Tag Archives: Scottish liberal democrat conference

Rennie: Stand up for immigration to save our universities, health service and farms

Willie Rennie puts immigration front and centre of his Leader’s speech to Scottish Conference today. He will will set out positive examples that immigration brings to local communities and call out hard line Brexiteers who risk tanking the economy in their obsessive pursuit of a damaging Brexit. He will say:

The Conservatives are about to betray Leave voters or trash the economy. This is the real political car crash that is heading our way.

If immigration is not cut with Brexit then Leavers will feel betrayed because that is what they voted for. If the Conservatives keep that promise, and immigration is cut, it will damage our economy and public services, and even more will feel betrayed because they were not told this would happen.

Whilst leaders bicker about transition periods and single markets and common external tariffs the elephant in the room is immigration. In the Brexit vote people were promised fewer foreigners in our country. Yet people were not told the price of that policy.  And it is big.

The price is a shortage of workers to get food from British farm into the shops.

The price is a shortage of carers, nurses and GPs.

The price is billions of pounds of lost taxes from these jobs.
They are already going home and Brexit has not even happened yet.

Some say that too much immigration is a threat to our way of life. But the truth is that not enough immigration is the real threat to our way of life. It’s not the workers from Poland, Romania or Bulgaria who we should fear. We should fear all those political leaders who are blindly backing Brexit. These are the people we should be sending home.

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WATCH: Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

It was a speech full of warmth, positivity and passion. Willie Rennie knows that a second referendum on Scottish independence needs the positive, emotionally resonant pro UK argument that was so lacking in 2014. He planted the Lib Dem flag in the progressive pro UK/pro EU space in Scotland, saying that we represented the views of the Scottish people. The challenge for the party is to turn that into votes. Watch his full speech here.

The text is below:

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Today at Scottish Conference -“Turning back the tide of division”

Scottish Liberal Democrats gather in Perth today for our Spring Conference. Some of us gathered last night and enjoyed a delicious meal in a French restaurant. Sorry if I breathe garlic fumes on everybody I meet today.

We meet just seven weeks before every council seat in Scotland is up for election. A better than expected result in last year’s Holyrood elections, with solid parliamentary work on mental health, education and justice since has heartened the party but the national opinion polls are yet to show any significant movement in our favour.  The political environment up here is very different from south of the border where we have the advantage of being the only party standing up against the Tory and Labour compete with each other to get to the Brexit cliff first.

Up here, the SNP are making a great deal out of the fact that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain. Of course they are going to use it to call for independence although even a former nationalist leader said this week that they were being forced into it at the worst possible time.

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Scottish Conference Countdown: What’s on the agenda? And get writing your amendments today

Scottish Liberal Democrats gather for their Autumn Conference in Dunfermline on Saturday 24th October. The agenda contains no fewer than 8 policy debates – not bad for an event that lasts for just 7 hours. There are keynote speeches from Willie Rennie and Tim Farron and the day ends with a tribute to Charles Kennedy.

The policy motions to be discussed are:

A penny on tax for the NHS: This one will be controversial. The MSPs will be very scared of it passing because it’s way more radical than they can cope with. Perhaps Conference needs to give them the confidence to say something bold. One of the great tragedies of the current constitutional debate in Scotland is that nobody seems to have any great ideas for using the powers we already have, which are pretty significant. Paisley and Renfrewshire local party have put the cat among the pigeons with this motion. Will it pass? Expect to see an amendment from the Policy Committee.

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Nominations sought for Scottish Party Awards

Scottish Liberal Democrats have their Spring Conference in Aberdeen from 20-22 March. At that event, a series of awards will be presented for outstanding service and commitment to the party. Nominations are sought from members for the following:

  • The Rae Michie Quaich for best contribution to membership recruitment and retention
  • The SWLD Quaich for the Liberal Democrat who has done the most to advance diversity within Scotland in the past year
  • The Robin McSkimming Award presented by East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrats to the person who has done most for their community
  • The Russell Johnston Award presented by Argyll & Bute Liberal Democrats for Best Conference Speech
  • The John Morrison award presented by the Office Bearers for outstanding leadership/dedication/success in local government
  • The Sheila Tennant award presented by LYS for an outstanding contribution from an LYS member
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A sneak preview of the Scottish Autumn Conference Agenda

This year’s Scottish Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference takes place much later than usual. It’s been delayed by the Referendum and will take place in Dunfermline on Saturday 22nd November. There’s just about enough time for Presidential candidates to come and chase some last minute votes.

The preliminary agenda has just been published and it’s busy. Six policy debates, two keynote speeches, a  devolution discussion, a thank you reception for our former MEP George Lyon and two lunchtime fringe meetings crammed into one day.

The policy motions include:

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In full: Nick Clegg’s contribution to the “sunshine strategy” at Scottish Lib Dem Conference

Forth Railway Bridge at North Queensferry Fife ScotlandI’ve been saying for a long time that the pro UK side of the independence referendum campaign in Scotland needs to make sure that there’s a positive melody to go a long with the necessary deconstruction of the SNP’s arguments. Nick Clegg stepped up to that plate with aplomb yesterday in his keynote speech, saying that the case for staying in the UK must be as “thrilling” as that for independence.

There was one hilarious moment when he slipped up and talked about he and …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter 12th Nov - 10:01am
    Is net migration of around a quarter of a million per year not enough?
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 12th Nov - 9:53am
    @David Evans, I partly agree with you. The UK Govt did borrow some money from the USA in US dollars to finance the war effort....
  • User Avatarexpats 12th Nov - 9:46am
    ............... I would be sat at two in the morning in the smoky front room of Nick Clegg’s flat in south west Sheffield, as the...
  • User Avatartheakes 12th Nov - 9:20am
    The ex Post Holder has witnessed the biggest most sudden crash in electoral support ever. Why? We all know and have to learn from that....
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 12th Nov - 9:14am
    The EU has both, a bold vision expressed in its treaties and by its leading representatives, and the slowly grinding, meticulous administration that forces a...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 12th Nov - 8:39am
    @ Katharine Hope you sing heartily....... All well with the two wee ones in the big City. Going down (or up ?) in two weeks...