Tag Archives: scottish conference

Willie Rennie reaches out to disillusioned SNP voters in speech to Scottish Conference

In his speech to Scottish Spring Conference, Willie Rennie reached out to disillusioned SNP voters who may be upset by the division in their party and the SNP Government’s failures in so many areas. He set out what I reckon is the Scottish Liberal Democrats most bold and radical offer for 22 years. It really has that vibe of reform about it. Free human rights based social care, a job for every teacher on the register if they want it, a housing first approach to homelessness, economic regeneration are all part of the package to put recovery first.

He also shared memories of Charles Kennedy after last week’s documentary.

He was introduced by Cllr Liz Barrett, who won a fantastic Council by-election victory at the end of last year.

The full text is below:

Councillor Liz Barrett.

Councillor for the ancient capital of Scotland.

Victor over the SNP in John Swinney’s back yard.

Winning from third place.

Thank you, Liz.  You are a true liberal champion.

Conference, it’s almost six years since we lost our Charles, Charles Kennedy.

But last week we were treated to a wonderful tribute to his life in that BBC Alba documentary: A good man speaking.

We all have our own personal recollections of Charles.

Mine was the extraordinary courage it took, just days after acknowledging his alcoholism and resigning as Leader of the Liberal Democrats, to come to Dunfermline.

He came to help me win that by-election.

He would have been forgiven if he had chosen to hide away, to recuperate, to nurse his wounds, but instead he chose to face it up.

As we walked down the High Street, surrounded by the mass ranks of the media, a voice from a pensioner at the back shouted – “we love you Charles”.

As quick as a flash he retorted: “now madam, I am in enough trouble as it is”.

But that lady spoke for us all.

And if there is a lasting legacy from Charles Kennedy’s life it should be the conduct of the debate, of elections, of political life.

That would be a good way to remember our Charles.

I think Charles would be pleased with how the Liberal Democrats have conducted ourselves over the last year through the pandemic.  To put recovery first.

We set aside our differences to work together.

Working constructively with the government to deliver funds for business, tourism, fishing; an expansion of testing; access for parents of new borns; and a faster roll-out of the vaccine.

Ministers have recognised the part we have played from the First Minister to the Health Secretary to the Economy Secretary.

We rolled up our sleeves to get us through this pandemic.

There was a lovely sight this week that has made all that work worthwhile.

After months of separation, families are safely back together again in care homes.

It was certainly the right thing to do.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Scottish Liberal Democrats trial new virtual conference – 3 top tips from me

I spent most of yesterday glued to various screens. I went to Social Liberal Forum’s leadership hustings in the morning and in the afternoon, we had the Scottish Lib Dems’ virtual special conference. Thanks to Paul McGarry for the screenshots.

Here, Willie Rennie and Alistair Carmichael are interviewed by Environment spokesperson Rebecca Bell, watched by convener Sheila Ritchie:

Chair Jenni Lang watches while LGBT+ Exec member Fraser Graham speaks on the diversity motion:

And here are John Ferry and Katy Gordon putting Layla and Ed through their paces:

We had a couple of items of actual business – a motion on diversity for the elections next year and the report on a reference back from a policy motion, which couldn’t wait any longer. We haven’t had a proper Conference since Spring last year. The election did away with our Autumn Conference last year and the pandemic scuppered Spring Conference in May.

We were the pioneers for the Lib Dems in using the platform Hopin, which the party has acquired for the Federal Conference due to take place from 25-28 September.

Massive thanks are due to Paul McGarry, the Scottish Conference Convener, Megan Wiseman and Paul Moat from Scottish HQ who set everything up. Federal Conference will have people to do that professionally, but they did a great job. Though there were a few testing problems with the tech, they got them sorted and we got all the business done.

The chairs and aides were based in Scottish HQ, all appropriately socially distanced bar the two from the same household.

The agenda provided two debates and two keynote events so there was a good mix. We had one procedural motion, a suspension of standing orders, and an amendment for each motion.

We used a separate voting system called mi-voice, but I think that for Federal Conference we’ll be voting in Hopin. That was a bit glitchy, but we got there.

As we were all attending from our homes, there was bound to be some background noise at some point. Usually it’s my dogs causing various sorts of mayhem, but on this occasion, it was the gorgeous Thor and Bella who did what every self-respecting dog does when a delivery driver turns up at their house.  They didn’t realise that their mum, Cllr Fiona Dryburgh,  was making her debut conference speech.

 

Top Tips

From yesterday’s experience, I’d say that there were three top tips for attendees to the Federal event in the Autumn.

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

Casual sexism undermines the drive for gender balance

“Bright, intelligent and brave” those are the words that Willie Rennie used to describe me in his speech to Conference. My direct messages on twitter were somewhat different. I had to disable the function to receive messages from anyone but my followers – but that didn’t stop those who already followed me. One man even suggested I’d made up the story for the attention. Because that’s all women’s experiences are to some men. Nothing but a ploy to get attention from men in any form of power.

The same people cry out “We need more women in politics but in a fair way and we need a meritocracy” and “We don’t need positive action, we need to encourage more women to put themselves forward”.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 54 Comments

Home Rule ‘defined’ at Scottish Autumn conference

Scottish Parliament 23 May 06 061Just imagine. You are canvassing for the Holyrood election in May 2016 and are mindful of what Willie Rennie said in his speech at the 2015 Scottish Autumn Conference.

We are the party for you…  if you support independence but are disappointed by the SNP in Government.

Some voters are probably beyond redemption, such as the man who told me on the doorstep before the Westminster election that he had vote Liberal/Lib Dem for 40 years but had now joined the SNP.   In such cases, you may mutter “we are fed up talking about the Constitution” and move on.

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

Two deadlines all Scottish members and all Council campaign teams should be aware of

Be very aware that there are two deadlines rapidly hurtling towards us. The first is tomorrow, so you really need to get a move on.

It’s for ALDC’s postal voter mailing, the details of which you can find here.

As they say:

Turnout of supporters who receive literature and are contacted during a campaign exceeds 80%, far higher than the turnout proportion of our polling day Shuttleworth. This underlines the importance of getting known supporters onto postal votes, as it will help both our local and national results next May and could be the crucial difference.

Posted in News | Also tagged | Leave a comment

A guid New Year tae ane and aw…

Hogmanay celebrations - Some rights reserved by The Queen's HallSee what happens when you give the Scot on the team the key to Lib Dem Voice Towers on Hogmanay…

On behalf of all of us here, I wish all our readers, commenters and  contributors all the very best for 2013.

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the rest of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. They are a great bunch of people to work with and are an illuminating and understanding  source of help,

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Kay Gaiety
    I am over 50 and not registered with a gp. I have been trying for years to get help with registering but there is nobody, and I've tried a lot of different way...
  • David Evans
    Marco. you seem to just keep digging an ever bigger hole for yourself. Yet again you choose to make up some words to put in my mouth. First it was "I am not...
  • Paul Fisher
    Citizen ID cards would solve this and a shed load of other citizen based rights and responsibilities; the UK needs to get real and boco e a 21st century democra...
  • expats
    Jeff 14th May '21 - 3:23pm expats 14th May ’21 – 1:53pm: From LDV.. Nov 2011..Newsnight 29th November 2011 Paxman – So you going into the next electi...
  • George Thomas
    "The Conservative Party did well, however the Welsh Assembly elections and the elections to the Scottish Parliament clearly demonstrate that their influence in ...