Author Archives: Malcolm Bruce

Malcolm Bruce writes…Whither Scottish Nationalism

The tectonic plates of Scottish politics are on the move again.

When Labour dominated politics in Scotland they were often lazy, arrogant, bullying and complacent and looked after their own. Sufficiently like the mafia to be caricatured as COSLA NOSTRA.

Labour lost its way and initially Liberal Democrats picked up ground. However, free of any obvious ideological positioning the SNP were able to move into Labour territory.

Now less than a generation later, the SNP have become the Scottish establishment and acquired an even more venal, more incompetent yet downright arrogant, complacent and nasty braggadocio.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 38 Comments

Malcom Bruce writes….Vince’s reforms help us to become insurgent challengers

I fully understand why the party leadership is consulting on ideas to broaden our support.

I am a lifelong Liberal and want our party to be founded on Liberal values. But I never want it to be a purist sect.

I also understand the concerns that offering free association to registered supporters might devalue party membership.

However membership confers the knowledge that we are offering core funding to the party and we can help shape policy and stand for and participate in internal elections and become an election candidate.

I believe we have to be realistic. Our support has fallen to single figures in spite of standing united for what at least 40 per cent of voters want on Brexit.

We all know that the high levels of support for the two larger parties is mostly based on the negative reality of our outdated voting system.

While both have core support around half of their voters are motivated by fear and hatred of “the other lot”.

So Conservative voters are in fear or hatred of the prospect of a Communist-led Labour Government or, in large parts of Scotland, sick fed up with the indy-obsessive incompetent SNP.

Many Labour voters are sick of the self-serving, arrogant, selfish xenophobia of the current Government and want rid of them.

For these voters the Liberal Democrats are a weak irrelevance and an indulgence they cannot afford even if they recognise we more closely identify with their own views.

Yes, where we can connect in local by elections and the few constituencies where we retain credibility we can cut through, but to take us back to where we were, let alone  break through to Government, requires us to become insurgent challengers ready to take on all comers and unite the voices of reason.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 21 Comments

Lord Malcolm Bruce writes… Liberalism revitalised

I want to respond to the challenges issued by Paddy and Vince during our conference.

Paddy said the party was “intellectually dead.” Vince said our position on another referendum was disrespectful to the electorate.

Let me take on Vince first. We and our predecessors supported UK membership of the European Community from its inception. The SDP was created largely because of Labour’s equivocation over British membership. We campaigned unstintingly for Remain and we remain convinced that the UK ‘s interests are best served by being a key member of the European Union.

Yes, by a narrow margin the country voted Leave but we have not changed our view and, given that there is no clear idea of what kind of relationship people want – in or out of the single market – let alone the hundreds of cooperative agreements built up over the last 43 years.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 76 Comments

Sir Malcolm Bruce writes.. We need to be a united campaigning force doing what we do best

February 15th 2003 - Iraq war demo in LondonI sent this to the party’s Chief Executive Tim Gordon and thought that Liberal Democrat Voice readers would be interested in it.

Posted in Op-eds | 18 Comments

Sir Malcolm Bruce writes…Creating liberal policies to change the political agenda

I was delighted on Tuesday to be elected as chair of the Federal Policy Committee, for the period up until the general election when I will stand down after 32 years as an MP. With the election now only a few months away it will be a busy and exciting time for the committee as we look to finalise the manifesto and the offer we will take to voters on May the 7th. I’m confident the new committee is up to the challenge and I cannot think of a more talented or committed group of people to work with over the coming months.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 10 Comments

Malcolm Bruce MP writes…Dealing with British citizens who fight for Islamic State

According to Benjamin Franklin’s over-used phrase, those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.

However compelling this pithy quote is, it masks the fact that you can increase both liberty and safety at the same time. This isn’t an easy task. I don’t think that anyone doubts the extraordinary pressure that Nick Clegg and other Lib Dems in government have come under when they deal with the Tories. But I certainly think that we have managed to do both.

Thanks to the Lib Dems, this is the first government for generations to increase our civil liberties – introducing a Freedoms Bill, scrapping ID cards, reducing detention without trial, ending fingerprinting in schools and improving oversight of the intelligence agencies.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 21 Comments

Malcolm Bruce MP writes: The unlimited variety of 30 years in Parliament

Malcolm Bruce and Charles Kennedy have issued messages to mark their 30 year anniversaries as MPs. First up, Malcolm’s:

Thirty years ago this weekend, I was elected as Member of Parliament for Gordon –  for the first time and at the third attempt. It had taken nine years of sustained campaigning. I was of course exhilarated and excited but little realised that that was the first of seven successful elections.

Campaigning has changed beyond recognition. Then we had 60 plus public meetings and there was no Facebook or Twitter. Technology was limited too. Then there were no mobile phones, no e-mail and …

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Malcolm Bruce MP writes: How UK Aid is being spent in the developing world

Malcolm Bruce MP in Bangladesh
Photo courtesy of The Gavi Alliance.

I have just returned from Dhaka, Bangladesh, where I was part of a parliamentary delegation looking at Bangladesh’s rapidly improving healthcare system and in particular their immunisation programmes, which the UK Government through bilateral aid and the GAVI Alliance is helping to support.

Pneumonia and diarrhoea together account for about 40% of all under 5 mortality in the world and yet most of these cases could be prevented through the use of vaccines.

The GAVI Alliance was established …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: violence against women is an issue of national security

It is a fact that women are living in some of the direst circumstances in situations of conflict. Not only is poverty often most severe in conflict situations, but women are frequently deliberately targeted for violence in order to fuel conflicts and undermine prospects for peace, development and human progress. Without addressing violence against women, we’re not going to get people out of poverty, and we’re not going to end conflicts.

I visited a hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is supported by the European commission and also our government. 90% of the work of that hospital was about …

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

Recent Comments

  • Mark Frankel
    This strikes me as a bit overblown. The American civil war killed 600,000. What will be the death toll under a new Trump presidency?...
  • Martin Gray
    Centrist governments support the rules of international order. Sadly , when it comes to the Palestine those rules , those values , have all but been abandoned...
  • Peter Hirst
    For all its faults, America remains a democracy and we must retain our links. Brexit allows us to show flexibility in our strategic relations. We must now allow...
  • David Raw
    As a long time student of political history who first joined (and was employed by) the Liberal Party way back in 1962, I've come to believe that the basic quali...
  • Peter Hirst
    Putting country before party seems to me to be quite apposite in the context of the last decade. The Party system is a weakness of our present structures. It is...