Tag Archives: ACH launch event

Maddy Planche: Young people do care about politics

This weekend we’re publishing all the speeches from Alex Cole-Hamilton’s launch event as Scottish Lib Dem leader. Maddy Planche, a student and activist from Edinburgh, who is definitely one to watch for the future, introduced Alex and talked about how he had listened to her and taken her seriously when she first got involved.

For as long as politics has been around, there has always been the assumption that young people just don’t care enough about it. It doesn’t take much to notice that at this current point in time, you could not be further from the truth. In fact, I’m the third young person to be speaking today.

Young people, just like the rest of society, look at the world and are worried. We’re worried about the ever-impending climate crisis, worried about whether we can be treated equally to our peers, worried about a lack of meaningful action.

We’re frustrated but that doesn’t mean we don’t care. We are constantly watching a wheel that is not turning fast enough and we cannot wait to jump at it and push it ourselves. So, we do, in our droves.

That is why I first got involved in politics, because I want progress and I want it to come faster. It’s what drew me to the Liberal Democrats. We do not create policies simply for the sake of being palatable. What underpins our liberalism is our belief that everyone should have the freedom and choice to make in life what they want of it, but they are not always given the right tools to do so.

We fight tooth and nail for this belief. That is why we’re the party best placed to get the wheel turning.

When I did first get involved, I didn’t quite know what to expect. When I turned up to my first canvassing session (eighteen, very nervous) I half expected to hate it, never go to another session but at least tell my university tutor on the Monday morning that I had tried politics in the ‘real world’.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised. People that I was worried would not take me seriously enough because of my lack of age and experience instead appreciated my presence and made it vocal they did so. One of these people was Alex Cole-Hamilton.

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Kevin Lang: Council elections are the key to winning again

This weekend we are running all the speeches from Alex Cole-Hamilton’s rally on Friday after he was declared Scottish Lib Dem leader. Next up is his best friend and the architect of Alex’s, Christine Jardine’s and Wendy Chamberlain’s successful election campaigns. From his speech you get quite an insight into their relationship and into Alex as a person.

Alex may have the biggest vote of any MSP, but Kevin gained the highest number of first preferences of any councillor in Scotland. This man knows how to win elections and he’s on a mission to make sure we win as many council seats as possible next year.

So, about 10 days ago I got ap hone call from ACH. Now this is not an infrequent event but it was a conversation like we’ve never had before.

“Kevin, ” he said, if I’m fortunate enough to be chosen as party leader on 20th August, it would mean the world to be if you would come and speak at the announcement of the result. Can you do it?”

And I said to him, of course, you are my best friend. Of course I  want to be there for you. But tell me, what is the format going to be? Who are the speakers?  What role do you want me to have.

And then with all of the classic understatement that we associate with Alex Cole-Hamilton, he said:

“Well, Kevin, Jack Norquoy is going to be speaking. And this is going to be Jack’s Obama moment. Remember when Obama spoke for the first time at the Democratic National Convention, well this is Jack’s Obama moment.

I said, this is exciting. What role do you want me to have?

And he paused: Well, he said, do you remember when Pete Buttigieg rolled out his old high school classmates, that’s you.

Right, so Jack’s Obama and I’m  Pete Buttigieg’s high school classmates. If ever anything told me that I was the future once, it was that.

But here’s the truth. I have known Alex for 20 years. I know him about as well as anybody. And I can tell you with. You will struggle to find a more decent person and you will struggle to find a truer liberal than him. So for the last 20 years I have been proud to call him my best friend but today I am proud to call him my party leader.

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Molly Nolan: We need to take power from Edinburgh to create a fair and liberal Scotland

This weekend we are publishing all the speeches from the rally Alex Cole-Hamilton held to mark his election as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Here, Molly Nolan, who stood for us in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, talks about the effect of the SNP’s centralising agenda on rural, highland communities.

A family of four moving away can be a cataclysmic event in a small community. Last week, I spoke to a teacher in the North Highlands, and we got to talking about depopulation in the area.

“When the MacLeod family left with their children, that was a very dark time for the community,” she recalled. “Overnight, the school roll dropped by a fifth.”

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the spectre of depopulation was a nineteenth century trauma, but this is the reality for parts of our country in 2021.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have long stood up for Scotland’s most remote and rural communities. And in many ways, as our local teacher can attest, our work has never been more important.

The SNP has been in power in this country since I was 9 years old, and in my lifetime, my generation has seen the gap between urban and rural Scotland grow ever wider.

The pervasive centralisation of the current Scottish Government has hollowed out our local authorities, weakened our regional development capabilities, and moved vital healthcare services further away from the communities that need them. It has decayed our transport network and centralised jobs.

Such short-sighted decisions have serious consequences for the entire country. In our rural areas they are felt through communities themselves melting away. Over the next decade, the population of Caithness, Scotland’s most northernly mainland county, is projected to shrink by over 9%. In Sutherland, over 7%, in the Outer Hebrides, over 6%.

In my own area, we are set to see depopulation of 4.4% in under 10 years.

These are devastating figures, and they are not confined to the Highlands and Islands. From Inverclyde to Aberdeenshire, working age people are moving away in droves.

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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.

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Wendy Chamberlain: Lib Dems stand for people politics, not grievance politics

This weekend, we’re publishing all the speeches from Alex Cole-Hamilton’s launch event. Here’s Wendy Chamberlain MP talking about

I am so excited to be here with you all today, because today is a new beginning with a new generation of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, exemplified by Jack Norquoy, and under our new leader Alex Cole-Hamilton.

I’ve been a member of this party for only six years. I always joke that I joined crying at Nick Clegg on the Telly in the aftermath of the General Election result of 2015.

That was the start of my journey. If you had told me that I would be an MP for the party within 5 years of joining, I would have laughed very loudly. But this is what this party does, it welcomes with open arms.

Having served in the police until 2011, I could have joined the party then – after all Scottish Liberal Democrats had always had my vote. Watching Nick Clegg, and hearing the core liberal values he espoused, it hit me.

Scotland couldn’t afford to lose those values, or the opportunity to vote for representatives who held them. And that the Scottish Liberal Democrats needed more than my vote, they needed me and others to get involved.

Autumn 2015 – I find myself making my first contribution at a party conference: introducing my now dear friend, Willie Rennie, as he made his then Leader’s speech. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be standing here as North East Fife’s representative in Westminster, and our party wouldn’t be where it was today as it now looks forward beyond the last decade with Willie at the helm.

Across Scotland, where we have representation whether at Council, Holyrood and Westminster, people see the benefit of having a Scottish Liberal Democrat representative. We work hard to get elected – knocking doors all year round, on the phones checking in on the vulnerable during the early stages of the pandemic, delivering leaflets to get our message across as we need to as a smaller party.

Because without those hard-working community campaigners – people like Alex, people like Willie – we can never deliver that change that we want to see in Scotland.

Liberal Democrats need the people of Scotland. And the people of Scotland need Liberal Democrats.

I know we sometimes feel we might be small – but when we work together, we are can be a mighty force.

I saw that in my first campaign, in 2016 – helping get Willie elected in North East Fife; and seeing Alex elected here.

You saw it just a couple of months ago – in Chesham and Amersham where the Liberal Democrats took out a chunk of the Tory Blue Wall. No other party is placed to do that.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton: Liberals see the best in things. We celebrate diversity and nonconformity and if something isn’t working we try to fix it or we fight for reform.

One sentence to sum up the Liberal Democrats:

Liberals see the best in things. We celebrate diversity and nonconformity and if something isn’t working we try to fix it or we fight for reform.

Here, in full, is Alex Cole-Hamilton’s first speech as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. It was a belter that brought a tear to my eye. He started by talking about Maddy Planche, the young activist who introduced him. Another couple of decades and we might well be holding a big rally when she takes over the leadership.

Alex paid tribute to Willie Rennie’s 10 years of service, highlighting his achievements in getting more mental health support, expanding childcare and ensuring that disadvantaged kids get more money in school.

Then he set out the reasons Lib Dems offer new hope to Scotland. In a powerful section he invited people who shared our vision to come to us.

If you want a party that will fight the climate emergency with ferocity but without the baggage of nationalism, come with us.

If you want Scotland to make things again and capture the imagination of the world, through industry and innovation, come with us.

If you want to live in a country which offers the best education in the world, which values its carers and those they care for, then come with us.

If you want a party that stands for human rights at home and abroad. One which fights for the women fleeing Kabul and protects young people from gay conversion therapy, come with us.

If you are affected by the mental health emergency come with us.

If you are worried about state intrusion or big centralising government then come with us.

Come with us and I promise you, that Liberal Democrats in the villages and towns of Scotland will show you the meaning of the word hope once again.

 

Read the whole thing here:

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WATCH as Alex Cole-Hamilton takes over as Scottish Lib Dem leader

Alex Cole-Hamilton will shortly be confirmed as Scottish Liberal Democrat leader as he was the only candidate when nominations closed.

At an event in Edinburgh, Alex will formally take on the role He’ll be introduced by his Edinburgh West colleague Christine Jardine MP and there will be other speeches from, among others, his best mate Cllr Kevin Lang who’ll be looking ahead to the local authority elections next year, Molly Nolan, who stood in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross at the Scottish Elections and young activist Maddy Planche.

You can watch live here.

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