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Elections May 2007
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency Labour Party have selected their candidate for the 2007 Scottish parliamentary elections. He is John McKendrick, a 29 year-old barrister.
John was born in Alexandria, on the shores of Loch Lomond almost thirty years ago. He grew up in the countryside in Stirlingshire, where his family still live, went to school in Glasgow and studied at the LSE and Oxford before qualifying as a barrister. He has devoted the early part of his professional life to working as a lawyer representing families, parents, schools and local authorities in the fields of education and community care provision, tackling a variety of problems from special educational needs to bullying and from discipline to truancy. He has also worked abroad as a lawyer in Central America and has lived in Panama City. He is also an occasional writer and has published short pieces. Currently he is researching a book about the Scottish colonial failure in Darien, on Panama’s northern coast. In his spare time he likes travelling, skiing, walking and a good chat over a pint.
“I am delighted to have been selected as the Labour candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and look forward to the challenge of representing this constituency at the next election. Across this vast area Labour has created the conditions for a strong, stable and growing economy which has safeguarded jobs, reduced the cost of living, lowered levels of poverty and resulted in major investments in public services. At the next election voters will have the choice of maintaining the security provided by the Labour led administration, or jeopardising it by voting for other parties. I am determined to campaign hard in the far north of mainland Scotland to secure your votes, to ensure Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross obtains the best possible representation in the Scottish Parliament, to fight for further jobs and campaign to ensure the constituency’s voice is heard across issues that are important to the local economy.
Labour’s commitment to social justice is one I feel particularly close to. Having worked in education, I have seen how education can provide choices to all, irrespective of their background. I intend to campaign hard to focus on education and social mobility, the keys to economic and social success in northern Scotland. I look forward to meeting as many constituents as possible in the coming months and discussing with you the future of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.”
23 January 06
John McKendrick is gravely concerned by the NDA’s management of their budget and the failure to foresee the current possible cuts to the decommissioning budget.
In his meeting with Mr. Farquhar he praised him for his prompt and direct meetings with those affected but expressed his concerns that the situation at Dounreay was both too serious and too delicate to be damaged by the difficulties with the NDA budgeting process. John McKendrick urged Mr. Farquhar that he should do all he can to ensure monies within the NDA budget are ring-fenced to protect Dounreay.
Mr. McKendrick said: “Given a possible budget cut of £ 40 million from the aspirational figure of £ 170 million to £ 130 million, this represents a huge cut in relation to employment and training, taking into account the fact the Dounreay site costs £ 80 million to run without actual decommissioning works taking place”
Mr. McKendrick has written to both Ian Roxburgh, CEO of the NDA and Alistair Darling asking them to give special consideration to continuing to fund Dounreay decommissioning because of the severe economic impact the area will suffer should budget cuts take place in the next financial year.
Mr. McKendrick commented “Expressions of regret by local politicians are not enough. Elected representatives should be actively involved in sorting out this mess for their constituents. I am very unhappy more is not being done”
Nuclear clean-up cash crisis puts 3,000 jobs in jeopardy
LETTER TO ALISTAIR DARLING AND IAN ROXBURGH:-
Dr. Ian Roxburgh
Dear Dr. Roxburgh,
I am the prospective parliamentary candidate for Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross and understand you and your officials will be meeting with officials from the Department of Trade and Industry this week to make representations to increase the levels of public funds available to cover the shortfall within the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority budget for the next financial year.
I am deeply concerned by the overall socio-economic context of significant job losses at Dounreay which are already occurring. The local population has been significantly affected by job losses and is concerned about the future of the community as more and more young people leave the area to find good jobs.
I understand why the NDA’s budget has been cut and ask that in your discussion both within the NDA and with Government officials you please make known to them your concerns about Dounreay and ring-fence the Dounreay budget to recognise both the hazardous nature of the decommissioning work being undertaken there but also to protect workers who are already placed in an uncertain and demoralising position.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.
The Rt. Hon Alistair Darling MP
By email : email@example.com
NDA BUDGET CUTS AND DOUNREAY
I will be representing the party at the next Scottish general election and am deeply concerned by the overall socio-economic context of significant job losses at Dounreay which are already occurring. The local population has been significantly affected by job losses and is concerned about the future of the community as more and more young people have to leave the area to find good jobs.
I understand why the NDA’s budget has been cut and ask that in your discussions with NDA officials you please make known to them your concerns about Dounreay and ring-fence the Dounreay budget to recognise both the hazardous nature of the decommissioning work being undertaken there but also to protect workers who are already placed in an uncertain and demoralising position.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.
28 June 06
His first blog deals with the world cup and local sports facilities, where he reveals he supported England against Ecuador, but will not do so against Portugal this Saturday.
He is asking local people to contact him on-line and start a discussion about what further sports facilities are needed in their local communities.
He singles out for praise the O’Neil surfing championship in Thurso and the forthcoming Skate Jam in Tain, but notes his disappointment about the lack of all weather surfaces in Sutherland.
With over 10 million blogs up and running in 2005, John said, “[P]oliticians have to connect with as many of the people that will hold them to account as possible. It is essential that young voters are encouraged to follow politics and get involved and I view having a blog dedicated to the politics of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross as a useful way in which to try to achieve this.”
He also added, “Who doesn’t like talking about the world cup at the moment? The blog should hopefully be of interest to more than your usual political anoraks.”
Given John is only 29 and other local politicians are older, he thought it appropriate to help encourage debate amongst young people in the far north.
His blog can be found at www.johnsblog.org.uk