Isn’t democracy great: Murdo Fraser’s reflections on the Fife Council elections

Isn’t democracy great. Not only do voters in Fife have the local elections in May to tell Nicola Sturgeon what they think of failing schools, underfunded local services and her incessant desire for a second independence referendum but also another opportunity in June to make this message clear.

Last week Theresa May shocked the political establishment and most of the country by announcing plans for a snap election in just seven weeks’ time. She has done this to ensure that the UK Government has the strongest possible negotiating hand when it comes to guiding our successful exit from the European Union. The thin majority she currently wields could undermine her hopes to get the best possible deal on fishing, trade and immigration for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

In Scotland the campaign will most likely centre, not on Brexit, but rather the prospect of a second independence referendum. SNP strategists will use a comprehensive victory as yet another “mandate” for a second vote. Just this week Nicola Sturgeon made it clear that she would join a “progressive alliance” with Jeremy Corbyn to force a second referendum. This is a terrifying prospect for most people who view his leadership as nothing short of shambolic.

To stop this from happening the choice is absolutely clear and there is now only one way to avert Indyref 2 and that is to vote Scottish Conservative.

But before we get to June we have the not so small matter of the local council elections. The Scottish Conservatives are standing candidates in wards right across Fife and have a clear message on what we would do to improve local services.

In education, a flexible approach to schools giving head teachers and parents greater control over curriculum choices and funding would allow education to closer match what children need and want.

Increasing childcare provision for disadvantaged one and two year olds would also give parents the opportunity to re-enter the labour market giving their children the best possible start in life.

And it’s not just in education that we are focussed. Across Scotland we want to see an additional 100,000 homes built, energy efficiency measures stepped up and community broadband expanded to ensure that hard to reach rural areas are tooled up with equal access to the latest digital services.

We are also proposing big changes to the business rates environment. Following the SNP’s disastrous revaluation we want to hand more power over rates and LBTT to Fife Council, as well as our plans for a modernised business improvement district. These are just some of the dynamic ideas we have for Fife Council and a strong result in May will allow us to deliver on these pledges.

However, as with anything in Scottish politics right now, there is simply no escaping the SNP’s crusade for independence. And it is pointless to deny or ignore that May will act as a referendum on whether we want another referendum. On this issue there is only once choice. Whilst both the Liberals and Labour have flirted with backing separation we have remained resolute on our pledge to respect the 2014 vote and keep our family of nations together.

Murdo Fraser always welcomes feedback from constituents. He can be contacted at 31 Canmore Street, Dunfermline, KY12 7NU, by email on murdo.fraser.msp@parliament.scot or by telephone on 01383 720 530 .

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