Tag Archives: Scottish independence referendum

Danny Alexander writes… Direct community engagement on Scotland’s future

TGOC 2011: NW Highlands (gp027)When Russell Johnston, that stalwart of liberal democracy, first ran for parliament for Inverness in 1964 he made a point of holding public meetings across the constituency. And when I first met him, in the 1980s, he was still following that old tradition – small gatherings, inviting all-comers to engage in open debate, determined that he could persuade the communities he served so energetically to follow him on the best path for the Highlands.

Over the subsequent years, politics has perhaps lost a little of that traditional engagement.

photo by: Ted and Jen
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Opinion: The Scottish independence referendum – a lack of wisdom in the pro-UK camp?

September 14th "Welcome to Scotland"In September 2014, the Scottish public will vote on independence from the rest of the UK. As of mid-April 2014, the opinion polls suggest that the pro-UK camp is ahead, but over the past few weeks the pro-independence camp has been fast catching up. Why?

One reason seems to be the spat between the London-based UK administration and the Scottish National Party (SNP) over the role of Britain’s sterling currency. All three main UK national parties stepped in behind a sudden policy of non-cooperation with an independent Scotland …

photo by: amandabhslater
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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: Let’s cut out referendum tension and concentrate on historical significance of referendum vote

Carmichael looking mean croppedLiberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael has written for the Daily Record about the need to conduct the independence referendum in a more respectful tone, citing examples of attacks from independence supporters on those who want to stay in the UK:

Cybernats – or internet trolls, to give them their proper name – wish Eddie Izzard serious harm simply because he has the cheek to disagree with them.

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Michael Moore MP’s Road to the Referendum… A Vote for the United Kingdom: A positive Choice

IMG_2186Making a positive choice for the United Kingdom in the vote on Scotland’s future is as much a matter of the heart as well as the head.  Recently, those involved in the argument for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom have begun to argue more assertively that a vote for the UK is the positive choice.

We have just over five months to decide whether we stay in the United Kingdom family or go it alone. Five months to choose between remaining part of this four-nation partnership that we have built together or to break away and to start again.

I believe in the contribution Scotland has made over the last 300 years along with our friends and families across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – our common effort to create and share something bigger and that serves us all well.

photo by: ianpatterson99
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Carmichael: We should be proud of what we are achieving in the UK, not talking about leaving

Union FlagIn a week where I’ve despaired a bit of the pro-UK campaign in the Scottish Independence Referendum, it’s good to see Alistair Carmichael come out brimming with pride at what we have and what we’ve built together in the UK. In a speech at Edinburgh University last night. Yes, it’s a wee bit listy, but we actually need to look at and appreciate what we’ve got rather than just assume that the grass on the other side is going to be greener. Frankly, when people are wooed by the thrill …

photo by: mrs.timpers
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Andy Myles announces support for Scottish independence

I was not even remotely surprised to wake up this morning to this headline.

Andy Myles joins Yes

 

Andy was Chief Executive of the Scottish Party from 1992-1997. He was then a special adviser to Nicol Stephen during the second term of the Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition. Sadly, he’s no longer a member of the party, which is a great shame. We shouldn’t be losing good liberals like him. I hope that at some point in the future he’ll feel able to join us again.

It’s been clear from his always thoughtful and considerate posts …

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Danny, please listen to Charles Kennedy before you write about the Independence Referendum again

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TDanny Alexander’s article on the Independence Referendum in yesterday’s Sunday Times (£) was, for me, a frustrating read. If I’m honest, it was actually like nails being dragged down a blackboard.  Full of language like damaging, devastating and divorce, t is absolutely not what we need at this stage of the campaign. He even brought in the spectre of not being able to sustain the NHS in an independent Scotland. 

A poll published in yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday

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Michael Moore MP writes… Federalism: The best future for Scotland

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TLast week saw the intervention of two giants of Scotland’s political landscape in the debate over Scottish independence.  An emerging consensus came to light after Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, and Sir Menzies Campbell, former UK leader of the Lib Dems, issued separate calls for the Scottish parliament to be given sweeping new powers as an alternative to independence.

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Charles Kennedy: Pro UK campaign needs to be more positive

Charles KennedyCharles Kennedy has made a welcome intervention in the debate on Scottish independence. As far as the Better Together campaign is concerned, he’s quite off message. I suspect Liberal Democrats will feel that his comments needed saying and deliver a much-needed kick up the backside to the pro-UK organisation.

I very rarely share Better Together social media stuff because it’s only rarely that I see something that my friends will actually appreciate. The campaign generally gives off an air of dourness that doesn’t even connect with its own activists. They might well have bought into the idea that negative campaigning is effective, and while the polls are still in their favour, they will see no reason to change.

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Clash of the Cabinets: A wasted opportunity

I’m feeling a bit disgruntled today. My two governments are in the news. The Scottish and UK Cabinets have set up rival camps, glowering at each other with the City of Aberdeen providing an unwitting No Man’s Land.

How very different it could have been.

Given that these governments share responsibility in really important areas like employment, climate change, transport and energy, I think it would have been so constructive if they’d been able to organise a joint session to discuss these issues. Youth unemployment, for example,  is a significant issue north of the border and it’s something that both governments are …

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LibLink: Danny Alexander: Scotland can’t go it alone and keep the pound. That’s not bullying, it’s reality

Danny Alexander has taken to the pages of this week’s Mail on Sunday to write about the Scottish independence referendum.

He tackled the hostile reaction from some nationalists to David Bowie’s entreaty at the Brits. “Scotland, stay with us.” said the rock legend.

David Bowie’s call sparked strong reactions on both sides of an ever more passionate debate. He was attacked for being a ‘celebrity’, being English and not living in the UK.
And why shouldn’t a ‘celebrity’ have a view and express it? Why shouldn’t an Englishwoman have a view on  an issue that will change the country she lives in, too?

Come

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Shirley Williams: “A separate Scotland would be a diminished Scotland, leaving behind a diminished United Kingdom”

Shirley WilliamsLast night, Shirley Williams spoke at the East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrats’ Annual Dinner. Someone has slipped us a copy of her speech. She joins David Bowie in calling for Scotland to stay within the UK but had a little more substance to her argument. She made the point that both Scotland and the rest of the UK lose out if we leave. She talked of the opportunities Scotland’s had and the contributions its politicians have made internationally. Here is her speech in full:

It is a privilege for me to be asked to speak at your annual Liberal Democrat dinner, a privilege not just to be here in Scotland when the huge question of your future is being discussed, but also because you have an outstanding young MP in Jo Swinson, widely recognised as a rising star and now a mother as well.

She holds her constituency, as you know, by a very narrow margin. She is already one of the most respected women in Parliament.  And for me, after fifty years in politics – I was first elected in 1964 – it is marvellous to see the emergence of a new young generation of women MPs. In the devolved parliaments of Scotland and Wales, a much higher proportion of members are women than is the case in Westminster.

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Two things about the independence referendum that haven’t made me want to punch a pillow or hide under the duvet

It’s not been a great week in the Scottish independence referendum. The Codswallop Quotient has gone through the roof since word got out last Tuesday night about George Osborne’s plan to rule out a currency union with an independent Scotland.  If the CQ has a similar effect on the human body as the pollen count, there will be lots of people sneezing across the country this week.

It was a huge gamble on Osborne’s part and it will be a while before we know whether it’s paid off. I’m still not getting any sense that it’s doing any more than reinforce …

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Another wheel comes off the SNP’s independence bandwagon as EU Commission President says Scotland would find it difficult to join EU

It has not been a good week for Scottish independence campaigners and particularly the SNP. Their primary objective in their quest has been to achieve a break up of the UK without scaring any horses. We’d hardly notice, they said. Everything would go on pretty much as before. We’d still have the Queen and the pound and, of course, an independent Scotland would be admitted to the EU automatically on the same terms as the UK currently enjoys.

This week George Osborne, backed by Danny Alexander and Ed Balls, ruled out the SNP’s preferred option of a currency union. Alex …

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Bluff, bluster and bullying, says Salmond. Pot, kettle and black come to mind

That the SNP would dismiss yesterday’s announcement on currency by George Osborne should not come as a surprise to any of us.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have taken to the airwaves to complain of “bluff, bluster and bullying” by those nasty big boys from Westminster. It’s actually quite brazen to sit there and say, having been told a very firm “no” that the answer was really yes. But their aim was to whip up fury amongst their own supporters, to incite an emotional reaction in those who don’t like English Tories telling things like they are.

That was always going to …

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Opinion: Use devo-max to put the positive case for the Union

I have no doubt that should Scotland’s voters decide to plump for independence on 18 September, Scotland would become a functional nation state. For unionists to claim that Scotland isn’t capable of governing itself, or that it would immediately become a celtic version of Greece is insulting, inaccurate and unlikely to marshal any votes into the No column. Though I believe we are better together, unionists need to make a positive case in addition to exposing the SNP’s wilful distortions and wishful thinking.

That is why I welcome the clarity from the Chancellor (pdf), Ed Balls and our own Danny

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Danny Alexander: currency union would create unacceptable risks for Scotland and the UK

Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, released the following statement commenting on the Treasury’s analysis of a proposed currency union were Scotland to vote for independence:

Today the Treasury has published further analysis of the SNP’s proposed currency union in the event of Scotland voting for separation.

This analysis is crystal clear – a currency union would create unacceptable risks both for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

For Scotland separation would already be the riskiest and most uncertain step our country has ever taken. To take that step and then give up control over interest rates, exchange

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Ruling out currency union: Locking the horse inside the stable?

MoneyThe currency in an independent Scotland has been the subject of much frenetic debate in recent months. The Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence is clear that their preferred option is to continue to use sterling within a monetary union with what would remain of the UK:

The Commission’s analysis shows that it will not only be in Scotland’s interests to retain Sterling but that – post independence – this will also benefit the rest of the UK.

Under such an arrangement, monetary policy will be set according to economic conditions across

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

A Stronger Economy 

Last week, I welcomed the announcement of the strongest GDP growth figures since before the financial crisis began in 2007, with the UK growing by 0.7% in the last financial quarter and 1.9% throughout the whole of 2013.  Growth is vital for our prosperity so this is a really important development.

We have also seen the inflation rate dropping to 2% from a peak of 5.2% in September 2011, decreasing unemployment and both the World Bank and the IMF indicating …

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Sir Menzies Campbell to develop plan for more powers to Scottish Parliament

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie puts some much needed positivity into the hitherto dismal and demotivating debate on Scottish independence. We’ve been drowning in a deluge of claim, assertion, counter claim and denial for months now and there are times when even this determined no voter is exasperated by Better Together’s inability to inspire. Yes Scotland and the SNP are just as bad.

The one glimmer of soul food for the federalist has come from Willie Rennie’s constant calls for the development of a consensus on more powers for the Scottish Parliament. He wants to see a common proposal to …

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LibLink: John Barrett: Independence is about country, not cash

Former MP for Edinburgh West John Barrett has made a surprise intervention in the debate on Scottish independence. Writing in the Scotsman last Saturday, he became the only senior figure so far to say that he doesn’t yet know how he’s going to vote in the referendum on 18th September.

He said that the debate so far has become polarised and is switching people off:

There are good people on both sides, who genuinely believe in what they are arguing for. Unfortunately, as they are entrenched in their own positions, they are often unable to view many important issues in a non-party

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The three dimensions to Alistair Carmichael’s speech: positive vision of UK, incoherent nationalist ideas and future powers

Alistair Carmichael speech Jan 2014Alistair Carmichael’s keynote speech and subsequent question and answer session in Stirling today touched three different dimensions of the constitutional debate, the last of which should cheer any Liberal Democrat heart. Up until now, roughly, the nationalist campaign has been all about painting a pretty picture of how all our problems would disappear if we controlled our own destiny, and in dismissing all searching for detail and questioning as scaremongering. The pro UK campaign has been about robust analysis of the SNP positions, but it hasn’t even made my heart sing and I’m voting for them. It’s been all head and fact and evidence based and worthy,  but it’s not appealed to the emotions.  The parts of Carmichael’s speech trailed overnight heavily emphasised what Scotland gains as being part of the UK, though. Were we about to see a change of emphasis?

The positive vision for the UK

It’s not just about money, said Alistair. It’s about what the 4 nations of the UK have built together. He said Scotland gets more out than it puts in which will no doubt have the nationalists in a tailspin of indignation – but the same is the case for all the countries which make up the UK, greater than the sum of their parts.

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Alistair Carmichael to outline the benefits of the UK in keynote speech

I am about to head off to Stirling to see Alistair Carmichael deliver his first keynote speech of the year in which he will set out the benefits of Scotland remaining in the UK. The pro-UK arguments have mainly been quite dry and technical and he wants to do more to relate them directly to people’s practical concerns and to celebrate what the UK has achieved by building such institutions as the NHS and the BBC.

He will say

That partnership has a remarkable history. And we’re not just talking about the past – right now Scotland sees the benefit of this long

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LibLink: Tavish Scott: Cuts plan is Osborne masterstroke

Well, we almost choked on our tea here in LDV Towers when we read that headline. Then we remembered that Tavish is hardly best buddies with the Tories, nor with the idea of the Coalition.  What was his latest article in the Scotsman all about? Well, possibly getting his wooden spoon out and stirring it a bit. This article was even quoted in Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions by Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm.

Tavish looks at Osborne’s assertion that there must be £25 billion further spending cuts:

Fast forward to this week and Chancellor Osborne is positioning his party against both Labour

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Carmichael: Job security and stronger economy mean more than illusory SNP independence promise

The Sunday Herald carried an interview with Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael yesterday.

He talked about how he relaxes away from the stresses of his job, ensuring he gets home at weekends to spend time with his family:

“That’s important to me, that’s the sanity valve. As long as I can just spend some time mucking about with my boys, or walking the dog on the beach,” he says.

But can he really keep that up to September 18? “That’s my intention. Look, this is an important, exciting job, but I have other jobs as well. I’m

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New Year reflections from Charles Kennedy: 2014 is not for the politically timid

Locally and nationally 2014 is going to be a decisive one – not just for us Liberal Democrats but for Scotland, the UK and the European Union as a whole.

It is going to be the most overwhelmingly political calendar year in the experience of most political participants. I believe that we are about to live through a period quite without precedent since 1974 – the year which saw two general elections. And its impact will be even more far reaching.

Both the European elections and the Scottish independence referendum offer us Liberal Democrats two pivotal platforms upon which to convey what, …

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LibLink: Caron Lindsay – It’s time to get real people involved in the indyref debate

LDV’s Co-Editor, Caron Lindsay, has written for The Herald newspaper about 2014′s Scottish independence referendum. She’s a bit bored with the same old politicians serving up the same old rehearsed lines. She wants real people to start having their say:

Let’s have the next debate around the kitchen table with some ordinary people. Take my friends Anne and Stevie as an example. The referendum is on her birthday. If we become independent, that’ll happen on his. She’s pro UK, he’s pro independence, albeit with a slightly different and quirkier vision than that presented by the SNP. They care deeply

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SNP’s white paper on independence – some first reaction and three initial questions from me

For months, years, even, whenever we’ve asked questions about independence, after we’ve been accused of scaremongering, we’ve been told to wait for the White Paper.

Well, that wait is over as the White Paper has now been published - or is it? Scotland’s Future, it’s called. That’s profound. We have a future? That’s kind of inevitable. It doesn’t promise a bright future, or a happy one.

On the big questions of the day, such as the three on pensions, currency and cost posed by Alistair Carmichael two weeks ago, we are really none the wiser. We know what the SNP …

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Launch of Scottish Government’s white paper on Scottish independence

scotlands-futureThis morning the SNP is launching the Scottish Government’s white paper on Scottish independence. It is 670 pages long and can be downloaded here.

Yesterday the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury minister,Danny Alexander, who is, of course, a Scottish MP, has written to Alex Salmond, First Minister in the Scottish Parliament, to warn him of the consequences of independence. He wrote:

The White Paper published tomorrow must address the tax rises or spending cuts required to balance the books in an independent Scotland.

Even under the most optimistic scenario the

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In which a Liberal Democrat Voice editor gets parodied

From Och aye the news:

carrion londonsay

 

Parody is supposed to make you wince and laugh at the same time. Sadly, this one fails to live up to that. It’s more congealed porridge than biting wit.

We’re asking for trouble, here, I know, but if you can do any better…

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    Showing once again the Lib Dems are as evil as the Tories...
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    Stephen Tall is to be congratulated for unearthing these clips. However, it’s a shame he was unable to find anything earlier from the silent era,...
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    @ David Allen, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are all patrons of UpRising.
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    A very attractive poster which should help the "No" campaign, far better than some of the bullying they have been engaged in. I'm not really...