence and ideas to emerge, helping to build on efforts already underway, such as free school meals, a commitment to the Living Wage of £8.25/hour,  the Scottish Attainment Challenge and duties to tackle inequalities of educational outcome due to socio-economic disadvantage.

 

“The Scottish Government quite rightly sees child poverty as a priority, and this Bill consultation shows that the SNP in Government will work hard to end the cycle of poverty in Scotland once and for all.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes:

Scottish Government release available here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Consultation-on-ending-child-poverty-284c.aspx

Linda-Fabiani-MSP-2Linda Fabiani, MSP for East Kilbride has this week welcomed the launch of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of social security in Scotland.

 

The latest stage follows the publication in March of A New Future for Social Security in Scotland.

 

Despite only £2.7 billion, or 15% of the total £17.5 billion spent here on social security being devolved, the Scottish Government intends to take a different path to that of the UK Government, so as to support those that need assistance, to tackle inequalities, and to take a step towards building a fairer Scotland.

 

Commenting, Linda said:

 

“I urge constituents to get involved in the process and respond to the consultation.

 

“It is possibly the biggest change coming to the Scottish Parliament since devolution, and the Scottish Government has been clear about the challenge it faces. The transferring of devolved benefits will take time for the transition, implementation, and reform too. It is right that as many people as possible help influence how our social security can work better.

 

“The consultation will enable the views of stakeholders to be reflected in legislation which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in June 2017. Constituents who wish to take part should go here:https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/social-security/social-security-in-scotland where they will also have the opportunity to keep updated with stakeholder engagements over the coming months, and to sign up to a weekly newsletter.”

ENDS

SCHEME IS ‘UNQUESTIONABLY LEGITIMATE AND BENIGN’Linda Fabiani MSP.jpg

 

Following today’s supreme court ruling on the ‘named person’, East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to press ahead and work with key public services and children’s charities to ensure the successful roll-out of the scheme.

 

Linda Fabiani said:

 

“I welcome the fact the attempt to scrap the named person service has failed. The principal aim of the legislation, in promoting and safeguarding the wellbeing of children and our young people was described as ‘unquestionably legitimate and benign’ in the ruling, and does not breach human rights.

 

“What today’s judgement required the Scottish Government to provide however was greater clarity about what information health visitors, teachers and other professionals supporting families will share and receive in their capacity as named person. I am pleased that as a matter of urgency, the Scottish Government will now amend the information on sharing provisions to ensure they comply with the judgement of the Supreme Court.

 

“I welcome that the Scottish Government will work with local authorities, health boards and other public service partners to ensure they have the right level of guidance and support required, ahead of its implementation.

 

“If constituents wish for further information on the scheme, then I invite them to get in touch with my office.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes:

 

The judgement

 

  • Ruled that the principle of providing a named person for every child does not breach human rights and is compatible with EU law
    • Rejected the petitioners’ argument that the legislation relates to reserved matters
    • Ruled that changes are required to the information-sharing provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act to make those provisions compatible with Article 8 of the ECHR.

ROWLEY ‘WOULD NOT OPPOSE’ REFERENDUM IN BREXIT AFTERMATH

LindaThe SNP has today welcomed comments from Scottish Labour’s Deputy Leader Alex Rowley saying that he would not oppose a referendum on independence.

 

As reported today, Alex Rowley MSP made clear that he would “not oppose” a second referendum – and that “the SNP were clear in their manifesto that the Scottish Parliament would have the right to hold another one if there was a ‘significant and material change’ in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014 – such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”

 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been clear that as the Scottish Government seeks to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, all options are on the table – including the possibility of holding another independence referendum.

 

Commenting, East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani said:

 

“These are welcome comments from Scottish Labour’s Deputy Leader – making clear that the Scottish Parliament has the right to hold an independence referendum if it becomes clear this is the best or only way to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, and that he would not oppose such a referendum.

 

“Alex Rowley is also absolutely right to point out that any such referendum would be a completely different prospect from the 2014 referendum – the fact is that the UK which Scotland voted to stay part of two years ago simply doesn’t exist anymore in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

 

“The First Minister has rightly said that as we seek to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, all options are on the table, including a second independence referendum, and it is encouraging to see the emerging cross-party support for that, should it be the chosen route to maintain our EU status.”

 

ENDS

Notes

Alex Rowley’s comments are reported on Page 2 of Wednesday’s edition of the Scottish Sun.

He said:

“I have lost count of the number of people that have asked whether I support a second referendum on independence.  My response is that I would not oppose such a referendum.

“I accept the SNP were clear in their manifesto that the Scottish Parliament would have the right to hold another one if there was a ‘significant and material change’ in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014 – such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”

He said that another referendum would be “a very different proposition” from the 2014 referendum and that “we do not know at this point what a UK out of Europe will look like.  It is difficult to assess what will be in the best interests of the people of Scotland but we can set some guiding principles.  These should include what is best in terms of our economy and jobs, pensions and dignity in retirement, free high quality education, health and public services and the security of our nation.”