Tag Archives: Economy

Mike Rumbles MSP backs ‘Remain’.

Liberal Democrat MSP for North-East Scotland Mike Rumbles has come out in favour of a remain vote in response to my recent call for MSPs to campaign to keep Britain in the EU.
Last week I received a letter from Mike Rumbles saying that “membership of the European Union has long been a strongly held commitment of the Liberal Democrats and I am proud to say that we are leading a very strong and positive campaign for our continued membership.”
He went on to outline the economic advantages that a remain vote would have for Scotland pointing out that “hundreds of thousands of jobs in Scotland depend on our trade relationship with our friends in Europe with more than £11 billion of exports from Scotland ending up in other EU countries” as well as the fact that “Scotland is set to receive around £6bn in funding from the EU between 2014 and 2020. More than half of the foreign investment which comes to Scotland is from EU member states.”
He also highlighted how Scottish farmers benefit from EU membership as they receive “vital support through EU funds and their produce is sold right across the continent” adding that he was “disappointed that the Scottish Government has failed these farmers with the delayed Common Agricultural Policy payments.

Mike Rumbles MSP backs Britain's continued membership of the EU.

Mike Rumbles MSP backs Britain’s continued membership of the EU.

Mike also agreed with me that our EU membership also keeps Scotland safe with the European Arrest Warrant “helping to bring criminals across the whole of the continent to justice.”
He finished his letter saying “I believe Scotland’s place in the EU helps ensure that every family, every business, and every person in Scotland is part of a stronger, safer and more prosperous nation.”

I wholeheartedly agree with the points that Mike makes and am proud that the Liberal Democrats have been leading the campaign to keep Britain in the EU.

How would Brexit impact UK Mental Health Services?

With the EU referendum coming up in just a few weeks, I thought it would be appropriate as a dedicated mental health activist to outline what impact I predict Brexit would have on mental health services in the UK.
There are three main factors that I think would affect our mental health services if we were to leave the EU, the first of these is the economy.
It is widely accepted that leaving the EU would be detrimental to the UK economy with 9 out of 10 economists saying that leaving the EU will damage our economy. The Chief of NHS England, Simon Stevens has claimed that “When the British economy sneezes, the NHS catches a cold… it would be very dangerous if at precisely the moment the NHS is going to need extra funding, the economy goes into a tailspin”
Much of the current problems with our mental health services come down to a lack of funding and if funding of the NHS is hit by Brexit, this will surely lead to even less funding for mental health services.

The second factor that I believe will affect mental health services is the loss of EU science funding.
British scientists gain huge amounts of funding for research from the EU and freedom of travel within the EU makes it easier to assemble international teams of leading scientists to cooperate on projects. Our knowledge of mental health is far behind our knowledge of physical health and Brexit would be a blow to research of mental illnesses, their treatments and other aspects of mental health that we are yet to learn. This would slow down the progress we are making in learning how to effectively treat mental illness which will hinder the recovery of sufferers of mental illness for generations to come.

Finally, the EU as an institution is committed to improving the mental health of the continent. In 2005, the European Commission published a Green paper -Promoting the Mental Health of the Population. Towards a Mental Health Strategy for the EU. Following this, the European Pact for mental health and well-being was launched in 2008. The pact was then implemented through numerous conferences tackling priorities such as Combating Stigma and Social Exclusion and Prevention of Depression and Suicide.
I already worry for our mental health services. Currently they are over-stretched and under-funded. Waiting times are excruciatingly long and many people are being left to suffer as a result. I can only see these problems becoming intensified were we to leave the EU and this is part of the reason that as soon as I received my postal vote, I sent it straight back with a big cross next to Remain!

The power of petitions, by Clive Sneddon

The European Parliament is used to receiving petitions, but not to one supported by millions. Yet this is what has happened for two sets of initials, TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement). The European citizens’ initiative against TTIP at https://stop-ttip.org/ is still live, and has so far been signed by more than two million EU citizens. The level of disquiet is reflected in the Parliament by the tabling of more than 200 amendments, leading to a vote on its own view of the TTIP being deferred until the autumn.


Many people including the Liberal Democrats accept that increased prosperity flows from increased trade, and that, to the extent to which TTIP secures this, its results will be good for everyone. The problems come from the habit of conducting negotiations in private, so that those with concerns fear they are being excluded. Full publication of all negotiating documents in advance of meetings would help, though the EU already publishes a lot at http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/documents-and-events/index_en.htm#eu-position.


The concerns come from the differences between US and EU attitudes to regulation, and fears that big business would use ISDS to force EU states to bring its standards into line with those of the US, in particular for banking, food, data protection and health, and to pay the businesses large sums in ‘compensation’. Even worse, ISDS might be used to inhibit the willingness of EU states to legislate to protect their own citizens.


Clive Sneddon would prefer to see the EU invite big business to use the existing courts and laws available to them, especially as it is already possible for commercial contracts to include a statement of which law the contract is signed under and in which courts it shall be enforced. Were TTIP to permit any EU country’s laws to be chosen but not the USA’s, the public concerns would be met, and the benefits of increased free trade be available to everyone. If such a compromise is not acceptable, the whole treaty may well fall.

Enough of the Pessimism: How About Some Positive Politics?


It’s a tactic I often employed in my childhood whilst being told off for misbehaving.
When there was no justification for my own actions I would often resort to pointing at my sister and then trying to tell my parents about something worse that she htoryad done.

This is obviously a strategy that currently appeals to the bulk of our politicians.
“Vote SNP get the Tories. The Tories only care about the rich” we hear from Labour. Why don’t they instead try and focus on promoting their plans to fix the SNPeconomy?

“Vote SNP, get Labour who will ruin our economy!” is the main message from the Conservatives, why don’t they instead tell us about their plans to balance the books fairly in Britain?

Here in Scotland we hear that only the SNP can “give Scotland a louder voice” in Westminster. Well that’s fine but what are we using that voice to say? Forget the rhetoric and the Westminster-bashing and let’s hear some positive policies!

With all the negativity and shots fired between the parties, it’s hard to see any of them in a positive light, no wonder people are so apathetic towards politics now, why would you bother voting for anyone when all you’ve heard is the potential mess that each one will bring? It seems that the main parties don’t have many ideas on how to improve the state of our country so instead are resorting to telling us that they’re not as bad as the other guys.

All parties are guilty of this, some for than others. Even my own party to an extent. That’s why I want to contribute to a system of more optimistic politics by putting forward my own positive case for the Liberal Democrats.

If you want us to continue repairing the economy in a fairer, greener way in which the recovery is felt by everyone.
If you want our NHS to receive the funding it needs.
If you want everyone to have the same opportunities in life, regardless of their race, sexuality or economic background.
Then vote for the Liberal Democrats on the 7th of May for a stronger economy in a fairer society.


Five Things Nigel Farage Doesn’t Want You to Know


Whilst reading through the comments sections of UKIP’s Facebook posts it’s clear that many people are currently less than impressed with the European Union.
And with all the horror stories being spread it’s not hard to see why. According to Nigel Farage and his Eurosceptic party, not only are we paying an immense amount of money just for membership; we are also seeing a ‘massive oversupply’ of foreign labour forcing British wages down.

But is the EU really that bad? Here are five facts that Nigel really doesn’t want you to know:

1. European workers aren’t a threat to your job.

In the last few years, 9 out of 10 British Jobs have gone to British people.
Contrary to what far-right parties such as UKIP and the BNP would have you believe, immigrants aren’t that big of a threat to the employability of British people.
If however you do find your job threatened by people moving here from Romania in search of a better life, armed with with no money or qualifications and a limited grasp of the English language, then perhaps the EU’s free movement of people isn’t what’s holding you back…

This may leave you wondering, “what about that one job in ten that’s not going to a hard-working British person?”
Well calm down you inquisitive devil! That brings me to my next point…


2. European workers actually create jobs.

1 out of 7 of every new business formed in Britain is created by people who move here from within the EU.
Believe it or not this means that people migrating here from Europe are actually creating jobs, 9 out of 10 of which will go to British people.
So if you think it’s hard enough finding a job now, just try it without all of those companies created by European immigrants.

So now you know that British jobs are safe, but what about the benefits tourists that you’ve seen on shows like ‘Benefits Street’?
Admittedly there are those who wish to take advantage of the generosity of our welfare system, however…


3. We profit from immigration!

There’s no denying that things like benefits tourism are a problem. The NHS currently spends £1.5 billion a year on non-active EU migrants. However from 2001 to 2011, Britain gained £22 billion in tax from the EU migrants who do work.

Basically, immigration pays for itself and more.

Whilst I wont suggest for a second that abusing British benefits and our world-class health service is acceptable, leaving the EU and thus slashing immigration would see the country lose a lot of money. Our NHS would then subsequently struggle more than it currently does with allegedly lazy immigrants. In a time of so many cuts; could our hospitals, our military and our police force really cope with even more cuts to funding because we no longer have the same volume of immigrants working hard and paying their taxes?

Speaking of our police force… did you know that one of our best crime-fighters comes from the EU?


4. The EU helps us catch bad guys.

The European Arrest Warrant is “an essential weapon in the fight against organised crime”.
Those aren’t my words, those are in fact the words of Sir Hugh Orde who just so happens to be Head of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

It plays a pivotal part in making European countries work together so that they can extradite foreign criminals to be shipped home and punished in their own country.
Leaving the EU would mean giving up the European Arrest Warrant and therefore delaying the extradition of foreign criminals on British Soil.

Finally, the last fact that Mr Farage really doesn’t want you to know is…


5. Ed Milliband isn’t the only political leader who doesn’t look that good whilst eating a bacon sandwich!

You saw it here first folks!


UKIP’s campaign relies on you believing that the EU is a terrible thing for British people when in reality, it may be imperfect but it still benefits us massively.
This is why the Liberal Democrats take an unashamedly pro-EU stance whilst also recognizing the need for reform.

Don’t let Nigel fool you in the upcoming general election, learn the facts!