Tag Archives: scottish liberal democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat Alison McInnes saves our civil liberties…again

There may only be five Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPs,sadly, but by heavens they have delivered incredible things.

As Justice Spokesperson for the last four years, Alison McInnes has stopped the SNP Government in its tracks several times. She couldn’t stop them centralising the Police, but she could make a fuss when statistics showed that officers were stopping and searching children. She made a fuss when the SNP started using armed patrols on routine duties in peaceful Highland communities. She defended our rights when the SNP tried to remove the requirement for corroboration in our legal system. She explained why this was so important at our Conference in Autumn 2013:

This is a profound change – sweeping aside centuries of well-established Scottish legal practice.

Conference, Scots Law is not safe in the hands of the Scottish National Party.

In Scotland the Crown prosecutes in the public interest. We must guard against any shift towards prosecuting in the victim’s interest. That would be at odds with our fundamental liberal belief in the need for a robust, transparent and independent justice system.

We need to defend the principle of the presumption of innocence and safeguard against false accusation, wrongful conviction and miscarriages of justice.

The SNP’s proposals will mean that someone could be convicted on the basis of the testimony of just one person, even if five of the fifteen jurors believe that they are innocent.

Witnesses can be honest yet mistaken. Their evidence persuasive but wrong.

And, unfortunately, witnesses do sometimes lie to the police and in court- out of earnest to ensure that the accused is convicted, because of the strength of their convictions or through spite.

I am concerned that scrapping corroboration could mean that false accusations could become more common. The Law Society of Scotland warns that trials could be reduced to “a contest between two competing statements on oath”.

Eventually, after protest from many bodies across Scotland, the government agreed to a review – which would report after the legislation had been passed. Alison rightly thought this was ridiculous and didn’t rest until the plans were postponed until the publication of the review.

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Willie Rennie launches Scottish Liberal Democrats manifesto for a “Decade of Opportunity”

Edinburgh West is clearly the place to launch your election manifesto these days. However, when Willie Rennie, Mike Crockart and Jo Swinson launch the Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto it won’t be in a massive venue surrounded by an audience of cheering party supporters, it’ll be in the heart of the community, in a small business, in South Queensferry.

Ironically, it’ll be almost exactly opposite the spot across the Firth of Forth in North Queensferry where he gave his first interview as Scottish leader in May 2011.

Last year, Willie talked about a “sunshine strategy” and it looks like he’ll be getting plenty sunshine and 15 degree temperatures for the launch.

Willie said:

Liberal Democrats are driven by our ambition of creating opportunity for all.

Our prospectus to the people of Scotland is proudly Liberal Democrat. Standing on the record of progress in government and vision of the future.

In just five years we have got the economy back on track and done so fairly.  We are now closer to our ambition of creating opportunity for everyone.  But with wins for the Liberal Democrat in this election we can make it a decade of opportunity.

With Liberal Democrats we can create opportunity for children by investing in education especially in the early years.

With Liberal Democrats we can create opportunity for everyone by investing £800million in our NHS and bring mental health care to the fore.

With Liberal Democrats we can create opportunity for workers by creating even more jobs and cutting their taxes too.

With Liberal Democrats we can create opportunity for Scotland by delivering more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

These are Liberal Democrat ambitions because they build a stronger economy and a fairer society, in a stronger Scotland.

It is a positive offer to create a decade of opportunity for everyone in our country.

The manifesto can be read here.

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A sneak preview of the Scottish Autumn Conference Agenda

This year’s Scottish Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference takes place much later than usual. It’s been delayed by the Referendum and will take place in Dunfermline on Saturday 22nd November. There’s just about enough time for Presidential candidates to come and chase some last minute votes.

The preliminary agenda has just been published and it’s busy. Six policy debates, two keynote speeches, a  devolution discussion, a thank you reception for our former MEP George Lyon and two lunchtime fringe meetings crammed into one day.

The policy motions include:

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A sneak peek at a Scottish Conference agenda full of controversy…

The Agenda for this year’s Scottish Conference will be sent to members tomorrow but I’ve had a bit of a sneak peek. I’d better not give you the full list of timings and the like because Scottish Conference Convener Sheila Thomson would spank me if I did, but I can tell you that there is plenty of scope for controversy and debate.

There are more policy debates than for some considerable time – 9 in total with 6 coming from local parties or members. Scottish Conference will get the chance to have its say on the controversial secret courts legislation. Should …

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Alistair Carmichael becomes Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

To Liberal Democrat activists across the UK, chief whip Alistair Carmichael is one of the most popular parliamentarians. His sociable nature, wise head and sense of humour make him ideally suited for the challenges of being chief whip, but it means that one of our best media performers has been largely confined to the shadows of Westminster for the past two and a half years.

Now the MP for Orkney and Shetland has partially emerged from those shadows to take over as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, succeeding Jo Swinson who stepped down after her promotion in the reshuffle.

Alistair’s …

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Lib Link: Christine Jardine – Scottish Lib Dems on the ropes but definitely not down and out

Christine Jardine was until recently the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ very own CJ inside Downing Street as special adviser on Scottish affairs. She’s now returning to full time politics in Scotland and is looking towards Westminster and Holyrood elections in 2015 and 2015. She’s started off by writing in yesterday’s Scotsman about what she sees as the way forward for the party in Scotland.

She puts forward a robust defence of the calm professionalism of our ministers, MPs and advisers and argues that we activists need to get out on the doorsteps and take the message of their achievements directly to the voters.

For

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From Indian Dance, to Speed Mentoring to barnstorming speeches: Caron’s Top Ten Highlights of Scottish Conference

Scottish Liberal Democrats met in Inverness last weekend for a lively 3 day Conference. Here are my top ten highlights.

  1. Leader Willie Rennie’s first ever Spring Conference speech, delivered with sincerity and passion. He implored the First Minister to make as much time for the dispossessed,  as he does for billionaires such as Murdoch and Donald Trump. He spoke of the Liberal Democrats’ long record of fighting for home rule for Scotland which made us the true guarantors of change. He told of his desire to work constructively with others wherever possible, but how we would stand firm on liberal

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Nick Clegg’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference started yesterday in Inverness and runs until tomorrow (Sunday). Nick Clegg addressed Conference yesterday afternoon; here is his speech in full:

Liberals from the Highlands and Islands have always been at the heart of our party. From the late great Jo Grimond and Russell Johnston, great leaders like Bob Maclennan, Charles Kennedy and Jim Wallace in Scotland, to our current team at Westminster, Highland and Island voices have shaped who the Liberal Democrats are.

In Danny Alexander and Alistair Carmichael, I have Liberals from the Highlands and Islands with me right at the heart of British Government. …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Walter 25th Apr - 11:47am
    Well said John. I would add creation of an elected second chamber and abolishing the House of Lords to the list.
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 25th Apr - 11:45am
    Just in case anyone missed this - or wants a reminder: C4 'Coalition' http://www.channel4.com/programmes/coalition
  • User AvatarJohn Barrett 25th Apr - 11:45am
    Rather than being obsessed by the numbers of seats won by each party on May 7th (as we all agree that this is highly dependent...
  • User AvatarAdrian PR 25th Apr - 11:33am
    > PR would lead to much bigger constituencies or many more politicians. This is not necessarily the case. A mediocre MMP system could function with...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 25th Apr - 11:32am
    Yes parties will probably seek arrangements. And? I am not sure where any of this gets us. What Clegg has said is not earth shattering....
  • User Avatarmargaret 25th Apr - 11:29am
    Sorry to have spelled Rabih,wrongly.
Sat 25th Apr 2015