Tag Archives: Scottish independence referendum

LibLink: Charles Kennedy: Why our destiny must lie with the F word

Charles KennedyThe Independence Referendum campaign continues to be depressing. The only really good things associated with it tend to come from Liberal Democrats and most especially Charles Kennedy. He’s written a thoughtful and persuasive article in the Herald about the dilemma facing Scotland beyond 18th September as, whoever wins, we’ve all lost out from increasing centralism to Edinburgh in recent years.

He outlines the problem:

In the pre-devolution days of one- party Tory domination there was much legitimate railing against the excessive concentration of power within Whitehall. The centre accrued and amassed while

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , and | 24 Comments

Willie Rennie vs Tommy Sheridan and an angry mob

I wrote yesterday about my experience at what was for all intents and purposes a taxpayer funded rally for the Yes campaign for independence. The Yes supporters were very nice when they told me that “No” voters were stupid.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie was not so lucky the other night when he turned up to a meeting in Abbeyview, Dunfermline this week to debate the pros and cons of independence with Tommy Sheridan, the former Socialist MSP. All Willie knew from the invitation was that it had been organised as a debate for undecided voters. This is the (imprintless) flyer advertising it:

Abbeyvew indyref meeting

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

The weirdest evening I’ve ever had at taxpayers’ expense

Kenny MacAskill at Scotland's Future LivingstonWell, last night was a weird evening. And I know what weird is. I go to the Glee Club a wild, rude, drunken end of Liberal Democrat Conference singalong and Doctor Who conventions.

This, though, was the Scotland’s Future taxpayer funded Scottish Government independence event in Livingston, held in a local hotel. It was hosted by Training and Youth Employment Cabinet Minister and local MSP Angela Constance who was lovely, as she always is. She also had that clever political talent of under-promisng and over-delivering. She said …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Charles Kennedy: I miss being Rector of Glasgow University more than I missed being Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Charles KennedyLast week, Charles Kennedy spoke in Liverpool as part of the Liverpool John Moore University’s Roscoe series of lectures. His subject was the ongoing debate on Scottish independence and his comments were, as you would expect,  enlightening, in fact one of the most enlightening moments of the debate so far. The bar isn’t that high, but Charles’ lecture is actually very good. Here are some of the highlights.

He started off by referring to his 6 years as Rector of Glasgow University, saying that he misses it more than he missed being leader of the Liberal Democrats. He also remembered being told off by a Professor in his own university days for that typical student politico offence of not actually going to any questions. Discussing career options, the academic said to Charles:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Yes Scotland is a bit late to realise that Wings over Scotland is bad news.

Forth Railway Bridge at North Queensferry Fife Scotland

About two years too late, the Yes Scotland campaign has started to distance itself from controversial pro-independence blog Wings over Scotland,  run by a Bath based individual who describes himself as “Rev” Stuart Campbell.

The Courier reports that Yes Scotland has asked its Edinburgh Group to stop distributing leaflet that invites people to look at Wings.

This is not just an Edinburgh thing though. I don’t live in Edinburgh and I had a Yes newspaper delivered with this leaflet

photo by: conner395
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 21 Comments

3 Scots pro-UK leaders promise more powers after “No” vote

Brazil v Scotland 22In an unprecedented show of unity, the leaders of the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties in Scotland wrote a joint article for Scotland on Sunday yesterday in which they promised more powers for the Scottish Parliament if Scotland says “No, thanks” to independence in 3 months’ time.

Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie and Johann Lamont have managed to put together a decent article, cogently arguing the case for staying in the UK, and for more powers to Holyrood and from Holyrood. That last bit is very important and I’m …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 25 Comments

Willie Rennie MSP: “I need you to get out and make our positive, sunshine case for a stronger Scotland which works together as part of the UK.”

Edinburgh Castle, stunning in the morning sunScottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie sent this email to party members to spur them into action 100 days ahead of the Independence Referendum.

Dear Friend,

With 100 days until the referendum, Liberal Democrats have a golden opportunity to loudly state our case for home rule for Scotland in a federal United Kingdom.
We know that the majority of people believe Scotland has the best of both worlds as part of the UK family.

photo by: HannahWebb
Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Nick Clegg in Scotland: Liberal Democrats are guarantors of more powers

Forth Railway Bridge at North Queensferry Fife ScotlandNick Clegg is coming to Scotland today to lend his support to George Lyon MEP ahead of Thursday’s European elections. He’s also going to be speaking to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce in Edinburgh.

There has been hardly any mention of actual European issues in this election as politics up here is dominated by the independence referendum. Nick’s remarks will concentrate on the question of more powers for the Scottish Parliament. He’ll say that a no vote is a positive choice and will repeat his …

photo by: conner395
Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

The Independent View: Scotland, vote no and let’s all move towards a Federal UK

Brazil v Scotland 22As an outsider, analysis about September’s Scottish Independence Referendum is something of a minefield. There is space to constructively critique the SNP’s proposals, but needs to recognise that I don’t have a vote, and that Lord Robertson-style hyperbole about a Scottish “cataclysm” is not just offensive – and for unionists, counterproductive – it is inaccurate, too.

So let me begin by making clear that in my CentreForum paper analysing Scottish independence published today, I believe that Scotland is perfectly capable of becoming an …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , , and | 24 Comments

Danny Alexander and Alistair Carmichael go independence myth busting

Saltire and Forth BridgeBoth Danny Alexander and Alistair Carmichael have tried their hand at taking on some of the pro-independence supporters’ claims about the consequences of independence today with varying degrees of success.

Before I start, I usually try to refer to SNP and Yes supporters as pro-indy people or something like that but it’s a bit clumsy. I say the Yes Lot, too, as long as people know I’m doing it in good spirit.  I don’t really like calling them Nationalists because the likes of Jim Murphy use that as a …

photo by: 4652 Paces
Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Trouble in paradise…SNP MEP says leadership should admit they made a mistake over independent Scotland’s EU membership

DSC_0044So we’ve had the first real sign of jitters within the SNP ranks tonight. Up until now, they’ve been as tight as anything, united against everyone else as they pursue their lifelong goals. In fact, I suspect there might have been a few times Nick Clegg has looked at the loyalty of SNP members and elected members and maybe felt a wee pang of envy. Even when two SNP MSPs resigned the whip over the party’s abandoning of its anti NATO stance, it was all done more in sorrow than anger. …

photo by: theSNP
Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 15 Comments

Opinion: As everyone looks to keep Scotland in the Union is the coalition doing enough to keep Wales in?

Welsh flagIn 1889 Lloyd George saw the way that Wales was bring treated by his fellow Liberals, over home, rule as being like prize giving at a country fayre:

 Excellent little Wales’ and all that. At horse shows we sometimes see a first prize of £10 given to one, £5 to another, while the third is ‘Highly Commended’. That is the way that Wales is treated by the Liberal Party. Ireland deservedly gets the first prize (a series of splendid measures). Scotland take second prize. Wales, like a Welsh mountain pony, is

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

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
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

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
Posted in News, Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , and | 22 Comments

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.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

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
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

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
Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

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 …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

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

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

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.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

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.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

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

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

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.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 46 Comments

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 …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 29 Comments

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 …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 25 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 30 Comments

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

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 34 Comments

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

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 33 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 28th Jul - 11:18am
    Hi Peter, we are going a bit off topic, so I'll try to keep it short. I think loyalty to broadly "liberal" principles are the...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 28th Jul - 11:14am
    "with William Dartmouth and Jill Seymour registering no votes at all, not even against Lithuania adopting the euro." Why would they want to do that...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 28th Jul - 10:59am
    Stephen Hesketh I love all this talk of fables and ice cream vans but it doesn’t take into account the issue of the customers having...
  • User Avatarpeter tyzack 28th Jul - 10:55am
    love the old photo, where on earth did you find it.?.. no school looks like that anymore..!
  • User Avatarpaul barker 28th Jul - 10:55am
    This sounds good to me, especially if we can stop comment threads turning into private conversations between 2 or 3 people.
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 28th Jul - 10:40am
    no complaints from me, Caron. :)