Jack Norquoy – how we inspire the next generation of voters

This weekend we are publishing all the speeches from Alex Cole Hamilton’s Scottish leadership event on 20 August, because, frankly, they are too good not to. This one is from Jack Norquoy, an activist from Orkney who now lives in Edinburgh. 

This morning I was in my home of Orkney, a place where Liberals have won for over seventy years.

I’m standing here now in Edinburgh Western where Alex has won the most votes of any MSP in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

And while these places are formidably Liberal, it is also true that in my travels today I have been in half of all our seats in Holyrood.

I was born in 1999 at a time when Liberals led Scotland into the new millennium, helping to deliver devolution and build the dream of a better nation.

Back then, to travel through all Liberal heartlands would have felt as long as it does today for the SNP to build a ferry.

However, in all seriousness, it will be by winning like that again can we deliver more for the people of our islands again.

A local chap to the islands called Jo Grimond once asked whether we, Liberals, can kindle again in this country the flame of political interest.

Today we are asking that same question.

Jo went on to revive the Liberal torch and inspire the next generation of Liberals.

Today we are charged with that same task.

It is time to rekindle again the liberal flame of political interest.

Just like how Orkney looks towards a future invested in new technologies, we too need to inspire a new generation of voters.

In the election just past we witnessed a new generation of voters that had not voted in the referendums of 2014 and 2016.

But yet the election was dominated by those arguments of the past.

We do not need to splinter as a society again into Yes or No to have hope in the future of this nation.

We do not have to accept the tiring nationalism that polarises our politics offered to us by the Tories and the SNP as our only choice as a nation.

They offer us nothing but a lick of paint on rotten boards — or rather painted windows on a rusting hull — and today we see they have picked the colour green.

We know that these times are difficult, often perplexing.

We also know the prospects for our communities and young people are not where they should be.
Standards in schools, hospitals, social care — slipping.

Economic and employment growth — stagnant.

A housing ladder missing half the rungs.

All now worsened by the pandemic.

But our challenge as a party is not to relay these problems that we know, but to convey our answer to those problems.

If these times are difficult, so let them be filled with opportunity.

Just like how the new technologies in Orkney send ripples of progress through our waters, let us as a party send forth ripples of hope to our voters.

To offer a better way, a new hope for a generation like mine.

Young people like me growing up in Orkney should see a career there, not only here.

See their own home there, not somewhere here.

Young people here in Edinburgh should see a future they can believe in, not fear.

See their potential realised, not restricted.

Our answer is our Liberalism — shaped by opportunity

Underpinned by equality and by community — not identity or hostility.

Equality because we know human rights are nothing if not universal.

Community because we know decisions are better made closer to where they impact

and because we know that global challenges calls upon global solutions. That is true whether it be environmental policy in tackling the climate crisis or in our foreign policy as we witness the devastating impact of isolationism in Afghanistan.

We are the only true internationalists in politics today, without any small print.

And we achieve all of this this by utilising our strengths today, not generating division tomorrow.

We do that by winning not just here, but everywhere.

Above all, what Liberals will offer is ideas in our leadership and quality in our actions. Because we know that is what our nation is calling out for most.

Responsible government and leadership we can trust. This is our Liberal offer to you. Come and be part of it and something new.

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One Comment

  • Brad Barrows 21st Aug '21 - 1:16pm

    Interesting that Alex Cole-Hamilton won 25,578 votes but only 11,923 voted Liberal Democrat with their List vote. This suggests massive tactical voting by Unionist voters to help a Unionist MSP retain his seat in the face of an SNP challenge. So while ACH may speak against the Unionist/pro-independence divide in Scottish politics, he owes his re-election entirely to that division and the willingness of Unionist voters to lend him their vote.

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