Tag Archives: Scotland

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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Willie Rennie: Every Liberal Democrat councillor will be a champion for their community, not a cheerleader for independence

Willie Rennie has delivered his final rallying call of the Council campaign in Scotland. Every council seat in the country is up for grabs today.

This is what he had to say:

It is incredibly important that everyone has their say on who they want to represent their community.

Every Liberal Democrat Councillor will be a local champion that communities deserve. They will work all year round, not just at election time. Despite the Greens and the SNP wanting to put independence back to the top of the agenda, Liberal Democrats will serve to deliver the improvements to local services that we need.

Our

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Save the date: 24 May for TV Leaders’ Debate

And it’ll be a good one, too.

No, Theresa and Jeremy haven’t overcome their fear of Tim Farron. This is the Scottish Leaders’ Debate where Willie Rennie will spend an hour and a half at 8:30 pm on STV debating Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson.

From the STV website:

The Scottish debates are usually of pretty decent quality and you should be able to watch on the live stream south of the border.

 

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Rennie: Liberal Democrats have the momentum

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has  declared that momentum has given the Liberal Democrats the upper hand in the snap general election.

Since the announcement on Tuesday of a snap election 8,000 people have joined the party with membership more than double than what it was before the election in 2015.  The party also raised £500,000 in just 48 hours.

In an email to members, Willie wrote:

Nobody was expecting the announcement on Tuesday but the calling of the general election has given the Liberal Democrats real momentum. A staggering  8000 new members joined the party in the 48 hours after the election was called as people have flocked to us in a bid to change the direction of this country. No other party has seen such a surge.

The upcoming election comes on top of the 30 council by-elections that the Liberal Democrats have gained since last year, including in Scotland. And who could forget that historic by-election victory in Richmond, overturning a Tory majority of 23,000 to be the voice against the Conservative hard Brexit.

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It’s Friday, there’s an election on, there must be a funny story about Willie Rennie and livestock

You just need to Google “Willie Rennie and pigs” to find the funniest moment of last year’s Holyrood election campaign. 

Well, there’s another election on and Willie put the past behind him and went to see some lambs.

So far, so cute:

What could possibly go wrong?

Apart from the odd unfortunate camera angle.

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