Willie, Christine and Jo celebrate Scottish Lib Dem wins

I could cheerfully have swung for Willie Rennie on Friday afternoon when he suggested an event on Sunday morning to celebrate our 4 Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs. I mean, it’s the first Sunday morning in 7 weeks most  of us could have had a lie-in. I thought nobody would want to go and it would be a disaster.

I was wrong. It was well-attended, there were broadcast and print journalists there and the atmosphere was great. There are, however,  two very important lessons to learn from the event, but more of that later. A huge crowd of people turned up at Jo Swinson’s campaign office in Milngavie. One person brought his two gorgeous and friendly  dogs, Caleb and Bella, who looked resplendent in their Jo Swinson rosettes.

Christine Jardine and Alex Cole-Hamilton came across from Edinburgh to join in the celebrations. Christine used to live in Bearsden and told how it was Jo who had inspired her to get involved in politics and stand for Parliament.

Now, back to those two lessons. The first is that Willie needs to learn that if he’d doing a photocall that involves spraying cava around the place Formula 1 style, he really shouldn’t wear light coloured trousers. The second lesson is for me. If you’re using Facebook live, you need to hold your iPhone portrait, not landscape.

Don’t let that stop you enjoying their words though. Just close your eyes.

Willie talked about Lib Dem plans to seek support across the Parliament from all parties for a motion that would rule out a referendum on independence for the rest of the Parliamentary term. He said:

The SNP suffered big losses on Thursday and their plan for another independence referendum was the big reason for that result. To lose 21 MPs including the former First Minister and Deputy Leader as well as facing a 13 percentage point drop in the vote was an event that requires a significant response.

To respond appropriately we need a vote in the Scottish Parliament to push any independence referendum far into the future. That is why I have written to Alex Neil, Kenny Macaskill and Patrick Harvie to secure their support for such a vote.

With their support I am sure others in the parliament would come on board too. We unanimity with Holyrood we could bring the country together after the divisions of the last few years.

Scotland needs to come together and this is a big opportunity to do that.

Jo said she was delighted that we have a much more diverse group of MPs in Parliament. She says that is important given the nature of the Parliament – relying on the DUP with their reactionary views on climate change, women’s rights and LGBT rights is not the right thing to do.

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

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18 Comments

  • Thomas Robinson 11th Jun '17 - 3:23pm

    Reality checks:

    SNP 35 seats Combined Opposition 24 seats

    Specific to Lib Dems:

    SNP 35 Lib Dems 4

    SNP % support 37% Lib Dem % support 7.5%

  • Charlie Conlon 11th Jun '17 - 3:37pm

    SNP 3%, LibDems 7.4%.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Jun '17 - 5:03pm

    The Sunday Politics (BBC1) said that Scottish Tory Ruth Davidson is an MP, but did not say in which constituency. Whisper it quietly, but could it be that they are wrong and that Ruth Davidson is an MSP?

  • Grumps trolling again. We increased our Scottish representation by 300%. What’s not to celebrate. Go figure the grumps.

  • Allan Brame 11th Jun '17 - 7:30pm

    And within a cruel whisker of 400%

  • It was a good night, and we’ve got three new(ish) MPs who will represent us in Parliament and to the wider public. It’s very disappointing we didn’t end up with 5 MPs, but we know where to target if we have another one of these soon.

  • @ Fiona “It was a good night” ( in Scotland)

    Yes, in terms of three new MP’s – but in terms of vote share I’m afraid it was a dreadful night. Down from 7.5% to 6.8% even though the Greens only contested three seats.

    My biggest grief is in the Borders where, in a seat held for fifty years, we dropped from 22,230 votes (45.4%) only seven years ago to 2,482 votes 4.7% and fourth place. I’m sorry to be personal, but the Coalition and Mr Clegg’s treatment of Michael Moore triggered this dismal outcome.

    East Lothian is another example – down from second place (11,363 votes, 24.8%) in 2005 to 1,738 votes and 3.1% now.

    The Coalition decision in 2010 has a lot to answer for in getting the party into this possibly terminal cul de sac.

  • Thomas Robinson 12th Jun '17 - 11:13am

    AND your candidates in most of Scotland were paper candidates with your party leadership urging that the SNP be defeated.

    You were the Tories little helpers, so that while the Lib Dems went from 1 to 3 seats your supposed major opponents went from 1 Tory seat to 13.

    You are going to end up in due course like the Lib Dems in Wales, without any seats at all in Scotland. There is no future for a third and very minor unionist party in Scotland.

  • Thomas Robinson 12th Jun '17 - 11:15am

    Sorry. I underestimated your “triumph”. 1 to 4 seats.

  • Robert O'Riordan 12th Jun '17 - 4:48pm

    David – what do you think needs to happen or be done locally and or nationally to get the East Lothian vote back up to 2005 levels or higher?

  • Robert O'Riordan 12th Jun '17 - 4:51pm

    Thomas – why is there no future for three “unionist” or even three federalist parties in Scotland. How many parties do you think there is room for a Holyrood and why? Ditto Westminster.

  • While I can understand the delight at going three new MPs elected in Scotland, it should be pointed out that the primary beneficiaries of the “Let’s form a de facto Unionist coalition and beat up the SNP” were: a) the new Scottish Conservative MPs, b) the Conservatives in Westminster (courtesy of those new Scottish Conservative MPs) and, as a result, c) May’s Brexiters’ “Cabinet of Fools” who have managed to cling onto power.

    Maybe next time we should focus on beating up the Scottish Conservatives rather than joining in an unholy alliance that benefited the Conservatives far more than it benefited the Lib Dems.

  • Thomas Robinson 13th Jun '17 - 12:02am

    Robert.

    Holyrood has PR so there is room for more parties, though you should note that under PR the Lib Dems slipped to fifth (behind the Greens) in 2016.

    Under FPTP the Lib Dems are doomed in Scotland at a GE. In the vast majority of the seats that they do not hold they are a very distant 4th or worse.

    Sadly the Lib Dems proved themselves to be totally inept politicians when they settled for a vote on AV rather than on a proper PR system. Essentially the Lib Dems just are not very good at politics.

  • John Mitchell 13th Jun '17 - 4:57pm

    @Thomas Robinson

    “You are going to end up in due course like the Lib Dems in Wales, without any seats at all in Scotland. There is no future for a third and very minor unionist party in Scotland.”

    David Williams missed out by 104 votes in Ceredigion.

    The SNP had six MPs before 2015 and three of the old guard lost their seats in Moray, Angus and Banff and Buchan. In the three others majorities were drastically reduced. Political allegiances are not as strong as they once were which brings increased volatility.

    I do admit that the Liberal Democrats were disappointing in spots. In Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey we fell to fourth and in Charles Kennedy’s old seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber the Lib Dems finished third. In Argyll and Bute the former MP Alan Reid finished behind the Conservatives in third place.

    In 46 of the 59 constituencies in Scotland the Lib Dems lost their deposit. Across the UK it was 375 lost deposits.

    I agree with David Raw in that the long-term impact of the coalition is still clearly being felt. However, I also feel that Labour of all the parties focused on what matters to most people and that’s the economy and making it work for more people. Our campaign of anti-Brexit may have worked in Edinburgh but it doesn’t have the same impact in the North East or the Highlands. The Tories have not only won most of the Brexit vote in Scotland but they’re also winning the majority of the anti-independence vote too. The North East is now all Conservative held with the exception of Aberdeen North.

    Overall a positive night for the Lib Dems in Scotland in some respects but some clear concerns remain. I’m happy to see gains though and I’m pleased that Jo Swinson is back particularly.

  • Galen Milne 16th Jun '17 - 8:36pm

    Was in Milgavie a few times helping in Jo’s campaign so satisfied I may have helped her win again.
    Catch up again one fine day I’m sure as she has a great future in our Party.

  • John Littler 18th Jun '17 - 3:24pm

    Thank the F’… for Scottish anti Indie tactical voting or we could have been looking at an exceptionally weak level pegging result.

  • John Littler 18th Jun '17 - 3:30pm

    Thank the lord for Scottish anti Indie tactical voting or we could have been looking at an exceptionally weak level pegging result.

  • Peter Brand 18th Jun '17 - 9:46pm

    Congratulations all 4 of you.
    I’m sad that we could not win back Malcolm Bruce’s seat, and sadder that it has gone from bad to worse (SNP to Tory).
    I do want the Scottish LibDems to reconsider one policy: We should stop opposing a second independence referendum. Our current stance severely weakens our position on a second EU referendum. To be clear, I campaigned for a No the first time, before I joined the LibDems. But if the criterion of a significant change of circumstances is met – for example by the UK leaving the EU, then there is a case for having another vote. There will also be a very strong case for campaigning and voting ‘No’ again, but as a democratic party we just make ourselves look silly by arguing that the country should not allow itself to think again on A, when we’re arguing that we should think again about B.

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