WATCH: Two very different interviews for Willie Rennie

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie faced two very different interviews this week. The first was with STV political editor Bernard Ponsonby.

Willie said he thought we were going to grow because of our record as the strong liberal voice and because of our positive, uplifting plan for Scotland with its transformational investment in education and investment in mental health.

Before he was able to talk about all these plans though, he faced quite a grilling over coalition mistakes (he said the Bedroom Tax was one which should never have happened) and over Alistair Carmichael (he said he would still vote for him despite his mistake, which was an aberration and out of character for the Orkney & Shetland MP).

Ponsonby gave him a really hard time over tuition fees in Scotland. Liberal Democrats were responsible for their abolition, against coalition partner Labour’s wishes. He tried to make out that us supporting the Graduate Endowment – which was not a tuition fees, which didn’t go to pay for lectures or learning but simply to enable more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to university – and then voting to abolish it (when circumstances allowed) was inconsistent. Willie managed to get across that the Liberal Democrats had been the drivers behind free education.

He said that he is not interested in coalitions. He wants to be in a position where he can work constructively to implement liberal policies but to oppose things like SNP attacks on civil liberties and centralisation. Given that his small team of five managed to do more than any other party to change SNP policy over the last five years, that’s a pretty sensible plan.

This was by far the most challenging interview that Willie has faced so far, but he came out of it very well.

You can watch the whole thing here.

In contrast, his interview with Gary, Tank Commander, a Scottish comedy character created by Greg McHugh, was a completely different environment. All the Scottish leaders have faced his unique style of conversation and, to be fair, Nicola, Kezia and Ruth all made me laugh as much as Willie did. I realise that some of this may be lost in translation, but enjoy anyway. If you want to compare him with the others, their interviews are on BBC Scotland’s Facebook page. Can you just imagine Cameron, Corbyn and Farron doing something like this?

A new comedy duo in the making? Maybe.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • I don’t suppose Willie could expect anything else from the first ever Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate….. who fought the Govan by-election back in 1988. Ponsonby got 4.1% and came fourth…. Jim Sillars took the seat for the SNP.

  • I wish to say that ,as a Christian, I found the section of the interview ridiculing healing , offensive. This is not what I expect to hear from politicians trying to win votes. I expect that a number of Christian voters will be reconsidering where to put their vote after witnessing this.

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