Author Archives: Alistair Carmichael MP

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…A proud day as we move nearer to Liberal Democrat vision of home rule for Scotland

Saltire - St Andrews Flag - Scotland - Some rights reserved by byronv2One of my first political campaigns was the 1979 referendum on a Scottish Assembly, as it was then styled.

The failure of that campaign was formative in my political thinking.  We all learned the hard way some simple political truths. Constitutional change is only achieved by working with people from other parties and of no party and that our liberal vision of Home Rule for Scotland within a strong federal United Kingdom is more relevant today than it has ever been.

As a teenager growing up in a small tight-knit island community I also quickly realised that local communities were best placed to make the decisions that affect them. We also understood that Government in Edinburgh was just as capable of getting things wrong for us as government in London.

Fast forward thirty five years and it was a proud day for me as Secretary of State for Scotland when we won decisively the vote to keep our 300 year old family of nations together with a promise of extensive new powers for our Scottish Parliament.

We set up the cross-party Smith Commission to bring people together and build consensus on what these new powers should be.

No party got everything they wanted but we owed it to the majority of Scotland who made the democratic decision to reject independence to see through their desire for more powers – a desire shared by our party.

I was pleased the Smith Commission aimed high.

The draft clauses I have published today will mean our Scottish Parliament will raise over half of what it spends. It will create a new Scottish Welfare State System with a starting budget of more than £2.5 billion.

And it will introduce votes for 16 and 17 years olds for Holyrood and local government elections.

Smith also made another important point that has not received the attention that it deserves, namely that the process of devolution should not stop in Edinburgh but should be driven to local communities across Scotland.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 18 Comments

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…how the Lib Dems in government worked together for Grangemouth

Three weeks ago when I was appointed as Secretary of State for Scotland many journalists and commentators (and even a few posters on Lib Dem Voice!) forecast a period of strife ahead as the “bruiser” from the Whips’ Office took over at Dover House.

I am not expecting anyone to say they were wrong but I hope that maybe some of them are feeling just a little sheepish this weekend.

The threat to the future of the petro-chemical plant at Grangemouth was one of the most serious to face Scotland for several years. It also produced a degree of political unity and …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 7 Comments

Alistair Carmichael writes…We should be talking about how Lib Dems won record investment for renewable energy

Yesterday I voted against the inclusion in the Energy Bill of a target for decarbonisation to be met by 2030. In truth I think that the setting of a target would have been sensible and that is why I am content with it being party policy. So why vote against it? I didn’t do so because I am a bad person who is determined to ignore party policy. The truth is a little more complex than that.

Firstly, it seems to be conveniently ignored by many that the Bill does include a power to set a target but in 2016 – …

Posted in News | 16 Comments

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…Why I’ve put the whip away for the Equal Marriage vote

Everybody knows that the first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club.

I am no Brad Pitt but the same is also true of the Whips’ Office.

It is not normally my practice to discuss whipping arrangements for the parliamentary party, nor to discuss publicly the process by which decisions are reached. Today, however, I am prepared (exceptionally) to do so and to explain the decision taken last night to allow Liberal Democrat MPs a free vote …

Posted in News and Parliament | Tagged , , , and | 68 Comments
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  • User AvatarColin 26th Apr - 4:34pm
    That vote is for dissolving parliament, but it could happen if the government had the confidence of the house or not. It's not specifically about...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 26th Apr - 4:33pm
    As The IOS reports - "... £37 billion has been invested in renewable energy, supporting 460,000 jobs as of 2013, " This is at least...
  • User AvatarDenis Mollison 26th Apr - 4:32pm
    PS Thanks to John and Stephen for their support. William - "is there any counter-view within the higher reaches of our party that STV is...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 26th Apr - 4:32pm
    "Any government that relied on the support of the DUP/UKIP/SNP would be a threat to the continued existence of the UK. " I'm looking for...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 26th Apr - 4:30pm
    Colin: "There is only one way that a government would fall and that is by losing a specifically worded bill of no confidence. " Surely...
  • User AvatarIain 26th Apr - 4:28pm
    Stuart - I think the point there is that the popularity of the position would have been massively undermined, and the party could have badly...