Tag Archives: Scottish liberal democrat conference

Lothians candidate Jill Reilly talks about her experience of volunteering to help homeless people during lockdown

Yesterday, Scottish Conference discussed a motion which called for the party to adopt the Housing First model to help the most vulnerable homeless people.

This means that people with addictions, mental ill health or  prison leavers, for example, are given somewhere to live. Housing First projects set up in Scotland have been successful – with no tenancies failing and incredibly positive feedback from those who have been helped.

It is an important tool in making sure that the most vulnerable homeless people are properly looked after. If they have somewhere to live, then everything else that is going on in their lives is easier to fix, whether that is trauma, addiction or mental ill health. 

And look what the tenants have to say:

Housing First is the best thing ever. To have the chance to start a new life. 

The Housing First support has been amazing and coming into prison into my own tenancy has made a huge difference as I am away from negative influences. With Housing First Support I feel I can remain in my tenancy and stay out of prison

You have to wonder how on earth has it taken so long to the point where we actually make sure someone has somewhere to live when they leave prison.

While I think we must build on the success of Housing First, we have to make sure that we tackle all forms of homelessness. While Shelter support the Housing First model they are concerned that we don’t make people experiencing different forms of homelessness. 

There was a lot of support for the Housing First model at the Conference, but there was concern that the motion called for a new government agency to administer the model. The movers of the motion wanted that because the councils in the biggest cities have more homeless people, who have come from all parts of the country to deal with. It is counter-intuitive, though, for party that doesn’t like centralisation and when we can see how SNP centralisation has ruined most of our public services.

So the motion was referred back for further discussion, with a stronger motion coming back to Spring conference.

Lothians candidate Jill Reilly talked about what she had learned from her experience volunteering to help homeless people during the pandemic. Here is her speech:

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

WATCH: Partnership for recovery: Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Lib Dem Conference

Willie Rennie’s keynote speech to Scottish Conference today was one of the best I have ever seen him make.

Brimming with ideas – more power and pay to teachers, a career path for carers, ideas for a green recovery, an emphasis on partnership as an antidote to the division we’ve seen in recent years.

He delivered the speech from the Conference hub, at Morningside Parish Church in Edinburgh.

The text is below.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

In full: Ed Davey’s speech to Scottish Conference

Scottish Conference is taking place this weekend in that wonderful resort of Hopin.

Yesterday, Ed Davey gave his keynote speech. He was introduced by Molly Nolan, our fantastic candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross. Here’s his speech in full:

Good afternoon Scotland.

And thank you Molly for that kind introduction.

One of the things that gives me great hope for our party is seeing so many brilliant rising stars – and there’s no doubt that Molly Nolan is one of the brightest.

That’s why we must get Molly elected to the Scottish Parliament in May, so she can put her energy and dedication to work for the people of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.

So thanks Molly. We’re all behind you 100 percent.

It’s a huge pleasure to speak to you today – even though we sadly cannot be together in person.

I did get the chance to spend some time in Scotland a few weeks ago, when I visited Fife Zoo as part of the Listening Tour I’ve embarked on since becoming leader.

I met Briony and Michael, who took over the zoo in 2015 and have built it up into a successful small business.

A place where children and adults can meet zebras, lemurs and meerkats – and learn about the importance of biodiversity. A sanctuarfor endangered species.

Lockdown wasn’t easy for this young couple and their young zoo. With no visitors – no income – but all the usual costs of feeding and looking after the animals.

But they kept going, getting the zoo ready to reopen – Covid-safe – at the beginning of July.

But just days after they opened their gates, Briony and Michael were dealt another blow, when the indoor soft play area was destroyed by a fire.

They evacuated the zoo and got all their animals to safety. But they had to watch, powerless, as a crucial part of their business went up in flames.

It would be enough to break anyone’s spirit. But not Briony and Michael’s.

They reopened – again – and have worked incredibly hard to save their zoo in the face of both a devastating fire and a global pandemic.

It’s not over yet, of course.

Listening to them and so many others describe the enormous challenges and uncertainty they are facing, it is clear that the UK and Scottish Governments must work together to give far more support to small businesses – especially in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

This urgent need for working together, is why Willie Rennie and I, along with Jane Dodds and Stephen Farry, Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party, our sister party in Northern Ireland, wrote this week to the Leaders of the Governments of the 4 nations of the United Kingdom, calling for a 4 nation summit, to deliver a joint approach on the pandemic in the run-up to Christmas.

Coronavirus is causing terrible hardship and anxiety for families and businesses. For everyone we need to rescue a festive period as near normal as possible. And given millions of people usually travel at this time, across our family of nations, a more co-ordinated approach is desperately needed ahead of Christmas.

And I am determined that not only will we get through this, together, but also that the Liberal Democrats will lead the way to a fairer, greener, and more caring society as we do.

A country that offers real hope and opportunity for everyone, wherever they live. With Governments across the UK working together to support businesses and create jobs.

An economy boosted by new green industries, with hundreds of thousands of good green jobs.

And a society that for the first time properly recognises the vital role played by carers.

At our Federal Conference last month, I pledged to be the voice of the 9 million carers in our country.

This is very personal for me. You see, I’ve been a carer for much of my life:

First as a teenager: nursing my mum during her long battle against bone cancer.

Later for my Nanna: organising her care, trying to make her last few years as comfortable as we could.

And now, as a father. As Emily and I care for our disabled son John.

I know just how rewarding and full of love life as a carer can be. But I also know that it is often relentless and exhausting.

So I do understand the challenges that millions of carers face. Challenges that have been made even harder by coronavirus.

And I know that, for far too many politicians and policymakers, carers are all too often an afterthought.

Just look at the abject failure of both the UK and Scottish Governments to protect people in care homes.

The lack of tests and PPE.

The way hospital patients were moved into care homes to free up space, without being tested for coronavirus.

Care homes and carers: too often an afterthought.

But not for us.

I’ve been proud of the leadership Willie Rennie has shown, pressing the First Minister to provide testing and support for care home visitors.

Trying to make it possible for family carers to spend quality time with their loved ones after months of separation.

And Alex Cole-Hamilton’s work championing Scotland’s 800,000 carers – almost nine out of ten of whom say that the pandemic has made their lives harder.

Liberal Democrats standing up and speaking up for carers – in Edinburgh, in London – across our family of nations.

This is a great example of one of the biggest strengths of our party: our federalism.

We are all united as Liberal Democrats through our principles and our values.

Defending individuals. Nurturing community. Protecting civil liberties. Championing the environment.

Staunchly patriotic. Internationalist. And always pro-European.

And we work together – in close partnership.

I benefit hugely from Willie’s wisdom and experience, just as I do from Jane Dodds in Wales and Liberal Democrat leaders in local government across England.

But we also understand that each nation, region and community must often respond to its own challenges in its own way.

Not pulling away from each other or constantly battling, as if for one part to prosper another must fall.

But also not pretending that there is some one-size-fits-all solution to be handed down from Whitehall or Bute House.

Unity does not mean centralisation.

Devolution does not equal division.

And yet, one of the things that has made me angriest in recent weeks is the way our Governments – in Westminster and in Holyrood – have sought not to bring people together to solve this crisis, but instead to use the pandemic to divide our country.

Tory Ministers versus Labour Mayors.

Nicola Sturgeon versus Boris Johnson.

Matt Hancock versus reality.

It’s a truly unedifying spectacle.

I’m sure it serves their egos and their narrow political interests, but it certainly doesn’t serve the families and businesses who are struggling just to make ends meet.

“A kingdom divided in itself cannot stand,” the saying goes.

That’s why – in times of national crisis like this – it’s the job of true leaders to bring people together, not push them further apart.

Since March, we have seen countless examples of the people across the UK pulling together:

neighbours bringing food and medicines to those who are shielding or self-isolating.

The heroism of NHS staff, carers and key workers in the face of extraordinary challenges.

sacrifices we have all made, every single day to keep each other safe.

Just imagine if our Governments had demonstrated that same sense of unity, of common purpose and co-operation. Imagine how much better their responses would have been.

The truth is – this pandemic has exposed that the way the United Kingdom currently runs, is not fit for purpose.

But the answer cannot be to tear it apart.

Friends, I can understand why people would seek any alternative to life under Boris Johnson’s cruel and incompetent Tory Government.

But whether it takes four months or four years, Boris Johnson will be gone. The shared history and values of our family of nations – fashioned over centuries – will endure.

And so it falls to us, as Liberal Democrats, to offer a better way forward.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Three interesting facts about this year’s Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Spring Conference

For various reasons, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have been later off the mark than usual at announcing the details of their Spring Conference. However the cat is well and truly out of the bag now. For the first time since 2008, the party is heading to Aviemore to the Macdonald resort in the highland village.

It’s a great venue that can be combined with a family break. I absolutely love it there.

It’s in April

You wouldn’t normally expect to have a Conference in April because there is usually some sort of election to get ready for. For the first time since 2013, there are no scheduled elections this year, so Conference is taking place both in April and after the Easter holidays, on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st April.

There’s an Access Fund

The Federal Party has been running a Conference Access Fund to help people with the costs of attending Conference for the last few years.

It’s great to see this now being done by the Scottish Party, too. Members can donate to the fund although they can’t do it in the same transaction as they register as you can with the Federal Party.

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Discovering Conference

Last Saturday, 11th November, the Scottish Liberal Democrat Autumn conference was held  in Dunfermline. It’s fitting our conference returns to this historic Scottish town as Scotland has always been a liberal country at heart: Braveheart, after all, was about freedom, more than nationalism.

This was my first party conference and I was immediately struck by how homely and welcoming the event was. The Scottish Liberal Democrats are a close-knit party – one advantage of being small in number (in comparison to other parties) – where old friends are reunited and strangers are simply undiscovered new friends.

The agenda was packed and diverse. One of the highlights included hearing from the WASPI women. They told us their personal experiences when they unexpectedly discovered they would not get their state pension when they thought they would after the age was raised to 65 to align with mens’. Many women are now struggling and having to take up part-time jobs or take out loans to get by until they can receive their pension. The conference rightfully voted for measures to put justice for the WASPI women on the Lib Dem agenda.

Willie Rennie, Jo Swinson, Alistair Carmichael, Christine Jardine and Alex-Cole Hamilton invigorated party members with articulate, powerful speeches – all of us returned to our constituencies with a renewed sense of purpose and belief in Liberal Democrat values.  

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 39 Comments

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:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments

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.

Posted in News | Also tagged | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments

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
Posted in News | Also tagged | Leave a comment

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:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

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 …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

My highlights of Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

I’m a bit bleary eyed today. One conference is exhausting, two on successive weekends is positively foolhardy. Following that up with a trip to London for Federal Executive is craziness.

I spent the weekend in Dundee where Scottish Liberal Democrats held their main Conference. Over three days, there were no fewer than twelve policy debates, some of them incredibly powerful or controversial. Here are my highlights.

The Secret Courts debate

Yes, I’m biased as I proposed the motion rejecting the Government’s proposals, but the debate itself was very high quality. Liberal Youth co-chair Kavya Kaushik won the Russell Johnston award for the best …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 2 Comments

My speech in secret courts debate to Scottish Conference

Ok, this might be slightly egotistical, but I thought you might be interested in seeing the speech I made proposing the motion opposing the legislation on secret courts at Scottish Conference this weekend. The motion, calling for a repeal of the legislation to be put into our manifesto in 2015, was passed overwhelmingly. There were in fact only two votes against in a busy hall, and one of them was from Jim Wallace. If you scroll to the bottom, you can see a wee snippet of it.

Here’s what I said:

For over four centuries our legal systems have been based on

Posted in News | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Scottish Conference overwhelmingly rejects secret courts

Only two members of the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference voted against a motion opposing the introduction of secret courts. One of them was Jim Wallace, whose name is on the Government’s bill.

The leadership didn’t put up a fight, which in some ways is more frustrating. Why won”t they come forward and engage in the debate? It’s clear they have no intention in taking the slightest bit of notice of the vote, or the previous votes carried by enormous majorities at Federal Conference.

There was only one speech against and that was from someone who opposed secret courts in principle but …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Scottish Liberal Democrats launch new Facebook page

Ahead of Scottish Conference in Dundee this weekend, Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched a new Facebook page for news, views, infographics and pictures about the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Their picture of today is a head shot of leader Willie Rennie with all the nice things that journalists keep saying about him.

Willie's press compliments

 

The Conference has its fair share of controversy – debates on secret courts, snaring and smacking over the next three days.

There will be keynote speeches from Vince Cable, Nick Clegg, Jo Swinson, Michael Moore and Malcolm Bruce as well as …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Opinion: Ban barbaric, unnecessary snaring

One of Liberal Youth Scotland’s campaigns this year has concentrated on encouraging the Scottish Liberal Democrats to adopt a policy to ban snaring. We believe that this practice is barbaric, cruel, indiscriminate and unnecessary.

On Saturday 16th March, Scottish Liberal Democrat conference will debate an LYS motion calling for a ban on snaring. Scotland has led the way on this issue with the Scottish Government adopting new guidelines in 2008. However research undertaken by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has shown that 85% of the public are in favour of an outright ban.

One Aberdeenshire Vet …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Willie Rennie: No to independence doesn’t mean no to change

Willie Rennie - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsScottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie sent an email to members yesterday outlining what he is trying to do as regards building a consensus around further powers for the Scottish Parliament in the event of no vote in next year’s independence referendum. If I had been him, given the proximity of Scottish Conference and how fabulously awesome it is going to be, with lots of controversy and debate, I would have put a link at the bottom enticing people to go and register.But seeing as he didn’t – you can find out all the information you need here.

Anyway, here is his email in full:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

A snapshot of Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

Scottish Liberal Democrats met for a busy annual Autumn conference in Dunfermline last Saturday. The day started with the most delicious sliced sausage ever. Subjects debated by members (all of whom have a vote), include reverse vending machines, honest lets, cuts to student funding, affordable childcare and the Home Rule Commission chaired by Sir Menzies Campbell.  Charles Kennedy also took part in that debate.

There were keynote speeches from Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore, new Business and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson and leader Willie Rennie. Danny Alexander did a question and answer session on the Mid Term Review and …

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

Michael Moore’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland writes a column for newspapers in his Borders constituency. Here is this week’s edition.

Eyemouth Renewables

I have been working with Eyemouth Harbour Trust and other local stakeholders over recent years to ensure our local economy benefits from the planned offshore wind development in the Firth

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

Opinion: Brown and Carmichael debate Coalition at lively Social Liberal Forum fringe

The problem with Conference fringe meetings is that there are usually several that you want to go to and they’re all on at the same time. That was the case with the fringe run jointly by Liberal Futures and the Social Liberal Forum (Scotland) on Friday past at the Scottish Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in Inverness. The meeting attracted a respectable crowd but those who attended the Scottish Women’s Liberal Democrats and Liberal International meetings missed a lively debate on Liberal Democrats and the Coalition. The speakers were Robert Brown, the …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

    No recent comment found.