Cole-Hamilton: People need change, not endless independence navel gazing

On the weekend that various SNP leadership bids are launched, Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton set out this party’s priorities for Government.

Two things have cheered him this week. First a poll suggesting that we would double our Holyrood group to 8 if there were a Scottish election today.

The second was unexpectedly finding himself on a list of potential successors to Nicola Sturgeon:

Seriously, I think we are much more lead than the SNP at the moment. I doubt he’ll be thinking the grass is greener.

Anyway, Alex made his remarks about the priorities for the next First Minister at the start of an action day in the Corstorphine/Murrayfield by-election in the heart of his Edinburgh Western constituency. I’m more surprised, to be honest, that organiser Ed and campaign manager Kevin Lang allowed activists to stand still for long enough to listen to him on the weekend before postal votes land. This is what he said:

Nicola Sturgeon’s launched ferries with painted on windows and failed to close the attainment gap in our schools. Drug deaths many times worse than anywhere else in Europe and a stagnant economy are the consequence of years of ministerial disinterest. The delivery rarely lived up to the hype.

I’m challenging the leadership contenders to recognise where timeworn SNP policies have failed to deliver for the NHS, schools, the economy and the efforts to reduce Scotland’s emissions.

I’ve set out positive policies for the would-be candidates today because being open to ideas from the opposition benches is a sign of good government. With three years until the next scheduled Holyrood election, people have the right to see change, not more of the same.

We will work hard to move the debate on from the divisions of the past because people can’t wait for years behind yet more arguments and navel-gazing about independence. All of the good things we want to do can’t play second fiddle any longer. Scotland needs new hope, right now.

When it comes to breaking up the UK, no price is too high and no amount of disruption too painful for the nationalists. Scottish Liberal Democrats will stand up for communities around the country being totally taken for granted by this SNP Government.

He is asking the SNP leadership contenders to do five things:

  1. Withdraw the National Care Service Bill, putting money into frontline services and staff instead of a billion-pound bureaucracy and ministerial takeover of social care.
  2. Replace the failing NHS Recovery Plan which has only delivered spiralling waits and vacancies, and also launch an urgent inquiry into the hundreds of deaths connected to the emergency care crisis, a burnout prevention strategy and a health and social care staff assembly.
  3. Scrap national testing of children as young as four and five and instead focus on boosting in-class support and teachers’ pay and conditions.
  4. Establish a public inquiry into the ferries fiasco, to get islanders the answers they deserve about why they and their businesses have been left without lifeline ferries after horrendous delays and costs, and helping create a pipeline of work for the future.
  5. Launch an emergency nationwide insulation programme to bring down bills, create jobs and put a stop to Scotland missing its climate change targets.

Polling in the Corstorphine/Murrayfield by-election, caused by the SNP Councillor resigning after his group failed to support a Lib Dem proposal for compensation for local traders, takes place on 9th March, the day before Scottish Conference in Dundee. Our candidate is the wonderful Fiona Bennett, who was an NHS nurse. If you are in Edinburgh over the next few weeks, do come and help. Email me at [email protected] and I’ll put you in touch with the local team.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • Mel Borthwaite 19th Feb '23 - 7:14pm

    “We will work hard to move people on from the divisions of the past….” and then mentions ‘independence’.
    Working hard to move people on from the divisions of the past = not raising the issue of independence.

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