Tag Archives: willie rennie

The campaign starts up again

It’s the first day of national campaigning since the Manchester attack on Monday night.

For Tim Farron, it’s not an immediate return to hostilities. Instead, he’s going to Warrington to visit a Jonathan Ball/Tim Parry Peace Foundation in Warrington.

The Foundation was set up by the parents of the two boys who were killed by the Warrington Bomb in 1993.

Tim wants to learn about the charity’s work.

Later he will attend a remembrance service at a Mosque with the Ahmadiyya community in Manchester.

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Liberal Democrats react to Manchester bombing

Last night people would have dropped their kids off at Manchester Arena for the Ariana Grande concert. The kids would have been so excited. In the normal course of events, they’d have come out afterwards completely buzzing about the whole thing and would have spent hours reliving it and singing the songs.

They will certainly never forget the awful events of last night.

It is utterly impossible to comprehend what goes through the mind of someone who targets children and young people in this way.

One of my friends wrote on Facebook that we should think about what the terrorists want us to do – and then do the exact opposite.

They want us to turn on each other and change our lives to pander to them or fear of them. We can’t let them diminish us like that.

And in fact, we can see from the acts of kindness and solidarity from the people of Manchester that the generous, open-hearted spirit of that wonderful city will prevail.

Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones, or who are going through the raw anxiety of not being able to track someone down, or who are waiting for news of an injured friend or relative.

All of us need to think about what we can do to make the world kinder, more open and gentle – and then go and do it.

Senior Liberal Democrats have been reacting to last night’s attack. Tim Farron said:

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And the winner of the Scottish Leaders’ Debate is….a nurse

Yes, Willie was brilliant and we’ll come to that in a moment. But let’s hear it for this nurse who had Nicola Sturgeon on the ropes. Two weeks ago the First Minister led her MSPs to vote against an end to the pay freeze for Scottish nurses. The nurse in the audience spoke very movingly about having to use a food bank. She also talked about how demoralising working in the NHS was. Watch her here.

A few years ago, a friend of mine who’s a nurse really struggled to manage on her salary as a single parent so I know that what tonight’s nurse says rings true.

I also spent 51 days last Autumn watching exactly how hard and stressful work is for nurses. No matter how short-staffed they were and how rushed off their feet they were, they still managed to give my husband fantastic care. I was worried then about the effect that it was having on their health. Giving at 120% all the time is simply not sustainable.

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Inflation sign of Brexit squeeze – Lib Dems

Inflation has gone up to 2.7% today.

This confirms long-held Liberal Democrat warnings about the impact of Brexit, with businesses struggling to contain rising costs and consumer demand being squeezed.

Susan Kramer said:

These worrying levels of inflation show the Brexit squeeze is hitting shopping baskets across the country.

This is the reality of Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme Brexit agenda: higher prices in the shops, the cost of holidays going up and less money for our schools and NHS.

A brighter future is possible. We will give people a choice over their future through a referendum, so they can reject a bad Brexit deal and choose to remain in Europe.

Willie Rennie underlined this point:

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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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Rennie, Cole-Hamilton and Campbell launch Christine Jardine’s campaign to take back Edinburgh West

You know that wonderful post-election Saturday morning feeling, that you can lie in bed for a bit longer and you don’t have to rush off and do anything? When you can lie about all day reading trashy novels and drinking gin and tonic in the sunshine?

Well, it will be lovely when we get it in 5 weeks’ time.

Today, we had to drag our weary limbs out of bed sooner than we would have liked and head out campaigning.

In my case, it was to the Edinburgh West campaign launch. Regular readers will know that last week, the Edinburgh West campaign moved into the old SNP office next door to what is now Alex Cole-Hamilton’s constituency office.

Some considerable pleasure was taken in removing the giant poster of Nicola Sturgeon on the window. It has now been replaced with this:

So, this morning the office was jam packed with party members, including our new councillors Kevin Lang, Louise Young and Hal Osler, a film crew making the party election broadcast, a bunch of photographers and Tom Gordon, political editor of the Sunday Herald.

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