Author Archives: David McKenzie

I'm a Liberal Democrat member having joined last year from Labour, I was previously Chair and Founder of the YF Devolution and Local Government Committee

Economic Guardrails – Why we need Recovery First for Scotland’s economy

The First Minister and Finance Minister must be truthful with the people of Scotland about the looming economic catastrophe Indyref2 would deliver during our recovery from this pandemic.

We have never experienced a lockdown economy before, and our recovery from the Covid19 pandemic will not follow the traditional post-recession recovery pattern we saw following the 2008 banking crisis. In fact, there is still significant debate between economists as to how the recovery will take shape. We find ourselves in a very different landscape.

Scotland’s future and Scotland’s prosperity lies in leading, not leaving, the UK. This May we must vote to put recovery first for Scotland.

Posted in Scotland | Tagged and | 29 Comments

The future of Social Democracy: 40 years after the Limehouse Declaration

Embed from Getty Images

On the 25 January 1981, Roy Jenkins, Bill Rodgers, Shirley Williams and David Owen issued a joint statement signalling intent to leave the Labour party and form a new Council for Social Democracy that would later become the SDP.

Stemming from disagreements over the recent Wembley conference and an increasing far-left stranglehold from the Militant tendency, the ‘Gang of Four’ made the heart-breaking decision to leave their political home and start anew.

As I was born in 1990 the moments above are of pure historical reference to me, however, I have often felt a kinship to Jenkins, Rodgers and Williams in this regard.

I grew up in the Labour movement, I joined the party aged 15 having been a direct beneficiary of the New Labour Government in 1997 and the Lib-Lab Coalition in Holyrood. I grew up in a single income household, where my Dad worked nightshift on manufacturing lines at IBM to provide for our family. Growing up one word was always echoed by my Dad ‘Opportunity’, the chance to get on and improve your life. That’s why he went to College part-time and earned himself an HNC, moving into the office-based environment at IBM.

In 2011 my Dad was elected as the Labour MP for Inverclyde, still believing in those principles of opportunity and building people up to succeed. I was immensely proud, so proud in fact I served as his election agent in 2015.

Then in 2019 I had a decision to make. I’d been a Labour council candidate in Reading and Chaired/Founded the Fabian Devolution Committee but the party since 2015 had moved so far left, my politics hadn’t changed but the voices around me had: ‘Home ownership is wrong’ and ‘All business is evil’ are actual quotes of things I heard people say.

I moved to the Liberal Democrats, as the only party that can truly stand up for the policies and principles of Social Democracy.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 24 Comments

Unionists need to get the swagger back!

I’m a Federalist, and I’d assume almost all our membership would describe themselves as so. I’m also a Unionist because those terms are interconnected, however, it would seem to me several of our members in Scotland seem afraid to label themselves as so. Why?

We’ve got a fight on our hands; 2021 is going to be tough but don’t kid yourselves it’s far from settled to be a landslide victory for the SNP. I’ll tell you right now, there will be absolutely no equivocation when I tell people where I stand on the constitutional issue of Scotland. We are a Unionist party because it represents not only the settled will of the people of Scotland but economically, the only viable option to reduce poverty and progress equality throughout our country.

2014 was ugly, divisive and at times for several of my activists in Inverclyde there was physical intimidation for supporting Better Together. I didn’t offer appeasement then and I won’t be doing so now; I don’t believe another referendum is in the best interests of the country. We have a raft of issues across Scotland we have to deal with. Every single one of our problems in Education, Health and Poverty have been thrown to the wayside by the SNP in favour of chasing IndyRef2 … it’s a negation of duty to every single person living in Scotland. It must stop!

Posted in Op-eds | 47 Comments

The crude reality of independence and the renewal of federalism

Embed from Getty Images

Hopefully come 2021 we will be in a position to hold elections again, which must mean a return of focus to our message in Scotland. What’s our message and why is it both unique and important for the people of Scotland?

In 1992, James Carville was a strategist in the successful Presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. Carville hung a sign in Bill Clinton’s Little Rock campaign headquarters that read:

  1. Change vs. more of the same
  2. The economy, stupid
  3. Don’t forget health care

We know fine well where both the SNP and Conservatives stand in their message going into next year’s election, it’s a straight fight between IndyRef2 and Unionism. The Scottish Liberal Democrats can cut through all that white noise by sticking to Carville’s sign.

In 2014, independence campaigners failed because they couldn’t produce a clear and credible economic narrative. I find little evidence to suggest that narrative has found new ground, in fact quite the opposite. There is a crude reality for IndyRef2 supporters and it’s the price of crude oil.

In 2014 the price of crude oil was over $110 per barrel and was the economic basis for the ‘White Paper for Scotland’. At the beginning of this year that price fell by a half and then stabilised at roughly $60 per barrel; the industry itself survived on a round of deep cost cutting and slashing employment in the North Sea on a large scale.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 36 Comments

Weaker for Scotland!

In 2015 while an election agent in my hometown of Inverclyde, I watched while Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP swept the board with one clear simple mantra: Stronger for Scotland. Five years on from that election and thirteen years into SNP government that’s simply untrue. The SNP have been weak, ineffective and downright scandalous in it’s handling of affairs in Scotland.

I’ve sat by and watched while Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government receive praise from their supporters for it’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. The reality is it’s been an absolute disaster and this slopey shouldered, pass-the-buck attitude of ‘Well we did a bit better than the Tories’ is just simply not good enough.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 11 Comments

I applaud the Bristol protest

I feel compelled to write this article after reading an opposing op-ed around ‘mob rule’ regarding the toppling of the Edward Colston statue last weekend. I personally haven’t commented on the actions of the Bristol protest thus far, today I want to say I applaud and stand with those who acted on Sunday.

Let me be honest and frank; at first, I was in two minds about the actions of the protest. I wasn’t sure if these were the ‘correct’ actions on the day, then I realised something, and it’s something we all have to…It’s not my place as a white male to dictate how anyone should feel about a statue of a man who profiteered from the slave trade.

For the people spouting its historical significance in the media, let me say this. We record history in books and museums, statues are built with one purpose to venerate and glorify its subject. I personally don’t see there’s a debatable position on this; he profiteered from the suffering and enslavement of people! I really couldn’t care if he subsequently bequeathed said ill-gotten gains to parts of Bristol…it’s blood money, pure and simple!

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged and | 28 Comments

Consistency in Devolution

I saw first-hand growing up in Scotland the ability Devolved Government has to impact and change lives. Growing up in Inverclyde in the late ’90s and early 00’s we had ranked consistently among the highest rates for drug and alcohol abuse. At one point regarding the ‘Heroin Capital’ of the UK, with overwhelming numbers in the area registering an addiction problem.

The reality then was depending on the area you grew up in; it was more likely for you to encounter hard drugs than go on to further education. The reality was the area was hit by a long-term economic depression brought on by the dismantling of traditional industries in the 1980s, with little to no alternatives and a brain drain elsewhere.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged | 3 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Katharine Pindar
    Thank you for your comments this afternoon, chaps. I would like to reply to everyone, but am pressed for time just now - having to go and sing! Marco, two inter...
  • Laurence Cox
    @Jenny Barnes I would prefer to see categories based on natural testosterone level, because I think it is fundamentally wrong to ask women athletes with high...
  • Brad Barrows
    @Toby Keynes Thanks for that. Re-assuring :)...
  • John Marriott
    @Barry Lofty Thanks for your kind words. Like our equally aged colleague north of the border, David Raw, who, like you and me, has seen it all before - and has...
  • Barry Lofty
    John Marriott @ I hope that it is not seen as" hanging on your coat tails", but I do agree with your last post and like you I would really like something positi...