John Cox: the Independent voice for the North East

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by John Cox

I am an Independent MSP Candidate for the Scottish Parliamentary Election on the 5th May.

My manifesto can be downloaded from www.john-cox.co.uk I am updating my website daily with blogs so please read them for the latest news and views.

I appreciate many people are non political, or may have a strong affiliation to a political party, however putting this aside the outcome will be very close and Independent MSP’s may have the opportunity to play an influential role in the next term of the Scottish Parliament. Party Politicians put their political party first. My priority will be North East communities.

Key issues to consider.

· There will be many more cuts to council services. Unlike previous cuts, you and your family will be affected. From schools, leisure facilities, health care, roads, education and many other front line services. The North East loses out in Government funding despite the national wealth generated from Oil & Gas, Agriculture, Engineering, Whisky etc,etc.

· The debate regarding a Single Police and Single Fire Service contradicts previous commitments to decentralise public services. There is a further push centralising procurement and issue large local authority and central government tenders and contracts. This will have a dramatic impact on small rural businesses especially in the North East as only large national companies will be able or allowed to tender. As an example, several of our medium sized builders are no longer invited to tender for large housing or new school projects. It was not that long ago many rural bus operators went out of business after losing school bus contracts because many of the contracts were pooled together and Stagecoach picked up most of the work or were the only company tendering.

· Roads and Transport. Some political parties are committed to the Aberdeen Bypass but have not guaranteed a start date. At the last election there were promises it would be built and almost complete by now. Other examples of the North East not receiving the same support for road investment in comparison to the central belt receiving investment in trams, scrapping toll charges, new rail links and extensions to motorways are:

  • No guarantee to address the Haudagain Roundabout bottleneck
  • Green Party will not support the Aberdeen Bypass (WPR) (This is in their Manifesto)
  • No guarantee for a Dundee Bypass
  • No guarantee to upgrade the A90 to a motorway
  • No guarantee to upgrade rail links and provide new stations.
  • No guarantee to improve the A96, A947, A93, A92, A957 and A932 main routes in the region
  • Relocation of Government departments. This policy was to spread the economic benefit government departments with many staff bring to an area. This policy or strategy did commence but it has come to a standstill.

No further commitments to relocate any other department or sectors to the North East for example;

  • Marine Scotland
  • Arts, Culture and Sport
  • Farming and Rural Affairs
  • Climate Change
  • Business and Industry
  • Support to Regenerate Towns & Villages. The strategy that the economy will improve with the focus on city centre investment and regeneration is flawed. We require equity of support to both rural towns and villages as well city centre regeneration programmes.

· Education and life sciences. Both Aberdeen and Dundee have renowned reputations in pioneering new technology for health and medicine. In contrast several schools in the region perform to very low levels. Pupils deserve to be better prepared and have the qualifications and skills required to suit local business needs. This is the norm in several other countries. With today’s communication children either in large schools or those in remote parts of Scotland can have access to world renowned educationalists. Teaching methods have to be modernised to meet today’s economic and social demands. The benefits of building new schools are limited if there are no up to date or adequate teaching resources to go with them.

My manifesto covers many other important issues, although very briefly. The follow are my key national objectives:

  • Retention of regional democratic control and management of Emergency Services
  • Local empowerment of public services
  • Regional economic policies to generate prosperity and employment
  • Investment in educational facilities, personnel and modernise so Scotland is recognised for high achievement and opportunity for all
  • Increase provision of nursery and childcare facilities and resources
  • Reduction of public bodies and greater reform of public services to reduce unnecessary tiers of bureaucracy
  • Equity of local public services including sports and leisure facilities
  • Investment in housing, social & health facilities and services
  • Development of improved road and public transport infrastructure and services
  • Investment in law and order including pro active intervention and appropriate custodial & non custodial sentencing
  • Safeguard Scotland’s assets and business and retention of headquarters in Scotland
  • Develop high technology, engineering and manufacturing
  • Scrutiny to ensure financial support for businesses and not profiteering for city bankers bonuses
  • Regional control and management of fish stocks and introduction of new Scottish fishing policies to replace political EU policies and control.

I am a candidate on the Region List (you have 2 votes for the Scottish Parliament, 1 for the Constituency and the other for the Regional list).

Don’t waste your 2nd vote. If your preferred candidate is near the bottom of the political party list, this could be a wasted vote as they will have little chance of securing enough votes for all candidates in their list, this is the way the system works.

I believe I have demonstrated I am more than capable to speak up for the North East. You must choose and decide which MSP is needed to represent you or alternatively someone filling a seat wearing a political badge.

Yours sincerely and thank you for reading this message.

John Cox

www.john-cox.co.uk