Tag Archives: Scotland

Willie Rennie – the “secret guilty pleasure” of singer and columnist Michelle McManus


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Michelle McManus

Winner of Pop Idol 2003, singer, broadcaster, actress and columnist, Michelle McManus must have brought blushes to the cheeks of Willie Rennie with this passage in her Glasgow Evening Times column:

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Another civil liberties victory for the Scottish Lib Dems

Over the years, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have been responsible for a number of changes in policing and civil liberties policies in Scotland. After we led the opposition, the Scottish Government had to abandon plans for a super ID database that would have made Labour’s look like a champion of civil liberties. Alison McInnes, when she was Justice Spokesperson in the last Parliament, successfully fought both routine arming of the Police and indiscriminate stop and search.

That record continues as the Lib Dems have now ensured that Police Scotland has deleted records of half a billion numberplates captured under numberplate recognition.

From Scotland on Sunday:

The climbdown comes after a Lib Dem Freedom of Information request last year revealed that 852,507,524 number plate records captured by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras across the country were held in a Police Scotland database, with data available from as far back as 2009. Data retention laws require that any such information is only kept for crimes, while all other data must be deleted. The Lib Dems had expressed concern that the retention of so much information relating to innocent individuals was infringing on people’s civil liberties. The number of records deleted was revealed by the police in response to another Freedom of Information request submitted by the Lib Dems. Information provided by the police showed 547,459,904 number plate records had been disposed of.

Scottish Lib Dem Justice Spokesperson Liam McArthur said:

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Willie Rennie’s final rallying call: Lib Dem MPs will put Scotland at heart of UK & UK at heart of Europe

Willie Rennie holds his last campaign rally in North East Fife where he hopes Elizabeth Riches will take the seat for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

He will say

In place like East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh West, North East Fife, the North East, Argyll and the Highlands people have a chance to have a MP that will stand strongly against independence and put the local community first.

In this election we have set out a clear and positive message that Scotland is best served when it is at the heart of the UK and the UK is at the heart of Europe. The

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Scottish Liberal Democrats to launch manifesto

Willie Rennie will launch the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ manifesto this morning at an Edinburgh mental health charity.

We will have the details later, but ahead of the launch he said:

Votes for the Liberal Democrats will stop another divisive independence referendum from the nationalists.

With the Scottish economy teetering on the edge of a recession, the performance of Scottish education dropping down the international rankings and mental health services failing to deliver, the last thing our country needs is another divisive and distracting independence referendum.

The Liberal Democrats are setting out a positive plan to invest in mental health and education. A modest penny on tax secures those.

We will protect jobs in Scotland by opposing an extreme Conservative Brexit and giving people the right to reject a bad deal.

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The SNP and the Tories are using the same playbook to delegitimise opposition and checks on their power

There has been a very unfortunate trend in recent years of those in power condemning anyone who stands in their way. We all remember the failure of the Conservative Justice Secretary Liz Truss to stand up for the Supreme Court judges who upheld the law after the “enemies of the people” headline. However, that wasn’t the first time the judiciary had come under such attack. Back in 2011, Alex Salmond insulted Lord Hope, a judge who had found the Scottish Government to be wanting on human rights. As I wrote at the time:

Peter Cadder, whose case sparked the SNP’s casual quadrupling of pre-charge detention time in an afternoon last year, won his human rights case because, then a teenager, he had not had access to a lawyer before a police interrogation that led to his conviction for assault.  Now, to me, it seems eminently reasonable that people should have access to lawyers. A system that does not allow that is flawed. Rather than slag off judges and court judgements, surely the Scottish Justice Department would be better off comparing Scots law with European human rights law and sorting out where there could be problems. You could argue this should have been done years ago.

Alex Salmond is pandering to a Daily Fail type agenda with is comments and he needs to catch himself on.

The Tories and the right wing press are playing from the same playbook with their “saboteurs” and “enemies of the people” narrative as if they alone are the true diviners of the will of the people as if that is as immovable as Mount Everest. There’s a certain irony about those who claim to be all about enacting the will of the people zealously ensuring that the people don’t get a chance to mark their homework.

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Rennie reveals “appalling” child mental health waits

There are five key elements to the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ main themes for this General Election. We plant ourselves firmly on the side of the majority of people in Scotland – pro EU, pro UK and progressive. And we say that our priorities for any extra money coming to Scotland are education and mental health. None of this is particularly surprising as Willie Rennie has been banging on about it for years.

The SNP is in charge of health and education in Scotland and has failed miserably on both. This week very poor literacy figures came out. Given every child under 15 has received their entire education under the SNP.

One barrier to being able to make the most of education is poor mental health. Willie has been talking for some time about a constituent whose child had to wait a year for mental health treatment. If you think about it, that’s a sixth of their secondary education. Once proper support begins, it’s not a quick job to restore good health so the impact on children’s lives is real and damaging.

New statistics acquired by the party through freedom of information requests have shown that five big Scottish health boards, including Lothians, Fife and Highland, recorded cases of children waiting over a year for mental health treatment in 2016/17 or on their current waiting lists.

They include children and young people waiting:

666 days in Lothian before starting treatment in 2016/17
623 days in Highland before starting treatment in 2016/17
611 days in Fife currently
448 days in Ayrshire and Arran currently
385 days in Grampian before starting treatment in 2016/17

After publishing the new figures, Willie commented:

It is appalling to learn that children and young people are still waiting almost two years for the mental health treatment they need. Waiting more than 600 days for help must feel like a lifetime. SNP ministers should hang their heads in shame.

These new statistics show why SNP Government was so wrong to reject the opportunity to invest to transform mental health services in its budget. It shows the damage caused by its letting the mental health strategy expire for 15 months. Its replacement has finally been published but charities and pressure groups have rightly declared it lacks ambition, detail and investment.

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Why we don’t need another divisive independence referendum

Willie Rennie will probably be disappointed that he didn’t actually get to scrap a car when he visited a scrap yard in Fife this morning. He went there to say that the Liberal Democrats would “scrap the SNP’s plans for another divisive independence referendum.”

He did, however, manage to look disapproving:

He said:

The Liberal Democrats are clear that we want to scrap the SNP’s independence referendum.

The news this week that Scottish education standards on literacy and numeracy have dropped right back shows why it is important.

It is clear to me that if we can stop the SNP’s independence referendum then we can force the Scottish Government to focus on education instead.

The last thing Scotland needs is another divisive independence referendum. It must be scrapped.

There is actually very little appetite, even from some who voted Yes last time, to go through another independence referendum. The divisions from that time are only just starting to heal for some. And as soon as Nicola Sturgeon made her announcement in March, my Twitter timeline was full of the old invective from the cybernats. The rancour invades even the most random areas of our lives, as my husband’s experience shows.

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