Tag Archives: Scotland

One union liberalism

So now we know what Brexit means. Other than the famous tautology, it means we’re out of the Union, out of the market, out of the travel area, out of the customs union, everything. To cut a long story very short, it means I feel lied to.

Far from governing in the interests of both Remain and Leave voters, this government’s Brexit objectives leave pro-Europeans with no stake in the proceedings that will define this United Kingdom perhaps for the remaining duration of its existence. Worse, we are being asked to meekly unite behind the most trenchant version of the opposing viewpoint available.

A bitter enough pill for an individual to swallow, but in summarily rejecting any compromise at all, this government is also dismissing a substantial majority view formed in a nation backing European partnership.

Liberal Democrats in Scotland have been making a virtue out of being the only party in favour of two Unions, the only pro-EU, pro-UK party. Given the ascendant and hegemonic views of the SNP and the Tories, the probability of retaining both unions is low. Those parties hold power and will remain in power throughout the negotiations as no elections are due between then and now. By the time we get a chance to propose having cake and eating it to the electorate, it will be too late. There will be no cake.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Rennie says SNP Government must put more into mental health, the police and helping disadvantaged kids in schools

It’s time for the Scottish Parliament to debate the Government’s budget plans for the coming year. It’s particularly interesting this year as the SNP no longer has a majority and must secure the backing, or at least the abstention, of others in order for the budget to pass.

Willie Rennie has written to Derek Mackay, the SNP’s Finance Minister, to set out the changes that the Liberal Democrats wish to see before they could consider supporting the budget.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that he is sticking to the priorities we outlined in our manifesto for the Scottish elections last year – more money for disadvantaged kids in schools as we implemented successfully south of the border, an expansion of mental health services, particularly for young people, and more funding for the Police who are struggling to cope with the SNP’s disastrous centralisation.

It’s quite important that we have all this in mind in everything that we do during this Parliament. We need to think about what we want to achieve and what we will have to say to voters in 2021 about what we have fought for and where we are not prepared to settle for tepid, unambitious half-measures. In the last Parliament, where the SNP had a majority, we still made issues like early years education, colleges, the Police, civil liberties and mental health our own and won significant concessions from the SNP in budget discussions. Now that there is no majority, we need to push for more.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Scottish Lib Dems demand action on retention of police photos of innocent people

If it weren’t for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, the SNP Government would have nobody asking them awkward questions on civil liberties and forcing them to change policy.

And so it continues in 2017. In today’s Scotland on Sunday, Liam McArthur, our Justice Spokesperson continues the work by the much-missed Alison McInnes in demanding action on the Police retaining photos of people they arrest but who are never charged. From The Scotsman:

In the report published in January last year, HMICS warned that there was no statutory framework or legislation in Scotland regulating how the police use or retain photographic images.

While fingerprint and DNA samples are destroyed if criminal proceedings are dropped, mugshots are kept on the police’s “custody software” under a practice which predates the formation of Police Scotland.

Most images are kept for at least six years, but those accused of more serious offences have their mugshot retained for up to 12 years.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Rennie calls on SNP to back Lib Dem efforts on Brexit deal referendum

The Scottish Government consults on all sorts of important things. At the moment, it’s consulting on expanding early learning and childcare in Scotland and on the best way to empower teachers. What could possibly be more important than that?

How predictable. I don’t expect the SNP to give up on their quest for independence, but do they really have to give it the top billing? The SNP take comfort from a poll which shows support for independence still pretty much where it was at the referendum – but ignore that more than 50% of those asked really don’t want to do it all over again.

In the aftermath of the EU Referendum, it seemed like Nicola Sturgeon was building a pretty big tent to try to find a way forward for Scotland. Sadly, though, it seems that the SNP are unable to find a road that doesn’t lead to independence whereas the Lib Dems are focused on keeping Scotland in the UK and the UK in the EU. If the SNP were to work with us, then we might well have the parliamentary numbers to ensure a key part of that – a referendum on the Brexit deal.

Willie Rennie called on them to do just that today:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

Willie Rennie talks about solutions to poverty, poor housing and low wages

Holyrood Magazine has been asking Scottish political leaders what they would do to tackle poverty. Here’s his ambitious answer to a question about whether the Scottish Government’s child poverty targets (less than 10% in relative poverty and 5% in absolute poverty by 2030) were acceptable:

Any child in poverty is unacceptable and any government should be working towards eradicating poverty altogether. Obviously, that is quite a challenge but we should set ourselves to be that ambitious. ​

And if we had to pay more taxes to ensure that? His answer isn’t surprising given that he’s the only Scottish leader to propose a rise in income tax for a “transformational” investment in education.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Willie Rennie: Amazon must change its ways

Back in January, Willie Rennie called out both Amazon and Nicola Sturgeon over low wages and poor working conditions at the company’s Dunfermline depot. A couple of months later, he found himself banned from the premises after Amazon management cancelled a planned meeting with workers to discuss the issues.

Things haven’t got any better for the beleaguered employees at the depot. This week, the Courier revealed that some seasonal workers were sleeping out in tents in this weather to save the costs of commuting to and from the depot.

Then an undercover reporter working for the Sunday Times (£) wrote about her experience of working there:

In one case, a woman who spent three days in hospital with a kidney infection was docked two points, reduced to one on appeal, despite providing a hospital note.

And:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Joint working with other parties – or leadership by silverbacks?

 

It seems as if the more we talk about gender equality, the less we achieve – at least in Scotland.

The Scottish Spring LibDem conference passed an exhaustive motion on the subject, but just a few weeks later the party saw its female representation in the Scottish Parliament fall from 20% to zero. Those who had proposed and supported the motion offered no visible resistance when the wonderful Alison McInnes MSP (who had been the only MSP to hold Police Scotland effectively to account for its many failings) was replaced as candidate by a male former MSP who has made little or no impact since then.

Yesterday, at the party’s autumn conference, a motion on Scotland in Europe was proposed by former MEP Elspeth Attwooll, and by Christine Jardine who fought Alex Salmond with distinction at the General Election. The motion called for a future for Scotland which retains the advantages of the EU “without the limitations of the unthinking Unionism of the Conservatives or the ideological drive towards independence of the SNP”. Nothing too controversial there, you may think – but you’d be wrong: to attack the Conservatives is to stand on dangerous ground nowadays, it seems.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 37 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSimon Horner 21st Jan - 5:17pm
    The writer of this article poses the crucial question for all of us living in Scotland. "Can we back an independent Scotland as a better...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 21st Jan - 4:47pm
    Moderator's note: We do not publish "part two" or "continued" comments. There is a length limit in order to keep the debates fresh and stop...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 21st Jan - 4:38pm
    Fair enough, Fiona - though you hear all sorts of funny things in Dundee. I don't think independence is a done deal - I do...
  • User AvatarCaron 21st Jan - 4:18pm
    When the public announce menu is made, yes.
  • User AvatarFiona 21st Jan - 4:01pm
    @David, you obviously didn't spend much time in Dundee during the referendum. The idea that Scotland could go fully socialist if independent was one of...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 21st Jan - 4:00pm
    David I was surprised she was so nice to May, her coments just before the prime ministers speech , were scathing on the possibility of...