LISTEN: Jim Wallace on his long career

Jim Wallace, who as Scottish Lib Dem Leader served as Deputy First Minister from 1999-2005 and then as Advocate General for Scotland during the Westminster Coalition years, has done an interview for the BBC Podlitical podcast, available here on BBC Sounds or wherever else you get your podcasts.

The programme synopsis says:

The Lib Dem peer and former Deputy First Minister shares thoughts from his career. Lord Wallace talks to Lucy Whyte and Kirsten Campbell about the early days of Scottish Parliament, his conversations with First Minister Donald Dewar and Prime Minister Tony Blair, and his role as acting First Minister. Wallace shares his thoughts Brexit and Independence, as well as the UK Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition of 2010, and why he thinks political parties have a problem with offering things that aren’t possible.

It’s a great listen.  Jim talks about how he was willing to walk away during the 1999 coalition negotiations, but that the deal was done due to him and Donald Dewar’s willingness to work to find a way through the difficulties. He describes receiving a phone call from Tony Blair in the middle of it all, and hearing Donald Dewar in the next room speaking to our Paddy on the phone.

He talks of his pride at introducing Freedom of Information legislation, something that had long been a passion, and his delight when the Act was praised.

During the Westminster Coalition years, it was Jim who came up with the idea of using a Section 30 Order to give the Scottish Parliament the power to hold the independence referendum it wanted. This had been used a few times during his Scottish Government Coalition years when you had two Governments who were actually prepared to listen to each other and behave like grown ups. Oh for those days.

The interview ends with Jim saying that his wife Rosie wants him to write his memoirs. I agree. He really should get a wiggle on with that because it would be a super read. Rosie herself is a very talented author. I interviewed her back in 2013 about her two brilliant novels. I’m sure she could help with the editing.

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

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