Robert Brown supports Unison’s SOS Libraries Day campaign

19th November 2017

Commenting on Unison’s SOS Libraries Day campaign, Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown said:
“I very much welcome Unison’s SOS Libraries Day on Thursday. It is a timely reminder of the importance of libraries. Libraries are a tremendous resource for our local communities, old and young alike which we can often trace back to the foresight of our Victorian ancestors.
Nowadays the role of the library has widened with the availability of IT services, large print and audio materials and exhibitions or displays of community history. They help avoid isolation and, as Unison point out, also save the NHS by supporting people’s health and social education.
Locally we have accessible libraries in Rutherglen, Cambusang, Cathkin and Halfway which are of huge value to local people.”

Robert Brown comments on Parliamentary Boundary proposals

19th October 2017

Commenting on the Boundary Commission proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries, Rutherglen Liberal Democrat councillor Robert Brown said:
“I am strongly against losing Rutherglen from the constituency name. People identify strongly with historic communities, not least in Rutherglen with its historic Royal Burgh status.
The actual boundaries at least keep Rutherglen and Cambuslang intact within one constituency although I think a link with Bothwell and Uddingston might have been a more obvious link.
This is being driven mainly by the Conservative Government however because it is thought likely to benefit them. It would be a great shame if the historic Rutherglen Parliamentary name disappeared as a side product of the weakness of Teresa May’s Government.
At present it looks as if these proposals may be locked into the long grass because of the strength of political opposition to them in Westminster.”

Liberal Democrats call for an “Exit from Brexit” as May and Corbyn mark time

Rutherglen Reformer article – st October 2017 – by Councillor Robert Brown

It is astonishing that,15 months after the European referendum, no one knows the policy of either the Conservative government or the Labour Opposition on Brexit.

Yes, they both want to leave the European Union – and both refuse to let us have a vote on the Brexit terms. Otherwise it’s just the blank piece of paper which David Davis took to the negotiations.

Whether Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn want to stay in the Single Market and the Customs Union or not remains a mystery, along with pretty much everything else about the post-Brexit situation.

The squabbles between Theresa May and her uninspiring colleagues is a daily soap opera while the EU negotiators try to decipher the British Government’s position. So far there is no sign of a single advantage to Brexit – it’s all about limiting the damage!

Meanwhile the Labour leadership were so concerned about taking a position that they refused to allow a vote on Brexit at the recent Labour Conference.

Frankly it’s not good enough. Over the summer Rutherglen and Cambuslang holidaymakers have seen the value of their pound plummet by a quarter. Now the magic deal with the UK eagerly awaited by the USA and the world’s other big economies was demolished by the Bombardier fiasco – with 4,000 jobs in Belfast threatened by American protectionist duties of 220%.

Meantime a major think tank has shown that the Glasgow area was amongst the 50 worst hit areas regardless of a soft or hard Brexit. However you look at it, leaving Europe is a slow motion crash, damaging to jobs, businesses, living standards and public revenues.

The time is coming when the public will demand a rethink on Brexit. People in our area and across the country did not vote in the referendum to make themselves poorer, to destroy our economy and the prosperity of our cities.

The new Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, is the only Party leader to offer a way out – a public vote on the terms of Brexit once they are negotiated.

An exit from Brexit – an option to change our minds – should lie with the public.

Local residents up in arms over Cathkin By Pass lights fault

25th September 2017

Local residents in the Cathkin By Pass area are up in arms over the lighting fault which has kept the By Pass in darkness since the end of August. A street lighting control pillar was damaged on 30th August and Scottish Power attended the same day to make the supply safe. The Council Lighting Department installed a new control pillar the following day and asked Scottish Power to reinstate the electricity supply. However the company have 30 working days to do the work which allows them until 19th October.

Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown said:

“This is a totally ridiculous situation where the lights on Cathkin By Pass will have been out for 6 weeks. The Council have now got a promise that the work will in fact be done on 10th October which is a slight improvement but it appears that Scottish Power are allowed the 30 working days – equivalent to about 6 weeks – under rules laid down by Ofgem, the Regulator. I have written to Ofgen to find out the background and to urge a review.

Meantime my constituents in Cathkin and Springhall have the main road through the area left without street lighting during the hours of darkness. It seems to me that, if the Council can do the substantial repair within 24 hours, it should not be impossible for Scottish Power with all their resources to restore the electric supply much more quickly. I can see no compelling reason for them

Robert Brown – “It is time to move on from the divisions of the Independence Debate

18th September 2017

On the 3rd anniversary of Scotland voting to stay in the United Kingdom, it is time to move on to build a new partnership between the nations and regions of Britain. That was the call this week from Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown.

Robert Brown said:

“The independence referendum has left deep scars and divisions on Scotland. Now that the prospect of a further divisive referendum has faded following the General Election, it is time to look forward and develop a new, modern relationship amongst the nations and regions of the United Kingdom which will endure for the future.

Such a relationship has to balance identity and loyalty to Scotland, Britain and local communities like Rutherglen or Glasgow that the vast majority of people feel in different degrees.

Liberal Democrats have always argued for a federal United Kingdom – the same sort of set up which exists in many parts of the Commonwealth like Australia, Canada or South Africa and in many parts of Europe like Germany or Switzerland as well, of course, as in the United States. This is a relationship where people choose to be both Scottish and British and take pride in both.

I think it is the job of Liberal Democrats to lead the way forward just as we were a key part of the partnership which created the Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom in 1999. Our new UK leader, Vince Cable, is a real asset as the Tory Government drifts rudderless onto the rocks and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has still not managed to decided its policy towards the European Union.

I worked hard in 2014 with colleagues in other Parties to make sure the threat of independence was defeated and that Scotland stayed in the United Kingdom. Now I want to make sure that the structures of the United Kingdom itself are fit for the future and that people across Britain’s nations and regions are again in family partnership, pulling together for our common UK good, as well as forging Scottish solutions to specific Scottish problems.”

Ellen Bryson demands action on Richmond Drive and Calderwood Road traffic

11th September 2017

A demand for urgent action on traffic hotspots in Richmond Drive and Calderwood Road has come from Ellen Bryson, Liberal Democrat candidate in the forthcoming Rutherglen Central and North Council By election. Ellen Bryson made her call amid concerns about traffic volume and speed in the area which are used as rat-runs by traffic as short cuts, or to avoid traffic lights or other hold ups.

Ellen Bryson said –

“There has been growing local concern about the pressure of traffic in these streets and I am fully behind local residents who want to see action taken to tackle it.

Much of the traffic going through local streets is not local traffic but people looking for the quickest route through the area to somewhere else. Local people want to see streets made safer and traffic speed curbed.

Richmond Drive is astonishingly busy, especially at peak times. It is made worse by the downhill gradient and the difficult junction at the bottom where the traffic calming has created new problems.

Calderwood Road has become part of a regular route from East Kilbride Road via Western Road, Langlea Avenue, Hawthorn Walk and Calderwood Road either through Rutherglen Town Centre or to the motorway. It also has both Stonelaw High School, the back entrance to Calderwood Primary School and the difficult Dukes Road junction on its route with considerable dangers to local children.

Both roads need effective traffic calming measures on them to make them less attractive routes for motorists and reduce the speed of those using them.”

 

Liberal Democrats have been champions of Scotland’s place in a modernised United Kingdom – Robert Brown

11th September 2017

Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the 1997 referendum which led to the setting up of the Scottish Parliament, Rutherglen Liberal Councillor Robert Brown said that Liberal Democrats had been champions both of the Scottish Parliament itself and of Scotland’s place in a modernised United Kingdom. He contrasted the unity and success of the Home Rule movement which had led to Scottish and Welsh Parliaments within the framework of the United Kingdom with the division and discord that later accompanied the independence referendum campaign of 2014.

Robert Brown was himself a Liberal Democrat MSP from 1999 to 2011, deputy Minister for Education and Young People from 2005-7 and has made a major contribution to thinking about how to move to a more federal United Kingdom through the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Steel and Campbell Commissions.

Robert Brown said:
“The Scottish Parliament itself has been a considerable success and the achievements of Liberal Democrats in government with Labour in Scotland from 1999-2007 were remarkable – a major overhaul of Scottish education, free personal care for the elderly, a fair voting system for local government, the abolition of Labour’s university tuition fees, free eye checks as part of an improved service for sight issues, universal nursery education and many more.

Local people in Rutherglen and Cambuslang along with people across Scotland have benefited from these changes and from innovations in public policy like the smoking ban, now almost 10 years old, which led the way for the whole of the UK.

Liberal Democrats played a major part through the Constitutional Convention in bringing about this successful Scottish Parliament within a decentralised United Kingdom, with decision making closer to people, with a pluralist approach at its heart, reflected decades of campaigning for Britain to become a modern democracy.
Contrast that with the way things have stalled since 2007 as the SNP have been obsessed with the divisive independence campaign at the expense of good government in Scotland. They have rightly if belatedly put independence on the back burner at last. I hope Scotland can again set the paced for the whole United Kingdom from focusing on creating a world class education system to tackling the challenges in mental health provision. I want the next 20 years to be about achievement and success for Scotland as part of a revitalised United Kingdom.”

Liberal Democrats demand halt to merger of British Transport Police

11th September 2017

Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown has backed calls for a halt to the merger between Police Scotland and the British Transport Police being imposed by the Scottish Government. He described the plan as “another SNP police shambles” following the ill-fated centralisation of the Scottish police forces and after the enforced leave of absence taken by Chief Constable Philip Gormley who is under investigation for gross misconduct.

Robert Brown said:

“British Transport Police provide an independent and specialist service keeping people safe on our railways. While clearly there is and should be co-operation with Police Scotland, the merger is another ill thought out centralisation being rushed through by the SNP. It makes no sense at all to go forward with this at a time when the police organisation is still trying to digest the original centralisation – and when there are problems with the top management in both the police and the Scottish Police Authority, the police oversight body.

British Transport Police should be left alone and the merger put on hold. A merger like this requires strong leadership and with both the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland without any permanent leadership it would be irresponsible to allow it to proceed.

There has long been concern over this merger and just a few days ago an HMICS report showed the merger to be seriously flawed. Now with Police Scotland in the midst of a power vacuum such a merger could be disastrous.”

Residents demand action on Broomieknowe Road traffic

11th September 2017

Local residents in Broomieknowe Road are demanding action over traffic using Broomieknowe Road as a ratrun. The volume and speed of traffic on the street has been a growing problem for some time.

Rutherglen South Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown said:

“”The problem of traffic using residential streets as rat runs to avoid traffic lights and shave a few seconds off journeys is an issue across Rutherglen and Cambuslang – but Broomieknowe Road is one of the worst affected.

I am fully behind local residents in looking for action on this and have already raised various aspects of it with the Council.

There are two things I want to see done as soon as possible. One is to install an island in the middle of the road near the sheltered houses at the top of the hill to help older residents cross safely. The other is to put in a right turn filter from Blairbeth Road to Mill Street which I have been pressing the Roads Department to do for many months – at present their position is they will review it at the end of the year. Frankly that is not good enough as the problem had been obvious from the beginning.

But we also need a longer term solution to reduce unnecessary through traffic on Broomieknowe Road. There are various possibilities which I have discussed with local residents and we will be trying to persuade the Council of the need for effective action. The traffic survey done by Brian Shields is very helpful to this.”

Liberal Democrats launch Council By Election campaign

3rd September 2017

Local Liberal Democrats have announced that former Stonelaw High School teacher Ellen Bryson will be the Liberal Democrat by election candidate for the forthcoming Rutherglen Central & North Council By Election to replace Gerard Killen who is standing down following his election to Parliament in June.

Ellen Bryson is a longstanding Liberal Democrat activist and well known to many local people following her 17 year service as Geography teacher at Stonelaw High School. She was also active in the Fair Trade group at Stonelaw. Brought up in Croftfoot and Rutherglen, Ellen graduated with honours in Geography and Economic History from Strathclyde University. Prior to her period at Stonelaw, she taught at schools in Hamilton and in Malawi.

Married with 2 grown up sons, Ellen now acts as a Volunteer guide at the David Livingstone Centre and at the Kittochside Museum of Country Life.

Rutherglen South Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown said:

“I am delighted that Ellen Bryson has agreed to fight the by election for us. She is already proving a great candidate for the Liberal Democrats and is very much a local community campaigner who is in it to get things done for local people. We had a good base in May when our vote increased substantially in Rutherglen Central and North and we are finding that people like our community politics style of campaigning for local people.

Liberal Democrats across the country have had some tremendous Council by election victories over the last 18 months in particular and have made more gains than any other Party. I think we can do very well in this Rutherglen by election – particularly in a ward where people remember how well they were represented previously by former Liberal Democrat Councillor Gretel Ross.