First Minister Alex Salmond writes from Holyrood about the European Elections and the coffee shop at Inverurie station.
SNP CONTINUE EUROPEAN ELECTION SUCCESS SEVEN YEARS INTO GOVERNMENT
Last week many of us went to the polls for the European Parliamentary election. The results are now in, and I would like to say thank you to all who took the time to vote. I thoroughly enjoyed being back on the campaign trail in my constituency and being on the doorsteps listening to the views of hard working people about Scotland’s place in the European Union.
I am very pleased that the SNP came first in the popular vote across Aberdeenshire and indeed the rest of Scotland. After seven years in government this is a fantastic victory and I am grateful that the people of Scotland have renewed their support in the SNP to make Scotland’s mark in Europe. I wish to reiterate my commitment and those of my re-elected colleagues, Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith, that this party will continue to work for the north east’s and Scotland’s interests in Europe. I was also pleased to see voter turnout increased in Aberdeenshire – a trend reflected throughout the country – from the 2009 European elections to 32.63%. Nevertheless, it is clear from this figure that there is still a lot of work to be done to re-engage people with politics and the political process. However, I am confident, given the high level of public discussion surrounding the independence referendum, that we will see a significantly higher turnout as we decide Scotland’s future in September.
Although much will be said about UKIP’s performance in the European election, it is worth noting that they did not come first or even second in any of the local authority areas in Scotland. Nationally UKIP came fourth in the popular vote with barely 10% from the 33.5% who voted in Scotland. This is in stark contrast to electoral results south of the border, and the fear which UKIP wields over the main political parties at Westminster. The SNP will continue to focus on a positive message in Scotland with an agenda to bring the best out of Scotland’s relationship with Europe.
COCO WORKS’ NATIONAL RAILWAY HERITAGE AWARDS PLAQUE UNVEILED
I was delighted to unveil a plaque commemorating Coco Works Coffee House’s success in the ‘Supporters Award’ category at the 2013 National Railway Heritage Awards in Inverurie on Monday. The award was in recognition of the superb job Coco Works’ owners, George and Jennie Lawson, did in restoring the historic surroundings of the former Lord Kintore’s waiting rooms into the elegant café it is today. For the last few years the rooms had fallen into disuse and were largely used only for storage space. However, it is fantastic that the café, having only recently celebrated its second anniversary, has already received significant national recognition.
Coco Works is a welcome boost to the passenger experience at Inverurie for commuters and other visitors alike and it is only fitting that those visiting the area by train are immediately met with the opportunity to sample Inverurie’s trademark food, drink and hospitality.
With passenger numbers at Inverurie station having increased fourfold in the last decade, it is vital that rail services continue to improve at the station. I have been in regular discussions with Network Rail, and First Scotrail with regard for necessary increases in capacity. The Scottish Government has committed £170 million over five years to the Aberdeen to Inverness line. This will facilitate doubling the track between Aberdeen and Inverurie, allowing more frequent services to begin.