Rennie on referendum anniversary: Cameron does not deserve our respect or fond memory

Willie Rennie speaking at Lib Dem Spring conference, Liverpool 2008It’s two years since the Scottish Independence was held and Scotland chose to stay in the UK. Within hours of the result, David Cameron had trashed the fragile victory by banging on about English Votes for English Laws. Whatever the merits of the case, that really was not the time.

Willie Rennie MSP, speaking to activists at the party’s federal conference in Brighton, has said that  David Cameron “does not deserve our respect or fond memory” as he slammed the Tories for entrenching division following the independence referendum in 2014.

Speaking to senior councillors, Willie recalled how the former Prime Minister used the result of the independence referendum to stoke up English nationalism for party advantage.  He he is glad that Mr Cameron has gone from Downing Street.

He said:

It is two years since David Cameron made his speech on the steps of Downing St after the result of the independence referendum was clear. Instead of starting to bring the country together, he chose to entrench division.

Instead of reaching out to Scotland, he used those minutes in the morning of the Scottish referendum result to stoke up English nationalism by arbitrarily stripping Scottish MPs of voting rights. He put all our work during the referendum at risk.

There has been much written about David Cameron since he left office. On equal marriage. On tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes. But the Tories cannot re-write history. The progressive changes we saw under the coalition were the result of Liberal Democrats forcing the Tories to change, not David Cameron leading his party.

David Cameron says he loved Scotland, but everything he did after the referendum in 2014 undermined the union. He approved election posters that showed a Scot picking the pocket of the English. And then gambled on our future in Europe to try and keep his party together.

Mr Cameron’s party cannot claim to be the party of the UK when it is his actions that put the future of the union at risk. I am glad he has gone. David Cameron doesn’t deserve our respect or fond memory.

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

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  • The only time he was mentioning Wales was trying to use it as a weapon to attack Labour. He may have moved to take Scotland outside of the EU against their wishes and entrench the divisions between Scots and English but he did his best to convince the Welsh that they couldn’t trust their NHS, to feel scared everytime they were sick, and not in attempt to improve the service but to distrust his opposition. Cameron, like tories in general, was mainly concerned with England.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 18th Sep '16 - 4:00pm

    While there is truth in the assessment by Willie Rennie , I prefer the fairness in the description of Caron , regarding English votes for English laws, to that by our Scottish leader.

    Our party needs to wake up , a little , as do many more liberal minded people. If the English had been listened to, treated as a constituency with national sensibility , we might not have had Brexit.

    Regional Assemblies , were and are a nod to localism designed to halt nationalism , that were seen , and correctly , as doing neither well. There is such a thing as England , and its voice is varied , but it has a voice that needs to be heard.

    Similarly I for one , and as a Liberal Democrat , want to continue to hear the voice of David Cameron sometimes, as I do that of Anna Soubry , and Sir John Major , and any liberal minded Conservative, who has related to our party well at times, and , seen us as opponents at worst, colleagues at best , never enemies.

    Cameron made mistakes, not least in allowing Linton Crosby to go strong in certain areas where we could have secured victory , and in the backing for the referendum. But do not forget that our party was in favour of an in out referendum if after a big treaty. To pretend that two decades of big treaty changes did not add up to that is to kid ourselves as a nation.

    The talk of the end of the more liberal Conservatism of Cameron , in the media, currently, means , that while it was he that backed our proposals, and we should make it clear it was that way round, as Willie Rennie , above says, we should see that Cameron did change the Conservative party for the better , and towards a more humane attitude , and being able to relate to the modern Britain , and to minorities, and he is in my view a decent , likeable man,and he gets my respect for that , if not fully from our Scottish leader, who is more party political on such things than I am.

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