Tag Archives: ruth davidson

Is Vince Cable right to say that there is a 20% chance Brexit won’t happen?

Vince Cable told Sky News’ Niall Paterson this morning that there was a 20% chance that Brexit wouldn’t happen. He said:

The government is of course pressing ahead with negotiations but the sheer complexity, the practical difficulties, the fact that government is internally divided – we may get to the middle of next year and find this is just a horrible mess and there will be a growing political mood in the country and in parliament to find a way out and that’s why we think at the end of the day the public should have a choice as to whether they want to go ahead with Brexit when we’ve discovered what it’s about or whether they want an exit from Brexit.

I’ve been thinking for some time that we need a bit of a better roadmap to show the public exactly how it is possible to get out of this mess. Half the country, if it’s watching the news at all, is doing so from behind a cushion but is shrugging its shoulders because it thinks the course is set and that a damaging Brexit is inevitable.

I think that’s partly why Lord Kerr’s intervention the other week was helpful because it reminded people that Article 50 was revocable. We can actually get out of this mess if we want to. And he should know, given that he wrote the clause in question. Let’s remind ourselves of what he said:

It is not irrevocable.

You can change your mind while the process is going on.

During that period, if a country were to decide actually we don’t want to leave after all, everybody would be very cross about it being a waste of time.

They might try to extract a political price but legally they couldn’t insist that you leave.

Vince mentioned the practical difficulties and the “horrible mess” of it all. This was evident in the entirely divergent positions proffered by Ruth Davidson and Liam Fox just half an hour apart this morning.

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Scottish Liberal Democrats demand answers from Ruth Davidson over mental health cuts to PIP

The Conservatives have not covered themselves in glory on social security issues recently. The removal of Housing Benefit from young people, the totally immoral restriction of benefits to two children and the deeply objectionable 8 page form that women have to complete if they want to claim for a third child conceived by rape, the cuts to disability benefits and cutting back eligibility to Personal Independence Payments for those suffering psychological distress have all shown a cruel lack of understanding of real life.

Let’s not forget the five year benefit freeze imposed by George Osborne in 2015. With Brexit bound to increase prices, that is simply unsustainable.

The cuts are significant, but even more reprehensible is the inhumane stripping of dignity from those who need our help. A civilised society supports those in need. If that makes me a bleeding heart Liberal, as Tim Farron declared he was on Question Time the other night, then I’m proud to be so.

Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives may pretend that they are nicer than their Westminster counterparts, making the right noises on mental health recently, but we can’t forget that they are the same party. Every awful thing that Theresa May’s Brexit government does reflects on them.

As health and social security spokespeople for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Alex Cole-Hamilton and I have written to Ruth Davidson asking her to state her position on the cuts to PIP. Our letter says:

Dear Ruth,

We were pleased to see your party last week join the Liberal Democrats and campaigners in declaring that the SNP Government’s new mental health strategy lacked ambition. It was the right thing to do because the new strategy will not deliver the transformation we desperately need to see.

However, we were deeply concerned to see that, in the very same week, your colleagues at Westminster were voting to restrict personal independence payments to people with mental health and anxiety conditions, affecting tens of thousands of people both in and out of work.

This shows little understanding of the complex needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, for example those trapped in their homes because they are too anxious to leave without someone. These people can need help to leave their home every bit as much as someone suffering from a physical condition.

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Alex Cole-Hamilton and Ming Campbell honoured at Scottish Politician of the Year Awards

New Lib Dem Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton won the “One to watch” award at the Scottish Politician of the Year Awards, presented at a glittering awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

He was also praised by his predecessor, Margaret Smith:

From The Herald:

With one third of MSPs new to Holyrood this year, the largest field was in the One to Watch category, sponsored by ScottishPower Renewables, with the judges impressed by the breadth and depth of talent being attracted to the Parliament as its powers increase.

The winner was the LibDem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton, who gained the Edinburgh Western seat from the SNP and is already tipped as his party’s next leader.

It’s not difficult to see why he won when you see the quality of his debut speech on the European Union

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And the biggest threat to the Union is….Ruth Davidson

If short-term party political advantage is the aim of the game, then you can understand why the Scottish Tories have chosen to play the unionist card in the Scottish election. Ruth Davidson knows that Tory economic and social policies do not win elections (or even the runner-up spot) in Scotland. She must despair at her colleagues supposedly running the show in London who are tearing themselves apart on Europe and rapidly abandoning any claim to economic competence or social conscience.

Instead, she has put the independence question at the front and centre of her party’s Scottish programme. This is a headline currently on the “Herald” website:

Ruth Davidson: SNP wants to keep wounds of independence debate open.

I did a double take when I first spotted the story because at first glance I didn’t take in the “SNP” part. Of course, if you read it without the “SNP” it still makes perfect sense. Every time Ruth Davidson harps on about the union – and she does it an awful lot! – she is poking at the scab.

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Purvis slams Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson over disability benefit cuts

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson  had a really bad interview on Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland today. She struggled on her plans to re-introduce prescription charges, to abolish free university tuition (which was secured by the Scottish Liberal Democrats in coalition with Labour back in 2001) and over free schools. She didn’t get grilled enough for our liking on her plans to do all that while cutting taxes for the richest, but you can’t have everything.

At around 2 hours 18 minutes in, the subject turned to cuts to disability benefits. Ruth says she opposed them before Iain Duncan Smith resigned although there is no record of her having done so. In fact, she praised George Osborne’s budget the day it came out. When pressed on exactly how she had expressed her opposition, she laughed. It was a nervous. hollow laugh, but, just as when Willie Rennie pursued this same point with her during the tv debate on Tuesday, it was clear that she was struggling to answer.

Jeremy Purvis, the Scottish Lib Dems’ campaign chair, said of her interview:

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Farron challenges Scottish Tory Leader over EU Referendum

Way back in September last year, Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson made some positive noises on the idea that Britain should remain in the EU. She’s been pretty quiet since, presumably not wanting to scare the many Eurosceptic horses in her own party. Her Twitter feed was silent on the issue yesterday as news broke of the draft deal

Tim Farron is up in Edinburgh today (and so far the weather is very sunny for him) and, ahead of his visit, he challenged Ruth to take on those in her party who want to take Britain out of the EU.

He said she should stop being scared of her right wing:

In England, the Tories have been hopelessly split on the issue of Europe for a generation. Now it seems that Ruth Davidson is running scared of her right wing in Scotland too.

The Prime Minister has come back with his deal. The phony war is over. It is time for people to take a stand.

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Willie Rennie loses patience with the Conservatives, saying they put party before country

Let me take you back to 7 am on 19th September last year. In Scotland, we’re emotionally drained after a brutal 2 year referendum campaign. After some real fears that the result might go the other way, No campaigners were relieved rather than triumphant.

Then David Cameron comes out of Downing Street and starts picking a fight with Labour, trying to paint the opposition as anti-English and talking about English votes for English Laws. That was the moment that you needed a Prime Minister to bring the country together, not exacerbate divisions.

Since then, the Tories and the SNP have been doing this strange harmonious dance. Alex Salmond has been trolling Middle England talking about various demands he’d make in the event of a hung Parliament. The Tories have fed that fear with their posters showing a pathetic looking Ed Miliband in a smug looking Alex Salmond’s pocket. That, of course, suggests to me, as I wrote at the time, that David Cameron thinks he’s been in Nick Clegg’s pocket these past five years. Michael Fallon’s insinuation that Ed Miliband would do a deal with Nicola Sturgeon to get rid of Trident is fanciful in the extreme, but it all seeks to scare swing Tory voters. You just wonder what “secret Ed/Nicola pact” the Tories will come up with next. Compulsory Gaelic lessons? Installing Alex Salmond as News Editor of the BBC?  Making a deal with the Loch Ness Monster to crash the Stock Exchange (as a friend of mine suggested on Facebook)? The list is endless.

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    Yes a sort of Advertising Standards Agency for political parties And how exactly would you guarantee that such a thing would be and remain free...
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    nvelope2003 “It us up to you what you do in private but anyone who wants to export to an EU country will have to comply...
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    @Philip Knowles Did you read the paper that I linked to? It was commissioned by the EU parliament. It is very informative and sets out...
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    nvelop2003 Are you a Liberal Democrat voter ? If you are, I'd be fascinated to know how you differentiate your usual neo-liberal stance from right...