Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

It’s going to be a bit quiet around here for a couple of weeks…

As you read this, I’ll be on my way to the beautiful Highlands for two weeks. I need my spiritual home to work its restorative magic on me.

I have decided that I’m going to have a proper break. In previous years, I’ve still done meetings and continued to write for LDV albeit at a reduced rate.

This year has been a bit of a rollercoaster. From the personal drama of my husband’s serious illness last Autumn to the Council elections to the General Election and starting a new job, I’ve …

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Happy 40th Birthday, Alex Cole-Hamilton

Today, Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh Western, Alex Cole-Hamilton turns 40.

I have to confess to being slightly traumatised by this – much more so than by my own imminent Golden Jubilee.

You see, I don’t feel 50. I feel about 28. And I’m in much better shape physically and mentally than I was at 28, so it’s all good here. And the waiter at the Indian last night referred to me as a “young lady.” Even better.

Alex’s big day, though, provides inescapable evidence of the passage of time. I can’t help but remember that I first met him when he was a young lad fresh out of university. Now he’s a 40 year old father of three.

He hides it well, though. He’s probably even more irrepressible now than he was back then.

I’ve asked some of his friends to help me come up with 40 Legendary Alex Moments. Sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy a meander through the life of someone who is guaranteed to bring a smile to whatever is going on. Happy Birthday, Alex:

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Vince’s manifesto shows just how far Tim took us

When Tim Farron stood for the leadership two years ago, his winning manifesto was quite internally focused. It had to be. We’d just had what could have been a mortal blow from the electorate. We were all in shock, devastated at the psychological impact of the loss of so many of our heartlands.

We knew we had to pick ourselves up, but in those early weeks, every time we tried to get ourselves off the floor, we couldn’t quite manage it. Then along came Tim with a jolt of electricity, a motivational message that energised us and got us going again. A lot of his manifesto was internally focused – about picking a ward and winning it, about tackling diversity, about how he’d make decisions in the party (with a diverse group of people in the room), and about having a festival of ideas. It was a time of innovation when newbies developed initiatives like Lib Dem Pint and Your Liberal Britain. But it was mainly internal.

Tim has left us in better shape and grew the size of the parliamentary party in an incredibly difficult election for us.

Vince’s manifesto is much more outward looking. He doesn’t really talk about internal stuff at all. It’s all about our positioning to the world.

He uses language about being ambitious for party and country that reminds me of Willie Rennie’s optimistic campaign in Scotland where we won two seats from the SNP. Where we could get that message out in sufficient volume, people liked it. It was full of heart and authenticity and optimism. People want something to look forward to.

Vince concentrates on five policy areas:

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Vince takes the stage with a strong “Exit from Brexit” line

Vince is not our almost leader any more. Just after 4pm, Sal Brinton announced that there had only been one nomination received and therefore he was our actual leader.

Having one of the country’s most credible and authoritative experts on the economy at a time when the economy is at risk is no bad thing.

We will certainly see a change in style from Vince. He won’t be as Tiggerish as Tim, but he’ll fight the recklessness of the Tories and Labour and promote our Liberal Democrat values with energy and optimism.

Vince has huge intelligence, a way of telling it like it is that makes sense to people and a wicked sense of humour. I feel much more optimistic than I did on 9th June that we can actually get somewhere.

Watch this afternoon’s proceedings here. You can see speeches from Sal, Tim, Jo and Vince.  Some key points from Vince’s speech are below.

There is a huge gap in the centre of British politics and I intend to fill it. As the only party committed to staying in the single market and customs union, the Liberal Democrats are alone in fighting to protect our economy. It will soon become clear that the government can’t deliver the painless Brexit it promised. So, we need to prepare for an exit from Brexit.

Theresa May wants to take Britain back to the 1950s while Jeremy Corbyn wants to take Britain back to the 1970s. I will offer an optimistic, alternative agenda to power the country into the 2020s and beyond.

We have a government that can’t govern and an opposition that can’t oppose. Labour and the Conservatives have formed a grand coalition of chaos, driving through a hard Brexit which would deliver a massive blow to living standards.

Both parties have abandoned mainstream economics. I want to put economics back centre stage.

Under my leadership the Liberal Democrats will be at the centre of political life: a credible, effective party of national government.

We have doubled our membership and our new members have given the party enormous energy. I want to give leadership to that energy, hitting the headlines and putting our party at the centre of the national debate.

 

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Cheers, Tim

I have to say I’m feeling sad tonight. Two Summers ago, I worked hard to elect Tim Farron as our leader. I’d hoped he’d be there for one if not two Parliaments, at least a decade. I felt  that the party needed his Tiggerish energy and passion even if his 100,000 members target scared me slightly.

Tim inspired us to pick ourselves up, raise our eyes and fight. He took on the fight for the most vulnerable, speaking up for the thousands of refugees fleeing war in Syria. He made it his mission to present a coherent case for unaccompanied children to come to this country, even trying to enact it into law. I was never prouder of him than when he was the first party leader to head to Calais and Lesvos.

Tim was not one to always make life easy for himself, as we saw from the Syria vote. He was prepared to risk upsetting his core support on the left of the party. Nor did he shy away from the battles we needed to have. On diversity, he was prepared to lead from the front, supporting the Electing Diverse MPs motion which was passed in York in 2016.

His leadership was a whirlwind of campaigning at all levels around the country. He went to Council by-elections to the winning Richmond Park parliamentary by-election. He was brilliant in the Scottish and Welsh elections last year.

He was proactive in the fight for LGBT equality, arguing for an end to the gay blood ban and for transgender rights. What a signal it sent to young people struggling with their gender identity to have a major political leader sitting in the front row supporting a motion on transgender rights.

And on that “sin” issue, I wrote the first time it came up that I didn’t think that politicians should be pontificating about any sort of sin:

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Swinson: BBC Gender Gap should be a wake up call

We’ll all have seen those BBC pay figures today. How senior executives must have wept into their prosecco when Chris Evans proved to be such a failure on Top Gear.

On one level, you could be appalled at someone getting paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to read the news, or spout childish banalities on the radio. On the other, you can recognise that if they didn’t pay those rates, nobody we’ve ever heard of would be on the BBC – and as soon as we had heard of them, they’d be off.  Given the general high quality of the …

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Tim’s best bits #5: Campaigning in Edinburgh West in the General Election

At the beginning of the election campaign this year, Tim came to Edinburgh West one sunny Monday evening. He spoke brilliantly with a message that at that point in the campaign was just bang on. This is Tim at his best.

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  • User AvatarDavid Allen 28th Jul - 7:18pm
    On leadership: I guess there are two extreme approaches, which are both a problem. The "Stalinist" approach is for a leader to ignore the party...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 28th Jul - 6:57pm
    Many thanks, chaps, for further interesting comments, but I have to go out, so I can't deal with them properly till later. But one point,...
  • User AvatarJohn King 28th Jul - 6:46pm
    To Jayne Mansfild. I did try to access that report you mention but it's difficult to determine when the work was done, as opposed to...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 28th Jul - 6:42pm
    Simon, Corbyn supporters are not getting "defensive" they are getting furious with your tedious inteminable distortions. You are playing the Corbynites on side!
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 28th Jul - 5:58pm
    3 star chef
  • User AvatarSteve Trevethan 28th Jul - 5:30pm
    @ Katharine Pindar My pleasure! Here are some further bits and pieces: We would serve our fellow citizens and party well if we could spread...
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