S4W-16217: New roads and road maintenance

To ask the Scottish Government whether it would, in an independent Scotland, consider ringfencing a proportion of taxes raised through vehicle excise duty, petrol and diesel for new roads and road maintenance.

Date Lodged: 02/07/2013

Answered by Keith Brown, Minister for Transport and Veterans, (23/07/13):   Read more of this post

Manufacturing in Scotland

The Scottish Government sent out a clear and strong commitment to manufacturing when they chose Falkirk-based bus and coach manufacturer Alexander Dennis as the venue to launch the paper “Scotland’s economy: the case for independence”. Alexander Dennis produces around half of the UK’s buses, in addition to sending vehicles around the world. It is a high-skilled operation, which employs a number of west Fifers.

Manufacturing is key to a successful and sustainable Scottish economy right now and in the future.  We already have a strong manufacturing sector supporting the prosperous oil, gas and renewable energies industries. These areas are all of great importance to Dunfermline and nearby Rosyth, through, for example, FMC Technologies and Babcock Engineering. Carnegie College, in addition, provides first-class manufacturing and energy training. Read more of this post

Yes Scotland Campaign

Prominent independence supporters from across the political and business spectrum have taken part in a packed and buoyant Yes Scotland meeting at the Dell Farquharson Centre in Dunfermline.

Yes Scotland Chairman and former Labour MP Dennis Canavan headed the panel. Also sharing their visions for a fairer and more prosperous independent Scotland were solicitor Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Allan Grogan of Labour for Independence, Trade Unionist Derek Durkin, and international business entrepreneur Ivan McKee from Business for Scotland. Read more of this post

Yes campaign for independence holds packed meeting in Dunfermline

044The Dell Farquharson Centre in Dunfermline recently hosted a packed Yes Scotland meeting. Around 200 people of all ages came together to share a vision of “a fairer, more prosperous” independent Scotland.

Yes Scotland Chairman and former Labour MP Dennis Canavan headed the panel, while former SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville, a director of the Yes campaign, convened the meeting. Read more of this post

Wise Words

My fellow Independent MSP Margo MacDonald posed the most sensible question after Alex Salmond introduced the Referendum Bill:

“I ask the First Minister whether he could raise the level of the debate. This is about our country’s soul. It is about our children and our grandchildren’s standards and place in the world, and we are talking about candles in case someone cannot vote. Many friends of mine on the Labour side of the chamber have let me down and have let Scotland down this afternoon by the way in which they have approached the debate. This is a big question and it needs big people and big answers”.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

Contradictory Questions

The First Minister has announced that the Independence Referendum will be on Thursday 18th September 2014. Predictably, some Labour MSPs tried to make an issue of not receiving special knowledge of the date ahead of Parliament. This would have been improper and against Parliamentary procedures.

We can now expect an 18-month increasing onslaught against Independence. Though I hope this might include some rational debate, I anticipate plenty of nonsense. For example, immediately after the date announcement, a Labour MSP objected saying some of her constituents might need candles to get to polling stations!

Opponents are in the strange position of demanding to know why the Referendum can’t be held sooner, but asking in the same breath how Scots can decide on major constitutional change without knowing, in microscopic detail, exactly what the future will look like in an independent Scotland. Read more of this post

Positive future

By nature, I am a positive person. I believe my fellow Scots are perfectly capable of operating our own country successfully in the modern world. I, therefore, find it difficult to understand the perpetual negativity of the No Campaign – the Tory-Labour-Liberal Democrat alliance opposed to Scotland achieving political independence from Westminster. These people tell us we are “Better Together”, but instead of explaining why 21st century Austerity Britain is the positive outcome of 300 years of London domination, their single tactic is to trot out a continuous diet of gloom and despair. This seems to be based on the notion that Scotland is a lost cause, though perhaps it isn’t surprising as politicians who owe their careers to Westminster will campaign on that basis.

As a campaigner for the return of our country’s independence, I want to see Scotland re-join the international community of nations, free to prioritise our specific needs and make our own links, including with our immediate neighbours in England and the rest of Europe. We now have a chance to restore our identity and to present our own outlook and set of values to the world. Read more of this post

Red Herrings

Time and again, the Scottish independence debate is side-tracked by irrelevant and short-lived matters.  Future independence has significance far beyond the political hot-topics of today and beyond the public figures who presently support or oppose it.

We should be thinking about the kind of place we want Scotland to be for decades to come.  We can only do that by looking beyond party politics, beyond today’s personalities and beyond the ‘burning’ issues of the moment that won’t even be remembered in a short while. We need an open and objective discussion about the kind of Scotland future generations could inherit. Read more of this post

S4M-04499: Parliament Welcomes the Historic Edinburgh Agreement

That the Parliament welcomes the signing of the historic Edinburgh Agreement between the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, and the Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron; believes that the debate on Scottish independence should now move forward to full, frank and open discussion of the perceived benefits of independence and of the union, and hopes that it will be conducted in a positive and respectful manner with real vision for the future of Scotland.

Supported by: Angus MacDonald, Kevin Stewart, Mike MacKenzie, Brian Adam, Dave Thompson, Stuart McMillan, Richard Lyle

Date Lodged: 18/10/2012

Independence Referendum Agreement Signed

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has welcomed the signing of the “Edinburgh Agreement” between First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron. This agreement confirms the Scottish Parliament’s power to hold a referendum on whether Scotland should become an independent country.

Mr Walker said: “I am delighted an agreement has now been reached. This marks an important step in Scotland’s journey by paving the way for the substantial debate on the benefits of independence to begin. Read more of this post

Better Together?

The politicians opposed to Independence for Scotland are now collaborating in a newly launched Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat campaign called ‘Better Together’.

A wag might be tempted to warn that this carefully chosen name should not to be confused with the ‘Better Together’ NHS programme, particularly since NHS Scotland is thoroughly better off for being independent from the NHS down south! Read more of this post

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker Signs ‘Yes Scotland’ Independence Declaration

The cross-party, Scotland-wide Independence campaign has officially launched — and Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has pledged his support by signing the declaration on the new Yes Scotland website.

The declaration, which has already attracted well over 10,000 signatures, begins: “I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.” Read more of this post

The Big Question

Preliminary talks on the Independence Referendum took place last week between Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, and the Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, followed by a more substantial meeting with David Cameron, during the UK Prime Minster’s one-day visit to Scotland. Read more of this post

Referendum Consultation

Last week before the world’s media in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, detailed the Scottish Government’s proposals for the Independence Referendum. He invited the people of Scotland to take part in the Consultation process. Read more of this post

Independence Referendum Consultation

MSP Bill Walker is urging his Dunfermline constituents to take part in shaping the Independence Referendum by participating in the Scottish Government Consultation. Read more of this post

Dunfermline MSP Welcomes Former Tory Chairman’s Plea for Scottish-led Referendum

Recent referendum comments by Peter Duncan, former Tory MP and Chairman, have been hailed by Dunfermline’s SNP MSP Bill Walker as “an attempt to raise the level of debate in the Conservative party”. Mr Duncan has called for the Tories to pursue the option of devo-max and has warned that London leaders should not dictate the terms of the referendum or take a prominent position in the campaign. Read more of this post