My Views

Oil and Gas | Energy | Taxation and Fiscal Responsibility | NHS | Immigration | Welfare | Defence and Foreign Policy | The Conservative Policy on Nuclear Weapons and Why This Should be Maintained | Unionism and Decentralisation | Scots Independence | Europe | Could Obama’s views on LGBT & Family Influence You?

Oil and Gas

Oil and gas are one of Scotland’s most precious natural resources. The recent dramatic drop in oil prices and decline in the North Sea have had a damaging effect on our economy. Offshore oil and gas contribute billions in tax revenues, they create stable job opportunities and they also reduce our long-term deficit. The billions of pounds of infrastructure invested in oil and gas from the UK Continental Shelf supports our wider economy and public services such as schools and hospitals.

By the time of the independence referendum last autumn, the SNP had deceived the Scottish people by manipulating oil price predictions, claiming that it would be worth more than double the figure that the Office for Budget Responsibility were predicting. You can read more about the SNP’s oil deception here:

http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Scottish-Conservatives-oil-report.pdf

Scotland benefits from being part of the UK’s wider economy especially when it comes to the effects of oil price fluctuations. If we had full fiscal autonomy, any unexpected fall in revenues would have to be covered by Scottish finances through higher taxes, reduced spending and increased borrowing, which would all have a negative effect on our growing economy. Instead of being absorbed into the UK’s wider economy, the shock of any fall in oil process would hit us directly, leading to job losses, declining productivity and fewer building projects for infrastructure.

Scottish Labour’s “radical plan to spark an economic revolution in Scotland” by plundering our North Sea oil reserves ignores the harsh reality of those dwindling reserves, and the profits being taxed away at 60 to 80 percent. Sustainable development of the oil fields, and extraction methods that conserve the seabed for future generations, can only be achieved by informed policy making including a reform of burdensome laws imposed on the hydrocarbons industry.

Energy

The early closure of Longannet plant in Fife, Scotland’s last coal-fired power station, has led to hundreds of job losses and worsened the problem of the drop in spare capacity needed to heat and power our homes, schools, hospitals, recreation centres, churches, businesses and offices. In addition to the almost 300 workers at the power station, an estimated further 1,250 jobs will likely be lost in the area from associated transport and open-cast mining supply chain contracts. The Longannet debacle was a direct result of the UK transmission charges introduced on the National Grid by a Labour regime, which forced Longannet to pay £40 million to connect to the Grid.

We need to find a way to eradicate fuel poverty in our area, where the most vulnerable consumers are on the least valued tariffs. Increased competition from more sources of supply will give consumers more choices and address distributional concerns. Alternative renewable sources of energy including hydroelectric and nuclear can provide viable ways to lower energy bills. Scottish Conservatives are working to decarbonise energy generation and transport in order to keep our country green and invest in stable energy supplies for the future.

The SNP’s obsession with intermittent wind farms is costly and potentially damaging to the environment and human and animal health. The SNP’s policies could in fact lead to higher energy bills across Scotland, while cutting those south of the border. Scottish Conservatives are working on spatial policies for wind farm developments in light of the failures of existing turbines and the dangers they can pose to neighbours, and we will continue to monitor their cumulative effect across Fife.

As your voice, I will address these concerns and get the best and fairest energy solutions that are efficient, cost-effective and sustainable with long-term policies that do not sacrifice the resources available to our children.

Fiscal Framework Responsibility

SCU the only Scottish party this decade to have been consistant & reliable in its policies. Skodas were not flavour UK motorists 20 years now they are the best & most reliable brand. So it is SCU.
UK and Scottish Governments have agreed a fiscal framework deal. DC has delivered a stronger, more responsible Scottish Parliament that the people of Scotland were promised. Devolution delivered. SCU asked for devo – now it’s a Conservative government at Westminster which has acted on that. More power and control but backed by strength and security of UK.  NP now need to get on & deliver good policies better than the last 8 years of inneffectual.  On tax, on welfare, and on our public services, the buck stops with them.  SCU want to protect the family & its finances & we hope the SNP delivers on this.

Full fiscal autonomy for Scotland would result in hardship for the Scottish people. Not only would we be left unprotected from oil price shocks down 70% to $32 a barrel.
But the current extra £800 per person in public spending provided by the Barnett Formula to Scotland would be lost. This money could be spent on capital infrastructure that creates jobs and gives vital travel opportunities and alternatives to communities and businesses in Fife.

Scottish Conservatives will vote on fiscal policies in Westminster that are best for Scotland. We will keep corporate tax low, especially for small businesses. Low corporate tax rates will attract more employers to Fife and encourage existing businesses to expand when they can. It will also attract foreign investment to the region and company headquarter operations that bring high-quality, permanent job opportunities to Fifers.

The flexibility and benefits the dual tax system provides to Scotland are the best possible solution for maximising funds available to revitalise our communities and high streets and maintain our roads, hospitals, public transport and security services.

NHS

We have the best national health care service in the world and yet the sceptics and doubters will deceive you from the truth. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/uks-healthcare-ranked-the-best-out-of-11-western-countries-with-us-coming-last-9542833.html

The current plans of Chancellor George Osborne include increasing spending on frontline health services across the United Kingdom by an extra £2 billion as a “down payment”, and spending an additional £8 billion per year above inflation by 2020.

With the increased the Barnett Formula, Scottish NHS has benefited from £2 billion per year, which Nicola Sturgeon claims is Scottish entitlement and gives out free prescriptions to buy more votes.

Immigration

I believe the last Labour government allowed immigration to get completely out of control. In fact, immigration was so out of hand that between 1997 and 2010 we can only guess as to the number of people who migrated here.

We, the Conservatives, will introduce measures to the effect that migrants will be unable to claim benefits or access social housing until they have been here for four years. We will stop migrants from claiming child benefit for dependents living outside the United Kingdom, and those that have failed to find work after six months will be deported. The SNP want to increase non-EU immigration through a Labour-style points based system. This means that non-EU migrants would not need to have secured employment before arrival and could easily stay here without working after gaining admittance to our territory. Alex Salmond’s “enlightened” immigration policy would spell disaster for us by turning Scotland into a soft point of entry which could prompt Westminster to establish an English-Scottish border patrol.

EU citizens who benefit from the right to free movement must also adhere to the responsibilities this entails and abide by our laws. We will work to reform EU free movement rules by reducing incentives for migrants to come to the United Kingdom if they are seeking only to take from our resources. Those who are not working or seeking work in the United Kingdom will be required to have comprehensive medical insurance and sufficient resources to support themselves and their families to avoid becoming a burden on the social assistance scheme.

Welfare

I will do everything I can to support hardworking Glenrothes families and individuals. Over the last twenty years the Labour Party had ceased to be the Labour party and became the welfare party. Over their thirteen year tenure, they raised our taxes, burdened businesses with cumbersome regulation and increased red tape while undermining growth in our communities. The system also forced claimants into a “benefits trap” because they had encouraged a low wage culture, where benefits paid better than work.

I will put power back in the hands of the people, so that those who work will see more of their paycheck and those who are unable to work will not be robbed in favour of those who seek to abuse a vital system.

Defence and Foreign Policy

Threats to the security of the United Kingdom include regional instability, terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. After Labour’s wasteful spending left us with a £38 billion black hole in the defence budget, Ed Milliband would now wish to see up to a third of the Army’s senior officers lose their jobs in favour of junior recruits. This would create a leaderless military, and combined with his plans to cut to a cheaper, pared-down version of Trident, would leave the United Kingdom vulnerable to attack. This reflects Labour policies to leave a crucial means of defending our safety inadequately funded. The previous Labour government failed to properly finance the Armed Forces after committing us to two major wars, and this resulted in numerous unnecessary casualties through such avoidable problems as late equipment deliveries that could have prevented the loss of these precious lives.

Scottish Conservatives are the only party committed to protecting our security through the Trident programme of continuous at-sea deterrence. The Faslane patrols provide the minimum effective nuclear deterrent to ensure the safety of our borders from the most extreme threat we face in the future. It is the most powerful capability of the British military forces. Faslane is also Scotland’s biggest single-site employer with thousands of jobs supporting communities across the west coast. Trident remains our only credible nuclear defence capability, and the Conservatives are committed to maintaining its long-term viability. For more information about Trident and the reason for the nuclear deterrent, please see the special section on the reasons behind the Conservative policy on nuclear weapons below.

The Conservatives will ensure that we meet NATO’s target to spend 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence in the latest Spending Review period. Strategic alliances and memberships such as our seat on the UN Security Council are critical to preserving our prominence on the world stage.

The United Kingdom’s international policy enables us to protect our security and provide opportunities for our citizens. We have one of the strongest and most powerful networks globally of any nation. The United Kingdom is a leader in the protection of human rights and democratic values. We are quick to respond to humanitarian emergencies and contribute to relief efforts for overseas calamities, whether they are caused by armed conflicts or natural disasters. Our foreign policy is conducted with a conscience and we are safer when the world is stable, secure and prosperous.

The Conservative Policy on Nuclear Weapons and why this should be maintained

The Conservative Party has long supported Britain’s position as a nuclear-armed nation, and in 2015 placed strong emphasis on maintaining a Continuous-At-Sea-Deterrent (CASD) operation. For many years, this has been the Trident submarine nuclear weapon system, and over the last five years, the Trident successor programme has been in its assessment phase. A further decision about this is expected later in 2016, but over the last few years, policies have about this issue have been remarkably consistent.

In July 2013 former Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Any suggestion the UK was ‘letting down’ its guard would send the wrong signal at a time when Iran was seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and other military powers, such as Russia, were spending billions on upgrading their military capability.” The full BBC article can be read here.

In a speech last year Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, described the Trident nuclear weapon system as the ‘ultimate guarantee of security against nuclear attack or nuclear blackmail’. A transcript can be read here. When launching the Conservative Party Manifesto in the run up to the 2015 Election, David Cameron said “We’ve made the big choice to renew Trident. Not three submarines, but four, so it’s there 365 days a year”.

On Page 77, the Manifesto states that:

We will retain the Trident continuous at sea nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our safety and build the new fleet of four Successor Ballistic Missile Submarines – securing thousands of highly-skilled engineering jobs in the UK.

‘We will work closely with our allies to continue to strengthen NATO – supporting its new multi-national rapid response force.’

Watching world events, it is clear to see that Britain faces potential threats from various nations, one of these being Russia, where, according to a credible BBC article from February 2015, nuclear war appears to be ‘viewed as a realistic possibility and even something to be embraced’.

In the article, Stephen Ennis from BBC Monitoring shows that many different sections of Russian media are frequently mentioning the subject, to the extent that liberal journalist Yuriy Saprykin noted(in Russian) that references to nuclear war are ‘commonplace’. For example, in January 2015 presenter Aleksey Gudoshnikov, on the pro-Kremlin radio station Govorit Moskva, asked people why they were so afraid of nuclear war, pointing out how that the destruction in Japan after Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not been nearly as bad as that in Dresden, even though the Germans had not suffered atomic bombs. Other journalists are making similarly strongly worded remarks.

In 2014 newscaster Dmitriy Kiselev said that Russia had the weapons to turn the United States into “radioactive ash” and followed this up in 2015 by quoting an extract from Russia’s military doctrine setting out the criteria for its use of nuclear weapons. As Ennis says,Kiselev stressed that this could happen not just in response to a nuclear attack on Russia, but against any military aggression that “threatens the very existence” of the Russian state.On his weekly show then same year, he told viewers that the very existence of Russia is not part of America’s plan”.

With the frankness and openness with which journalists such as those in Russia are speaking concerning nuclear weapons, it is reassuring to see that nuclear proliferation is covered at length in the 2015 Conservative Party Manifesto:

‘We and our allies face major challenges: Islamist extremism, an aggressive Russia, economic uncertainty in the Eurozone, nuclear proliferation and infectious diseases’ (Page 75)

‘We will work with our partners to address threats to UK security, including the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, pandemic diseases, the illegal drugs trade, piracy and organised crime’ (Page 76)

 ‘We will: protect global security by helping to lead international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon; and work to ensure that North Korea ends its development of nuclear weapons.’ (Page 76)

Whilst it is most certainly hoped that no nation unleashes nuclear weapons on any other, it can be seen from events in Russia and elsewhere in the world that maintaining an effective nuclear deterrent should be a fundamental part of British foreign policy. The Conservative Party has shown through its continued support for Trident, and its successor programme, as well as other policies, that Britain is well-safeguarded against any potential nuclear threats.

Unionism and Decentralisation

The Union has two main aims: to create a larger economic market for jobs and enterprise and to assure the common security of everyone in the United Kingdom. Unionism embraces not only Scotland’s relationship with England, but also with Wales and Northern Ireland. The Union is founded on the principle that Scottish institutions maintain their distinctive identity. Empowering the Scottish people to shape their own nation within the security of a United Kingdom is the fundamental principle that sits at the very heart of what it means to be a Scottish Conservative.

The SNP centralise; Conservatives decentralise. I stand on principles of union, devolution and responsibility, not on centralisation, which takes power out of your hands when it comes to making key decisions which effect your life and the welfare of Glenrothes.

LAST YEAR’S JOBS STATS IN GLENROTHES

  • In December 2014, there were 1,704 people overall claiming JSA*, which is 26.8% less people than in December 2013(there were 2,329 people claiming in December 2013)
  • In December 2014, there were 465 youths (people aged 18-24) claiming JSA*, which is 27.3% less than in December 2013(there were 640 people claiming in December 2013).
  • In December 2014, there were 305 people aged over 50 claiming JSA*, which is 29.1% less than in December 2013(there were 430 people claiming in December 2013).
  • In December 2014, there were 400 people that had been claiming JSA* for more than 12 months consecutively, which is 38% less than in December 2013(there were 645 people claiming in December 2013).
  • Total unemployment rate in Glenrothes stands at 4%; which is below the UK average of 5.6% and below the Scottish average which stands at 5.8%

*JSA = Job Seekers Allowance
I think this shows clearly that the Conservative Government’s Long Term Economic Plan is working for the Glenrothes constituency. Let’s not allow the SNP or Labour destroy what we’ve worked hard to re-build over the past 5 years.

Scots Independence

Scotland came 384,000 votes close to destruction. Since that date the SNP has gained momentum and the party thinks it has gone from 45% of the vote to over 50%. There is no proof in this.

SNP has taken almost every Scottish seat in the Commons and is preparing for another landslide in the Holyrood election May 2016, giving Nicola Sturgeon the power to threaten a second referendum. In her short time as First Minister, Sturgeon has established herself as one of the most formidable politicians in Europe. She has raised a rebel army that she inspires with talk of destiny and dreams — while her opponents drone on about banks and the Barnett formula. Perhaps her single greatest achievement has been persuading voters on both sides of the border that the Scots and English are growing apart; that since devolution, the two countries have begun to see the world in such different ways that the only sensible option is to file for divorce.

In fact, the reverse is true. The SNP’s talk of discord conceals an inconvenient truth. Since devolution, opinions either side of the border have been converging. The British Social Attitudes Survey, widely acknowledged as the gold standard of polling, collects data nationwide but seldom focuses on how opinion varies regionally. A study of its raw data by The Spectator has shown that the difference of opinion between Scotland and England is now smaller than between the south-east and south-west of England.

The SNP portrays a Scotland united in its loathing of Tory welfare reform and rejoicing in the rejection of university tuition fees. In fact, while there is a quarrel between political elites, public opinion is consistent across the UK. The idea that some students should pay the cost of their own tuition is supported by a majority in Scotland as well as in England. Most Scots support the welfare cap that the SNP abhors and they are, if anything, more likely to believe that ‘people on the dole are fiddling in one way or another’. Since devolution, there has been a sharp rise in Scots agreeing with the splendidly patriotic notion that the world would ‘be a better place if people from other countries were more like the British’.

Our great country certainly has its internal differences. A Londoner is four times as likely as a Yorkshireman to trust government to put ‘country before party’, and twice as likely to go to church. London has the most religious population in Britain; north-east England the most secular. But there is simply no great divide between ordinary northerners and southerners, in spite of the politicians’ squabbles. Scottish politicians, for example, often say they want more immigration, but only 3 per cent of Scots agree. The Scots themselves are reasonably Eurosceptic, which is why UKIP was the only party to make any gains in Scotland in the last European election.

It is hard to think of any two other countries whose outlook on life is so similar. This should not be surprising. We are huddled together on the same island, we have defended it together and forged our future together. According to a University of Leicester study, cockney slang has started to creep into Scotland because of the popularity of EastEnders. Both countries have the same favourite dish (curry) and the same first and second languages (English and Polish). We are a people united in our love of chips and beer. The idea of our countries being culturally incompatible is bizarre.

Every year, the President of the United States delivers a State of the Union address — a tradition that nods to the fact that, even now, Americans don’t take their unity for granted. In 1860, as civil war approached, James Buchanan used this speech to warn that the American union was ‘threatened with destruction’ — this was true of Britain two years ago, but no warning was sounded. Our political leaders were complacent and the UK almost split as a result.

As David Cameron considers how to grow his ‘one nation Conservatism’ from an election-night soundbite, he should consider starting a new tradition. At the end of each year, the Prime Minister could make his own State of the Union speech — reflecting on our common endeavours and shared triumphs; the many ways in which the countries of the United Kingdom have been better together than apart. Scotland now has employment at a record high, while pensioner poverty is at a record low. So does England. This is not a coincidence.

We share problems: too many of them. But with our continent in chaos, the people of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are enjoying enviable levels of stability, prosperity and opportunity. We are, in every way, better together — and it would not hurt for the Prime Minister to say so a little more often.

SNP has taken almost every Scottish seat in the Commons and is preparing for another landslide in the Holyrood election May 2016.

The Scottish Parliament will see a huge increase in its financial accountability to the people of Scotland. The Scotland Bill was passed unopposed in Westminster – even by the SNP MPs. A cross-party agreement which will lead to the benefit of all. The new fiscal framework has been set out by the Smith commission, which was charged with taking forward the devolution commitments on further powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Its new responsibilities include:

– Reducing social and economic inequalities and gender quotas for public sector boards.
– NHS palliative care, criminal justice and abortion.
– Control of onshore oil and gas via planning controls and environmental regulations.
-Deciding how many MSPs the Scottish Parliament should have, as well as deciding on the voting systems.

Holyrood needs a budget of £40 billion to run Scotland- that’s about 60% of public expenditure in Scotland. The rest is paid for by Westminster.
It can only raise 10% presently. The Bill will increase this to 50% to raise £20 billion.
£12 billion will be raised via devolved income tax raising and half of Scotlands VAT circa £4.5 billion.
It can do this by raising tax.

Universal Credit plus main out-of-work benefits cost Scots £2.7 billion in 2014/15,
This included carers, disabled people, social housing occupiers and the unemployed.
The figure also included winter fuel, cold weather payments, sure start maternity grants and funeral payments.

Europe

UKs brief relationship history with EU

  1. 1957 Treaty of Rome 6 founding members sign the first EC.
  2. 1963 De Gaul vetos Uk entry saying that UK has no interest in the EC
  3. 1973 Uk joins but within a year asks for a major reform of CAP & budget.
  4. 1975 Wilson holds referendum 65% wants in. Splits the party.
  5. 1983 Foot says in his manifesto that Uk will leave but Thatcher gets in
  6. 1984 Thatcher negotiates a better rebate.
  7. 1990 UK joins EC exchange rate mechanism to ease trading. Then Euro.
  8. 1992 Black Wednesday UK forced to withdraw from ERC after loss of confidence in the markets.
  9. 1997 UK did not join Euro because it failed the 5 golden tests of Gordon Brown
  10. 2007 Lisbon treaty, Brussels gets greater power.
  11. 2011 EU wants impose levies on City of London FT sector. DC promised to bring back powers.
  12. 2013 DC says we will have an in out referendum now June 2016 June.

 

EU costs UK citizen £34 a year. The price of a meal for two with wine.
The benefits

1. boost trade,
2. the economy,
3. Farmers get a much better deal than they give out. Means stability of prices & farmers staying solvent.
4. education,
5. training,
6. consumer rights,
7. justice.

What really matters is
1. Unlimited travel in EU countries. No where in the world does that exist.
2. Opportunity to work anywhere in the EU
3. Live & settle pretty much wherever you like, while maintaining your UK citizenship.
4. Visa costs ? zero. Going to Russia? That will cost you £125. Any other of 22 states free besides countries like US & Japan. Besides no queues too.
5. Health abroad If you break your leg. State health system across most countries is excellent & often free.
6. Abroad in non EU countries like Burkino Faso. French Embassy will look after you because you are a EU citizen. They are bound by law.
7. Mobile phones laws much cheaper now. No more roaming data rip off charges.

Not bad for a price of meal for two in a restaurant. Never ever in world history has it been so easy to roam free across Western Europe, where health, safety, security, livelihood, travel is so good.

Could Obama’s views on LGBT & family influence you?

In December 2011, Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on
International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons to promote the fundamental rights of LGBT persons everywhere’, $20 million has been given to various organisations through the US State Department’s Global Equality Fund shared with governments corporations foundations in 50 countries. They are designed to protect fundamental human rights, and ending violence against those individuals identifying themselves as LGBT. Obama is keen for America to take a leading role in promoting the LGBT agenda around the world.

This had an influence in the same-sex marriage debate in Britain and other countries over the last four years. The re-classification and promotion of same-sex marriage in Britain and other nations has meant that society as a whole, as well as our children, are encouraged to give the same status to a heterosexual couple as to a homosexual one. Schools are encouraged to reinforce this, despite research showing that the best environment to bring up a family is with two heterosexual parents who are biologically related to the children in question. Whilst this is not always possible, due to factors such as relationship breakdown, bereavement, and other issues, the then Senator Obama himself in a Father’s Day address in 2008 explained the benefits of children growing up with their father present:

“We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

President Obama, who grew up without his father present, understands first-hand what it means to be in a single-parent family, and in another speech a year later acknowledged the effects on his life growing up with just his mother:

“In many ways, I came to understand the importance of fatherhood through its absence — both in my life and in the lives of others. I came to understand that the hole a man leaves when he abandons his responsibility to his children is one that no government can fill. We can do everything possible to provide good jobs and good schools and safe streets for our kids, but it will never be enough to fully make up the difference.”

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), found:

“Most researchers now agree that…studies support the notion that, on average, children do best when raised by their two married biological parents… Research indicates that, on average, children who grow up in families with both their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage are better off in a number of ways than children who grow up in single-, step or cohabiting-parent households.” http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/states/0086.pdf

It seems according this research that reclassifying marriage away from the age-old union of one man and one woman and giving a partnership between two homosexual parents the same rights will have a detrimental effect on society. With this in mind, the American government policies to give prominence and funding to the LGBT agenda around the would seem to go a little too far, and it is strange that President Obama would not see this as contradictory to his earlier statements.

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