Candidates step forward to contest Livingston seat

The first contenders for the Livingston Constituency have been announced for the next UK general election which is due to be held on December 12th. The SNP, Green Party, Conservative and Lib Dem Candidates have all been named, whilst the Labour and Brexit party candidates are either still to be found or be made public. On current polling, Livingston should be considered a safe SNP seat with the Electoral Calculus Ltd calculating the probability that Hannah Bardell will be returned as MP at 76%. SNP – Hannah Bardell – Sitting MP Hannah Bardell has successfully contested the seat at two previous general elections, and is defending a majority of 3,878. Hannah was born and brought up in Craigshill, Livingston and attended Broxburn Academy and the University of Stirling. Prior to becoming an MP, Bardell worked for STV and GMTV as well as press and marketing roles for the US State Department, and then in the oil and gas sector. Currently SNP spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at Westminster, Hannah has championed numerous causes at Westminster and back home in West Lothian. These include promoting the idea of Small Business Commissioner for Scotland; campaigning for an Independent Aviation Noise Authority (IANA); improving the justice and support systems for the loved ones of UK citizens who die abroad; trying to get the Government to re-think the timing of its decision about the state pension age for women (the WASPI campaign); ensuring the current inquiry into Primodos (dubbed the ‘forgotten thalidomide’) is open; and campaigning for the equality of women’s and LGBTI rights, especially in the workplace. Green Party – Cameron Glasgow The Green Party face an uphill struggle in West Lothian as they neither contested the Livingston seat at the last election nor have local councillors. Their candidate, Cameron Glasgow, is described on the Green Party’s website as a leading campaigner in West Lothian on issues regarding, “the climate emergency and the right wing popularism which has fuelled Brexit.” He is also convenor of the West Lothian Greens.   The Conservative Party – Damian Timson Damian Timson is the elected councillor for East Livingston and Calder and is the Chairman of the West Lothian Conservative and Unionist Association. Following service in the Royal Air Force, Timson  has worked in Business and Project Management. He currently lives and works in Livingston. At the last election in 2017, he was the Conservative candidate for the constituency and increased vote share by 14.1% for the party with a total of 12,799 votes. His main challenge this time round might be to maintain this share of the vote, should the Brexit party decide to stand. Liberal Democrats – Charles Dundas Charles Dundas has been the Lib Dem candidate for Livingston since 2005. At the 2017 election Dundas increased the Lib Dem vote by 0.7% to 1512 votes (2.9% of votes cast). Brought up in Fauldhouse within the constituency since 1980, he went to Falla Hill Primary School and then on to Whitburn Academy. Dundas currently works in advocacy and policy for a national environmental charity. He is currently a trustee of Scottish Environment Link, the forum for Scotland’s environmental NGOs, and is a former trustee of the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Labour Party – Not Known Labour did have a candidate for the seat (Rhea Wolfson) but she quit in July this year to concentrate on her day job as GMB Scotland organiser. Brexit Party – Not known      


Huge new 78-acre park takes shape in Winchburgh

A huge new park, almost twice the size of Green Park in London, is starting to take shape in Winchburgh. Auldcathie Park will provide a large area of green space to the west of the new Bellway housing development, and surrounding a planned new school. The first phase of the park is scheduled to open in spring 2021. An estimated 31,000 trees will be planted, providing a number of woodland walks as well as extensive areas of new wildlife habitat. The first 420 trees, donated by the local Winchburgh Community Growing Group through the Woodland Trust, will be planted this winter. A café with public toilets will be located in the centre of the park, with community growing areas and orchards nearby. Other areas planned include sensory play and large natural play areas, an enclosed dog park, a 2.5-kilometre loop of accessible paths, as well as mountain bike and fitness trails. John Hamilton, CEO, Winchburgh Developments Limited stated to the media in August, “The new Auldcathie District Park is an integral part of the Winchburgh masterplan, spanning an impressive 78 acres and providing the local Winchburgh community and the wider a region with a new green space to come and enjoy. The response from the Winchburgh community to this project has been fantastic, and we’ve very much valued their ideas and design input which we’ve incorporated into the final plan for the park.”  

West Lothian Council seeks feedback on its Gaelic Language Plan

West Lothian Council has prepared a draft Gaelic Language Plan and is seeking the views of local people. The draft plan aims to enhance the status of Gaelic, promote the learning of Gaelic and also encourage its use locally. West Lothian Council has a statutory duty to implement a Gaelic Language Plan, similar to all other council areas within Scotland, within the framework of the national Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. The draft Gaelic Language Plan sets out how the council will use Gaelic in the operation of its functions, how the council will enable the use of Gaelic when communicating with the public, and how they will promote and develop Gaelic. According to a survey of the council’s own 947 workforce in April this year, 9.8% spoke Gaelic to varying degrees of fluency, and the Plan includes proposals to include learning opportunities for the 437 staff members who expressed an interest in learning the language. The Plan also includes proposals for adult learners as well as plans to increase the visibility of the Gaelic language throughout West Lothian such as in road signage. Graham Hope, Chief Executive of West Lothian Council, stated, ”This is an opportunity to positively and incrementally grow the use of the language in West Lothian in a way that is proportionate. The council will develop an approach which supports and responds positively to this heritage and demographic. This will include proposals to enhance the status of Gaelic across the area and promote the acquisition and learning of the language as well as encourage its increased use.” The consultation is open until 20 November