Tag Archives: Scotland

Liberal Democrat position on Police merger vindicated by Scottish think tank

The Lib Dems have form for calling things right – the Iraq War, the Credit Crunch, Mystic Clegg’s account of what would happen post Brexit vote. We also said from the beginning that merging Scotland’s eight police forces into one was a disaster waiting to happen. So it has been proven in many ways from routine arming of Police in the Highlands to the failures related to the M9 crash where two people died after being left for 3 days, to the closing down of saunas in Edinburgh, ruining years of a system that worked.

Now think tank Reform Scotland has published a report that vindicates the Lib Dem position and supports the measures for reintroduction of local accountability that we called for in our Scottish Parliament election manifesto. Its research director said:

However we remain concerned that, under the current centralised structure, there is no obvious way to actually make localism happen.

For that reason, we have proposed that both the funding and governance structure must change. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and on that principle we believe that local authorities should again be responsible for funding 50% of policing, with the Scottish Government continuing to fund the other 50%.

Furthermore, we believe that each local authority should be able to nominate a member of the Scottish Police Authority to ensure that local priorities are adequately represented.

The creation of Police Scotland was a mistake, and in the absence of any further wholesale reform we all have a responsibility to make the smaller changes which can help re-create local policing.

Liam McArthur, Scottish Lib Dem Justice spokesperson said:

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WATCH: Alex Cole-Hamilton’s speech to March for Europe: No Tory civil war will take our EU identity away

“If you change your mind, I’m the first in line” from Abba’s Take a Chance on Me was not quite what we expected to come blaring out of the PA system at the Young European Movement’s rally after the March for Europe in Edinburgh this afternoon. The good tunes just kept coming, though, with Dancing Queen and the Proclaimers 500 miles featuring as well.

There was a pretty big turnout, which was amazing given that the event was up against Andy Murray winning his second Wimbledon men’s singles title.

The Lib Dem contingent was pretty big, too. We were led by Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton who gave a stonking speech. We are here, we are united, and we are citizens of the European Union, he told the crowd. He told people from elsewhere in the EU living here that this was their home, they are our family and they are welcome here. His speech was extremely well received by the crowd. Watch it here.

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Vikings, Unicorns and an open, inclusive Parliament to be proud of

Scotland’s Parliament is just 17 years old, but compared to its centuries old neighbour, it’s really been the grown-up this week. Four of its parties have really got to grips with strategic thinking, looking for ideas to help us through the current mire in which we find ourselves, a mire not of our making.

Today we had our equivalent of the State Opening of Parliament. It only happens once every five years and I was lucky enough to have a ticket. It\s very different from the Westminster event with all its pomp and tradition. True enough, there was a little bit of pomp, with the Queen’s Archers and bearers of such wonderful heraldic titles as “Unicorn Pursuivant.” However, this is very much an event for the people, filled with music, poetry and performance.

We were seated in the Gallery by 10am, an hour before the festivities were due to begin. We originally had fantastic front row seats, but were moved on because they were apparently reserved for the media. The National Youth Choir of Scotland sang songs including the Skye Boat Song, which has a special meaning for Lib Dems, and Burns’ Ae Fond Kiss.

At about 10:50, the state trumpeters who play the fanfare appeared near us. Screens showed the party leaders lined up outside, waiting for the Queen to arrive. We were slightly apprehensive about whether Willie would behave as he has form round royalty. Our fears were heightened when he bounded into the Chamber grinning and was the last to sit down and be quiet. We found out later that Prince Philip had complemented him on his buttonhole. The Duke wasn’t to know that five years ago, Willie hadn’t realised he had to have a buttonhole. His blushes were spared by Annabel Goldie, the then Tory leader, picking him a flower from one of Holyrood’s courtyard gardens.

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Tim Farron at #marchforEurope: We stand with EU citizens living here

Tim Farron led a noisy Liberal Democrat contingent at the March for Europe in London today. From Facebook:

Unfortunately the BBC couldn’t fit him on their list of speakers at the event, but speak he did.

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Congratulations Brexit, but Scotland holds the key

It would be churlish not to congratulate the Brexit campaign, especially its leaders Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Nigel Farage on their stunning success, which amongst other things has led to

  • The ousting of Boris and Michael’s friend Dave from the office of Prime Minister. Chimes of Perfidious Albion. ‘Et tu, Brute?’ With friend like this Cameron needs no enemies. The rest of us should watch Johnson and Gove, and beware.
  • The wiping of many £billions value from UK shares
  • The wiping of $trillions value from global shares
  • The fall of about 10% in the value of the £
  • The lowering of the UK’s credit rating to negative
  • The very possible introduction of tariffs against UK imports into the EU, specifically on cars made at UK Japanese implants, leading to loss of jobs and future investment – ouch!
  • The very likely secession of Scotland from the UK
  • The less likely but possible secession of Northern Ireland if Sinn Fein saw its chance and managed to call a referendum for re-unification of Ireland which were then to succeed based on the Catholic majority in the population and the general desire to stay in the EU
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So what’s going to happen about Scotland?

Not every part of the UK has voted to leave the European Union. Every single council area of Scotland has voted to Remain, all but one of them by a significant margin,with most over 60%. In total, 62% of Scots voted to remain, 38% to leave.

The SNP is naturally making noises about a second independence referendum. Of course they are. It’s what they do. If we were them, we probably would too. Their manifesto was pretty explicit that they would consider they had the right to a referendum in these circumstances:

We believe that independence offers

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Are you prepared to take the risk of leaving the EU?

To be honest, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to the EU referendum until after the Scottish elections had passed. Being an expat – or migrant, if you want to put it another way – in a country outside of the EU, it seemed, from a distance at least, that while the rest of the UK would support remaining, England might have a temporary moment of madness during the campaign but would come to its senses in time for the actual vote.

But it was a Facebook post from Scottish Lib Dem stalwart Sheila Richie which really jolted me. She described herself as being “scared” about the potential outcome in a way which she didn’t feel scared about the Scottish independence referendum. I know what she means.

I have a daughter. I’m scared what a vote to pull out of the EU means for her and for her ability to find jobs or higher education in a country which suits her. If she returned to the UK, she wouldn’t automatically have the right to go and work in France, Spain, Germany or wherever (and yes, I know that the UK could stay in the EEA and have the same right of movement as we currently do, but the main aim of most of the Brexiters seems to be to stop immigration so realistically that’s not going to happen.) It would also mean her opportunities for spending time on programmes such as ERASMUS, or even having the opportunity to study for her degree in an EU country, would be at best made difficult by visa regulations, and at worst virtually impossible.

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    I can see a situation where we offer £5bn annually and very generous EEA migrant quotas in exchange for access to the single market excluding...
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    This is silly midsummer froth, a top-down attempt to use social media by people who don't know how it really works, and (in practice if...
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    Adrian Sanders, I agree with much of what you say, although I think Tim is correct to be offering a home to the many people...
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    @John Hugo "Whether the EU has signed up to it is therefore irrelevant." I wouldn't think that this is correct, surely you can't be bound...
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    I apologise for taking so long to respond to these comments and although I'd love to reply to them all, apparently my post was too...
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    Chris, Surely the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is customary international law. It is also (if I remember right) meant to be largely...
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