It’s been a good few weeks for Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore. First of all, he was described as Westminster’s answer to James Bond by John Rentoul in the Independent for his role in bringing about the Edinburgh Agreement which set the process for Scotland’s independence referendum. Rentoul said:
Salmond has been underestimated before, although support for independence in opinion polls has rarely exceeded one third of the electorate. But he may have met his match in Moore, as skilful in judging the politics of Whitehall as he is the mood of Scotland. It may be that, after the referendum, Moore will be counted the most successful Liberal Democrat in the Cabinet, and, even, the man who saved the United Kingdom.
Then Scotland’s Sunday Mail was uncharacteristically nice about him. Seriously, they photoshopped his head onto a picture of Roger Moore.
Arguably, 007’s white tux was slightly easier on the eye than the vibrant tartan trousers Moore wore to the Scottish Politician of the Year awards last Thursday night. He beat Danny Alexander and Labour’s Tom Greatrex to the award for Best Scot at Westminster.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie was nominated for Debater of the Year but the award went to Dennis Robertson, who led a debate on eating disorders in the Scottish Parliament after the death of his teenage daughter.
The effectiveness of the Scottish Liberal Democrats both at Holyrood and Westminster is really starting to be noticed by journalists now. The Herald, not known for its willingness to ever say anything positive about a Liberal Democrat recently wrote:
Since the election, the party, largely through Rennie’s ceaseless efforts, has shown it can punch above its weight at Holyrood. Rennie has been ahead of the curve on issues such as the job losses which must accompany police and fire centralisation, and is arguably Salmond’s best inquisitor in the Holyrood chamber.
The Holyrood team has been boosted recently by the return of Tavish Scott to the front line. At Westminster, Jo Swinson is responsible for the shared parental leave scheme. Across the UK, Scottish Liberal Democrats are punching well above their weight.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings