Friday fun: The story of Willie Rennie and the friendly pigs

An awful lot of planning goes into those photo-ops you see every night on the telly during an election campaign. The party leaders have a specific message they want to get out.

Today, Willie Rennie was at Gorgie City Farm in Edinburgh to talk about the importance of vocational training. He’s done a lot with animals this campaign. Remember those ultra cute therapets? He also got the “seal” of approval at Deep Sea World. What could possibly go wrong?

Today’s visit started so well:

You might want to keep reading Philip Sim’s Twitter feed, cos the guy was clearly having the time of his life. You’ll see the snake called Dougal and a bearded dragon called Ice. His delight when Willie started mucking out the pigs was palpable.

So, interview done, message of the day given, everybody headed off home. Then Philip and his team reviewed the footage of Willie’s interview.

Well, it turns out David Cameron isn’t the only party leader to feature in a story involving sex and pigs.

Buzzfeed just loved it, too and just about every news publication in Scotland and even some further afield, have carried the story.

You just know that in 10 years time, this video will appear on Have I Got News for You? or one of these political highlights programmes. It’s almost as good as the time party legend Sheila Ritchie talked about Michael Heseltine’s brylcream and blow-dry at a Conference in the 1980s. Except she didn’t quite say dry. She said another 3 letter word.

Needless to say, the point of the visit has been upstaged a bit by our porcine friends. Gorgie City Farm runs projects to help adults with additional support needs. Willie was there to talk about how the Liberal Democrats would improve vocational training. We know that there are some images you will never be able to un-see, but this is what Willie wanted you to take from his efforts:

We know that formal education is not for everyone and we need to do more to ensure that everyone has the chance to learn in the way that works best for them. With 152,000 colleges course slashed on the SNP’s watch, we need to ensure that alternative paths to vocational training are available for people who learn better outside of a classroom environment.

Our penny for education plan would invest £108 million in colleges and restore funding that has been cut to the bone by the SNP. That would help ensure that people can get on the course they need to gain new skills. People who work, or parents who cannot study full time have been hit particularly hard by the loss of more flexible part-time places. This needs to change. SNP cuts and reforms have hammered morale in the further education sector.

This is not only about increasing the number of apprenticeships we deliver in Scotland, but also working with industry, schools and colleges to boost the range of approved qualifications available to young people, and others who want to learn.

As Buzzfeed’s Jamie Ross said:

Given that Steve Gilbert, formerly MP for St Austell and Newquay, has been seen helping with events like this, I offer hope that we might just top today, so don’t despair just yet, Jamie.

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

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