Category Archives: Scotland

Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Wimbledon

First of all I want to say a huge congratulations to Andy Murray for winning Wimbledon last weekend – the first British man to do so since 1936. It was a fantastic match and as Scots and Brits we can be extremely proud of his achievement.

Queen’s visit to Abbotsford

It was a great honour to attend the official re-opening of Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, by Her Majesty the Queen last week after its multi-million …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Royal Highland Show

Mike Moore et al at Royal Highland ShowIn the Borders we have a strong and successful farming industry with local farmers trading their products throughout the UK and abroad and constantly innovating and developing their businesses. Every summer I always attend local rural shows and events in the Borders which are an opportunity to meet with local farm businesses and discuss the work they are …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

The Queen

Last week, the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne since her coronation in 1953. She has been a dedicated servant of the nation throughout these years and I am sure everyone in the Borders will want to join me in congratulating her on reaching this milestone. It was a real pleasure to meet representatives from my constituency in Dover House who had travelled to London for the thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey.

Referendum

As the debate surrounding …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Apprenticeship Week

Last week was Apprenticeship Week in Scotland, which is a week to recognise and celebrate the commitment of employers and the talent of apprentices from all over the country. The Week also helps raise the profile of apprenticeships and encourage young people and local businesses to get involved. They are a vital way for young people to gain the skills they need to break into the job market and it has been good to see …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Vince Cable’s visit to the Borders

Over the past weekend, Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, visited the Borders to speak at our local Lib Dem annual dinner and meet with businessmen and women from across the area.

John Seed, Vince Cable, Rachel Cable, Michael Moore and Steve Jones at Woodend farm 11 05 13On Saturday, we spent the morning at John Seed’s farm near Duns looking at the work he is doing, with his family, to diversify the farm and transform the way it generates and uses energy. It is hugely impressive to see the scale of what they have achieved through biomass and other initiatives. (Photo shows John Seed, Vince, his wife Rachel Smith, Mike Moore and Steve Jones)

Next, Vince and I met with a small group of Borders businessmen and women to discuss the challenges and opportunities that diversified farm businesses are currently facing. From issues such as bank lending to red tape, each member of the group raised their particular concerns and it was certainly a productive discussion. It was good to have the chance to show off some of our finest farms businesses and I will continue to work with Vince beyond this visit to get the best deal for Borders businesses.

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Better Together

Last week the UK Government published its second Scotland Analysis paper, this time analysing the currency options for an independent Scotland. It set out four main currency choices: firstly, negotiating a formal sterling currency union with the continuing UK; secondly, adopting the pound without the formal consent of the continuing UK; thirdly, joining the euro area; or fourthly introducing an independent Scottish currency.

The paper sets out that all of these options would not be as …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Green Deal

Despite the fact that we are now well into March, it seems that there is no let up in the cold snowy weather and I know that at this time energy bills remain a major concern to my constituents. To help people reduce these bills and cut down their energy use, the Government has taken action and introduced a scheme called the Green Deal. This enables people to improve the energy efficiency of their …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Fairtrade fortnight

Fairtrade fortnight is now drawing to a close and it has been a great couple of weeks of raising awareness of the brand across the UK to inspire more people to buy Fairtrade. The theme of the fortnight was ‘Go Further’ to encourage people to try new Fairtrade products. I know that many Borderers already buy Fairtrade coffee, tea and bananas, but there are now so many more products available that are definitely worth …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Local television

Last week was an important one for local news coverage in the Borders as the broadcasting regulator OFCOM asked for views on its proposals to change the way local television news is provided here.

After years of shared news with Tyne Tees, they are now looking at options to return things close to the way they were in 2009. That would mean more coverage of the south of Scotland and particularly our part of it …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Scotland analysis

As the debate surrounding Scottish independence gets underway, the UK Government published its first in a series of ‘Scotland analysis’ papers last week to look at the legal implications of Scottish independence. The paper set out that, according to experts, a ‘Yes’ vote would make Scotland the ‘successor’ state and the rest of the UK the ‘continuing’ state. This rejects the First Minister’s idea that Scotland and the UK would both be regarded as …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Fisheries vote

Last week was crunch time in the European Parliament as MEPs voted in favour of ambitious proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). There has been much concern among local fishermen in Berwickshire about the reform of the CFP because the current system has damaged many local businesses. The measures passed last week are certainly a welcome step in the right direction because they will help end the terrible practice of discards and …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Green Deal

In my constituency I know that energy prices are a key concern for local people. It has been one of the UK Government’s top priorities to help tackle this issue by improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes, reducing the confusing number of tariffs available and making it easier for people to switch. The Green Deal, launched last week, will help with the first part by enabling people to insulate their homes or install …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Snow near St Abbs - Some rights reserved by Effervescing ElephantEvery week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

State pension

In my column last week I touched upon the Government’s plans, announced by Lib Dem Pensions Minister Steve Webb, to introduce a single tier State Pension of £144 in 2017. The new pension will mean

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Scottish Independence: one brief letter, one big problem for the Yes campaign?

Here at Liberal Democrat Voice, I have occasionally drawn the attention of readers towards the Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs and its inquiry into the economic implications for the United Kingdom of Scottish independence. And this week, the Committee appears to have obtained an answer to a question which has hung heavy over the debate until now, i.e. would an independent Scotland automatically become part of the European Union.

In response to an invitation from the acting Chair of the Committee, Lord Tugendhat (a former two-term European Commissioner), Jose Manuel Barroso wrote;

Whilst refraining from comment on possible future scenarios,

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What they say about Michael Moore…

Full story: Meet Westminster’s answer to James Bond.

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LibLink: Tavish Scott – Clegg’s stance gives Lib Dems new hope

Former Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott has an article in The Scotsman this week looking at what he terms hyperbolically Nick Clegg’s “ripping up the UK government’s coalition agreement” after the Tories’ decision to block Lords reform:

For the party, this was a bitter pill to swallow. Many people were attracted to the Lib Dems because of constitutional reform. A Scottish Parliament, a Bill of Rights and elections using fairer voting systems are the DNA of most Lib Dems.

Getting rid of the unelected House of Lords is part of the package of moving Britain into the 21st century. Reform has

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The local elections results open thread

The polls have closed, so where are we?

England

Elections have been held for 128 councils. In most cases one third of the seats were being contested. Altogether 6706 seats were up for election, of which 1170 were held by Liberal Democrats.

Ten English cities have been holding referendums on whether to have a directly elected mayor. They are Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.

Doncaster was voting on whether to abolish its directly elected mayor.

Three cities – London, Salford and Liverpool – have been electing a mayor.

  • London: 7 candidates, with Brian Paddick waving the Lib Dem flag.
  • Salford: 10 candidates, including

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Edinburgh sees first new council homes built in a generation

Good news from Edinburgh:

The keys to the first council home to be built in Edinburgh in more than 30 years are set to be officially handed over to a new tenant.

Council housing leader Councillor Paul Edie will present the keys to Lynsey Carmichael, who has moved to one of 99 houses and flats built at Gracemount.

The development is part of City of Edinburgh Council’s 21st Century Homes programme, which will see 1300 mixed tenure homes constructed for sale and rent around the capital…

Cllr Edie said: “I’m delighted that this administration has delivered the first new council homes

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Nick Clegg’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference started yesterday in Inverness and runs until tomorrow (Sunday). Nick Clegg addressed Conference yesterday afternoon; here is his speech in full:

Liberals from the Highlands and Islands have always been at the heart of our party. From the late great Jo Grimond and Russell Johnston, great leaders like Bob Maclennan, Charles Kennedy and Jim Wallace in Scotland, to our current team at Westminster, Highland and Island voices have shaped who the Liberal Democrats are.

In Danny Alexander and Alistair Carmichael, I have Liberals from the Highlands and Islands with me right at the heart of British Government. …

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Lib Dem members back ‘devo-max’ for Scotland (oh, and for England too, please)

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 570 party members responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Majority say referendum should offer straight yes/no choice on independence…

LDV asked: Thinking of the forthcoming referendum in Scotland, some have said the referendum should offer people the straight choice over whether Scotland should remain part of the UK or negotiate independence. Others however say that a third option should be included on the ballot paper, offering people the chance to vote for an

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Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism special: Dramatic independence referendum duel in London and Edinburgh

It’s been a torrid few days in Scottish politics.

Since the SNP won an overall majority in the Holyrood elections last year, there has been much talk of the independence referendum they pledged to have in the second half of their term. They have been tight-lipped on their plans.

There has been uncertainty on the legality of such a referendum. Even respected legal blogger Lallands Peat Worrier, himself an SNP supporter, has expressed that the terms of the Scotland Act may not allow it. And amid all the bluster of this blog post from senior SNP strategist Stephen Noon is …

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Michael Moore MP writes: I am not your average unionist

In politics, as in other walks of life, labels matter. By accident or design, for good or for ill, they shape our identity — sometimes in our own eyes, but just as importantly in the eyes of others.

For all of us, our identity starts with where we belong. For my part I am a Borderer; a Scot; and British. Perhaps less fashionably but a long-held principle, I am comfortable that I am a European, too.

Beyond that, I am unashamedly a democrat, a liberal and an internationalist. But last week there was a stir in some parts of the media when …

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Scotland’s new Executive, Policy and Conference Committees chosen

Scotland recently held its internal elections to determine the make up of its Party Committees and Office Bearers.

Only one office bearer post was contested, that of Vice Convener (Campaigns and Candidates). That election was won by Katy Gordon, former candidate for Glasgow North and the Glasgow Regional list and Convener of Scottish Women Liberal Democrats.

Office bearers continuing in post are:

Convener: Craig Harrow

President: Malcolm Bruce MP

Deputy Leader: Jo Swinson MP

Vice Convener (Policy): John Edward

Vice Convener (Conference): Shabnum Mustapha

All committee elections except Conference Committee are conducted by all member ballot. Scotland allows all members a vote at Conference, but only those who …

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Charles Kennedy MP writes…How you can help save our Sleeper

The Caledonian sleeper services are a Scottish institution, a symbol of the comfort and style which was once the hallmark of the railways. They are invaluable for connecting the more remote parts of the Highlands to the UK Capital, allowing Scottish people to reach morning meetings in England and Londoners to catch the Deerstalker Express straight to the most beautiful places in the world. I’ve lost count of the number of individuals & businesses who have been in touch over the years to tell me just how important …

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Rennie challenges SNP to set fair access test for Scottish universities

The Press Association reports:

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called on the Scottish Government to put a fair access policy in place, or extend the remit of the the Office of Fair Access north of the border. He said this would not only address the fair access gap for poorer students from England and Wales, but also improve the chances of Scottish students deciding to go to university.

Mr Rennie said: “With Scottish universities now able to set fees of up to £9,000 a year, and Edinburgh and St Andrews universities now the most expensive place to study in the

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Willie Rennie apologises for ‘unintentional offence’ of Lib Dems’ Alex Salmond cartoon

Some embarrassment for Willie Rennie, MSP and leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, this week following the publication by party staff of a cartoon satirising First Minister Alex Salmond’s hailing of the similarities between Scotland and Qatar:

The Stv website takes up the story:

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Ming to head up Scottish Lib Dems’ Home Rule Commission

As the Scottish Lib Dems’ website announces:

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has announced that former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell MP will chair the Home Rule Commission, set up to develop a blueprint for Home Rule in Scotland. The party’s Scottish conference in Dunfermline last month voted to establish a Commission to look at a settled distribution of powers between London, Edinburgh and local councils. Sir Menzies will join other Liberal Democrats to set out a long-term vision for a strong Scotland within the UK and powerful local communities in every part of Scotland.

Here’s what …

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Opinion: Pity the Scottish school-leavers when English fees rise

I’m a candidate in a council by-election in the Hillhead ward in Glasgow. I’m a Liberal Democrat, and the ward has a big old university slap bang in the middle of it. You’d think I’d be bricking it, wouldn’t you? After the tuition fees betrayal, students hate the Liberal Democrats, don’t they? Well they might do, but I’d like to explain how the real villains in Scotland are the SNP.

The SNP are in fact imposing thousands of pounds of up-front fees on each and every Scottish student and their families. “But the SNP have preserved free tuition!” I hear …

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Opinion: Tackling the myths about that Scottish Diversity motion

I’ve seen a few comments online over the past few days insinuating that the Scottish Liberal Democrats don’t care about improving diversity in the wake of a motion passed at the recent Scottish Conference after a passionate debate and a protracted and complex series of votes.

I want to correct some myths about what happened. Scottish Women Liberal Democrats (SWLD) put forward a motion containing a wide ranging series of measures. Most of these were uncontroversial. Who can argue with making sure that the concerns of women are hardwired into the policy process?

The first main points of contention were over the …

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Boundary Commission for Scotland publishes its initial proposals

As ever remember that (a) these proposals are draft and (b) many a person has made a fool of themselves with crude projected vote figure calculations.

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