Tag Archives: scottish liberal democrat spring conference 2016

Scottish Liberal Democrat fracking decision – setting the record straight

Yesterday we published this post entitled: “Willie Rennie reaffirms Scottish Lib Dems’ opposition to fracking – despite Conference vote”. Beneath the article, Graeme Cowie posted a six part response. As per our comments policy, the length of comments is limited to encourage short and pithy debate. We do not allow multi-part comments. However, under the circumstances we decided to ask Graeme if he would like, instead, his comments to be published as a full article. Graeme assented, so here is his comment in full.

Correcting the Record

As the person who summated the amendment that received around 2/3 of the support of a very busy Conference Hall, I feel compelled to respond to the total double-speak over this issue. It is firstly misleading to imply that the debate was poorly attended; asides the Saturday debate on All Women Shortlists, it was the best attended debate of the entire Conference.

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Willie Rennie reaffirms Scottish Lib Dems’ opposition to fracking – despite Conference vote

Last Friday, Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference passed this amendment to a motion on climate change.

After line 21 insert:
“The report of the Independent Expert Scientific Panel on Unconventional Oil and Gas published in July 2014 which states that “The technology exists to allow the safe extraction of such reserves, subject to robust regulation being in place” and “There could be minimal impact from unconventional hydrocarbons if they are used as a petrochemical feedstock.”

Delete lines 36 to 38 and replace with

“Lifting the moratorium on planning and licensing for unconventional oil and gas extraction, granting the potential for Scottish-sourced unconventional gas to supply our important petrochemical industry.”

The original lines 38 and 39 read:

maintaining a complete moratorium on planning permission and licensing for tracking and unconventional gas extraction in Scotland for the next parliamentary term to allow for a full assessment of the risks involved and the long term implications.

We all thought that was that until an email came to Scottish members last night entitled “We need to talk about fracking.”

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In full: Tim Farron’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat Democrat Conference

Here is Tim Farron’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference:

It is only a couple of weeks since I was out on the doorstep with Alex Cole Hamilton in Edinburgh West. I have to tell you, Alex has got some serious staying power. Not even his trip to A+E after he was attacked by the Hound of the Baskervilles, well a dog in Corstorphine, could stop him getting out on the stump that same evening with me.

We returned to the office after a night out on the doorsteps, for a pizza and politics event… which was great, although whilst I was doing the politics, everyone else ate all the pizza. So, I’m not staying over this time, I’m getting the last train home. I’m not risking falling victim to a repeat of the Edinburgh vegetarian pizza crisis. Those SNP cuts are hitting hard!

But our team in Edinburgh West had earned their pizzas… because they are making an incredible effort and Alex embodies the Liberal spirit for which we are the only standard bearers in Scotland. And it is clearly paying dividends.

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Jo Swinson: Why I now back all women shortlists

12496325_10207909151261642_614223791405517749_oBelow are the two speeches Jo Swinson made to Scottish Conference yesterday. The Diversity Debate took place in two halves. The first was on a constitutional amendment which would allow the Scottish Party to implement arrangements on gender balance which had been approved by conference. One amendment to that was submitted, and supported by the movers, changing gender balance to the much wider “diversity”. The risk of such an approach was that a 2/3 majority was needed for it to pass, but the working group had been advised that a constitutional amendment was vital to enable any new arrangements to be implemented.

It’s worth pointing out that in the intervening period, Jo has done so much to encourage and support women candidates, running training events and supporting so many as they embarked on selection campaigns.

Here is her speech proposing the constitutional amendment:

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Bold policies, lively debates, controversy, diversity and new members – the highlights of Scottish Liberal Democrat conference

As pre-election conferences go,  the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ gathering in Edinburgh was a strange one. Conferences taking place within weeks of a major national elections can be a bit bland with no hotly contested debates. This one was very different. We had some really controversial subjects up for discussion, with amendments on smacking, fracking and a long motion on diversity to get to grips with, with the leader taking a massive risk on the latter, needing to take 2/3 of the hall with him to pass a constitutional amendment.

Also, pre-election conferences can be little more than a procession of smartly dressed candidates getting as close to the party line as possible. This time they had to share the stage with so many of the new members who have already been such assets to the party. It was so good to walk into the room and see people I didn’t recognise make such brilliant speeches.

Members left the Assembly Rooms last night with more confidence that we were getting things right than I’ve seen in years. We’re under no illusions about the opportunities and threats that polling day in 9 weeks’ time brings, but we are pleased that we are going out there with a set of policies and well-articulated values that resonates with voters’ concerns.

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

What’s going on at Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference today?

In the hall

Scottish Conference Saturday

The main business of the morning at Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference is a much longer than usual Party AGM. Normally, the business is concluded in half an hour, but it’s been scheduled for two hours so that Willie Rennie’s motion on diversity can be debated. The motion is accompanied by a constitutional amendment which requires a two-thirds majority to pass. The motion calls for wide-ranging measures, including limited use of all-women shortlists, ring-fenced funding for candidates from under-represented groups, a duty on party office holders to  drive forward diversity at all levels and numerous other measures to tackle diversity at every level. The Leader would be required to report to Conference twice a year on progress made. 

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Willie Rennie to announce help for disadvantaged pupils in Scottish schools

Willie and ACH on nursery visitWillie Rennie will give key details of how the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ plan for a Pupil Premium will help children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Scottish schools when he delivers his keynote speech to conference this afternoon.

He’ll also outline how the whole £475 million raised from a 1p rise in the basic rate of Income Tax to pay for investment in education would work.

Willie will commit £170m a year of that investment towards a pupil premium in Scotland. £1,400 will be available for every primary pupil …

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