Tag Archives: Scottish referendum

The Supreme Court decision on a Scottish Referendum

The Supreme Court has delivered the judgement everyone expected from it – the obvious statement that, under the law as it stands, the Scottish Parliament does not have powers to call a referendum on Scottish Independence without the consent of the UK parliament. This judgement presents one opportunity and one threat to Liberal Democrats.

The opportunity is the chance to cut through the squabbles between Conservatives and the SNP by pushing our own policy – that of a truly federal UK. A Federal UK has been Liberal policy for over a century and to my mind we do not emphasise it sufficiently often or strongly. Voices in other parties (including respected former ministers such as Malcolm Rifkind and Gordon Brown) have from time to time hinted at support for a watered-down version of federalism, but we are the only party which can authentically present the idea as fully worked out and our own.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

Scottish Independence

English nationalists made us vote blind on Brexit.  Our eyes are now well and truly open. The SNP ask us to vote blind on independence in May.  They offer no plan.  They can’t. For the foreseeable future, leaving the Union would be a disaster for the Scottish people.

Scottish Government figures for 2019/20 expenditure and revenue show a deficit of 8.6%, about average for the last five years.  Our expenditure per head at £1,633 was about 12% more than the UK, and we paid £380 or 2.5% less tax, including oil and gas.  The rest of the UK envy our free university education, prescriptions and home care.  UK subsidies by the Barnett formula underwrite our jobs, health, pensions, education, social security and other public services.  According to the 2018 SNP Commission, an independent Scotland would need 5 to 10 years of austerity to replace them.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments

A sensible strategy for the Scottish election

The Liberal Democrats should be able to prosper mightily in the Scottish parliamentary election on 6th May. But only if we stop attacking the SNP.

The SNP are unassailable. They are riding at over 55 per cent in the opinion polls, boosted by Nicola Sturgeon’s impressive performance in the Covid-19 emergency. And by next spring, they will be able to surf the wave of anger over Brexit and the expected surge in unemployment.

The Nationalists will blame the Johnson government for all the problems and the lack of resources to tackle them. In that they are quite right and it would be counter-productive for the Lib Dems to take a different tack. It’s misleading and dishonest to suggest the Scottish government can fix our schools and hospitals, and the potholes in the roads, with the austerity budgets they’ve been given by Westminster. Yes, the SNP could put up taxes to raise more funds but not by a significant amount.

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It’s time for the Remain campaign to talk about change

There are a lot of similarities between the EU referendum and the recent one on Scottish Independence. One is the tedious focus on money, when the issues at stake are much more important that. Another is the difficulty of making an exciting case for keeping things the same. Another is the Leave/Yes campaign’s curious belief that, while the politicians in the further away place are incompetent and self-interested, those closer to home are much better (and don’t expect that line of argument to continue much beyond 24th June, regardless of which way the result goes!).

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 21 Comments

David Steel: Scotland and the Lords after 2014 – Full speech

Yesterday evening, Lord Steel delivered a lecture on Lords reform and the forthcoming Scottish referendum. Here is the speech in full.

Stone Memorial lecture, Strathclyde University 31 October 2013

Scotland and the Lords after 2014

My intention in this lecture is to look forward and discuss what fundamental changes and improvements could be made to our parliaments at Westminster and Holyrood once we get past the Scottish referendum this time next year. But before I do that, considering that this Sir Alexander Stone memorial lecture is decreed to be broadly on the subject of rhetoric I want as a prelude to remark on …

Posted in News and Speeches | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

David Steel on the Scottish referendum and reforming the House of Lords

David Steel 200Yesterday evening, Lord David Steel delivered a lecture on Lords reform and the forthcoming Scottish referendum. He called for a wide constitutional overhaul, including reforming the House of Lords into an indirectly elected chamber.

Speaking earlier to Scotland Tonight, he called for a grown-up debate about whether Scotland wants to be a separate nation or not. He rejected David Cameron’s assertion that an independent Scotland would be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks and Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that fuel bills will come down, saying such comments obscured the real issues of the campaign.

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Conference: Willie Rennie MSP – A stronger Scotland within the UK

William RennieSpeaking to Scottish Liberal Democrat Autumn conference in Glasgow, Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said:

On the first Sunday of this month I took part in a relay race over the Comrie hills near Perth.

Covering 20 miles with teams of five runners we battled clubs from across Scotland.

For the third year in a row my partner was David Greig.

That’s right. David Greig, one of Scotland’s foremost playwrights.

We are equally matched runners.  Less equally matched playwrights.

We support each other up and down the hills.

Through the bogs and over the heather.

We both run for the team – Carnegie Harriers.

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 3 Comments

LibLink: Willie Rennie – after the referendum

Willie Rennie - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsIn The Scotsman, Willie Rennie asks some pertinent questions about what might happen after the Scottish referendum:

The Electoral Commission surprised us all on Wednesday when it went beyond spending limits and the wording of the question to press for clarity on the process after either result in the referendum. It did not ask us to negotiate a solution on the substance of our conflicting cases as pre-negotiations are impossible.

Yet, on reflection, I believe this will ­assist those who share my view that Scotland

Posted in LibLink | 3 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • Nick Hopkinson
    Fully support this article....
  • Martin Gray
    It will go the same way as the PCC vote , local elections , & for that matter the past European elections .. Nobody is that really interested in all hones...
  • Robert Harrison
    I agree in general with Leon's proposals - he has however left out an important community - the position of UK citizens living abroad who would be unrepresented...
  • Tom Harney
    As far as the EU is concerned I will vote for the party which is prepared to explain clearly at every opportunity the financial damage that leaving caused this ...
  • David Le Grice
    A few major issues here: Trying to elect such large numbers in the first election would be incredibly unwieldy under STV anyone who's attempted to vote in fe...