Willie Rennie on the roar of the Ginger Rodent

Never forget what Chris Grayling said to SNP MP Pete Wishart on Tuesday night. Here’s the exact quote from Hansard:

Let me also say to him and his colleagues that I regard their presence in the House as a great asset. I would much rather have them than 57 Liberal Democrats.

That would have nothing to do with the Liberal Democrats spending five years making life very difficult for the Tories and stopping them from brining in the sorts of measures that give to the rich while taking from the poorest and youngest at the most difficult stages in their lives as they did in yesterday’s budget.

Grayling is quite happy to see 56 powerless nationalists opposite him. They can change nothing, while Danny Alexander ensured that every single budget brought money back to Scotland, for example. Yesterday’s gives not one penny in Barnett Consequentials for the Scottish Government to spend.

As Willie Rennie put it on Facebook yesterday:

Turns out the roar of the ginger rodent was louder than the impotent nationalist lion.

He cited Danny Alexander’s interview with the Daily Politics on Tuesday which you can watch below. Danny said:

In the end what you have is Scottish Nationalists in Scotland totally impotent in terms of what happens in the UK.

 Frankly this is the first time since devolution that there hasn’t been a Scot in the Treasury – in a Cabinet position.

I think Scotland in a way has less say over what happens in this country without one minister in the Treasury even though it’s got 56 SNP MPs.

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  • David Faggiani 9th Jul '15 - 4:35pm

    Yeah, once again, I personally don’t think Grayling meant it like that. It’s a matter of interpretation, but I think he was essentially just saying ‘Lib Dems are rubbish, nyer nyer nyer’. Cheap Parliamentary joke, but us trying to turn it into a rallying cry is a bit silly.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 9th Jul '15 - 5:29pm

    What, David, you don’t think that the Tories know that if they were 57 Lib Dems, they wouldn’t have their majority? In fact, if there were 21 Lib Dems, they wouldn’t have their majority.

    I’m not suggesting that we use it as a rallying cry on every occasion, and there’s a limit to how often we can say “but we stopped them doing that in government” if we don’t have our own mood music, but, rather like the “I’d govern like a proper Tory if it weren’t for the Lib Dems” comment by Cameron, it’s indicative of the Tory mindset.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 9th Jul '15 - 7:36pm

    @Bruce: Who was the most effective voice in standing up for Scotland this week? Not the 56, but Alistair. The SNP is not synonymous with Scotland. They have virtually all the MPs on half of the vote which is simply not fair.

  • Seriously, I don’t think Danny Alexander is a good poster boy for your party. And as for that Yellow Box, well! Less said the better!

  • For me he will go down in history as the last Lib Dem to defend the Bedroom Tax. I do not get the impression from this interview that he is coming back and I certainly hope not.

  • Osborne aims to present this budget as demonstration of Conservative ‘moderation’ without the need for any Lib Dems. I ought to be surprised at those on these pages who fall for Osborne’s shtick, but actually it is all too predictable.

    As high profile deputies, Danny Alexander and Nick Clegg became the foremost fall guys, often placed in positions where they were obliged to defend Tory policies. In fact Danny Alexander provided cover for Vince Cable. Without Danny Alexander Vince would have had to take the brunt of the flak on the economy. Whatever Danny Alexander’s merits or demerits as a media performer, I think anyone in that position was on a hiding to nothing.

    I am somewhat surprised to hear Danny say that he will not take a place in th Lords. I would not have begrudged him ennoblement; he is relatively young, so could serve for many yers and has an insiders insight into government and the Treasury. He could do a useful job, in fact rather more useful than thinking of standing again.

  • The concepts that the Liberal Democrats held back the Tories from their worst excesses or that, conversely, they enabled policies that the Tories could never have passed on their own are not mutually exclusive. Both can be true at the same time.

    But in truth, both concepts obscure the real failure of the Lib Dems between 2010 and 2015. That was a failure to reinvent the art of Parliamentary politics, to get rid of the tired concepts of party opposition and “collective responsibility,” and instead promote a fluid, issue based politics, in which the Liberal Democrats could shepherd through good, positive policies by creating ad hoc coalitions with MPs of any party that would support them. Instead, Nick Clegg & Company sat on the Government benches and played the same game as always. That was a huge disappointment and a lost opportunity. I hope the next leader will think a bit about reenvisioning the role of a parliamentary political party.

  • ” “I’d govern like a proper Tory if it weren’t for the Lib Dems” comment by Cameron”

    I’d always heard that this was Cameron’s ‘cover’ for not giving in to the very right wing element of his party.

  • “We have to be the serious, grown up and honest party that is above the nonsense”

    Yes! Please let us have one party which is above the point scoring – just because it is the right thing to do. I voted Lib Dem in 2010 because I thought you would fight for ‘ a new kind of politics’. Please try to go back to that narrative.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Jul '15 - 9:18am


    When do you think reform of the House of Lords will come?
    Do you think the Scottish Parliament should have a second chamber of appointed and hereditary members at some stage?
    We should also acknowledge Danny Alexander’s help in the Eastleigh by-election

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