APOLOGY SOUGHT FROM LABOUR’S EDUCATION SPOKESPERSON FOR FALSE CLAIMS

Angus MacDonald MSP

Angus MacDonald MSP

 Campaigners for Scottish independence are calling for an apology from Falkirk Council’s Education Spokesperson, Councillor Alan Nimmo, for claims made by the Labour member in the article in the Falkirk Herald on the YES Scotland stall at the recent Grangemouth High School Youth Fayre.

 The organisation are also unhappy with Education officials who originally issued a statement claiming the YES Group had no authority to be present at the school. This was later retracted and a statement issued by the Education Authority that they had indeed approved an application by YES Scotland to attend the event and apologised for any embarrassment caused.

 The council’s SNP Group are also angry that a senior Education official who was contacted with the facts the day before went ahead and issued the subsequent statement effectively accusing the YES campaigners of gate crashing the event.

 However, it was the comments of the Education spokesperson for the ruling Labour / Tory coalition within Falkirk Council, Alan Nimmo, that has angered YES campaigners most and resulted in a call for a full apology and retraction from the Labour member.

 Amongst other claims Cllr Nimmo made were that security had been breached at the school, YES Scotland had set up their stall in the foyer and were taking pictures with the youngsters.   

 Falkirk East MSP, Angus MacDonald, who was present at the school during the two full hours YES Scotland were active, said,

 “If Alan Nimmo had attended this important educational event as you would expect of the Education Spokesperson, to do he would have been aware of the truth and perhaps would not have made such a series of false and easily disproved claims.

 Cllr Nimmo should apologise for his role in this fiasco including the issuing of the press release that had to be withdrawn hours later and also for seeking to cause alarm for parents with his irresponsible comments.

 For example, our stall was not, as he claims, in the foyer but with the other participants  in the main hall in the spot we were allocated by Education officials after we had met the security requirements of signing in when asked.

 Photographs were not taken with youngsters as he claimed; they were 5th and 6th year pupils, young adults who will have a vote in next year’s referendum. Anyone who sought to a photograph was asked if they were 16 or over.” It appears from this that Falkirk Council’s Education spokesperson has a rather patronising view of our young people.

 Instead of making up half baked stories and peddling complete untruths Cllr Nimmo would be better served fulfilling his role as Education Spokesperson by setting a positive example and by attending such events and listening to what young people need and want.”

 SNP Group Leader, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn said,

 “This was a missed opportunity for the council. We are not seeking an advantage, we are more than happy to have the No campaign set up next to us but it seems that the No campaign are afraid to allow debate on the issue.

 These young people will have their first ever vote and deserve to have the case presented both for and against the Scottish Parliament becoming responsible for the areas of government not already devolved.

 We are confident that when presented with the facts the majority will support the YES campaign. If Cllr Nimmo was as confident in the “more of the same campaign” from Westminster he would encourage debate and information gathering rather than seek to suppress it at every opportunity.

 The experience of YES Scotland is that young people have a thirst for knowledge on the subject of Scotland’s future, Falkirk Council is miles behind most other local authorities in addressing this need. It’s time for Cllr Nimmo to stop seeking to suppress learning and fill the void created by his own fear of scrutiny.”

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