Tag Archives: snp

Just when you thought the SNP’s scomnishambles was over…

Scotland’s SNP Government is having a bit of a torrid time at the moment.

There’s been allegations of ministerial bullying, then the First Minister gets caught out not only misleading Parliament, but doing so in smug and gloaty style, and then the Education Secretary has to make a grovelling apology for an earlier transgression. Not very edifying at all.

So it must have been really gratifying for Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil to get a tweet from someone called @SirIanBlair saying how well the SNP were doing …

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LibLink: Tavish Scott says college row marks a turning point for the SNP

Tavish Scott has written a column for the Scotsman criticising the SNP Government for abuse of power and neutering the Holyrood Parliament. His comments come in the wake of a row about the Education Secretary Mike Russell effectively engineered the resignation of the Chairman of Stow College in Glasgow. Kirk Ramsay had been a vociferous critic of Russell’s cuts in the sector.

The story so far:

Ramsay records Russell’s on-the-record remarks at a meeting with about 80 people present at which the Cabinet Secretary was discussing his plans for the Further Education sector. He did so because he suffers from Tinnitus and …

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The SNP’s guide to appropriate behaviour

Handing out Union Jacks is “inappropriate behaviour”

Even when it happens at a rally to honour our Olympic athletes.

So said Glasgow SNP Councillor Mhairi Hunter to me in a tweet on Saturday.

 


I was a bit fearful as I clicked on the link, worried that it was going to be a sorry tale of some anti independence idiots beating up a nationalist. No, it was to this Facebook page from the No to Scottish Independence and Protect the Union where they said they handed out 1000 union jacks …

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SNP MP’s Twitter tirade against Moore and Swinson

One of the problems faced by the SNP is the army of so called cybernats who spew nasty, insulting bile across the internet at anyone who dares to question SNP policy or independence – which, of course, are one and the same thing. Alan Cochrane from the Telegraph wrote earlier this year about these toxic, often anonymous individuals.

Those who cannot take part in this great debate without questioning the patriotism, and often the parentage, of those who don’t agree with them are much more accurately described as Cyberscum. As such they are, of course, a legitimate target for those

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The SNP, equal marriage and a large dose of red herring

Equality campaigners across Scotland were quietly confident on Tuesday. It had been widely expected that the SNP Government would at least allow equality in civil marriage if not religious. After all, the measure had already secured the support of a majority of MSPs and the Equality and Human Rights Commission report suggest sthat it has the support of over 60% of Scots. The Government’s plans have, however, attracted vocal opposition from some religious organisations.

However, the Government announced that it was delaying the decision and setting up a Cabinet Committee to “further examine some particular issues of detail”. A …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments

Complaint upheld against SNP MSP caught using public funds to promote SNP candidates

Just a quick update on a story I brought to you last month about SNP MSP Rob Gibson. He used adverts, funded by the Scottish Parliament, for his surgeries which included some heavy duty promotion of his staff who at the time were standing as candidates for Highland Council. Both were subsequently elected.

 

At the time, Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott complained to the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body. The minutes of their most recent meeting have been published and show that:

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Opinion: Releasing Megrahi was the right thing to do

The release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the Lockerbie Bombing in which 270 people died,  on compassionate grounds is almost always described in the media as a controversial decision but I think it was the right one.

I accept the cynical case that his release was convenient to the Scottish government in many ways: it prevented his “martyrdom” in a Scottish prison; it may have helped the lucrative business of trading with Libya; it was helpful to the SNP government’s wider aims to
remind everyone about ways in which Scottish and English law (and, by extension, Scotland and England) …

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Willie Rennie’s first year as Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader

Tomorrow  it’s a year since Willie Rennie became Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader. What have been the highlights of that first year?

Well, on his first day, I interviewed him for Liberal Democrat Voice and you can still listen to that here.  He said that his priorities for his first hundred days were to work out what our message was, to sort out our organisation and to get out there and meet people, members and ordinary people on their doorsteps. So how has he done with these things and more?

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Lynne Featherstone’s honeycomb surprise

MPs’ offices get stacks and stacks of mail. Every day all manner of things arrive, from invitations, to big glossy brochures from various organisations, to letters from constituents, to replies from letters written to various Government bodies on behalf of local residents, to thank you cards when problems have been resolved.

Today, Lynne Featherstone’s constituency office received a special surprise in the post. Ben and Jerry’s, in conjunction with Stonewall, had produced a specially designed ice cream tub, complete with the Equality Minister’s photograph and the title Lynne Honeycomb, to show the company’s support for Equal Marriage. Sadly for her office …

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SNP caught using public funds to promote Council candidates

It’s not been an easy few weeks for the SNP. Even before yesterday’s revelations from Leveson, Alex Salmond was squirming when Willie Rennie confronted him over his close ties to Rupert Murdoch which led to him playing down the phone hacking controversy when writing for the Scottish Sun on Sunday.

They’ve also had to expel one of their MSPs, Bill Walker, who was accused of domestic violence against 3 former wives. Worse, last week’s Sunday Herald reports that Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon’s office, although not Ms Sturgeon directly, had been told of the allegations a full three years …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes – Scotland better off in Union

Every week, Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore writes a column for local newspapers in his constituency. These are the highlights of the last two editions. 

Afghanistan

 The loss of six young soldiers in Afghanistan last week shocked and saddened the whole country and was a grave reminder of the huge sacrifice made by our armed forces in one of the most dangerous places in the world. The work of our men and women in Afghanistan is absolutely vital for the security of the UK and the freedom of the Afghan people and the deaths of these young men remind us …

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Opinion: How do we answer the West Kensington question?

I swore blind that I would not get drawn into what promises to be a long running battle over Scottish independence but Simon Hughes’ call for an English Parliament to answer the West Lothian Question has prompted me to pen this piece.

Scottish Nationalists wrongly claim that there is an easy solution to the West Lothian Question – independence for Scotland. They fail to remember that we still have devolution in Northern Ireland, Wales and the London Assembly.  Independence for we Scots doesn’t make the issue go away for others.

We still refer to it as the West Lothian Question but it …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 28 Comments

Opinion: No is not enough; Scottish Liberal Democrats must embrace independence referendum

Alex Salmond’s SNP have a political mandate to hold a referendum on Scottish Independence. With an unprecedented majority in the Scottish Parliament and a manifesto pledge, the question is not if we have to confront this issue, but how.

Leaving aside arguments about the Scottish Parliament’s legal authority to legislate on an independence referendum (this can be resolved amicably through Westminster legislation) the Scottish Liberal Democrats must engage with the merits, not just of independence, but also “devo-max”.

Although Liberal Democrats generally support the Union, not all members are so-minded. Some (myself included) are ambivalent or notionally support Scottish independence, …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 23 Comments

Liberal Unionism in 2012

There’s no escaping history in our party, and current debates of nationalism, unionism and secession should prompt Liberal Democrats to delve back into the Gladstonian past.

The Liberal Party split over the Union. Gladstone favoured Home Rule for Ireland, Liberal Unionists didn’t, and ultimately joined the Conservative Party. This cemented the Conservative Party as the party of the Union, and it is a position the Conservative Party still holds.

The purpose of this article is, however, to challenge the Conservative Party’s stranglehold over being British.

The existing Conservative argument goes that a Conservative Britain is a Britainthat stands proud and takes no nonsense …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 26 Comments

Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism special: Dramatic independence referendum duel in London and Edinburgh

It’s been a torrid few days in Scottish politics.

Since the SNP won an overall majority in the Holyrood elections last year, there has been much talk of the independence referendum they pledged to have in the second half of their term. They have been tight-lipped on their plans.

There has been uncertainty on the legality of such a referendum. Even respected legal blogger Lallands Peat Worrier, himself an SNP supporter, has expressed that the terms of the Scotland Act may not allow it. And amid all the bluster of this blog post from senior SNP strategist Stephen Noon is …

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 17 Comments

Opinion: Pity the Scottish school-leavers when English fees rise

I’m a candidate in a council by-election in the Hillhead ward in Glasgow. I’m a Liberal Democrat, and the ward has a big old university slap bang in the middle of it. You’d think I’d be bricking it, wouldn’t you? After the tuition fees betrayal, students hate the Liberal Democrats, don’t they? Well they might do, but I’d like to explain how the real villains in Scotland are the SNP.

The SNP are in fact imposing thousands of pounds of up-front fees on each and every Scottish student and their families. “But the SNP have preserved free tuition!” I hear …

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 36 Comments

The SNP’s new electoral software is well worth a look

When talking about the party’s plans to move to a new election database package I made reference to the advantages the Labour and Conservative packages bring their parties. However if instead of dealing generally with the electorate you look at marshalling and motivating supporters and members, in some ways it is the SNP which is now setting the yardstick by which the Liberal Democrat packages should be judged.

The SNP has just bought in to a new service from the US called NationBuilder. As one informed commentator (Mick Fealty) has said:

I like it because, 1 it didn’t cost a

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

SNP ends legal challenge over election debate

The Press Gazette reports:

The Scottish National Party has dropped its legal challenge against the BBC’s decision not to allow its leader Alex Salmond to appear in its televised debate in the run-up to the general election.

A judicial review of the matter was scheduled to be heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

You can read the full story here.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Second police investigation into publication of postal vote information

During the week Alex Foster blogged about the case of Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy who is facing a police investigation following a tweet giving voting figures from a postal vote opening.* She subsequently deleted the tweet and apologised but we await the outcome of the police investigation.

I now hear there is a second police investigation taking place, this time into a Scottish blogger who published information that was apparently supplied by the SNP based on postal vote opening in several constituencies. The post (subsequently removed) appeared on SNP Tactical Voting and made reference to three different …

Posted in Election law | Also tagged | 18 Comments

Ofcom rejects SNP/Plaid objection to TV debate

A message from Ofcom brought this news today:

Ofcom today announced it has not upheld complaints received from the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru about The First Election Debate broadcast on ITV1 at 8.30pm on Thursday 15 April 2010.  The political parties complained that the programme was not impartial and was also misleading.

The complaints were adjudicated by the Ofcom Election Committee which may consider complaints during an election period where it is considered that a substantive issue is raised and where the complaint, if upheld, might require redress before polling day.

The Committee considered all the submissions and evidence before it, in …

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Will the Tories do a deal with the nationalists to freeze the Lib Dems out?

According to this morning’s FT, the Conservatives are so anxious not to have to work with the Liberal Democrats that they are eying a post-election deal with the SNP, Plaid Cymru and even the DUP. Worried that Cameron will fail to gain an overall majority, Tory strategists are drawing up contingency plans with almost anything on offer to avoid having to face up to electoral reform.

Both the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists have made it clear that their price for working with any of the three main parties at Westminster would be a relative increase in the funding allocated to Scotland and Wales. The DUP are likewise going to seek more money for the Northern Ireland Assembly. This will not be easy for a government attempting to reduce the country’s huge deficit, whilst attemping not to upset its shire heartlands.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Why Vote … – the other books reviewed

I’ve already reviewed two of the titles in the new seven book series from biteback: Why Vote Liberal Democrat and Why Vote. But what to make of the other fives titles – covers Labour, Conservative, Green, SNP and Plaid? (Although a UKIP book was also publicised, it never got published as UKIP failed to produce the necessary copy.)

Both the Labour and Conservative books are ‘unofficial’ in the sense that they are by prominent party members, but ones who have no official role in the party’s policy or campaigning decisions – Rachel Reeves, Labour …

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Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism #14: As a liberal republican sees it

Last week, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, launched the Referendum (Scotland) Bill consultation. The SNP has few aspirations, beyond independence for its own sake. I can’t help but think of them as someone courting a reluctant bride. They keep asking, and keep cajoling, hoping that eventually the electorate will say yes, and let them take them up the aisle.

On Friday, Nicola Sturgeon, who faced parliament about her own troubles earlier in the week, said “this isn’t about what the SNP wants, it’s about what the people of Scotland want”. Well, she’s wrong. This consultation actually is …

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

Controversial Scottish blogger arrested

From the BBC:

The former aide to Education Secretary Mike Russell, who left his post after a row over an internet blog, has been charged with breach of the peace.

Mark MacLachlan, 47, quit his role after it emerged he had used the blog to smear political rivals…

It is understood police took the action in response to emails allegedly from the blogger to his former boss.

You can read the full story here.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism #12

Yesterday was St Andrew’s Day, a special day of celebration in Scotland. If Iain Smith, Liberal Democrat MSP for NE Fife which includes the town of St Andrews had his way, it would have been a full public holiday, not just the half day that civil servants can take if they want that the SNP have delivered in Government.

There’s a lot going on in Scottish politics at the moment. Here are just a few snippets:

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Daily View 2×2: 30 November 2009

Welcome to a new week, and the anniversary of the end of the invasion of Iraq … first time round, that is – Operation Desert Storm officially finished in 1995. And happy birthday to David Mamet, Billy Idol, Lorraine Kelly and Gary Lineker and Gael García Bernal. On with the day …

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

Richmond Park: Lib Dem Hold (Jonathan Calder)

… some will ask how extraordinary personal wealth can be squared with [his’ talk in an

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 6 Comments

Tavish Scott on devolution, Donald Trump, liberalism and more

At the weekend, the Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Tavish Scott gave an interview to a group of Lib Dem bloggers meeting at the party HQ in Clifton Terrace for an ‘unconference’.

Devolution and independence referendum

I kicked off with one of the main issues in the news at the moment: should there be  a referendum on Scottish independence, and hence should the Liberal Democrats be supporting one?

Tavish was scathing about the idea of a referendum, calling it an SNP trick which the party shouldn’t go along with. His argument was that there is one pro-independence party and there is a vote coming …

Posted in Blogger Interviews and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism #11: Lessons from Glasgow North East

Labour’s crushing victory in the Glasgow North East By-election was hailed by the victor Willie Bain as a resounding endorsement of Gordon Brown and a “a resounding ‘No’ to David Cameron.” Well, maybe in Glasgow North East, but I suspect extrapolating the Labour victory in this constituency as having huge implications across the UK political scene would be foolish.

The SNP said throughout the Glasgow North East campaign that the by-election was a two horse race and, after the nationalist victory in Glasgow East last year, victory for them was possible. A case of all too predictable SNP hope over reality. Over the years, the SNP has had a bit of a habit of sensing victory where none exists. Remember the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election, so comprehensively won by Willie Rennie? If you’d have believed Alex Salmond a day or so before polling day, SNP victory was certain. In fact, they came a poor third.

Posted in Op-eds, Parliamentary by-elections and Scotland | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Scottish Lib Dem conference: your LDV reader

On Saturday, LDV reported the news that the Scottish Lib Dems were uniting behind leader Tavish Scott’s opposition to the SNP referendum on independence, ahead of a special private conference for party members. And so it came to pass, as the BBC reports:

Tavish Scott has consistently opposed a referendum, but some divisions within the party have emerged and the issue was debated in a closed session at the party’s autumn conference in Dunfermline, Fife, on Saturday.

Senior Lib Dem MSP Ross Finnie, who has been asked to lead a consultation with members about the party’s stance,

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Times: Tavish Scott expected to see off Lib Dem rebellion on opposition to referendum

A week ago, LDV asked the question, Is it time for the Scottish Lib Dems to back an independence referendum?, amid suggestions in The Sunday Times that there was “a growing rebellion within the party’s ranks over its opposition to Alex Salmond’s Referendum Bill.” Today’s Times reports that Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott will win overwhelming backing for the leadership line:

Senior Lib Dems were increasingly confident that a minority of “referendum rebels” would not succeed in forcing Mr Scott into a U-turn that could pose serious question marks over his continued leadership.

The issue of the Scottish government’s

Posted in Scotland | Also tagged , , and | 12 Comments
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