Tag Archives: Scotland

Scottish Lib Dems launch consultation on social care.

We will all have some contact with the social care system at some point whether it is for ourselves or for someone we love.

Social care policy is devolved to Scotland and the Liberal Democrats have a proud record. Despite what the SNP tried to tell us in their party political broadcast this week, it was the Liberal Democrats, in coalition with Labour, who introduced it back in the glorious days of the early 2000s.

Things aren’t going so well, though, as an ageing population puts huge pressure on the system.

At any one time, around 1,000 patients are stuck in hospital because …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

15 year old Lib Dem Jess Insall’s campaign gets support from Scottish Government

Last month, 15 year old Scottish Young Liberal Jess Insall successfully proposed a motion at Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference which called for gender neutral school uniforms, a simple concept that would make a huge difference to the culture in our schools. Jo Swinson backed the motion and told Conference that if uniform stopped girls doing cartwheels, then it was the wrong uniform.

Today the Scottish Government has expressed support for this move, as reported in iNews.

Schools across the country should consider making uniforms gender-neutral rather than forcing girls to wear skirts and boys to wear trousers, the Scottish Government has said.

Responding to a campaign led by a 15-year-old schoolgirl, a spokesman said ministers agreed that boys and girls “should be treated equally” when it came to the uniforms they wore. “It’s not about dictating the way anyone dresses”

The development comes after teenager Jess Insall successfully passed a motion in favour of the move at the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference earlier this year.

Jess is quoted in the article:

“It isn’t saying that everyone has to wear the same uniform – it’s saying that whatever the uniform is, there can’t be any difference between genders,” she told i. “Instead of saying boys have to wear trousers and girls have to wear skirts, schools can say pupils can choose between skirts or trousers. “It’s not about dictating the way anyone dresses. ‘Gender-neutral’ can be quite an alienating term, but all it really means is not treating people differently because of their gender.”

She also talked about the practical disadvantages of strict gender rules:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Sick absence figures reveal extent of strains on NHS staff as 45 million hours lost in Scotland alone

Last year, my husband spent 51 days in hospital. He received excellent care from compassionate and skilled staff at what was an absolutely terrifying time for us.

That experience gave us an insight into the strains and stresses that the NHS faces. The most common refrain from staff was that it was so stressful and the Winter hadn’t even started yet.

He spent a just over a month in a medical ward in our local hospital and a further three weeks in a specialist centre in our nearest city. On only one occasion in the whole 51 days did I see staff going home when they were actually supposed to. There were times when I was shocked to see the same members of staff on their 5th or even 6th 12 hour shift in a week. One day I arrived at the hospital in the afternoon to see a health care assistant who had been on night shift the previous night. Because the ward was so under-staffed, she had gone home, slept for a couple of hours and come back in for the busy stretch around lunch and dinner.

During their shifts, the nurses did not stop. They were dealing with multiple stressful situations at a time. They were stretched to the limit.

Obviously a situation like that is not sustainable. It’s going to affect people’s health in some way or another. Alex Cole-Hamilton now has evidence of that.

He revealed that more than 45 million hours have been lost by Scottish NHS boards to staff ill health during the past four years and said the immense pressure staff are under could account for rates rising.

Data obtained from health boards under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that the number of hours lost to illness increased from 11.4 million hours in 2014-15 to 13.1 million hours in 2016-17, with the number rising year on year.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Willie Rennie’s Christmas Message: Scottish Lib Dems stand up for better mental health, education and police services

Embed from Getty Images

Here is Willie Rennie’s Christmas Message:

May I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

2017 was the year the Liberal Democrats turned the corner. We started winning elections again with more MPs and in charge of more councils. I believe that winning is not just good for the Liberal Democrats but is also good for the country.

It means that we have moderate, outward looking, optimistic voices making the case for change and challenging authority and government.

It means that we can shout louder for people who need mental health services. The services are inadequate and must change.

It means we can challenge with greater impact the government and police chiefs on the running of Police Scotland. Without the Liberal Democrats many of the problems of Police Scotland would have gone untested and unchallenged.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | Leave a comment

Politics Galore – a new podcast about Scottish of politics

One of the reasons I prefer writing over speaking in public is that my gob doesn’t have a backspace key. However, I am not known for my silence or unwillingness to express an opinion so when I was invited to take part in a new podcast about Scottish politics, I jumped at the chance.

On Thursday, just after the Scottish Budget was announced, I spent an enjoyable half an hour talking over the issues of the day with the hosts Andrew Jackson and David McColgan.

I don’t think I said anything too embarrassing but have a listen to try and …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Budget drama in Scotland – Willie Rennie wants “an education focus as never before”

The Scottish Government unveils its budget this Thursday. The SNP mislaid their majority in Holyrood in the elections last year so there could be a bit of drama between now and February when the Finance Bill is finalised.

The last time a Budget fell was in 2009 when the Greens, to everyone’s surprise, voted against. A couple of weeks later, to nobody’s surprise, they voted for it but hadn’t extracted anything of consequence from the Government.

When John Swinney was Finance Minister, he used to engage pretty well with the other parties. Willie Rennie was able to get things like free school meals, tens of thousands of college places and nursery education for 2 years olds put in. However, now that we have started beating the SNP pretty comprehensively, the atmosphere has turned a bit nasty.

New Finance Minister Derek Mackay is playing games with crucial inter-island ferry services in Orkney and Shetland, both represented by Liberal Democrat MSPs. Various SNP Ministers have been giving the very strong impression that they would help the Islands Councils with the cost of these ferries without which some remote communities simply could not survive.

Now, however, they are inferring that it’ll only go in the Budget if the Lib Dems promise to vote for it. That sort of posturing doesn’t play well in those communities. The issue was debated in Parliament last week during a Lib Dem opposition day and the Transport Minister Humza Yousaf made a pretty blatant threat.

There is a window of opportunity for Liberal Democrat members of the Scottish Parliament. Either they can engage positively in the budget, have a discussion about this important issue and side with their constituents, or they can play party politics.

I mean, we’d brought the issue to the floor of the Parliament, which was discussing it at that time and made its view plain by passing the Lib Dem motion. If SNP ministers fail to honour Parliament’s wishes, that is a pretty serious thing. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Scottish Conference to discuss WASPI women, Exit from Brexit, mental health and gender neutral school uniform

Scottish Lib Dem Autumn Conference takes place next Saturday, 11th November, in Dunfermline.

There are keynote speeches from Willie Rennie and Jo Swinson and a dazzling array of debates and policy motions.

The Scottish Young Liberals have provided some excellent motions on getting young people more involved in shaping public services and on civil education. Also, a young member has independently put forward a motion calling for gender neutral school uniform.

Christine Jardine MP and Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP put forward West Edinburgh’s motion to support women affected by changes to the State Pension age.

Housing standards and mental health provision for rural areas will also be debated. 

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRoland 18th Feb - 12:15am
    No Rob Parker, the referendum didn't mandate anything, however, various influential fringe elements of the Conservative party, being worried about UKIP and wanting to appear...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 17th Feb - 9:22pm
    "middle-class Remainers of the north of England to be given more attention?" Why only middle class remainers? I live in the North too and, from...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 17th Feb - 9:06pm
    As always it comes down to wanting more money for the NHS and social services. We are always asked "But where is the money going...
  • User AvatarRob Parker 17th Feb - 8:56pm
    "May’s speech shows that staying in the EU is best for Britain’s security" Right, but the referendum result, which politically speaking May HAS to implement,...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 17th Feb - 8:40pm
    @JoeB, To be fair to Ricardo, he did float the idea of Ricardian equivalence, he later backed away from the idea. His entry in Wiki...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 17th Feb - 8:27pm
    Can I put in a plea for the middle-class Remainers of the north of England to be given more attention? It is reported that the...