LibLink: Alex Cole-Hamilton: Criticism of SNP policies is vital

Alex Cole-Hamilton Edinburgh WesternA few days ago, Edinburgh Western’s SNP candidate took to the Evening News to take a swipe at the Liberal Democrats, accusing us of being negative before lobbing a few insults our way.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, who hopes to regain the seat for the Liberal Democrats, wrote his own article for the News. He writes:

Toni, I’m sorry you’ve been offended. But I don’t think that drawing attention to the failings of your government or your local representatives should be viewed as underhand, I’d view it as the democratic duty of a healthy opposition.

When the person you asked us to vote for last May turns up for fewer than half of the votes in the House of Commons since September then I think that as your nearest challenger, I should voice the view of the significant majority of those in our constituency who feel that’s just not good enough.

When your ministers preside over a year on year decline in the global rankings of our education system, the shambolic and unwanted centralisation of public services or a waiting times crisis in our health service, then someone should point out that we deserve much better.

Now, I understand it’s hard for you. The constitution of the SNP prohibits you from openly criticising your party or its policies. But I’m not in your party so I can provide a counterpoint to the nationalist dogma that is currently choking Scottish Politics.

The SNP seeks to shut down dissent in communities across Scotland with online intimidation and ridicule, your own campaign team engages in 
this on a regular basis. Yet here I still am.

John F Kennedy said that “without debate, without criticism no administration can succeed and no republic can survive”. Whilst the SNP may win another landslide (and I think that would be terrible for our democracy if they do), there will always be people like me across the chamber, offering that debate and that criticism. Don’t try to shut it down.

My campaign has been about policy from the start, after all the Lib Dems have got a cracking offer to take to the electorate: A transformational year on year investment of £500m in education through nurseries, schools and reversing SNP cuts to 152,000 college places; a reconfigured health budget that staves off the GP recruitment crisis whilst putting mental health on an equal footing in primary care; and a resolute commitment to protecting the environment and defending civil liberties.

My campaign is about offering my local community something better. Better than the policies of a government which puts its obsession with independence before the needs of our public services. Better than the substandard service we have had to put up with from the local nationalist MP over this last year. It’s a positive message which is resonating with more and more people across West Edinburgh.

A poll last week showed that support for the SNP is slipping – down 4% on the constituency vote and down 8% on the list, with Liberal Democrat support up 2%. It’s one of many encouraging signs for the party. Let’s hope that it leads to a more positive result than we’ve experienced for 6 years.

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

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6 Comments

  • Is there any way of directly on-line donating to Alex’s campaign ? It seems to me to be very important that Alex wins, not only to give a strong voice for us but to ensure there are opposition voices to the nationalists.

  • Will Alex be calling for an investigation into the Edinburgh Schools disgrace like we did regarding the bridge.

  • John Barrett 11th Apr '16 - 2:48pm

    Well said Alex.

    The SNP MP in Edinburgh West is a disgrace and the sitting MSP has been deselected by his own party. I would be surprised if Nicola Sturgeon wants to spend too much time in this seat at this election, as all of her previous visits and photographs in the constituency are with an MP who has left the party and an MSP who was dumped by them.

    Having just been out delivering another bundle of leaflets for Alex, I arrived home to find that two more had been delivered to my home. Alex is winning the debate and the leaflet war, let’s hope he wins the vote on the night.

    It will be great to have a Lib-Dem constituency MSP again. Then we can look forward to winning back the seat at Westminster too.

    Good luck Alex.

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