Tag Archives: willie rennie

Richmond Park: what happens next for Sarah Olney and her team?

10 years ago, I was part of the team in the last by-electon we gained, when Willie Rennie spectacularly won Dunfermline and West Fife in then Chancellor Gordon Brown’s backyard. At that time it was a political earthquake. It was also a huge victory at a time of crisis for our party. Only weeks before, Charles Kennedy had resigned as leader. During the by-election campaign there seemed to be a tabloid scandal about our leadership candidates around every half hour. We still came through and elected Willie as our 63rd MP.

A decade on, we only have a 7th of that number and the Richmond Park by-election win comes at a time when our party has stared down extinction. It confirms what we have come to realise over the past few months – that the old adage that where we have a presence, and are willing to put the effort in, we can have some spectacular results. That should also impress anyone who might be thinking about backing us financially. That backing in turn gives us the capacity to expand our operations, creating a virtuous cycle. We have to make sure that we seize this moment.

Sarah Olney enters the Commons as part of a band of 9 and as the only woman. The 8 men will need to make extra effort to make sure that they welcome her and listen to her.  One of the things we found really useful was the advice and support from colleagues and I’m sure that they will have lots of helpful advice for her and her team.  Susan Kramer as the previous MP for the constituency will no doubt be a marvellous help too.

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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.

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WATCH: Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat conference “Liberals are not quitters”

Yesterday, Scottish Liberal Democrats had their Autumn Conference in Dunfermline. Here is Willie Rennie’s leaders’ speech. The text is below.

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LibLink: Willie Rennie: The Conservatives are fanning the flames of xenophobia

Willie Rennie writes in the Times that the Tories are throwing petrol on the fires of prejudice unleashed by the Leave campaign during the EU Referendum.

Telling doctors from other countries who are here saving lives in our NHS that their position is only secure until we can rush a crop of new graduates through medical school is not responsible. Telling people from other countries who are thinking about moving here to work and pay taxes that their names might be included on a list of foreign workers is not responsible.

If we are publishing lists of foreign workers, we may as well pull up the drawbridge. These policies are not about controlling immigration. They are about demonising immigrants.

The message this sends to foreign students, medical staff, businesses and others is clear. You are not welcome here. As a liberal who has always believed that we can achieve more when we work with those around us, this does not just make me sad. It makes me incredibly angry.

The Scottish Conservatives are just as responsible as their colleagues, he adds:

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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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EXCLUSIVE: Nick Clegg on Brexit and Scottish independence: Everybody loses

Nick Clegg talked earlier this week about the possibility of a second independence referendum in Scotland following the Brexit vote. This has been construed in some quarters as implied support of independence.  He has written to Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie to enthusiastically endorse the position he has taken – that the Liberal Democrats will campaign to keep Scotland in both the UK and the EU. Independence, he says, would only compound the problems of Brexit meaning that everybody loses.

Here is his letter in full:

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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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarHuw Dawson 9th Dec - 11:18am
    TL;DR, we don't have much of a chance in Walton unless Labour actually does collapse. But if they do, we're definitely posed to take advantage!...
  • User AvatarHuw Dawson 9th Dec - 11:14am
    @expats Yup, the vote in Walton was very low at the GE. The Liverpool Lib Dems concentrated on holding Richard Kemps's council seat in Church....
  • User AvatarCassieB 9th Dec - 11:00am
    expats: it's all about perception. As is much of life. Had our vote fallen, it would have been used as ammunition against us. It's also...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 9th Dec - 10:57am
    I'm sure this article is well intentioned, but I'm afraid the author is correct in implying it's a vote loser. The public and employers are...
  • User AvatarCassieB 9th Dec - 10:47am
    Peter>Lib Dems seem surprisingly happy to use an unrepresentative House of Commons and an unelected House of Lords What exactly do you suggest we use...
  • User Avatarexpats 9th Dec - 10:34am
    CassieB 9th Dec '16 - 10:10am...expats..However, given we were the only party to gain votes compared to last year, against a huge drop in turnout,...