Tag Archives: tavish scott

An island by-election as Tavish Scott steps down for job at Scottish Rugby

Former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott has announced that he is leaving the Scottish Parliament to take up a job as head of External Affairs with Scottish Rugby.  He’s one of a handful of MSPs remaining who were first elected in 1999. Anyone want to have a go at naming the rest?

Tavish led the Scottish Party from 2008-2011 and had three ministerial posts in the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalitions. In 2001, he resigned as a Minister for Parliament after refusing to support the Executive in a vote on fishing because of the impact on his constituents.

He came back into Government in 2003 and served as Deputy Minister for Finance, entering the Cabinet as Minister for Transport after Jim Wallace’s resignation as Deputy First Minister in 2005.

Tavish said:

Representing the people of Shetland has been my life for 20 years. It has been an enormous privilege and honour to have been Shetland’s MSP since the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999.

I want to thank people the length and breadth of the islands for their support over the years. The bread and butter of representing people is helping solve problems and making their case to government, organisations and businesses. I have always enjoyed the challenge of serving Shetland and it is the part of the job that I will, without doubt, miss the most.

There have been many highlights, wonderful moments and intense political drama that I would not have missed for anything. I leave the Liberal Democrats at an exciting time in the party’s development. There have been excellent recent results in the recent European elections, improved poll ratings and there is genuine optimism about the future for the party.

So on this, the 20th anniversary week of the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament, it is the right time for me to change direction.

I am absolutely delighted to be joining Scottish Rugby at this incredibly exciting time for the sport in Scotland and across the world.  To have the opportunity to work for Scottish Rugby is a huge challenge and one that I cannot wait to begin. I will miss the cut and thrust of politics and the people I have met and represented for 20 years, but there can be no better new beginning than working for Scottish Rugby.

Willie Rennie paid tribute to his decades of service:

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Tavish Scott slams SNP’s “slap in the face” to Scottish farmers

You really could not make it up. Farmers have been struggling for months because of delays in getting their CAP payments to them. For months the failures of an £178 million IT system have stopped farmers being paid, causing them serious cash flow issues.

The SNP Government, after too long, issued them with emergency cash advances.

If those advances turn out to be more than the payment they were due, it has now emerged that farmers will have just 7 days to repay the difference or be charged a whopping rate of interest.

Given that they are in the mess …

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The Lib Dem week in Scotland

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TWelcome to our weekly roundup of what the Scottish Liberal Democrats, led by Willie Rennie, have been getting up to. This week, our MSPs have had a lot to say about flooding, policing, A & E waiting times “Thatcherite” testing, housing and fostering. Oh, and Alex Cole-Hamilton and Edinburgh West are back, bigger than ever.

The week started with Willie Rennie’s Bright, green, liberal vision:

I will set out why four key liberal values should be at the heart of the next parliamentary session. They are that every individual should be free to achieve their potential, that we should stand with the weak against the strong, that power is safer when it is shared and that we are trustees of the world and must pass on a sustainable legacy.

Flooding: when will the SNP Government help?

Alison McInnes criticised the Scottish government’s lack of response to the flooding in the North East:

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LibLink: Tavish Scott: Principles and warm wit with a highland accent

Shetland MSP, who started out his career, like Danny Alexander, as a party’s press officer back in the 80s. That involved working with a young Charles Kennedy and he writes about that experience in a tribute written for the Yorkshire Post:

On one such occasion the MPs joined a demonstration with students at Inverness College. Charles spoke and debated with the students and had them eating out of his hand. They laughed at his jokes and nodded at his serious observations. We then drove to Portree. The next day, on the three-hour drive back to the Highland capital, Charles gave me a political tour de force on the Highlands, nationalism and Britain. The lessons of that discussion stay with me to this day.

Fast forward to 1999 when Tavish was an MSP:

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UKIP MEP calls equal marriage supporters “equality Nazis” and defends UKIP’s collaboration with party whose leader praised Hitler

Six months ago, Scotland had an actual farmer as an MEP. George Lyon’s knowledge of farming and rural issues was a massive asset to Scotland’s representation in Europe.

Not that I’m bitter, well, maybe a bit, but his replacement, UKIP’s David Coburn, who lives in London, has been telling the Huffington Post hat equal marriage supporters are ‘Equality Nazis”:

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Rennie chooses Michael Moore and Tavish Scott to represent Liberal Democrats on Scotland Devolution Commission

Willie Rennie announced two very different Liberal Democrat representatives for the Scotland Devolution Commission to be headed by Lord Smith of Kelvin. On one hand you have former Secretary of State, co-architect of the Edinburgh Agreement, statesman, diplomat. On the other you have plain-speaking, uncompromising former leader Tavish Scott. They will be quite a formidable double act,  a parliamentary good cop/bad cop. 

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LibLink: Tavish Scott: Cuts plan is Osborne masterstroke

Well, we almost choked on our tea here in LDV Towers when we read that headline. Then we remembered that Tavish is hardly best buddies with the Tories, nor with the idea of the Coalition.  What was his latest article in the Scotsman all about? Well, possibly getting his wooden spoon out and stirring it a bit. This article was even quoted in Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions by Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm.

Tavish looks at Osborne’s assertion that there must be £25 billion further spending cuts:

Fast forward to this week and Chancellor Osborne is positioning his party against both Labour

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LibLink: Tavish Scott: One party rule is harming Holyrood

This week, Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick put forward proposals which she said would strengthen the Parliament’s role in holding the Scottish Government to account as the Herald reports:

Under her plan, conveners of Holyrood’s 20 committees would be elected by their fellow MSPs, rather than installed by their party chiefs.

The move, which would be one of the most far-reaching reforms of the Parliament since its creation in 1999, would help remove party politics from the often sensitive work of committees, she believes.

Ms Marwick also threatened to put time limits on exchanges at First Minister’s Questions.

Trouble is, her proposals kind

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LibLink: Tavish Scott MSP: Scots should put money on devo plus.

Tavish Scott has been writing for the Scotsman, comparing the necessary treaty for a currency union which would be required between an independent Scotland and the UK, and the idea of “Devo Plus” which, he argues, would give the Scottish Government more powers than independence.

First he tackles the realities of that treaty for currency union:

With the removal of political representation at Westminster following a Yes vote, the flexibility of a parliament will need to be replaced with a treaty. This will be neither flexible nor short. It will have to cover all aspects of monetary union starting with the role

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LibLink…Tavish Scott: Courting election woe with party first

Nobody ever goes near a court without there being severe stress involved. Whether it’s for a criminal matter, because you’re in debt or going through a horrendous family situation, being able to access the justice system easily is critical. The SNP Government in Scotland seeks to centralise court proceedings, meaning long journeys and increased pressure on already over capacity city courts. Last week a Holyrood committee, with a majority of SNP MSPs, backed the Government’s approach. What was striking was that they all spoke up for their own local facilities before voting to close them.

Tavish Scott used his Scotsman column …

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LibLink..Tavish Scott: Our difficult decisions easier than in US

Tavish Scott, Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, writes in today’s Scotsman contrasting the battle over gun control in the US to the consultation in Scotland over licensing of airguns.

Of the situation in the States in the wake of the awful Sandy Hook shootings last Christmas, Tavish writes:

But Obama senses a moment. The Connecticut shooting was so awful that pressure on Washington lawmakers is now intense. Last week, the president met Sandy Hook families who lost children and then flew them in Air Force 1 to Washington DC. These parents then met lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They asked for mandatory background

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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 …

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LibLink…Tavish Scott MSP: Eastleigh could be a fresh start

In the post Eastleigh celebratory glow, Shetland MSP used his Scotsman column to issue a sharp challenge on the economy and welfare reform to Liberal Democrat MPs.

First, he praised the party for the way we had come together to win against the odds.

 A personal party scandal was badly handled from beginning to end. The Tory press scented blood and threw themselves at the Lib Dems.

But the Lib Dem by-election machine still has a kick. A win was needed and secured. Morale is on the up and belief returns. This will grow if Lib Dem Westminster MPs now get really stuck

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Scott ensures scolding for SNP Government

The BBC has the story of how the  SNP Government received a ticking off from the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick yesterday. They’ve developed a bit of an unfortunate habit of leaking reports and the like to the press before sending them to Parliament, in the style of the excesses of the Labour Westminster government. This infuriated Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, Tavish Scott, not known for his patience in dealing with the Government’s shortcomings at the best of times.

He raised a Point of Order in the Parliament yesterday, asking the Presiding Officer to intervene “in defence of …

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LibLink…Tavish Scott…SNP’s mistakes will be their downfall

Writing in today’s Scotsman, Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland lists a number of mistakes made by the SNP Government in Scotland. The one most in the news at the moment is Audit Scotland’s report and concerns about the number of people marked socially unavailable for treatment which enabled them to be removed from the waiting times target.

On that scandal, Tavish said:

 It is now clear that health boards across Scotland were under enormous government pressure to meet waiting list targets. In 2007, the new health secretary declared that she would end the previous government’s waiting-time fiddle. Nicola Sturgeon did. The

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LibLink…Tavish Scott: Community councils empower the people

One of the big themes in Scottish politics in recent years has been the Labour and SNP impulse to centralise anything that stands still for long enough. The SNP Government, against all good advice and much opinion, recently merged Scotland’s 8 police forces into one.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrats under Willie Rennie’s leadership have been emphasising giving power to local communities. Tavish Scott, MSP for Shetland writes in the Scotsman about how giving more power to community councils could help deliver the sorts of services communities need, including schools.He cites the example of a plan to close a secondary school …

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Tavish Scott: Christmas would be cancelled if Santa had to pay these delivery charges

DSC_0326In recent years I have resorted to doing virtually all of my Christmas shopping online. I’ve never been a fan of trudging round the shops at the best of times, and the festive crowds bring out the worst in me.

It’s lucky that I live in the central belt of Scotland. If I were to live up north in the rural highlands or the northern or western isles, I’d be looking at ridiculous surcharges for delivery.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott is fed up with this state of affairs and has put retailers and

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Jo Swinson ensures fair treatment for supermarket suppliers

It’s a key liberal principle that large, powerful organisations whether government or private companies, should not be allowed to abuse that power, to treat those they deal with unfairly.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats have been so keen to set up a Groceries Adjudicator to ensure that the large supermarkets give a fair deal to their suppliers. The Adjudicator will have the power to arbitrate between retailers and suppliers, and

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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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LibLink: Tavish Scott – Clegg’s stance gives Lib Dems new hope

Former Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott has an article in The Scotsman this week looking at what he terms hyperbolically Nick Clegg’s “ripping up the UK government’s coalition agreement” after the Tories’ decision to block Lords reform:

For the party, this was a bitter pill to swallow. Many people were attracted to the Lib Dems because of constitutional reform. A Scottish Parliament, a Bill of Rights and elections using fairer voting systems are the DNA of most Lib Dems.

Getting rid of the unelected House of Lords is part of the package of moving Britain into the 21st century. Reform has

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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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Interview: Willie Rennie – The Liberal Democrats are not easily led….

This was the scene in the Fife coastal village of North Queensferry today where, in the shadow of the Forth Bridges, Willie Rennie talked to the media after being confirmed as the new leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. He replaces Tavish Scott, who resigned 10 days ago in the wake of devastating Scottish Parliament election results and was the only candidate when nominations closed at noon today.

The venue was symbolic. Five years ago, on the day of the Dunfermline by-election, the Courier, the …

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Opinion: A Scottish candidate’s view

Days have now passed since the last result for the Scottish Parliament was declared. At least that provided a bit of happy news; my local colleague and former Dunfermline MP Willie Rennie was elected as the last MSP from the Mid Scotland and Fife regional list. But frankly, what went on in the 18 hours prior to that was not much short of a horror show – I never thought that “Losing Deposits” would ring true again.

Normally, after a drubbing like that, attention turns to the campaign itself and where it all went wrong. This time, though, there’s no real …

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LDVideo: Tavish Scott in Scottish Lib Dems’ latest election broadcast

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Michael Moore writes… An ambitious liberal agenda

A year ago I thought I travelled a lot on the campaign trail in the general election. With a constituency of about 1,500 square miles it was of course a necessity.

But this year I really know how long that trail can be.

Supporting colleagues across Scotland in the build up to the Parliamentary election on 5th May, I have covered over 1,500 miles in ten days. Many others have done the same, or indeed more, but I doubt many have seen the spectacular contrasts in scenery and political geography that I have enjoyed in that time.

Scottish Liberal Democrats are fighting hard …

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A whistlestop tour of Scottish Conference

Scottish Liberal Democrats gathered in Perth last weekend for their Spring Conference.  I thought that LDV readers might appreciate edited highlights of a lively weekend.

It was a bit strange to turn up to find a huge area around the Perth Concert Hall cordoned off, airport style security and Police everywhere.  We’re not used to this sort of thing.

Leader Tavish Scott’s keynote speech hammered home our USP in the forthcoming Scottish election campaign – only the Scottish Liberal Democrats will speak out against a political power grab. SNP, Tories and Labour advocate merging eight police forces to just one. Tavish also …

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Scotland gets a better budget thanks to the Liberal Democrats

I’m so proud to be a Liberal Democrat today

As both a member of staff with over ten years service and a party member even longer, the last eight months or so have often been difficult with the media developing an acid tongue against us many times.

But yesterday in Scotland we had some exciting news.

Yesterday was the day when the Scottish Parliament approved the budget.

It is a better budget because of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, after securing concessions to the budget on college bursaries and places, modern apprenticeships and support for Post Offices across Scotland.

This is a better budget. It’s …

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New Year messages from Welsh and Scottish Lib Dem leaders

From Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats:

2010 has been a challenging year for many. There are some positive signs but the economic recovery will be slow and uncertain.

The Liberal Democrats made the right decision to be part of turning things around in government. Of course, in government, some decisions will be controversial, particularly in a time when there is not as much money as we would like. But having a stable majority government to steer us through difficult times is of vital importance.

Coalition government is a new experience for many in England. In Wales, as Scotland, it

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Nicol Stephen to stand down in May

Nicol Stephen MSP has announced he is standing down after nearly three decades in public life, first being elected a councillor, then an MP and latterly an MSP for Aberdeen South.

This isn’t the first time that Nicol has taken the Scottish political world by surprise with an unexpected announcement – just over two years ago he stood down as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats deciding to put his family first. Nicol and his wife Caris have four children – Macleod, 15, Mirrhyn, 13, Mharni, 9, and Drummond, 6.

I recall the day really well and my phone was buzzing …

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Jo Swinson new Deputy Leader of Scottish Liberal Democrats

Jo Swinson MP with new Bearsden South Councillor Ashay Ghai

Jo Swinson MP has been announced as the new Deputy Leader of the Scottish Lib Dems. Michael Moore MP, now Secretary of State for Scotland, is stepping down after seven years as Deputy Leader.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats website quotes Jo:

After just four months in opposition, Labour has gone back to the cheap tricks and opportunism of the 1980s.

In office, Labour ran up £23,000 of debt for every man,

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