Tag Archives: Scotland

Rennie on referendum anniversary: Cameron does not deserve our respect or fond memory

Willie Rennie speaking at Lib Dem Spring conference, Liverpool 2008It’s two years since the Scottish Independence was held and Scotland chose to stay in the UK. Within hours of the result, David Cameron had trashed the fragile victory by banging on about English Votes for English Laws. Whatever the merits of the case, that really was not the time.

Willie Rennie MSP, speaking to activists at the party’s federal conference in Brighton, has said that  David Cameron “does not deserve our respect or fond memory” as he slammed the Tories for entrenching division following the independence referendum in 2014.

Speaking to senior councillors, Willie recalled how the former Prime Minister used the result of the independence referendum to stoke up English nationalism for party advantage.  He he is glad that Mr Cameron has gone from Downing Street.

He said:

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Liberal Scotland in Europe

In the early hours of the morning of June 24th, everything we understood about the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe changed.

The European Union and our belief in its goals of peace and economic prosperity is an enormous part of what it is to be a Liberal Democrat. We are internationalist, co-operative, tolerant. And as that reality sank in we realised there was another consequence: What did this mean for our relationship with the rest of the UK?

Scottish Liberal Democrats have spent years campaigning for a strong Scotland within the UK, for a federal UK that pools and shares resources.  And in two referendums in the past two years the people of Scotland have agreed with both of those precepts: Remain in the EU and be part of the UK.

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LibLink: Willie Rennie: Why Sturgeon no longer has my backing over Brexit

In June, Nicola Sturgeon erected a very big tent as she said she was going to explore all options to ensure Scotland’s continuing place in the EU, given the huge Remain majority north of the border.

Since then, SNP ministers seem to have narrowed the options to independence. They are talking about nothing else. Mike Russell, a man who spent 7 years as education secretary upsetting people, has been appointed as Brexit minister. It’s not the best appointment to a job that needs finesse and diplomacy.

Sturgeon, says Willie Rennie in an article for the Scotsman, has broken the …

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Nicola Sturgeon appoints controversial Brexit Minister

In the immediate aftermath of the EU Referendum, Nicola Sturgeon played an absolute blinder. She seemed like she was the only grown-up in power. She was calm, she was reasonable and she put up a massive big tent that allowed all parties to unite. Well, not the Tories, but who cares about them in Scotland, anyway?  Given the chaos they have inflicted, as Brexit gets underway, I suspect that their good performance in the Holyrood elections will turn out to be a high water mark.

Within days of the result, the Scottish Parliament debated and passed a motion which authorised the First Minister and the Scottish Government to look for a way to preserve Scotland’s relationship with the EU. It was not, Nicola Sturgeon told Parliament, about independence.

However, let me be clear that if the Government concludes that the best or the only way to protect Scotland’s place in the EU is through a referendum on independence, we will return to Parliament with that judgment and it will then be for Parliament to decide. I am emphatically not asking Parliament to endorse that step today. A vote for today’s motion is not a vote for a referendum on independence.

I was glad to see that the Scottish Liberal Democrats backed Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts. Everyone seemed to be working together well with the SNP even removing wording from the motion to make sure it was  something all the parties except the Tories (who ultimately abstained) could sign up to.

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Willie Rennie says it is time to think again about Named Persons

 

Those of us south of the border have been somewhat puzzled by the furore about the proposal for ‘Named Persons’ in Scotland. The Scottish Children and Young People’s Bill proposed assigning a single point of contact – the ‘Named Person’ – to each child from birth until the age of 18. Throughout the lifetime of the child the actual person holding that role may change – starting with a midwife, then health visitor then one or more teachers. As a ‘Named Person’ they are to provide a common contact for any other professionals, such as social workers, working with the child.

Originally the Liberal Democrats supported this proposal when it came before the Scottish Parliament in 2014.

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, writes:

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How should Liberal Democrats react to Named Person law judgement?

This week, the Scottish Government was told by the Supreme Court tae think again about the controversial  Named Person law. The Court said that it couldn’t be implemented as it currently stood following an application from parents and organisations, among the the equally controversial Christian Action Research and Education (CARE). This law makes sure that there is one person with responsibility for bringing information together about a child and co-ordinating necessary interventions.

The Court was at pains to point out that the intention of the legislation was benign but there were concerns that some of the information sharing provisions in …

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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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