Tag Archives: sam ghibaldan

The Borders railway is a massive Liberal Democrat achievement – why are we not shouting it from the rooftops?

This weekend the first journeys take place on the new Borders railway. Originally shut in 1969 under the Beeching cuts, it was rebuilt thanks to the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Government. Trains will now run again on a 30 mile stretch from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank.

It was Liberal Democrat transport ministers Tavish Scott and Nicol Stephen before him, who fought the battles within the Scottish Executive on this against Labour’s distinct lack of enthusiasm.  In fact, one of their MSPs tried to wreck the project by putting an amendment for it to only go as far as Midlothian but that was defeated. Special Adviser at the time Sam Ghibaldan has been talking on Facebook about the fight the Liberal Democrats had to get the project up and running:

I’m really delighted the Borders Railway is up and running. When the Lib Dems were in the Scottish government we had to battle to get the Borders Railway through against Labour and civil service opposition. One particular incident that sticks in my mind is being told by the then head of the transport division (shortly after the railway had been included in the 2003 coalition agreement), that that made no difference as the project was not one of the agreed transport priorities. Which it turned out had been set pre devolution….

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LibLink: Sam Ghibaldan: Time to end constitutional quirk

england-flagEnglish votes for English Laws has become the great rallying cry of the last week ever since David Cameron decided it was appropriate to use the exact moment that almost half of the 85% of Scots who voted in the referendum said they wanted to leave the UK to pick a fight with Ed Miliband over what has been traditionally called the West Lothian Question. Sam Ghibaldan was Special Adviser to two Liberal Democrat Deputy First Ministers in Scotland and he has some advice for Ed in an article in today’s Scotsman.   He urges him to stop prevaricating and embrace the potential change.

First of all he sets the context:

In the 18th century, of course, the whole political system was largely corrupt and the rotten boroughs provided yet more opportunities for bribery. The West Lothian Question does not do that, thankfully, but it is nevertheless a serious democratic aberration, pushed back to the top of the political agenda by the independence referendum.

The concern is something we British like to think of as our own: fairness. Why should Scottish – or for that matter Welsh or Northern Irish – MPs, vote on English issues, when their English counterparts cannot vote on Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish ones?

The answer to that – they shouldn’t – is so obvious that most Scottish voters, let alone English ones, oppose their MPs voting on English issues. It is one of those rare constitutional questions that chimes with the electorate, appealing directly to their inherent sense of justice.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

LibLink: Sam Ghibaldan: Clegg needs to be assertive

Clegg on OsbourneI’m not going to lie, I bet a lot of you are thinking Sam who? Chances are if you live in Scotland, you’ll be less curious because you will know that he was a Senior Special Adviser to Scottish Liberal Democrat Deputy First Ministers Jim Wallace and Nicol Stephen. As such, his perspective on who the Liberal Democrats should proceed in the run up to the General Election is highly relevant. In a recent Scotsman column, he said that Nick Clegg needs to get out there and shout about our core beliefs.

Some of the headlines faced by Nick Clegg were also seen in Scotland:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , and | 28 Comments
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