Category Archives: Scotland

The Lib Dem week in Scotland

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TWelcome to our weekly roundup of what the Scottish Liberal Democrats, led by Willie Rennie, have been getting up to. They’ve covered a pretty extensive array of issues from health to housing to police spying to local services to cuts to college places.

McInnes says there are still questions to answer on police spying

After a senior Police Officer gave evidence on the police spying scandal to a Holyrood Committee, Alison McInnes says that his answers were not satisfactory:

The guidance on accessing communications data is very straightforward. Police Scotland’s account of how this came about is nowhere near as clear. We were told this morning that senior officers had raised concerns over applications to access communications data but they seem to have gone through regardless.

These were serious breaches and we need understand what went wrong here. Months after the first reports that Police Scotland had hacked communications data unlawfully, we are still no closer to a full account of how we got here.

NHS in crisis

Jim Hume has been highlighting many issues where the NHS in Scotland is falling short. First, his research showed that Scotland was facing an acute GP shortage as GP training places were not being taken up:

The fear must be that the extra training places announced by the First Minister last year will not help encourage more students to enter primary care or relieve the huge pressure on local GP practices. With dozens of training posts left vacant this year, SNP ministers must explain how they will ensure uptake of these and the 100 extra places they have announced. Welcome though they are, more training places will do no good at all unless there are doctors to fill them.

The SNP Government have not published a key review of mental health services. Jim said:

First we were told that the report would be published in the summer. Then that it would be published before Christmas but still we have seen nothing. What on earth is going on?

Also posted in A weekly catchup and Op-eds | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Lib Dem week in Scotland

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TWelcome to our weekly roundup of what the Scottish Liberal Democrats, led by Willie Rennie, have been getting up to. This week, our MSPs have had a lot to say about flooding, policing, A & E waiting times “Thatcherite” testing, housing and fostering. Oh, and Alex Cole-Hamilton and Edinburgh West are back, bigger than ever.

The week started with Willie Rennie’s Bright, green, liberal vision:

I will set out why four key liberal values should be at the heart of the next parliamentary session. They are that every individual should be free to achieve their potential, that we should stand with the weak against the strong, that power is safer when it is shared and that we are trustees of the world and must pass on a sustainable legacy.

Flooding: when will the SNP Government help?

Alison McInnes criticised the Scottish government’s lack of response to the flooding in the North East:

Also posted in A weekly catchup | Tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

The Lib Dem week in Scotland

Welcome to our weekly roundup of what the Scottish Liberal Democrats, led by Willie Rennie, have been getting up to.

The plight of 50,000 children on housing waiting lists

Jim Hume highlights the tens of thousands of children on housing waiting lists in Scotland. This is an area entirely devolved to the SNP Government. Jim said:

It’s unbelievable that someone has been on a council house waiting list since the end of the Second World War. The lack of housing available for social rent in this country is a disgrace and Ministers should be ashamed of themselves. The SNP has muddied the waters on housing by backtracking on election promises and Scots and their children are paying the price.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats believe children need the best start in life. This cannot be achieved if there is uncertainty about whether they’ll even have a roof over their heads. Last week we discovered 30,000 children have been homeless on Christmas Day over the past three years. When you put that figure with the tens of thousands of children currently on housing waiting lists, it paints a very bleak picture for young people needing support as they’re grow up in Scotland.

Projects such as the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which is funded by the Scottish Government, are bringing properties back into use but not at a rate that will actually make much of a difference.

These kind of schemes need more funding so that they can stop being a drop in the ocean and start having an impact. How many more thousands of children will be left languishing on waiting lists before the Scottish Government recognises there is a housing crisis in this country?”

Also posted in A weekly catchup | Tagged | 2 Comments

Europe Referendum: News Round-Up 1

In a new series for Lib Dem Voice readers, I will be reporting a summary of the latest news from media in the UK and abroad about Britain’s referendum on its future in Europe.

Brexit Risks Damaging Sterling, Investment and Trade

Highlighting the economic damage that holding the referendum will to do, quite apart from the damage of Exit itself, The Wall Street Journal notes that  the pound has fallen to an 8-month low against the dollar and reports that:

“Investors also remain wary… as a possible withdrawal could discourage investment flows that have supported the pound.”

Sir Victor Blank, former Chairman of Lloyds Bank and Trinity Mirror, writes in the Telegraph about the danger to British business of Brexit and benefits for jobs, investment and trade that come from being in Europe.

Also posted in Europe / International, Europe Referendum and News | 2 Comments

Devo-max for Scotland: what 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. 747 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

On Thursday, the Smith Commission published its recommendations on how to take forward the promise made by all three party leaders to deliver extensive powers for Scotland in the event of a No vote.

As my co-editor Caron noted then: “Federalism was never going to come out of this. It couldn’t, given that you need the co-operation of the rest of the UK to do that. We need to keep campaigning for a proper UK wide constitutional convention after the election.”

Before Lord Smith had reported, though, we tested the water in our survey. How happy were Lib Dem members, most of whom are English, about the priority being afford to the Scots?

Also posted in LDV Members poll | Tagged , , and | 6 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.

Also posted in Wales | Tagged | 23 Comments

Saltire hunting

imageOne of the superb, and very enjoyable, things about Liberal Democrat Voice, at the moment, is that there is excellent coverage of the Scottish debate. This is helped by having a Highlander co-editor, the great Caron Lindsay. There are about two interesting posts a day about Scotland at the moment in the run-up to the referendum.

As honorary photo editor, or “photo-fairy” as I encourage the team to call me, this leaves me with a bijou problemette. At the height of our powers here at LDV Towers, we like to illustrate each post. But there are only so many Scots photos one can lay one’s hands through the good offices of Flickr/CCL.

Also posted in Humour | Tagged and | 1 Comment
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