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Bill Stevenson: East Lothian

 Bill Stevenson  is 45, and has lived in Stenton, near Dunbar for the last 15 years.  He was the Scottish Conservative candidate for East Lothian at the last General Election and is their candidate for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election. Educated at Leith Academy, Bill has a BA in Accountancy and Finance from Heriot Watt University.  Since 1999 he has been Director of Business Support with SDM Computer Services.  Prior to which he was a housing consultant and finance officer with Port of Leith Housing Association. An Elder in the Church of Scotland, Bill is heavily involved in youth work and is an Officer in the Boys’ Brigade. Outside of politics his interests include travel, hill walking, theatre and opera.

Personal Motto: "Always try to leave things better than you find them."

Political Hero: Napoleon.

Chance of winning his seat: Outside Bet.

They don't like it up 'em

Iain Dale has a great piece here highlighting, well let's just say a difference of opinion in the high command of the Lib Dems. The comments are quite amusing, as when you highlight the fact that the Lib Dems have something of a track record of trying to be all things to all people they really don't like it.

I remember being at the Lib Dem conference with work, when one of their senior spokesmen told the audience that at some stage if the party was to reach critical mass – and be seen as a truly national party they would have to adopt national policies that all senior and indeed other Lib Dems agreed on. It is certainly one thing to disagree with aspect of party policy. No one expects everyone to agree to everything a party stands for. It however is wholly another thing to portray a polciy to the public as if it is Lib Dem policy in one area – when down the road you are actively campaigning against the very same policy – an art form that the Lid Dems are past masters.

Is PR still a Lib Dem Policy?

Will the Lib Dems be pursuing a coalition with Labour?

I suppose it depends which Lib Dem you ask, and what day it is.


Recycling Rap!

A while ago I posted a YouTube video about how councils seemed to have the ability to make recycling quite complicated.

This video was messaged to me as a response. Absolutely brilliant!!!

Better than some of our previous election broadcasts!

Roger Helmer on the Environment

In the latest podcast interview Roger Helmer talks passionately about the Environment. Make sure you tune in to hear details about an extremely interesting conference that will be looking at the issue of Climate Change.
Click to listen or download

Jackson Carlaw: Eastwood

 Jackson Carlaw was born and raised in East Renfrewshire, educated at Glasgow Academy and spent 25 years in the Scottish Motor Trade. He has been married for 20 years to Wynne, also born and raised locally and they have two teenage sons. Now 48, Jackson has been active in politics since his teens having been National Chairman of the Scottish Young Conservatives in the 80s, local constituency Chairman and then Vice and subsequently Deputy Chairman of the Party in Scotland in the 90s. Jackson is determined to fight for the Union and is leading a local campaign to ensure that East Renfrewshire Council is retained.

Political Heroes: “Margaret Thatcher not only for what she achieved but also because she demonstrated that impossible goals can be achieved. I also admire two US Presidents – LBJ for the enormous social reform driven through by his force of personality and Nixon for his extraordinary grasp of international affairs.”

Motto: ‘Our best is not enough. We must do what is required.’

Chance of winning his seat: Excellent

Budget Day Analysis

If there was one thing the Chancellor’s 2007 Budget Report demonstrated, it is that David Cameron’s Conservatives are now setting the agenda for Britain.

Conservatives have constantly called for simpler and less restrictive business taxes to reverse the declining productivity that British companies have suffered since Gordon Brown came to power in 1997. David Cameron has made it clear that the proceeds of growth should be shared between increased public spending and tax cuts. Cameron has focused on the environment and hugely elevated the importance of climate change, for both politicians and the public. The emphasis has been on green taxes as a replacement for other personal taxes – changing behaviour, and not just adding to the already soaring tax burden.

So, in his Budget, Gordon Brown reduced corporation tax for larger companies, reduced the basic rate of income tax by 2p, and introduced green taxes which will eventually be offset by personal tax reductions.  He also scrapped the 10p band of income tax – something he introduced in a previous Budget – making the system substantially simpler. Inevtitably, there will be winners and losers, but there is no suggestion that the overall tax burden will fall by any tangible degree.

So what can we learn about the Chancellor from this final Budget? For one thing, it shows that he is petrified of the march that Cameron has stolen on Labour since the attempted coup of last summer and the paralysis in Government that has followed. It also illustrates that he will do or say anything to avoid a leadership election against a credible candidate. But more importantly, when Government policy is dictated by the Leader of the Opposition, it shows that our Prime Minister-in-waiting is fresh out of ideas, no longer in control of the political agenda, and no longer in touch with the British people.

Max Chambers

Oh the irony!

Today I spent all my morning in a course at Newark's HMRC office on the subject of filing my end of year tax return – which can be quite daunting for a new business.

At the same time that I was being told I could get a tax free payment of £150 for filing online, Mr Brown was putting in place policies to cost me and other small business much more. Oh the irony.

Carol Garvie: Aberdeen North

Through her family law practice she has witnessed the problems that drug/alcohol abuse and domestic violence can cause. She also has a wide
knowledge of the Criminal Justice system, its good points and its bad points!

Although not previously political, she decided to stand for election due to her frustration with the current Lib/Lab Executive.

Personal motto: " Never give up"

Chance of winning her seat: Outside bet

Holyrood Sketch

The issue of trident dominated the political news down at Westminster and it was no different at Holyrood where we saw protestors scaling the Holyrood building to voice their protest over trident. At Westminster out of the 59 Scottish MPs 33 voted against Trident with 4 abstaining. Nicola Sturgeon lead with the issue of trident at First Ministers Question's, even though it is a reserved matter, and claimed that Labour would be the price for imposing Trident in the same way that the Conservative Party paid the price for the poll tax.

Poll Tax 2
The SNP re-announced their tax policy this week – a local income tax and it's been described this week in the press as Poll Tax 2. The Scottish Conservatives have attacked the Nats over their tax policy with Tory Finance Spokesman, Derek Brownlee, stating that their sums don't add up with the Nats lacking credibility on their spending and taxing policies. First Minister Jack McConnell also joined in the attack on the SNP attacking their commitment to a flat rate tax across Scotland while also cutting Local Government budgets at the same time.

Question Time
While, as mentioned, Nicola Sturgeon attacked the First Minister over Trident, Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie questioned the first Minister over the early release system in Scotland. At present anyone sentenced to a prison term of four years or less will be automatically released half way through without conditions. This was introduced by the Conservatives in the 1990's but is now something the party have campaigned hard for years to change. Goldie's attack came after the reforms passed on Thursday morning, reforms that have created in Goldie's words a "mongrel system". Now the trial judge will lay down a period to be spent in prison and then a second period to be spent in the community under supervision. The Scottish Conservatives have been up in arms over this hailing this as good news for criminals but further bad news for victims and those affected by crime. "Today the Lib-Lab Pact lost a great opportunity to stand up for the victims of crime. Early release now means, in most cases, earlier release" said Tory chief Whip Bill Aitken.

Bills this week
As well as the reforms made to the early release system, MSPs also passed a bill to build a new rail link to Edinburgh Airport.  This involves nine miles of new track to connect the airport to the Edinburgh/Glasgow line and to the Fife/northern line. It will mean an underground station at the airport and two tunnels under the runway. Total cost £610m, three times what it's costing for a rail link to Glasgow Airport!

The third bill of this week was the school meals bill.

This bill will lay down minimum nutritional standards for all food served in school, whether in the canteen or in a tuck shop or from a vending machines.

It is an attempt to cut down on junk food while at the same time offering advice to parents on preparation of lunches.

Craig Wilson