A message from Willie Rennie

This message came out from Willie Rennie to all Scottish members this afternoon. As ever he strikes the right tone:

Scotland has lost liberal giants. Our Members of Parliament were local champions with powerful liberal voices. They enriched the political debate of our country.

I am sad for the loss to our party, to their communities and to the politics of our country. I know they will make a contribution to rebuilding our strength.

We can proud of many of our achievements in government. We brought stability, unity and decency in tough economic times.  Getting the economy back on track and doing it fairly, the biggest tax cuts ever for workers, the green investment bank, big childcare expansion, big pension increases, ending child detention at Dungavel, a multi-billion pound international budget guaranteed and more powers for the Scottish Parliament are just the start of a long list of achievements.

We have an ongoing duty to the people who voted for us to promote liberal values.

That duty is even important in the face of a Conservative majority at Westminster, already planning to bring back the Snoopers Charter that we blocked in Government.

And in the Scottish Parliament the job goes on with the centralising and often illiberal agenda being pursued by the SNP.

We will heed the lessons and message of the election result.

It has been a body blow to our party but that over 2,000 new members have joined the party in just one day gives me great hope.

Thank you for your tireless support throughout this and every campaign. That we came so close to victory in many seats is a testament to your campaigning efforts.

Our vision for Scotland is hopeful for the future, founded on opportunity and liberty for all. It is a positive prospectus.

A year from now we have an opportunity to grow. The Scottish Parliamentary Election campaign starts today.

Best wishes,

Willie Rennie MSP

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  • How does one get involved in the Holyrood campaign?

  • John Barrett 9th May '15 - 3:21pm

    While I have long admired Willie’s optimism in the face of a number of difficulties, this message once again attempts to put a brave face on the election results and in effect, once again, does not actually accept the scale of the reality, which is the first step in being able to tackle the problem – before we can ever move on to dealing with rebuilding the party.

    During the campaign, our internal polling was repeatedly mis-represented to give out our version of what we wanted to say, rather than understanding the reality of our position and dealing with it. There was also regular repetition from many, including Willie, Nick and many others, that all would be well where we had sitting MPs and that we would do much better than the polling predicted and many would be re-elected.

    More than half of our candidates lost their deposits, costing about £170,000 and the drop in vote throughout the country was similar in held seats as it was elsewhere. It may be that nobody expected this result, but after paying a very large sum (I have been told over £250,000) for expert polling, the party dealt with the problems detailed in the polling by putting a positive spin on reality.

    In Scotland, since the last General Election we had experienced bad election results in the Scottish Parliament, at Council level and at the European elections. This week the trend continued.

    Upbeat messages do help raise the spirit, but they do not change the reality. Positive reports about increasing membership must be seen in the context of the party having lost 20,000 members since 2010.

    Hopefully we will move out of the bubble many in the party created and have enjoyed being in, out into communities, where we can build our campaigning skills, not to get elected, but because it is the right thing to do. Then people who are respected locally will get elected at local level and we can build on that local support and transfer it to success at parliamentary level once again.

    If we are to move on and rebuild the party the never ending over optimistic emails and spin from those left in a position to send out such messages would be a good start.

  • Jane Ann Liston 9th May '15 - 3:31pm

    Jane, you could contact Willie himself, or failing that the Scottish LibDem office at Clifton Terrace. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to hear from you.

  • David Evans 9th May '15 - 3:51pm

    Yet another message saying we did it for the good of the country, looking only at the good bits and ignoring the bad. People left us because of the bad. Unless we own up, instead of continually portraying ourselves as the plucky, self sacrificing, nice little liberals, most people will know we are still in denial, and they will not return in anything like the numbers we need. Get real Willie! Before it really is too late.

  • Sandy Young 9th May '15 - 5:23pm

    My impression of the Liberals is that it’s all about tax, tax and more tax. You, and others, need to talk about earning money before you tell the electorate about spending it.

  • I’m sorry but Willie Rennie has his head in the sand. I can’t understand why he hasn’t come under pressure to stand down in the same way that Jim Murphy has. I think it is more to do with the fact that he is not taken seriously really by anyone in politics.

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