Scotland’s independence referendum: here’s what our survey says Lib Dem members think

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 735 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Scotland votes this Thursday in its independence referendum. We asked our sample of Lib Dem members for their views and here’s what we found…

62% of Lib Dem members say we’re Better Together

Do you support or oppose Scotland becoming a country independent from the rest of the United Kingdom?

Posted in LDV Members poll | Tagged | 1 Comment

Is Mike Crockart voting Yes to Independence?

You might think so from these photos of his office in the heart of Edinburgh West

Crockart yes 1

Crockart Yes 2

Not for the first time, his staff have had to take down Yes posters which had been glued on to the office windows.

Yesterday a cavalcade of Yes cars parked outside the office and played loud music next to Mike’s No Thanks street stall. Why do they bother with nonsense like that.

This, sadly, is one of the milder incidents of intimidatory behaviour which are becoming commonplace across Scotland.  I have lost count of the number of committed and passionate No voters who have very politely declined to take a poster because they are worried that their windows would be knocked in if they display it. It shouldn’t be like this. 

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 24 Comments

Charles Kennedy launches new Liberal Democrat Poster van tour “Why would we walk away?”

Charles Kennedy poster launch

 

 

In Glasgow this morning, Charles Kennedy launched a new Liberal Democrat poster campaign reminding people of the good things that the UK has created together. Why would you walk away? is its theme. 

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: Housing is the cost of living crisis

Today there are more affordable products than ever. Not only have freer markets driven down prices on almost every consumer good imaginable they have expanded range. You can get more luxury goods than ever before but you can also get more discount/budget goods. Electronics, clothing, food, beauty products, household items, I could go on… And yet we are experiencing a so-called ‘Cost of Living Crisis.’ This is a fundamentally dishonest way of framing the debate about cost of living today. There is no ‘cost of food crisis,’ no ‘cost of washing machines crisis,’ and no ‘cost of clothes’ crisis. The only thing that is more expensive is housing.

Housing outside London is 35% more expensive than its equivalent in wider Europe according to a new study, ‘The impact of the supply constraints on house prices in England,’ set to be published in the Economic Journal. This is certainly not due to a lack of enfranchisement. Like everything else credit and mortgages are cheaper than they have ever been due to interest rates being kept artificially low. So what’s the problem? According to this paper, houses are too expensive because the supply has been needlessly cauterized. The UK has suffered from dysfunctional housing policies since the aftermath of WWII. However, the seeds of this dysfunction were sown even earlier. The Town & Country Planning Act 1947 deepened this dysfunction and houses are meaner in size and shorter in supply than they ought to be directly because of this legislation and its subsequent incarnations. The supply issue was subsequently worsened most notably under Thatcher and Blair. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 45 Comments

Willie Rennie: If it turns out that Alex Salmond has been talking codswallop, there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t go back

Willie Rennie has made a video talking about the great assets of the UK, asking why would we ever walk away from those great things. I’d have lost the tie and sat him down and got a more casual jacket, but he’s talking a lot of sense. He also emphasises the irreversibility of independence, even if  Alex Salmond is found to have been completely wrong.  Enjoy.

Posted in News | 8 Comments

LibLink: Menzies Campbell: Federalism is in touching distance

Sir Menzies Campbell, whose Commission drew up the Liberal Democrats’ proposals for more powers to the Scottish Parliament, has written for the Scotsman saying that he thinks federalism is closer than we could ever have imagined.

Posted in LibLink | 4 Comments

Opinion: Devolved Power and the Problem of Accountability

In my recent article on devolution policy, I highlighted the problem with accountability in the context of devolved power. This is an issue which needs to be pursued further, particularly because our ‘devolution on demand’ policy (F14 on pp.54-56; lines 70-76) appears to have been drafted without considering the necessary conditions for effective scrutiny.

LibDems often take it for granted that devolving power to the most local level will automatically make politics more relevant, and more democratic. But why should this be? Democracy is at its most effective if voters are able to hold politicians to account, and increased …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 36 Comments

Vince Cable on the road

Vince Cable smiling - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsVince Cable is responsible for the UK car industry, so what was he doing driving around his constituency in a sporty Japanese car? It seems the Guardian had invited him to check out a Mazda MX-5 as a guest passenger for their weekly motoring column. As Laura Barton says:

It has a sleek, muscular grace, and runs thrillingly low to the ground – though taller passengers such as Cable have some trouble exiting.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Jim Wallace: Team Scotland within the UK – the best solution

Back in the day when we had a Scottish Government that was more bothered about doing everything it could rather than complaining about what it couldn’t do. When it found it didn’t have the power it needed, it found a way round. That Government, which  implemented transformative social and political change from fair votes for local government to free personal care to leading the way on freedom of information, land reform and the smoking ban, would not have achieved all it did without the leadership of our Jim Wallace. This is a guy who knows how to make things happen. …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Welfare reform: enough of the stick, time for the carrot

This coalition has bravely attempted to tackle welfare reform. It’s been controversial, unpopular, but essential – the fact that unemployment has remained surprisingly low throughout this parliament is partly due to the welfare and labour market reforms this government has introduced.

However, there have been far too many losers in the last round of austerity. With the next parliament approaching we must change tact on welfare reform. As Liberal Democrats we believe that politics doesn’t have to be a zero sum game, where one group benefits at the expense of others. That’s why with any future reforms, like a surgeon we …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

The Liberal Democrats, the first 25 years

liberalhistoryOn 3 March 2013, the Liberal Democrats marked their twenty-fifth birthday. The story of the party since 1988 has been a dramatic one, from near-extinction, through a failed realignment of the left, a period of rapidly changing leaders, and then into government, for the first time for a third party for sixty years. The latest issue of the Journal of Liberal History (issue 83, summer 2014) is a special edition looking at the key factors contributing to the party’s survival and success, up until entry into coalition.

The party’s campaigning ability is obviously key. From 1997 onwards the Liberal Democrats have managed to win significantly greater numbers of seats than their predecessor parties, often on smaller proportions of the national vote – the outcome of a combination of intensive local campaigning and an increasing targeting of resources on winnable seats, together with a steadily more professional party organisation. In the first article in the issue, Mark Pack examines the evolution of the party’s campaigning techniques and structures.

Posted in News | Tagged | 6 Comments

Pro-UK rally in Trafalgar Square at 6pm TONIGHT

If you’re in London and you want Scotland to stay in the UK, head for Trafalgar Square at 6pm. A rally is taking place to show solidarity across the UK. Fraser Nelson wrote about it in the Spectator:

What’s the point of holding a rally in London? It’s true that no one there will have a vote, but this is for those who still love this county and can’t bear to sit back and watch it fall apart. Those who want to do something, no matter how small. The rally should enforce a point : that the UK is an extraordinary union of

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 22 Comments

Update on Network of Experience

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKEarlier this year I floated up the idea of setting up Network of Experience for Lib Dems who had either lost their seats or decided to stand down and asked if anyone would be interested. I am pleased to say the reaction to the idea was good and it was felt that there was a need there for something like this. We have now set up a steering committee of myself, Mary Reid, Fiona White and Kay Barnard.

We have decided to launch the Network in January as there is so much else happening over the next few months. In particular I thought it was much better to wait until the Presidential election is over with.

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: Devolution and federalism – the missing ingredient

union flag 1606The missing ingredient in Maria Pretzler’s thought-provoking piece (“We urgently need a new policy on devolution and federalism“) is nationalism.

The first politician in whose interest it was to bring the kingdoms of Scotland and England together was the King of Scots James VI. His solution was to reconcile the two nations by proclaiming himself King of Great Britain in 1604, and then in 1606 creating a Union flag, combining St George’s Cross with the saltire. The Scottish king saw Britishness as a supranational idea, and this is well understood in Scotland.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 31 Comments

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the  16200 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

That Wings over  Scotland post from June is still the most read. Although given that Yes stalls were openly handing out Wings’ Wee Blue Book yesterday, they are clearly working together.

Blast from the past: Wisdom from the old Liberal Party (95 comments) by Seth Thevoz

How do those of us who want Scotland to stay in the UK turn things around after Yes poll lead? (61 comments) by me

David Rendel selected as Lib Dem PPC for Someton and Frome (10 comments) by Stephen Tall

Posted in Site news | 1 Comment

What the academics say: 7-in-10 voters know the name of their MP – and 82% of Lib Dem MPs are local

Ballot boxWhat do MPs want from voters? Well, knowing the name of their man in Westminster would be a start. What do voters want from their MPs? To come from the area they represent is the single most important requirement – 80% want that, far more than wanting more female (50%) or more working class MPs (58%).

So both MPs and the public might be encouraged by the findings of two recent surveys.

Britain’s MPs are more local than you think (Demos)

photo by: FutUndBeidl
Posted in What do the academics say? | 5 Comments

Nick Clegg’s statement on David Haines’ murder: Islamic State an affront to every peace loving Muslim in the world

Nick Clegg has made the following statement about David Haines’ murder:

The barbaric murder of David Haines is a crime of the most horrendous kind.

My thoughts at this time are with the family of David Haines who have experienced something no family should ever have to go through.

This murderous organisation calls itself Islamic State.

But it is not a state, it is a brutal terrorist outfit whose actions are an affront to every peace loving Muslim around the world.

No religion could possibly justify such grotesque acts.

The British Government will not rest until these killers face justice.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 41 Comments

Shirley Williams wows Dunfermline – in pictures

Shirley Williams has been an absolute star these last few days. She came to Scotland on Thursday and will be here until Tuesday night. She’s already travelled the length of the country. She spoke at the Liberal Democrat rally on Thursday night, went to Orkney for a hugely well attended debate on Friday night and was back in Fife yesterday afternoon.

She spoke to voters on the High Street where both campaigns were out in force. I’m sure the Yes campaigner with the megaphone who yelled out “Bow down to your Imperial Overlords” as we all assembled for a photo.

Shirley group photo Dunfermline

 

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 9 Comments

Liberal Democrat Voice Awards: Nominations close tomorrow

Just a reminder that nominations for the LDV Awards close tomorrow so if you haven’t sent them in, please do so as soon as possible. The event takes place between 10 and 11 pm on Saturday 4th October in  Castle 3, in the Crowne Plaza, Here’s a reminder of the details:

This year’s awards are as follows:

  • Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year
  • Liberal Democrat Blog-post of the year
  • Liberal Democrat Tweeter/Facebooker of the Year
  • Best use of social media by an elected representative (Tim Garden award)
  • Best online campaign run by a Liberal Democrat
  • Lib Dem Councillor of the Year
  • The Lib Dems’ Favourite Tory MP award
  • The Lib Dems’ Favourite Labour MP award
  • Best online campaign of the year (non Lib Dem)
  • Best photograph of a Liberal Democrat Parliamentarian or senior Councillor or party figure (real life)
  • Best photo-shopped photo of a Liberal Democrat Parliamentarian

We are asking for nominations by email to me at [email protected] for the shortlists for these awards. They will then be judged by our esteemed panel of judges. Liberal Democrat Voice and any official blogs run by the party aren’t eligible either. We are extending the deadline to midnight on 15th September, so you have an two weeks.

Send us your nominations plus a very brief – and I’m talking no more than a sentence – reason why. We will then compile the shortlists from those and poll to our members’ forum.

Send in your nominations by email to [email protected] and remember to state which award category you’re nominating for, in each case.

The shortlists will then be put to a vote of our forum of party members. That’s right. This year, we are giving our readers who are members of the party the chance to choose the majority of our winners.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Charles Kennedy: No with a purpose and a future

I’ve been saying for months that someone should sit Charles Kennedy down on a sofa and film him talking about the referendum. And last week, somebody finally did. This is the first excerpt and it’s very good. Enjoy – and share widely. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in the referendum, everyone loves Charles…

Posted in News | Tagged | 20 Comments

In the next month 19 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | Tagged | 5 Comments

LibLink: Kirsty Williams – Scottish independence result will have ‘colossal impact’ on Wales and UK

rally kirsty williams 1Kirsty Wiliams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has added her voice to those calling for Scotland to remain within the United Kingdom. Here’s an excerpt of what she had to say at BBC Online:

I firmly believe that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom. We all benefit from a stronger economy, greater national security and a powerful international voice that would be hard to match as separate states.

However, Scotland must have more powers to determine its future. To simply do nothing in the event of a No vote cannot be an option. It’s clear that the constitutional make-up of the entire UK will have to change even if the No side wins.

Posted in Scotland and Wales | Tagged | 22 Comments

What’s being debated in our members’ forum this week?

members forum wordleLibDemVoice has two parallel sites. The first is our public blog, the thing you’re reading now. The second is our private members’ forum, which only current Lib Dem members can access.

If you’re a member and want to chat with fellow party members about any issue that’s on your mind, then why not sign up? In addition, you’ll be included in our regular surveys’ of party members’ views.

Here’s some of the most active discussions this past 7 days:

Posted in Site news | Leave a comment

Catch-up LDVideo: Nick Clegg hails “a manifesto for the next generation”

It ended up being buried by this week’s news from Scotland and the Royal Baby – but the Lib Dem pre-manifesto was launched this week. You can read Stephen Tall’s initial take on it here and watch Nick Clegg hail it as “a manifesto for the next generation” in this video:

Posted in YouTube | Tagged and | 4 Comments

The day Alistair Carmichael made me cry

Carmichael at Lib Dem No RallyOn Thursday night an all-star cast of Liberal Democrat giants addressed a rally of party members and supporters in Edinburgh. We had 2 Cabinet Ministers, 2 former and a current Scottish leader, 3nformer federal leaders and one of my political heroes, Shirley Williams.

I had had a quick read of Alistair Carmichael’s speech before the event, so I really have no excuse for the fact that it made me cry when he delivered it. The way he talked about taking his 5 week old baby to the polling station to vote for change in 1997 and how the family is going together to vote for a liberal vision of the future on Thursday made me fill up.

There was also a powerful “I’m not a nationalist but…” segment where he says that if you think our problems can be solved by maps or only in Scotland then, actually, you are.

Please excuse the photo. I arrived in plenty of time but spent so long blethering to folk, which isn’t like me at all, that the only seat left was right up at the back.

I was a bit sceptical about holding the rally in the first place and to be honest, I still am. I reckon that several hundred people out on the streets talking to voters would have been a much better use of our time. However, it has given us a rich variety of good quality speeches, including videos from Mike Moore and Charles Kennedy, who was filmed from the top of Aonach Mor on a wonderful sunny day. It was a fantastic sight.

Posted in News | Tagged | 10 Comments

New LDV members’ survey now live: your views on Scotland, the Coalition, ISIS and Israel/Palestine, and the Party Presidency

imageThe new LDV members’ survey is now live. So if you are one of the 1,500+ registered members of the Liberal Democrat Voice forum — and any paid-up party member is welcome to join — then you now have the opportunity to make your views known.

Questions we’re asking this month include:

  • do you support or oppose Scotland becoming independent?
Posted in LDV Members poll | 1 Comment

Opinion: The economics of independence have been lost in the smoke of battle

As economic issues have come to the fore in the referendum campaign, I find myself, oddly, sympathising with both sides in the debate, not for what they are saying, but for what they can’t say. You can imagine the story lines:

In an astonishing admission that has left the Yes campaign in tatters, Alex Salmond has accepted that the markets will be adversely affected in the short-term by a vote for independence.

or;

The Better Together campaign was in free fall yesterday when Alistair Darling agreed that an independent Scotland would be economically viable and could be more prosperous in the longer term.

Intuitively, …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 23 Comments

No football last week, so why not pick your Fantasy Politics team instead?

fantasy politicsThis week’s internationals mean no English Premiership action so no further update: positions are as they were at the end of Week 3.

Which gives me the opportunity to preview Demos Fantasy Politics which operates throughout the party conference season. All you have to do is select a dream-team of up to nine MPs, three from each party: you have until the start of Labour’s on 20th September, a week today, to enter your team. I’m part of the judging team for the Lib Dem conference. Further details as below…

As conference season approaches Demos Fantasy Politics is back, letting politicos battle it out to prove their insider know-how and political nous.

Demos Fantasy Politics lets you select a dream-team of up to nine MPs, three from each party, and score points in a series of conference-based categories. Media coverage and social media mentions will be rewarded, while embarrassing gaffes and tiresome clichés will be suitably punished.

Posted in News | Tagged | 12 Comments

Michael Moore’s International Development Bill passes its first Commons hurdle

michael-moore-mp-secretary-of-state-for-scotlandMichael Moore’s Private Members’ Bill, which enshrines the 0,7% of GDP target for international aid into law, passed its Second Reading in the Commons today by 164 votes in favour to just 6 against. It will now go forward to be studied in more detail by a Committee. In July he wrote for this site about why he’d chosen this issue.

Speaking during the debate, Moore, who was International Development Spokesman for the Party in the run up to the last General Election, said:

Right now we are in the midst of an almighty debate about our future.

Development is a small but important part of the debate in Scotland. Reaching the UN target is an achievement of the UK as a whole, including Scotland.

As part of the UK, Scotland belongs to a family of nations which are the world’s second largest donors of international aid.

And we are not passive in this process either with 40% of the staff at DFID based in Abercrombie House in East Kilbride.

Together, with the rest of the UK, our money goes further and our impact is stronger.

Scots who want their country to be a force for compassion and relief should reflect on what we have achieved today.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Opinion: How to tell the SNP?

No yes scotland photo by kyoshi masamuneHow do we point out to SNP supporters that they should vote No next Thursday to save their party, without alarming No voters?

The survival of the SNP depends on a No vote.  The party exists to campaign, lobby and bully for independence achieved through a Yes vote in the referendum.  It has no other purpose.  If it wins the referendum, even by a single vote, it will have achieved its purpose and have no further reason to exist.

The SNP is not a liberation movement like the ANC or SWAPO, whose victory founded democracy in states where the previous oppression and authoritarianism meant there were no alternative democratic political parties and the liberation movements have continued while politics develops.

Scotland is a vibrant democracy.  Scottish Parliament elections change Scottish governments.  The Liberal Democrats – and Labour and the Conservatives and the Greens – have purposes related to improving people’s lives and pursue policies related to doing that in changing circumstances.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 14 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarCllr Mike Beckett 17th Sep - 8:09am
    Interesting snapshot of where we think we might be now... if LDV do another poll after we know the outcome of the referendum this would...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 17th Sep - 7:26am
    @Psi "Errr. The IEA was founded in 1955, I have noticed you making this claim before so it is obviously one you regularly make" Errr....
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 17th Sep - 7:14am
    Worth repeating -- David-1 17th Sep '14 - 1:42am The one thing I know is that if No wins, the establishment response will immediately be...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 17th Sep - 7:04am
    George Potter 16th Sep '14 - 5:15pm "....in England, we need a top level of UK federal government, sub-regional assembly government and then unitary local...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 17th Sep - 6:43am
    Psi 16th Sep '14 - 11:38p “In fact, why don’t Liberal Vision, the Orange Bookers and the rest of them go join the Tories…” Probably...
  • User AvatarRoger Heape 17th Sep - 5:56am
    Maria as a matter of urgency I suggest an emergency motion for conference on a Federal Uk in the light of the Scottish referendum result.It...