Christine looks to win support from people of Gordon
I am delighted that Gordon Liberal Democrats have chosen Christine Jardine as their candidate following my decision to stand down at the next General Election.
Christine is a former BBC Radio and TV reporter and was founding editor of the Deeside Piper weekly newspaper.
I have no doubt that she will campaign energetically across Gordon and take up the issues that matter in city and shire.
Christine has valuable experience inside Government having spent time in the Cabinet Office and as an experienced journalist she knows how to communicate a message.
As a democrat, I know that every election has to be won. Christine knows that too. I look forward to working with her as I believe she will make an excellent Member of Parliament for Gordon and together we hope we can demonstrate that to the people
of Gordon and win their support.
Police closures show contempt for communities
To suggest that all policing for the northern half of Scotland can be effectively run from Dundee is a travesty. Policing the North Sea and the Royal Family is an established part of local policing in our region and has been carried out effectively.
Effective policing requires participation and consent of local people and key players. To sweep this aside is not just damaging it is dangerous. This is not the police force that a democratic Scotland requires and should give pause to anyone who is thinking of voting for independence.
Traffic jams to get worse before they get better
I have had a number of meetings recently in and around the airport. On the one hand, it is good to see visible signs of investment and growth with new hotels, workshops and offices springing up all around.
However, with significant work yet to start on the AWPR and the planned new link road from the terminal to the A96 unlikely before the bypass is completed it seems inevitable that traffic will get worse before it gets better. It also makes you wonder how anyone can believe tackling the Haudagain or upgrading our local rail services can wait a minute longer.
With new offices being occupied at Westhill and Kingswells the delay to the start of the AWPR will cost us dear in congestion with the link road to the airport little better than a cart track in places.
Broadband sign of multi tier co-operation – but rural areas need it too
Recent announcements about developments in broadband in this area are very welcome. Key areas like Westhill, Inverurie and Kintore are earmarked for superfast services.
Funding comes from the European Union, the UK Government, the Scottish Government, local authorities and the private sector demonstrating the importance of co-operation. The UK is putting 20 per cent of publicly funded investment in broadband into Scotland - more than double our population share, showing the commitment to connect us.
However, I know from my own experience that parts of Aberdeenshire have slow connections and some none at all. I will continue to press all parties to work to achieve high speed connectivity for all.
Disabled must not be left behind in race to end poverty
The International Development Committee has started an enquiry into Disability and Development which evidence demonstrating it is crucial to tackle poverty in poor developing countries.
It is estimated that at least 15per cent of the poorest people in the world are disabled. This is almost certainly an understatement as disabled people are often hidden away and their disabilities not acknowledged.
Some of the challenges facing disabled people is a lack of thought or commitment to the basic provision of access and inclusion. Many schools have no wheelchair access or disabled toilets.
Suggestions we have received so far are that teachers should be trained in basic disability awareness; that schools/clinics should consider lighting and noise disturbance, that donors should consider provision of affordable aids such as wheelchairs, spectacles, hearing aids.
We have learned that Australia and the USA may be ahead of the UK in provision of support for disabled people within their development programmes, however, there is hope that the UK as a world leader could raise everyone’s game.