Saturday, 21 February 2009

Vote Aileen McLeod for SNP MEP candidate statement

Like our other European election candidates I have written a statement to all party members setting out why I want to be elected as an SNP MEP in this June’s European elections. My statement says:

It Matters
There’s turmoil in the world’s economy and Scotland is not immune, we’ll be bruised like any other country and we have to know why the European election matters. What Scotland does in Europe matters – cooperation across the EU will help Scotland recover when we have the chance. The European Parliament matters.

Making Europe work for Scotland
Scotland can be better and can have better international relations. Scotland needs MEPs who will make sure that Europe works for Scotland and that Europe works in Scotland. Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton have been doing that and I hope to join them so we can do even more. With the performance of our Scottish Government, the high reputation of our MEPs, and the good, hard campaigning of our activists, we can win three seats.

From Dr Winnie Ewing through the tenures of Dr Allan Macartney and Professor Neil MacCormick to our two current MEPs we have done well in Europe. Our commitment to getting the best for Scotland is embedded in our work with our European partners.

Knowing how it works
The European institutions often seem complicated. The team we have in Brussels knows its way around and we’ve worked hard to bring European benefits to Scotland. We’ve brought Commissioners to Scotland and taken campaigners to Brussels – we work across the spectrum to deliver benefits for Scotland. We can make Europe work for Scotland.

The Future
We have to prepare Europe for Scotland’s Independence – we already have friends, but we must make sure Europe knows where Scotland is coming from and where we want Scotland to be going. We have to work with our European partners, and fight Scotland’s corner, taking Scotland’s cause forward and making Europe work for Scotland.

A Little About Me
Grew up in East Kilbride and now live in Lanark and Brussels.

MA Hons European Community Studies and German – (Edinburgh University 1993), Erasmus year – Germany; Robert Schuman Scholarship- European Parliament Office, London; EuroInfo Centre Ltd., Glasgow (1999 - 2001), Jean Monnet Centre of European Excellence – Glasgow University; PhD (2004) on UK media and European Parliament; Senior Research Specialist, Europe - Scottish Parliament research department (2001-04); Head of Policy for Alyn Smith MEP in Brussels and Edinburgh (2004-present) – advising and developing party policy on EU issues; Campaigned across Scotland.

What can we win?
I’m confident that our two sitting MEPs will be returned to Parliament, but we can win three with some hard work. I hope to be that third MEP, join our current Members and serve Scotland and the cause of Independence in Europe.

Vote Aileen McLeod.

European election candidate hustings

The hustings to rank the SNP’s candidates for the European elections this June got underway today with our first one in Eden Court theatre in Inverness this afternoon. Although this is the first time I have stood for election, it was great to be there and to get the chance to speak with members and answer their questions. We have an excellent array of candidates and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meeting with as many of our members as possible up and down the country over the next couple of days.

Photo: Here's me outside Eden Court Theatre
after the hustings

The postal ballots have gone out and these are to be returned by midday on 10 March using the enclosed pre-paid envelope to the Electoral Reform Society. If you would like to hear and meet the candidates we will be at the following locations:

21 February: The MacLean Room, Eden Court Theatre, Inverness 13h00

22 February: Function Room, Huntly Arms Hotel, Aboyne 12h00

22 February: Green Hotel, Kinross 17h00

28 February: County Hall, County Buildings, Ayr, 11h00

28 February: Town Hall, Johnstone 16h00

28 February: Cornerstone House, South Road, Cumbernauld 19h00

1 March: Arts Centre, Dalkeith 14h00

1 March: Partick Burgh Hall, Glasgow 18h00

Monday, 16 February 2009

New front opens on Scotland's offshore wind

Alex Salmond opened the doors today to Seaenergy renewables based in Aberdeen following the announcement today by the Crown Estate that SeaEnergy has been given the green light to explore and develop the Beatrice offshore wind farm site in the Moray Firth and the Inch Cape for offshore wind. If operating at maximum capacity, these sites would have the potential to generate a massive 6GW of offshore windpower. This equates to Scotland's peak electricity consumption.

The Crown Estate announced a number of other exclusive agreements for companies to survey areas of the seabed to develop offshore wind and other types of marine renewables. The shores around the Highlands and Islands are laden with enormous green energy potential just waiting to be tapped into. The oil fabrication yard at Nigg could become a hub for the engineering and construction of renewable energy developments (deep water offshore wind turbines, tidal and wave turbines), putting it right at the cutting edge of such developments and making it not only good for the local economy but for Scotland as a whole also. The Scottish Government has already revealed that there could be 16,000 Scottish jobs in green energy by 2020 by progressing its action across energy generation, energy efficiency and transport, tackling climate change and at the same time saving people and businesses alike money.

I am delighted at the news today. With Jim Murphy in Edinburgh selling his soul to the nuclear lobbyists in his grand plan to convince Scots of their need for a nuclear future, today's announcement underlines the extent to which Scotland's energy companies are leading the way in the development of clean, green energy and the boost this will bring to Scotland's economy by way of increased investment, more jobs and opportunities.

I had the chance to spend some time with SeaEnergy last August when I was up at their offices in the outskirts of Aberdeen to meet with the team and find out what the company was seeking to do in terms of helping Scotland to take full advantage of the massive offshore wind potential that is sitting out in the Moray Firth in particular.

I've already put in a call to congratulate them and look forward to having the chance to meet with them soon to discuss their plans.