Tag Archives: kevin lang

REPRISE: Adventures of a Liberal Democrat at the Iowa Caucuses Part 2

Editor’s Note: Eight years, at the beginning of the 2016 year of Brexit and Trump Hell, Kevin Lang, now our Group Leader on the City of Edinburgh Council, found himself in Iowa during the caucuses. Across three articles, he gives us a great insight of what happened at the Democrat caucus. 

Much of what he says about the Hillary campaign is worth our own opposition politicians thinking about as we approach our own election later this year. I thought you might like to re-read Kevin’s posts. 

Of course this year it’s the Republicans going mad in Iowa with the front runner, Donald Trump, not bothering himself to take part in the debates.

I always find the Pod Save America podcast, presented by former Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor a great source of information on US politics. Vietor has returned to Iowa to see what’s happening on the ground there with two special episodes of the On the Ground in Iowa podcast. Have a listen here

Over to Kevin:

Sunday 31 January

After a rather dramatic and delayed journey to the US,  I’m finally in Iowa. Most folk on my flight from Chicago are either news reporters covering the caucuses or members of the US Congress stumping for one of the candidates.

The buzzword is ‘turnout’. There’s hope the numbers turning up to tomorrow night could break all records. Folk seem most excited about the weather….or the lack of it. At this time of year, Iowans are normally wading through feet of snow. Not this year. It’s cold but not painfully so and there are no snow storms predicted. “It’s perfect caucusing weather” my car rental guy told me.

The latest polls suggest a tight race on the Democrat side with the respected Des Moines Register poll showing it too close to call. There’s some scepticism about whether all these young students who have gone nuts for Bernie Sanders will actually turn out. I remember hearing something similar in 2008 about the supporters of some guy called Obama…

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REPRISE: Adventures of a Liberal Democrat at the Iowa caucuses, Part 1

Editor’s Note: Eight years, at the beginning of the 2016 year of Brexit and Trump Hell, Kevin Lang, now our Group Leader on the City of Edinburgh Council, found himself in Iowa during the caucuses. Across three articles, he gives us a great insight of what happened at the Democrat caucus. 

Much of what he says about the Hillary campaign is worth our own opposition politicians thinking about as we approach our own election later this year. I thought you might like to re-read Kevin’s posts. 

Of course this year it’s the Republicans going mad in Iowa with the front runner, Donald Trump, not bothering himself to take part in the debates.

I always find the Pod Save America podcast, presented by former Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor a great source of information on US politics. Vietor has returned to Iowa to see what’s happening on the ground there with two special episodes of the On the Ground in Iowa podcast. Have a listen here

Over to Kevin:

As if Scottish and UK politics aren’t enough, I’ve long had a curiosity, a voyeuristic fascination with politics and elections in America.

It’s not just that elections there really matter and have an impact well beyond the US domestic border. It’s also the energy and enthusiasm (no matter how superficial or manufactured) that I’ve found infectious. It’s why I, along with my best mate (and 2016 Holyrood candidate) Alex Cole-Hamilton, went to help Obama’s first campaign in 2008. We did our little bit to help the Democrats win Virginia for the first time in a presidential election since 1964.

I also learned a lot about campaigning, especially the impact of reaching out and meeting voters face to face along with the importance of continually making your volunteers feel valued and appreciated. That said, as a Liberal Democrat, it was somewhat unnerving to campaign in a place where door to door leaflet delivery was against the law and subject to pretty stiff fines.

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LIb Dem Councillor assaulted while delivering Focus leaflets

Up and down the country, councillors and campaigners from all parties will be spending their sunny Sunday out and about delivering leaflets or knocking on doors talking to residents to find out what is on their minds.

At this time of year, quite often you’ll have a chat with people in their gardens. Most people are lovely and friendly even if they don’t vote for you. A few can be a bit grumpy but it is relatively rare that someone is downright abusive. And, thankfully, even less frequent that they actually resort to violence.

This morning Edinburgh Lib Dem Councillor Kevin Lang was delivering his regular Focus in Almond ward when a resident grabbed him by the throat. Kevin recounted what had happened on Twitter:

I’ve been doing politics a long time so I’m used to shouty, angry people but today is the first time I’ve ever been physically assaulted.

Was simply out delivering my councillor newsletter when a man came out of his house, grabbed me by the throat…

and stuffed the newsletter down my shirt, using all kinds of profanity as he did so. I’ve obvs reported to the police.

No matter what divides us, this kind of intimidation and abuse of people you disagree with has no place in a free and democratic society.

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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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Rennie, Cole-Hamilton and Campbell launch Christine Jardine’s campaign to take back Edinburgh West

You know that wonderful post-election Saturday morning feeling, that you can lie in bed for a bit longer and you don’t have to rush off and do anything? When you can lie about all day reading trashy novels and drinking gin and tonic in the sunshine?

Well, it will be lovely when we get it in 5 weeks’ time.

Today, we had to drag our weary limbs out of bed sooner than we would have liked and head out campaigning.

In my case, it was to the Edinburgh West campaign launch. Regular readers will know that last week, the Edinburgh West campaign moved into the old SNP office next door to what is now Alex Cole-Hamilton’s constituency office.

Some considerable pleasure was taken in removing the giant poster of Nicola Sturgeon on the window. It has now been replaced with this:

So, this morning the office was jam packed with party members, including our new councillors Kevin Lang, Louise Young and Hal Osler, a film crew making the party election broadcast, a bunch of photographers and Tom Gordon, political editor of the Sunday Herald.

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Our Iowa correspondent’s traumatic journey

Yesterday Kevin Lang told us how excited he was to be heading off to Iowa for the Democratic caucuses. He wrote that post in the departure lounge in Edinburgh. Thankfully, he is now safely in Chicago and on the way to Iowa, but his journey was, to put it mildly, not without incident.

Somewhere over Iceland yesterday afternoon, the pilot realised that two sets of the landing gear were not working. He had no choice but to turn and head back to Heathrow and make an emergency landing.

The Mirror has footage of the landing – and Kevin is quoted in the story, saying:

warned that we would be jettisoning fuel and then said emergency vehicles would be meeting us.

“I felt worried. You could hear the concern and seriousness in the captain’s voice when he spoke to the passengers.

He added: “It was very scary even for a frequent flier like myself.”

Here are his tweets as the situation unfolded:

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Eurovision: the best of the Liberal Democrat reaction and strictly unauthorised beardiness

Conchita Wurst-2210Conchita Wurst’s song might not have been the best on offer tonight, but her personality, her embodiment of liberalism and authenticity, combined with a pan-European desire to stick to fingers to the illiberal east triumphed in Copenhagen. She dedicated her victory to peace and freedom. And maybe, just maybe, people start to understand a bit more about gender not being a strictly binary thing.

Here’s some of the Liberal Democrat reaction to what is a definite high day in our calendar:

Kevin Lang thought he saw someone familiar singing for the Netherlands:

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