Tag Archives: nicola sturgeon

Actually, Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP could help win a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.

Nicola Sturgeon was on the Peston show today talking about various aspects of Brexit. One thing struck me when she was pressed on the issue of a People’s vote of the Brexit deal. She said that the SNP won’t be the block to that but if there was to be another EU referendum, the big question for Scotland would be what would happen if we got the same outcome, where Scotland voted to remain and Wales and England voted to leave.

To be honest, I think it would be so much better if the SNP threw their massive campaigning energy behind securing a vote that means we can all stay in the EU. I reckon we could do a lot better than the 62-38 result. To be honest, the SNP sat the last one out. Our local SNP didn’t do much because they said they were tired after the Scottish elections.  It was the Lib Dems who ran the street stalls and did all the work.

It is unlike the SNP to be tired. For three years up to the Independence referendum in 2014 they were everywhere. They campaigned their hearts out. For the last month of the campaign, you couldn’t go to the shops to buy your rolls in the morning without seeing a posse with saltires and Yes leaflets. In that referendum, there was an 84.6% turnout. In the EU referendum, only 67% of people voted.

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Here we go again…

 

We all know about the announcement from Nicola Sturgeon. Some have written here in support of Liberal Democrat leadership figures maintaining a staunch unionist position, to the extent of wishing to block an independence referendum in the first place. Others have written in support of the Liberal Democrats crossing the divide and actively backing Scottish independence this time around.

I have made no secret of the fact that in 2014 I was a reluctant Yes voter. I am also open about the fact that in the next referendum, the only thing that will have changed for me is my increased certainty that independence is the least worst option on the ballot, in the wake of Brexit. However, many others within the party will be similarly convinced of their position behind a No vote.

In the wake of the recent Northern Irish election, I remember reading a Mark Pack article asking what lessons Liberal Democrats could learn from our Northern Irish sister party, which had enjoyed a strong result. The Alliance Party exists as a cross-community endeavour to defend and advance liberalism, tolerance and understanding across sectarian and nationalistic divides. Crucially, it does so without declaring either the British union or a future reunion of Ireland as the correct context to achieve those goals in.

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A whole world of sexist fail in today’s Sunday Times

It’s hard to imagine how today’s Sunday Times could possibly have got it more wrong.

It trailed that it had a “tantalising secret” about Nicola Sturgeon’s private life.

That turned out to be the fact that, five years ago, she had a miscarriage. What a crass way to headline an intensely painful experience.

And to add insult to injury, the paper accompanied the article with a panel featuring childless politicians. All of them were female.

As ever, women are judged by different standards. The excellent Women 50/50 campaign group made the point visually:

It was the Sunday Times sister paper, The Times, which published that interview when Andrea Leadsom suggested that being a mum meant that she “had a real stake in the future of this country.” Some culture change in that organisation is urgently required.

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Nicola Sturgeon appoints controversial Brexit Minister

In the immediate aftermath of the EU Referendum, Nicola Sturgeon played an absolute blinder. She seemed like she was the only grown-up in power. She was calm, she was reasonable and she put up a massive big tent that allowed all parties to unite. Well, not the Tories, but who cares about them in Scotland, anyway?  Given the chaos they have inflicted, as Brexit gets underway, I suspect that their good performance in the Holyrood elections will turn out to be a high water mark.

Within days of the result, the Scottish Parliament debated and passed a motion which authorised the First Minister and the Scottish Government to look for a way to preserve Scotland’s relationship with the EU. It was not, Nicola Sturgeon told Parliament, about independence.

However, let me be clear that if the Government concludes that the best or the only way to protect Scotland’s place in the EU is through a referendum on independence, we will return to Parliament with that judgment and it will then be for Parliament to decide. I am emphatically not asking Parliament to endorse that step today. A vote for today’s motion is not a vote for a referendum on independence.

I was glad to see that the Scottish Liberal Democrats backed Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts. Everyone seemed to be working together well with the SNP even removing wording from the motion to make sure it was  something all the parties except the Tories (who ultimately abstained) could sign up to.

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Rennie: Sturgeon must shred China deal after human rights warning

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie today said that the SNP risks dragging Scotland’s reputation through the mud following reports that a Chinese firm at the heart of a controversial £10bn deal with the Scottish Government is tied to human rights abuses.

It was reported in today’s Herald that Amnesty International named China Railway Group Ltd (CRG) and subsidiaries it controls in a report exposing human rights abuses related to the mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It had previously emerged that CRG had been blacklisted for investment by Norway’s oil fund over fears that the construction giant was involved in gross corruption.

Willie said:

The last thing that the First Minister did before the election started was sign a £10bn deal with a business directly tied to allegations of corruption.

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Willie Rennie and Nicola Sturgeon in funny photobomb

So, you’re a political journalist trying to do your best to bring a flavour of First Minister’s Questions to your adoring public. And then two of the participants get in on the act.

Watch Colin Mackay try to keep Willie Rennie and Nicola Sturgeon under control.

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Five observations about last night’s debate

I actually enjoyed last night’s BBC Debate much more than I expected. Sure, I was livid that Nick Clegg had been excluded, but it was the price that had to be paid for David Cameron taking part in any debates at all. It was an interesting affair. There was no huge drama but it was mostly conducted in reasonable style. Nicola got her chance to bid for a coalition, Ed got the chance to rebuff her so honour was satisfied on that score. Conservative spin doctors trying to extrapolate post election chaos from that display just looked silly.

It told only half a story, though. Each of the four smaller party leaders outlined their own narrow (and in the case of Farage abhorrent) interests. The ideal coalition partner, who would govern for the whole country with fairness, responsibility and respect for civil liberties was not in the room. We have his pitch, though. I just wish the party would put the speech he made at the manifesto launch on Wednesday on You Tube. Particularly this bit:

At its heart is one word that is absolutely central to what Liberal Democrats believe: opportunity. No matter who you are, where you were born, what sexuality or religion you are or what colour your skin is, you should have the same opportunity to get on in life. We want to tear down the barriers that stop you from reaching your potential. We want to smash the glass ceilings that keep you from achieving what you want to achieve. Your talent and your hard work, not the circumstances of your birth, should decide what you can be.

Here are five quick observations from me about last night’s event.

Nigel Farage was a disgrace

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This is everything a leaders’ debate should be – with one of the best put-downs ever

Last month, Scotland’s four main party leaders debated each other for Glasgow University’s Politics Society. Willie Rennie, Jim Murphy, Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon spent an hour and a half discussing everything from austerity to Trident to drugs policy. They did it with loads of thoughtfulness and bags of humour. It makes me very optimistic about the tv debate between these four on Tuesday night and the subsequent one with Greens’ Patrick Harvie later in the campaign. Unfortunately, UKIP will also be taking part in that second debate and given the horrid comments by their MEP about an SNP minister, that could really sour the atmosphere.

It’s actually a very good watch and relevant to people across the whole UK. Willie Rennie was very strong on the economy, highlighting how France had tried the sort of policies that Nicola was advocating and these simply hadn’t worked.  When Nicola Sturgeon implied that her party represented Scotland, he very effectively called her out. Another highlight came when he invited Ruth Davidson to write a joint letter with him to Theresa May asking her to release the drugs policy review that Norman Baker said the Tories had blocked.

That drugs question, by the way, saw an open admission that three of the leaders had taken Cannabis.

You can watch the whole thing below:

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Nicola Sturgeon faces similar press trashing to Clegg in 2010 – but with added misogyny

I might have some fairly fundamental disagreements with Nicola Sturgeon on the best future for Scotland, but I have a great deal of time for her as a human being and as a politician. She is a much cleverer tactician than Alex Salmond ever was. I am perfectly happy to argue with people on their political outlook, but I’m not struck on the sort of nasty personal mudslinging that we see at PMQs, or in Labour’s deeply misleading personal attack on Nick Clegg last year and I sure as hell am not going to make up my mind how to vote based on how someone eats a bacon sandwich. Nor, I suspect, are the rest of the population.

It appears that after her very good performance in Thursday’s Leaders’ Debate that Nicola Sturgeon is, highly predictably, being done over by the right wing press in much the same way that Nick Clegg was in 2010. Remember Nick Barlow’s wonderful way of dealing with that – the #nickcleggsfault meme on Twitter where Clegg was blamed from everything to the weather to the cat being sick?

Of course, Nicola is getting much different treatment to a man. Her clothes come in to it. The Daily Fail describes her as a “glamorous power-dressing imperatrix.” Wow. A woman goes out wearing smart clothes. How remarkable. Of course, if she rocked up for FMQs in Parliament in her jeans, they’d have something to say about that, too. On appearance, women really can’t win.

The Telegraph’s splash is a bit different. Last night, when I read their account that she’d told the French ambassador that she’d prefer David Cameron to be Prime Minister, it didn’t seem right to me. Apart from anything else, the Nicola Sturgeon I know has more sense than to be so indiscreet. The paper bases its story on a memo written by a UK Government official who wasn’t even at the meeting in question and who actually doubts its veracity. It’s all very third hand and clearly questionable.

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Jo Swinson takes part in Marie Claire election debate

I had fully intended to keep tabs on Jo Swinson and four women from the other parties taking part in Marie Claire magazine’s election debate. However, life had other ideas and I spent the morning at A & E instead. Handily, Marie Claire have put everything together in a Storify thingy which you can read below to catch up on the events.

It seemed remarkably civilised with quite a lot of agreement. There does seem to be a reasonable consensus among women across politics about what needs to change in society.
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Yet again Scotland’s political leaders outclass their Westminster counterparts

Prime Minister’s Questions was even worse than usual today. Both Cameron and Miliband jumped into the gutter from the start and neither of them emerged. It was bizarre watching these people who had blocked every single attempt to reform party funding argue about each other’s paymasters. It was a matter of some considerable annoyance that Cameron kept saying how his government had done more to make sure people paid their taxes than the last one. Does anyone seriously think the Tories, left to their own devices, would have done that? Errr, no. That’s all been down to our man in the Treasury, one Danny Alexander. Cameron taking credit for our policy is bad enough. Using our success to cover his own party’s issues is worse.

It was all a bit classier in Scotland, though. Remember a couple of weeks ago how Scotland’s party leaders joked on Twitter about cancelling FMQs and drinking Pimms in Nicola Sturgeon’s office while watching Andy Murray’s semi-final in the Australian Open instead?

Well, they’ve done it again. After a journalist teased Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson about the fundraiser where a mega-rich Tory donor paid £17500 for a shoe-shopping session with Theresa May.

To cut a long story short, a shoe shopping session with all of Scotland’s political leaders is now to be auctioned to raise money for Scottish charity Cash for Kids. Buzzfeed has the story.

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First same-sex marriages take place in Scotland

 

At just after midnight last night, the first same-sex marriages took place in Scotland.

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Abusive site Wings over Scotland is embedded into the Scottish Government and Yes movement – Willie Rennie proves what we knew already

I’ve written before about the appallingly abusive Wings over Scotland site. It’s a pro-independnece blog written, ironically, by the self-styled “Rev” Stu Campbell who lives in Bath.

His shameful content and comments he allows on his site and on social media  have included:

  • Using a picture of hearses going through Royal Wootton Bassett in a mocked up “Better Together poster;
  • Showering abuse on Clare Lally after she spoke at the Better Together “100 days to go” event. Funnily enough, he then said he couldn’t find any abuse of her on his site. I helped him out. 
  • Doing me over when I said that being part in the UK meant we could do more in terms of international development
  • Disgusting transphobia towards Chelsea Manning
  • Referring to a Conservative MSP as an a******* and “sewer dwelling vermin”
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Carmichael: SNP’s energy plans have more holes than a Swiss cheese

At the SNP’s conference in Perth, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a plan to cut Scottish consumers’ energy bills after independence by having the Government pay the levy that funds green investment. This will happen, alongside renationalising Scotland’s postal service if Scotland votes for independence next year.

The SNP have always been good at coming up with ways to spend our money. In fact, many of their manifestos have spent all the available money several times over.  In September, the Institute of Fiscal Studies reported that:

If an independent Scotland wanted to deliver the same cuts to public service

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No, Nicola, a vote against independence is not a vote for Trident

Writing blog posts based on the tail end of a radio interview you have caught  is fraught with danger. However, I want to take issue with something Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

She had been asked about today’s Guardian story which suggests that the Trident base at Faslane could be designated UK territory in a way similar to the sovereign military bases in Cyprus for a temporary period post independence.

She said that if the UK Government wanted to keep weapons of mass destruction, it could do so, but Scotland would just have voted against Trident, for independence.

On the ballot …

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A year in the life of…..the Scottish independence referendum

Saltire - St Andrews Flag - Scotland - Some rights reserved by byronv2I thought it might be a bit amusing to trawl through the Lib Dem Voice archives and have a look at how certain stories have developed during 2012.

This time last year, it looked like it was all going wrong for the Scotland Bill that Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore was piloting through Parliament. On top of that, confusion reigned over the forthcoming referendum on independence with the Scottish and Westminster Governments seemingly on a collision …

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Scottish Independence: one brief letter, one big problem for the Yes campaign?

Here at Liberal Democrat Voice, I have occasionally drawn the attention of readers towards the Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs and its inquiry into the economic implications for the United Kingdom of Scottish independence. And this week, the Committee appears to have obtained an answer to a question which has hung heavy over the debate until now, i.e. would an independent Scotland automatically become part of the European Union.

In response to an invitation from the acting Chair of the Committee, Lord Tugendhat (a former two-term European Commissioner), Jose Manuel Barroso wrote;

Whilst refraining from comment on possible future scenarios,

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Rennie: SNP’s assertions blown apart by fact

Scotland has had its share of political drama these past ten days. First there was the Edinburgh Agreement which saw Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore given an honourable mention by CentreForum. Then the Scottish Liberal Democrats unveiled their vision for Home Rule and a federal UK. Then last Friday, the SNP abandoned their opposition to NATO membership ahead of the Independence Referendum, a decision led to the resignation of two of their MSPs. This leaves Alex Salmond’s Government with a tiny single vote majority in Holyrood. In practice, though, the two MSPs will mostly vote with the Government.

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Local catch ups

In my work as Borders MP I have regular catch ups with local public services such as NHS Borders, Lothian and Borders police and Scottish Borders Council. These are valuable meetings during which I am updated on key local issues and I am able bring my constituents’ concerns to their attention. Last week, as part of these regular catch ups, I met with Chief Superintendent John Hawkins in Hawick to discuss the work of local police and the crime and policing issues.

Referendum

Ever since the Scottish Government announced their plan to hold a referendum on Scottish Independence, I have …

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Opinion: Scottish reshuffle and the independence referendum

In amongst the fall-out from the reshuffle last week at Number 10, another reshuffle was somewhat lost in the news. In Scotland, Alex Salmond decided it was time to change things around a bit in Bute House – though unlike David Cameron, it was more a case of rearranging the deckchairs than bringing in new furniture.

The only departure of note was Bruce Cameron, along with two junior ministers, and in all those cases it was for genuine personal reasons. However, the big change was the move of Nicola

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The SNP, equal marriage and a large dose of red herring

Equality campaigners across Scotland were quietly confident on Tuesday. It had been widely expected that the SNP Government would at least allow equality in civil marriage if not religious. After all, the measure had already secured the support of a majority of MSPs and the Equality and Human Rights Commission report suggest sthat it has the support of over 60% of Scots. The Government’s plans have, however, attracted vocal opposition from some religious organisations.

However, the Government announced that it was delaying the decision and setting up a Cabinet Committee to “further examine some particular issues of detail”. A …

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Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism #14: As a liberal republican sees it

Last week, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, launched the Referendum (Scotland) Bill consultation. The SNP has few aspirations, beyond independence for its own sake. I can’t help but think of them as someone courting a reluctant bride. They keep asking, and keep cajoling, hoping that eventually the electorate will say yes, and let them take them up the aisle.

On Friday, Nicola Sturgeon, who faced parliament about her own troubles earlier in the week, said “this isn’t about what the SNP wants, it’s about what the people of Scotland want”. Well, she’s wrong. This consultation actually is …

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged and | 5 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 16th Dec - 1:45am
    Sorry, I mean of course 'a Liberal ' in his youth, he wasn't psychic too!
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 16th Dec - 1:41am
    Well, Peter, the absurdity was just not taken account of, it seems. Yet a shrewd friend of mine, a Lib Dem in his youth and...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Dec - 11:55pm
    But David I seem to remember you were a fan of Bevan's quote about rats. That was a man who through bitter experience knew what...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 15th Dec - 10:52pm
    @ Martin Typo, not intended
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 15th Dec - 8:35pm
    I wish he was !!
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 15th Dec - 8:26pm
    The cinema site in Tunbridge Wells has been cleared and covered with broken bricks. A new cinema cannot legally be built precisely where the previous...