Today at Scottish Conference

After yesterday’s  keynote speeches by Alistair Carmichael and Nick Clegg, and debate on consumer advocacy, education and printing drug-related deaths, Scottish Conference will hear speeches from Sal Brinton and Willie Rennie and debate Brexit, maternal mental health and run a consultation session on housing.

Here’s the full agenda.

09.30-12.00 Morning session

Party AGM

Speech by Sal Brinton

SC5: Fighting for our place in the UK and Europe

EM2: Emergency motion

14:40-17.00 Afternoon session

SC6: Maternal mental health

Speech by Willie Rennie

Consultative session on housing

Party awards

On the fringe, RNIB Scotland  will be talking about their manifesto for the local elections, the Educational Institute of Scotland will e looking at their priorities in education for the coming year and the Law Society of Scotland will be looking at how to build Brexit.

Alongside that, there are training sessions for the Council elections.

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  • Apparently Rennie is making the “emotional case” for staying in the UK. The Scots Lib Dems are 5th behind the Greens. They are not really moving forward. They need to differentiate themselves from the Conseravtives and Labour on the UK issue. I would suggest they go for a form of independence beyond devolution, perhaps everything except maybe foreign affairs. Just a thought radical but it would get them more votes than they might lose. Times have moved on, at present they seem stuck in the past.

  • It wouldn’t get us votes from the nationalists, nor would it get us votes from the unionists.

    What you appear to be suggesting is Full Fiscal Autonomy, which would be an economic disaster for Scotland. To be fair, it would make the most staunch nationalists realise that independence would be terrible, but only after the Scots have suffered.

    As Willie said very effectively in his interview for BBC yesterday, the LibDems are about putting the country first. I don’t think such a policy would gain us votes, but if it did, to what end?

  • More votes means more Councillors, more Assembly members, more MPs. Good enough for me.

  • Why would there be more votes for LibDems? The vocal nationalists will of course try to get the LibDems to ditch the Union, claiming it will turn around our party’s fortunes, but those are false promises that won’t help the party or Scotland. The nationalists would quickly claim we weren’t to be trusted, and our traditional voters (like me) would be alienated.

    This is akin to the Labour party pandering to the 3rd of their voters who voted Brexit and ignoring the 2/3rds that voted to stay in the EU, except the Scottish people already rejected independence.

    I don’t want to vote for the SNP or Greens (to whom I used to give my 2nd vote when I still thought they cared about the environment), and I don’t want to vote for the Tories. I’m loathe to vote for Labour under Corbyn, but if the LibDems pursued an independence agenda, I’d be voting Labour if there is no suitable independent.

    At present, the LibDems are the only party that vaguely suit my political interests, and you are effectively suggesting abandoning people like me? Cheers.

  • What I am saying is the the Scottish Liberal Democrats are in a very big hole. I would suggest that simply pursuing the present agenda will leave them in that hole. They gained when the were different, devolution ahead of its time, Iraq etc. For the life of me I can see nothing different at the moment. This is the opportunity to do and say something that is radical, different and clearly identifies them in the mind of the electorate. I am suggesting one course, no doubt there are others but we never hear them. Unlike in England arguing for Europe is part of the SNP project. So the Scots Lib Dems are submerged there. I suggest they be brave and break out of the impasse and they can probably only do that with a different, distinct, original vision and agenda. Same Old Same Old takes you nowhere, except 5th place.

  • Katharine Pindar 11th Mar '17 - 10:31pm

    theakes, your comments seem to emphasise, we must move on, not be stuck in the past. I don’t think you saw my reply to you on March 9, near the end of the comments on my article (This is our time now, etc), where you were arguing that we must never again go into a coalition, and I was putting the contrary point of view because I think it is our only route to a share of power in 2020. I relate that to this present discussion, because you are saying that the Scottish Lib Dems need to find a more radical, different solution now. I claim no expertise at all about Scottish politics, but I listened to the interview with Willie Rennie, which I thought sounded positive and constructive, and he seemed to be fully behind party policy of trying to get a second referendum when the full ills of Brexit become apparent, and remaining in the EU.

    There was such an emotional commitment by David Cameron et al to having Scotland stay in the Union, to keeping the UK as it is by defeating the Scots Nats in their referendum, that I am continually surprised by the apparent indifference of Theresa May’s government to the renewed threat of the Scots Nats having another go. To me the spirit of ‘Team GB’, as shown in the Olympics, is important to revive, and preventing the real possibility of Scottish independence is a vital reason for opposing Brexit.

  • John Mitchell 12th Mar '17 - 9:46pm


    “They need to differentiate themselves from the Conseravtives and Labour on the UK issue.”

    The question I would have to that is why? Would that improve our polling position? I’m very doubtful that it would and far more important to me is consistency and fighting for what we believe in. The cause of liberalism does not have anything remotely in common with Scottish nationalism or any other form of nationalism.

    The SNP and the Greens to a far less extent have that vote secured anyway. Even though the Greens believe in Scottish independence it’s not really helped them that much. They’ve got six MSPs and will do whatever the SNP wants (ie budget). It’s hardly power brokering stuff because they don’t appear to want to use it.

    I see Willie Rennie would like to see any future independence referendum blocked. Now, I don’t think it’s reasonable to put some sort of indefinite block on it if that’s what the majority wants. However, as the SNP said many times, the referendum was ‘once in a generation’ and they should be held to that. Our difficulty now is that this position is inconsistent as we want another vote on the European Union. That’s fine for the party in England and Wales, but in Scotland it’s not a viable position to take if we’re going to say that there should not be another referendum on Scottish independence anytime soon, which I would agree with.

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