Robert Brown comments on General Election result

9th June 2017

Following the declaration of the results, Rutherglen & Hamilton West Liberal Democrat candidate Robert Brown said:

“Many congratulations to Gerard Killen on his victory. The Liberal Democrat vote doubled in Rutherglen & Hamilton West which is very welcome but our focus at this election was always to win in our target seats across Scotland.

I am delighted that the Liberal Democrats have gone up from 1 to 4 seats across Scotland and have knocked out the SNP in Edinburgh West, East Dunbartonshire and Caithness – and only missed in North East Fife by an agonizing 2 votes.

The big losers were the SNP in Scotland and the Conservatives across the United Kingdom.

The story of the night was the demolition of the damaging and divisive SNP stranglehold on Scotland with their loss of 21 seats. This must mean the end of the unwanted second independence referendum for a long time.

But the minority situation in Westminster also means that there is a better chance of avoiding the disaster of the hard Brexit the Conservatives have been pushing down our throats. It is time for the Prime Minister to show some statesmanship, ditch her meaningless rhetoric and try to work as closely with Europe as possible in all our interests. My personal prediction is that the Brexit negotiations will unravel and that the minority Conservative government will not last unless she genuinely tries to build a wider consensus that will unite Britain rather than further divide us.

Both a bit of SNP humility on the independence referendum and a change of heart by the Tories on their hard Brexit strategy would be highly welcome to most people in Rutherglen & Cambuslang.”

Liberal Democrats offer a new start and a brighter future

29th May 2017

Rutherglen & Hamilton West Liberal Democrat candidate Robert Brown said today:

“The choice at this election is clear – to change Britain’s future with the Liberal Democrats – or to divide and damage Britain and Europe with the SNP and the Tories. The Liberal Democrats are the best choice for voters who want to hold back the Conservatives and build a progressive opposition to a Tory government.

Liberal Democrats are against an unwanted and divisive second independence referendum. We stand full square for Scotland staying in the United Kingdom and for Britain staying in Europe. No one else offers that mix, particularly since Labour lost the plot.

The Brexit process, initiated by the Tories because of toxic divisions in their Party, has been an incompetent disaster from start to finish. It has landed us with a potential exit bill of £60 billion even before we begin. The Tory hard Brexit will also make it much harder to pay for public services.

People want a new start – a better, more federal relationship for Scotland and the other nations and regions of the UK, keeping our wider partnerships in Europe, NATO and the Commonwealth, and tackling the major issues in education and health.

Liberal Democrats will stop Theresa May’s brutal personal home levy (the “dementia tax”) and will keep the triple lock we introduced in government ensuring steady increases in the state pension.

Our progressive, outward-looking message is focused on real priorities –to invest in education and the NHS, particularly in mental health, all of which have gone downhill under the SNP government.”

Liberal Democrats score on Campaign trail

29th May 2017

Local Liberal Democrats took their message to the streets of Rutherglen, Cambuslang and Burnside on Saturday with local candidate Robert Brown leading street stalls in the all 3 town centres, handing out leaflets and talking to local people.

Robert Brown said:

“We had a really great response from local people and I was very gratified by the level of support we are getting in all three areas.

People like our progressive, outwards-looking message, focused on real priorities – they were interested in Liberal Democrat plans to invest in mental health, education and the NHS, all of which have gone downhill under the SNP government.

What was very striking too was the strong opposition to both the SNP who want to break up Britain and the Tories who are landing us with both mean-spirited policies like Theresa May’s “dementia tax” on elderly care and an unnecessarily hard and isolationist Brexit which will make it much harder to pay for public services.

There is a strong sense that people want a new start – a better, more federal relationship for Scotland and the other nations and regions of the UK, keeping our wider partnerships in Europe, NATO and the Commonwealth, and tackling the major issues in education and health.

Liberal Democrats attack “mean-spirited” Conservatives

22nd May 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to snatch away the savings of older people to fund care in their own homes have been savaged by Rutherglen & Hamilton West Liberal Democrat candidate Robert Brown. Robert Brown described the Tories – whether in London or in Scotland – as “still the nasty Party” and said that older people the length and breadth of Britain would shudder at the sheer unfeeling and uncomprehending nature of the Conservative proposals.

Robert Brown said:

“For 70 years, there has been a contract between the public and the government that, in return for paying taxes and national insurance payments, they would be looked after in old age. Now Theresa May – and Ruth Davidson’s – Conservatives are proposing that people should face what is effectively a “Personal Death Tax” charged against their homes. And the more help you need, the more the Conservatives will snatch away from you when you die.

The cost of at home care currently met by the State would now be clawed back after death, hitting nearly a million vulnerable people. It is clear that, under the Tories, when you are old and frail, the costs are going to be down to you and you alone.

Most people don’t like this cold, mean-spirited, Conservative approach to our most vulnerable citizens. The Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign to give social care the extra funding it needs, properly funded with a penny on income tax to pay for it.

All Theresa May’s talk of helping the Just About Managing will ring hollow as long as this bad decision remains in place.”

Robert Brown says “Liberal Democrats can change the direction of our country”

22nd May 2017

A clarion call to local voters to vote Liberal Democrat and “change the direction of our country” has been issued by Liberal Democrat candidate Robert Brown with the general election less than 3 weeks away.

Robert Brown said that people were fed up with an excess of politics and with the uncertainty of Brexit and the further independence referendum threatened by the SNP. He condemned the unappealing and damaging choice offered by the other Parties of:

  • a hard Brexit and the punishing threat to elderly people needing care from Theresa May and Ruth Davidson’s Tories,
  • the total uncertainty of where Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party stands on everything from Europe to defence to benefits, or
  • an SNP failing our schools and hospitals whilst obsessing about another independence referendum.

Robert Brown said:

“It really is time to change the whole direction of our country. Only the Liberal Democrats offer a package of common sense on Europe and the future of the United Kingdom, healing divisions rather than stoking them – allied to a package of progressive reforms which will help the NHS, guarantee the future of our older people, reverse the decline in our schools and give mental health, particularly of young people, the priority it deserves.

The more Liberal Democrat MPs on June 8th, the better the deal on Europe. The more Liberal Democrat MPs, the more jobs and money for the NHS and schools. The more Liberal Democrat MPs, the brighter our future – after the mess being made by the current Government.

We will protect Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom by developing modern, federal institutions across the UK. Our penny on the income tax from dividends will provide the resources to transform mental health. The triple lock on the state pension introduced has guaranteed a rising income to pensioners – secured by Liberal Democrats in government – and will be protected against Theresa May’s cuts. Our programme to borrow for investment in housing and infrastructure will boost the economy and improve public services, whilst lifting the pay cap on public sector pay will give our hard-pressed public service employees a stake in the future.”

Liberal Democrats demand “Council accessible to local communities”

22nd May 2017

The new situation on South Lanarkshire Council – where no one Party has a majority – is a superb opportunity to open up the Council and make it more accessible and accountable to the public and to local communities. This was what Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown told the first meeting of the new Council on Thursday.

The SNP are the largest Party on the Council – but they fall a long way short of having overall control and have already suffered 2 defections to bring their 27 Councillors down to 25 in a Council of 64 members.

Buoyed by a 50% increase in his own vote, Robert Brown secured undertakings from the new Council leader that a number of matters would be looked at.

Robert Brown said:

“South Lanarkshire Council should be much more open and accountable to its citizens and to the local communities in the 4 local areas, including Rutherglen/Cambuslang. The Council meeting itself has become a sham with hardly any major decisions being made by the full Council. Part of the reason is the restrictive nature of the procedural rules and the unnecessarily long time limits for lodging motions or questions. I am keen to see the Council itself restored to its full role.

Secondly the engagement with the public is poor. Why should there not be Town Hall meetings, perhaps quarterly where the Budget and other major issues are explained to local organisations and interested members of the public?

Thirdly the Area Committees should have greater powers over local services and priorities. At present they do little more than administer local voluntary sector grants. We need a review too of the way the Council deals with local consultation with the public and local groups – community councils, housing forums and neighbourhood management. The arrangements badly need revitalization.

Finally the fact that there is a minority administration should push the Council to be more open and inclusive, to involve the talents of Councillors of all Parties and of the many talented people in local communities.”

Liberal Democrats announce Parliamentary candidate

8th May 2017

Local Liberal Democrats have selected Rutherglen Councillor Robert Brown as their candidate for Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency at the General Election.

Speaking after his selection, Robert Brown said:

“Liberal Democrats go into this election in good heart, buoyed by the highest percentage of the vote for some years in last week’s Council  elections. We stand full-square for Scotland in the United Kingdom and Britain in Europe.

It is time to send a message to both Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon that Rutherglen and Cambuslang do not want to be dragged out of either the United Kingdom or the European Union.

This is the most open election in Rutherglen for years and the Liberal message – outward looking, international, tolerant and optimistic – is in stark contrast to the division and parallel universes offered by the Conservatives and the SNP. Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to both.”

Robert Brown call to moderate voters to rally to the Liberal Democrats

Vote Robert Brown -Rutherglen & Hamilton West seat 2017

A call to moderate voters who are opposed both to independence and to a so called “hard Brexit” to back the Liberal Democrats at the General Election has come from Councillor Robert Brown, Liberal Democrat candidate for Rutherglen & Hamilton West seat 2017.

Robert Brown said that recent elections showed there was a strong majority in the constituency against independence and in favour of Europe – only the Liberal Democrats represented that majority and could unite both the constituency and the country.

Robert Brown said:
“Scotland badly needs the outward-looking, international approach of the Liberal Democrats, based on strong partnerships within the United Kingdom, the European Union, the Commonwealth and NATO. It is in our interests both to stay in the United Kingdom and to stop a hard Brexit.
The SNP want to break up Britain and the Conservatives are bent on breaking up Europe. The SNP and the Conservatives need each other – they are each other’s bogeymen. Our country needs neither of them!
The biggest threat to the United Kingdom comes from the Conservatives. The obsession of their fanatics with Europe gave us an unwanted referendum – the failure of that referendum gave Nicola Sturgeon an excuse to re-open the independence argument. In addition, they have misused the very narrow public majority for leaving the European Union to land us with a hard Brexit, falling out with our European friends along the line, and landing us with a potential exit bill of £60 billion even before we begin.
The Conservatives are a menace both to the unity of the United Kingdom and to our European future.
Only the Liberal Democrats stand four-square against independence and against a hard Brexit.”

Liberal Democrats challenging in 3 local wards

30th April 2017
Local Liberal Democrats go into the final week of the Council election campaign challenging for a seat in 3 local wards. Councillor Robert Brown aims to be re-elected in Rutherglen South while the Party is fighting hard to elect Dr. Norman Rae in Cambuslang West and Liz Keenan in Rutherglen Central and North.
Local Liberal Democrats rounded off the campaign with street stalls in Rutherglen and Cambuslang on Saturday, further leaflets across the area and a major weekend of activity contacting voters on the doorstep.
Robert Brown said:
“The Liberal Democrat record of local action has chimed with a lot of people. Everyone knows that Labour have lost their way while the Tories have not won in this area in 40 years.
This is the most intensive campaign we have run for some time but it seems to be paying off for us. We have talked to literally thousands of local people.
The choice locally is clearly between a Liberal Democrat Councillor standing up for Rutherglen and Cambuslang or an SNP Councillor chasing another independence referendum. I also detect a strong sense that people are fed up with the mess caused by Theresa May’s Brexit. The Liberal Democrats’ clear support for staying in the UK and staying in Europe is also a winner with the public.
Now we want a mandate from local people to make a difference on the local issues that matter to them.”

5 Manifesto Bullet points
Liberal Democrats want the Council to be a powerhouse for the community, with a “can do – will do” attitude, supporting high class education and sensitive care for older people, backing local town centres and the local economy, and delivering first class services for Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
• Safe Streets – tackling traffic danger hotspots and parking congestion
• Action on older Council houses – roughcast, roofs, paintwork, environment
• Action Plan for revival of Cambuslang and Rutherglen Town centres – with a dynamic professional to lead it
• Opening up the Council for local people – more power for Area Committees, better consultation on major projects, more accountability by Council administration
• Campaigning for mental health and wellbeing – making mental health

AUDIT SCOTLAND REPORT LAYS BARE IMPACT OF SNP CUTS ON COLLEGES

An annual Audit Scotland report on the performance of Scotland’s colleges in 2013 has laid bare the damage the SNP Government’s cuts have had on the college sector. In the space of one year, student numbers have dropped from 306,000 to 258,000; college staff numbers have dropped from 12,600 to 11,600 and hours of learning delivered by colleges has dropped from 83 million to 78 million.
A comparison of the figures also shows the scale of SNP college cuts, with overall expenditure by colleges between 2010/11 and 2011/12 decreasing by £83 million.

Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown said this week that Scotland’s Colleges are key to giving people, particularly young people, the skills to get and hold jobs in difficult economic times.

Robert Brown said:

“This is a really worrying report which will have implications for students in Rutherglen and Cambuslang as well as across Scotland.

This report lays bare the impact of the SNP Government cuts on Scotland’s colleges. In the space of one year there are 48,000 fewer student places, 1000 fewer full-time equivalent college staff and 5 million fewer hours of learning being delivered. This makes a travesty of the idea that the Scottish Government is supporting economic revival.

Colleges have been given the almost insurmountable task of delivering challenging reforms whilst finding ways to cut £34 million from college budgets. This will also limit, as the Report makes clear, opportunities for older people in the area who need to return to training, such as parents or those who find themselves out of work.

Building a stronger economy and a fairer society will only be achieved if we give colleges the tools they need to help the most people get on in life. Sadly, the SNP’s legacy of cuts to colleges.