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Local Government Election 2012 / Malcolm Bell

malcolm bell

Malcolm Bell
Lerwick North

Trust, openness, stability…

Firstly, may I introduce myself. I was born and brought up in Lerwick. In 1980 I left Anderson High School and joined Northern Constabulary. I served throughout the force area in various roles including the CID and in Forensic Science.

In 2000 I returned home to Shetland as the Inspector at Lerwick. In 2006 I fulfilled a lifelong ambition when I was appointed Chief Inspector of Shetland Police. I retired from the police in late 2009. Since then I have joined the Board of NHS Shetland and been appointed an Honorary Sheriff.

I was Chair of Shetland Child Protection Committee for 5 years during my time as Chief Inspector and I am now the Independent Chair of Shetland Adult Protection Committee.

I honestly believe that the experience I have gained throughout my career, will help me to represent you on the council, rebuild trust and bring the stability desperately required.

Our new Council must be revitalised and provide strong, effective and cohesive community leadership. I’m confident Shetland’s best days are still ahead, but only if we get our act together. If elected, I will work first and foremost as one of your team of three Councillors in Lerwick North and Bressay, representing your interests.

The last five years have shown that 22 Councillors working in isolation does not work. I believe I can help to end the sense of drift which has consumed the current Council and caused so much damage to our finances not to mention our reputation.  There is real anger on the doorstep about the money lost on many projects from the Bressay Bridge to the High School and more. This cannot go on.  We must get our act together.

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Throughout my career, from the police to the NHS, I have developed partnership working and have seen the benefits this brings. Look, for example, at the ‘Dogs against Drugs’ initiative, an excellent example of a partnership (between the police and a charity in this case) which works! We are stronger together. If elected I would bring this approach with me to the Council.

So much needs to be done over the next five years. I have set out some of my priorities below and in more detail on my website.

These include:

  • The Best Deal for Shetland in regard to our Constitutional Future
  • The Best Deal for our Elderly and Vulnerable
  • A Safe, Clean, Community with Accountable Local Policing
  • Housing which Meets our Needs
  • Budget Stability and a Thriving Local Economy
  • The Best for our Children and Young People
  • A Transport System which Meets our Needs
  • A Personal Commitment to Represent, Help and be Available for Everyone who Approaches me

I am passionate about fairness, justice and helping people. That’s what drives me and always has.

With Scotland’s future in the UK in doubt, it’s vital that Shetland negotiates with both Edinburgh and Westminster to achieve the best possible deal for Shetland. Nothing less will do and we must protect our ability to find local solutions to local problems. Big decisions have to be made but we still have a wealthy Council compared to most. We should remember that.

I will never lose sight of the fact that it’s often matters closer to home which cause most concern. Sadly, I have seen at first hand the despair drug dealers bring to communities. They must be tackled as must dangerous and inconsiderate drivers around where we live. Shortly, a national police force will provide our policing. I will fight to ensure we retain local accountability for our police.

We need to find solutions to our housing problem and I recognise this is linked to so many other areas including transport and childcare.  There is no single easy answer.  Joined up thinking and working is the key.

Our elderly and vulnerable deserve quality care packages, as a right not a luxury. When looking for savings, picking on soft targets like the Freefield Centre and meals on wheels, for example, is just not on. I will fight to ensure we tackle fuel poverty.  No-one in this community should have to choose between heating and eating.

Ferry fares from Bressay are causing anger and concern as did the handling of the recent NorthLink dry dock period when we were left with a threadbare service.  All these things and more will have my attention if elected.

It is really sad to see how opinions on both sides of the wind farm debate have become deeply entrenched. Perhaps this is down, in part, to how the matter was handled through the early stages. However, the reality is we are where we are and the new Council must do everything to ensure Shetland gets the best possible deal. We must proceed with caution and make decisions in a calm, rational manner, taking into account (and being seen to take into account) all opinions.

The Charitable Trust must, of course, make decisions on the basis of investment risk. If elected, I will have to be convinced on issues such as the distance of turbines from housing and the robustness of the habitat management plan. Most of all, the whole Shetland Community must benefit and not just a few shareholders in the big multi-nationals. By taking this approach I hope we can bring some ‘healing’ to the community. I have been on doorsteps where the debate has even divided families.

It would be an honour to represent you on the SIC. You have a right to expect your representatives are available when you need them.  I give a personal commitment to answer every call, email and letter.

I will provide advice and representation to all who require my assistance. You will always have a variety of ways to, easily, contact me. I will also organise regular advice surgeries and will seek to involve other agencies including, for example, the police and health. This will provide residents with a real ‘one stop shop’ for issues and concerns.

Seeing your Councillors once every 4 or 5 years, when seeking your vote, is not enough.  If elected, I will keep in regular contact, seek feedback and explain decisions.

Your vote is vital. Please do feel free to contact me at any time using the contact details you can find on this page or via my website: www.malcolmbell.eu

Let’s work together for a better Shetland!

Contact Details:
Tel: 01595 69 2643
Mob: 07777 607 741
e-mail: info@malcolmbell.eu
Website: www.malcolmbell.eu
Facebook: facebook.com/malcolmj.bell
Twitter: @malcolm_bell

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