Willie Rennie: Lib Dems are for aspirational Scots with a social conscience

In a speech to the Scottish Council for Development and Industry in Aberdeen yesterday, Willie Rennie claimed the radical centre ground for the Liberal Democrats, talking about Labour and the SNP fighting it out on the left, while the Conservatives move further to the right. He outlined a position that championed social justice while making sure that we lived within our means.

Willie now finds himself as the oldest political leader in Scotland at just 47 years old. Nicola Sturgeon is 46, Ruth Davidson 36, Patrick Harvie 42 and Kezia Dugdale 33. It’s certainly different from when I was growing up when most political leaders were in their 50s and 60s and the President of the USA was in his 70s.

The challenges for the Scottish Liberal Democrats are obvious. Standing firm in our own space and talking in a unique way about our issues is very important in post-coalition Scotland. I say standing firm, and not finding our own space as we have always been a radical centre ground party which champions individual freedom. Willie looks back to Gladstone, Asquith, Lloyd George, Russell Johnston, David Steel and Charles Kennedy as liberal inspiration.

There’s an interesting turn of phrase about our years in government:

There are some things I would soon forget about our time in government but our decision to put country before party for economic recovery is not one of them.

He then goes on to talk about the good things we did in Government and indeed the changes in SNP policy that his own parliamentary group of just 5 MSPs have driven.

Here is Willie’s speech in full:

Thank you for your kind invitation to speak today.  It is an opportunity for me to set out the Liberal Democrat commitment to the economy, yes.  But also to the North East – a part of the world too often neglected by Edinburgh centric government that fails to understand the wealth generation of the region and the desperate underinvestment here.

Today, I want to make an important contribution.  I want to set out the path ahead for the Liberal Democrats following May’s results.  I want to set out that we will not veer off to the left or the right but stay the course that has rooted my party in the radical, liberal centre ground throughout its history.

Whether Jeremy Corbyn wins or not it is abundantly clear that the Labour Party is heading leftwards and, in Scotland, will embark on a fight to the death with the Scottish National Party to be the dominant force on the socialist left.

And with the Conservatives, being true to their path, are taking the Government further to the right without the restraint and radicalism of the Liberal Democrats. In Scotland they are showing every indication that they will use the new taxation and welfare powers to propose a right wing shift here as well.

The need for a radical, liberal centre ground force in politics has never been greater.

The last five years has been the most astonishing period in politics and economics that I can remember.

It is clear that the politics of the period were inextricably linked to our economic fortunes.  Recovery and growth in the UK economy were linked to the decision of the Liberal Democrats to put the national interest first and to form a stable government capable of tackling the crisis we inherited.

It is that economic discipline secured by political discipline that I want the Liberal Democrats to keep central to our political character.

There are some things I would soon forget about our time in government but our decision to put country before party for economic recovery is not one of them.

So I can tell you today I will anchor our political purpose in the centre ground.  It will be radical and liberal but it will be firmly in that centre ground.

Today I will show that the essential, liberal offer is a robust economy which is linked fundamentally to social justice.   Liberal Democrats are for the chance for people to get up and get on in life.  We want people to aspire to be better.  To improve their lives.

We are for social justice.  We want a country where people stand for and with their neighbours.  Those less well off.  Those who are held back by their circumstances.

In short we are for aspirational Scots with a social conscience.

My late friend Charles Kennedy would often say that the way ahead can be found in the history books.

Liberals were forged through an alliance of radicals, free traders and reformers.

Gladstone was an advocate for “peace, economy and reform” and introduced universal elementary education, reform in Ireland, land reform, co-operation rather than conflict in Europe and broke down trade barriers to grow the economy.

The landslide Liberal Government of the early 1900s delivered the state pension for over 70s, free school meals, labour exchanges, unemployment insurance, health insurance and more. To pay for these social reforms higher taxes were levied on higher incomes and land tax was introduced. And it curtailed the power of the House of Lords which was determined to block the people’s budget.

Education, Europe, Lords reform, welfare reform, land reform and taxation levels for the wealthy. Some things never change!

In more recent times Russell Johnston said, “Liberal positioning in politics is like the nose in relation to the rest of the face: somewhere in the middle and out in front”

David Steel wrote in his book A House Divided on the 1978 Lib-Lab pact: “Each swing of the political pendulum threatens to take the country on yet more violently diverse directions to left and right…The political see-saw crashes up and down ever more violently to our discomfort.”

And the lessons from Gladstone, Campbell Bannerman, Lloyd George, Asquith, Johnston and Steel point the way forward today.

We have always understood that the country needs economic and social liberalism and we understand the relationship between the two.  The shift from Gladstone Liberalism and his emphasis on economic reform to break the old economic establishment to Campbell Bannerman and his social priorities to give workers the opportunity to improve their condition was made within one party.

Today we are best placed to get that balance right too as we understand the relationship between economic and social liberalism rather than the plunging, volatile swings from left to right.

Or as David Steel would say the liberal centre ground prevents the see saw crashing up and down.

We are a party of economic, social, constitutional and environmental reform.  We want change for the long term and for our neighbours rather than just ourselves.  We see the value of altruism, that sense of fairness and opportunity for everyone whatever their background.  We want to challenge the establishment, the orthodoxy, the way it has always been.

The prevailing winds of human nature means that a voice for those values is required today too.

Look at the last five years.

In government we created the conditions for business.

Cutting taxes for business to help them boost jobs – the £2,000 national insurance allowance and lower corporation tax.

The supply of finance with the Green Investment Bank, Business bank, export finance, enterprise capital and many other funds.

Boosting technology with a £1 billion investment for broadband and mobile infrastructure with a disproportionate investment in Scotland.

The Technology Strategy Board is investing over £200 million to establish a network of elite Catapults, including here in Scotland with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Glasgow.

And to make work pay we have cut tax for 2.2million people and taken 236,000 Scots out of income tax altogether.

We took the necessary steps to balance the books to give confidence to the markets that Britain was a good place to do business.  And we provided the conditions for business to generate the jobs and taxes to pay for the public services we all value.  We reshaped that economy to make it sustainable, environmental and innovative.

These are the measures that turned things round.

That was the national interest.

I think more should have been made of this at the time.

The strong economic position we are now in was not automatic.

I hope we will hear before long some of the details of the private briefings given by the Governor of the Bank of England to Coalition MPs back in 2010 that demonstrated how serious the UK’s position was at that time.

 

And it is in the national interest to remain in Europe too.

Gladstone saw the necessity to seek peace rather than conflict in Europe.  A generation ago there were nuclear weapons on the soil of some of our European partners pointed at Britain.

Yet now we are sitting round a table together. Were that the only case for staying in the EU it would be pretty overwhelming.

But it is not the only case.

The economic case for Europe is overwhelming too.

The EU provides the market for 46 per cent of Scotland’s international exports – worth £12.9 billion in 2013 – and more than 300,000 jobs are estimated to be associated with trade with member states.

So when the EU Referendum comes it is vital that all pro Europeans come together, stand together and win the case for our membership of the European Union together.

We must put our differences aside for the greater good.  And we need to do so because we cannot rely on the Conservative leadership to make that strong case by themselves.

And I would urge business to speak up for Europe and do so early. Your positive, compelling arguments for trade, business and jobs will be important to convince people of the merits of our continued membership.

 

The balance between economic and social liberalism is important to us. The balance between economic discipline and social justice.

So I want to talk a little bit about how I see the route to prosperity in Scotland in the future.

First let me speak about participation in the economy.

If our country is going to be a success in the 21st century and beyond then it is going to need the talents and efforts of everyone.

If you want social justice then no one should be left out of the economy or their community.

Too many are at the moment. Even with high employment rates, they can be higher still.

Fundamentally, the route to participation is education.

It has been the route out of poverty and to a life of achievement for a hundred years. The Scottish tradition of education was founded on that notion.

We still dont do enough.

I have spent the last four years as my party’s leader determined to get a big shift in where we have been putting the emphasis as a country.

If we are going to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty and remove those stubborn barriers that condemn too many people to the margins, then we have to make a radical change.

That’s why I have been campaigning about childcare and badgering ministers for more provision for two-year-olds.

Investment in a child’s education before the age of three is the investment that gets the biggest return: in terms of that child’s achievement and in the benefits to wider society from them being an engaged and successful part of their community.

So I was delighted that from last August 8,400 two-year-olds got a free place in education and childcare. And it rises to 15,000 this month. We still lag England but we are making progress.

Later on in life we need places at colleges and apprenticeships for those who want them.

Colleges have been hit hard in their budgets in recent years.

We need to support colleges.

There have been more than a million extra apprentices across the UK since 2010.

The Scottish Government has maintained high levels in Scotland.

But we can do more to foster a demand for apprentices from companies who don’t have them yet.

We should help everyone get on in life by supporting more women into science, maths and engineering.

And Liberals will always want to overcome the remaining barriers that prevent people from ethnic minorities or the LGBT communities from achieving their potential.

We have come a long way from the time when people from those groups were cut out of promotion and shut out of opportunities.

More and more employers see the value in a diverse workforce that reflects those they serve and can draw on the biggest pool of talent available.

And a final issue of participation is one that I want to take right up the political agenda – mental health.

It is estimated that one in four of us will experience mental ill health in our lifetimes. 2.3 million people with a mental health condition are out of work and research has identified mental ill health as the primary reason for claiming health related benefits.

11,000 local government workers have been absent from work because of a mental illness.

The human cost is immense. And the economic cost from lost participation is equally large.

Despite this, mental health has for too long been the Cinderella service of our NHS. An increase in awareness of the costs associated with mental ill health has, by and large, not been matched by increased investment in Scottish mental health services.

I heard from a constituent who told me that her daughter was self-harming but had waited for one year just to see a consultant.  That’s twelve months from referral from the GP.  In those crucial early stages of a mental illness time is critical.

Boosting mental health services will be one of our key future priorities.

All of these things will create in Scotland an expanded, talented, educated, motivated and healthy workforce.

We need to make sure there are the exciting opportunities available to them.

We boost the economy by creating the conditions for business and creating opportunity for everyone using the potential of good education and good health.

Scotland has the comparative and technical advantage in big industries like renewable energy, food and drink and life sciences. We have a high quality tourism offer.

But there are still some big challenges.

One of the biggest is that facing the oil industry. The broad shoulders of the United Kingdom means we can be flexible to provide a taxation regime that incentivises industry investment.  We can do that without a dramatic impact on the funding of our schools, hospitals, universities and other public services.

We can focus on the jobs and economic crisis instead of the double blow that we would see with a financial crisis if Scotland were to leave the UK family of nations.

We know the UK introduced tax allowances in the last autumn statement and delivered further changes in the Spring budget. In addition to the cut in the Supplementary Charge on Corporation Tax, the new allowances for cluster areas, basin wide investment and survey exploration will assist the sector.

The UK Government must continue to work in partnership with Oil and Gas UK and the new, unified regulator to provide a stable, financial regime for the sector to maximise the opportunities.  This should include further adjustments in corporation tax to incentivise exploration for new fields and extraction in fields that might otherwise not be financially viable.

I have heard the message that a stable taxation regime is required to give the industry certainty about the future so that investment can be made for the long term. That doesn’t mean setting tax levels in stone, as sensible adjustments should be made, but an overall regime that provide clarity about the future should be adhered to by all parties.

The opportunity to become a world specialist centre on decommissioning is something that must be seized. For that the industry and government must work together to make that a reality. We export our people’s skills across the world on oil exploration and extraction we could do the same on decommissioning.

Continuing to focus on the North East, there is a need for the Scottish Government to refocus.  From the £20million annual underfunding of Aberdeen City Council to the single track rail line to the oil capital of Europe to the near gridlock conditions that often inflict the city we need new investment from the Scottish Government in this area. The city deal status that my colleague Danny Alexander instigated presents that opportunity and should be agreed and implemented now.

 

So the Liberal Democrat approach at every stage on an individual’s journey through life helps them participate.

Childcare and early education, focused on the youngest children, is the best route out of poverty, to break the inter-generation trap that for too long in Britain has meant that if you are born poor you are most likely to die poor as well.

Strong education that equips every individual to achieve their potential.

Skills that pave the way to good job, in dynamic industries of the future and in science, green technologies and manufacturing.

Mental health services that mean the 25% of people who have a mental health problem during their lifetime do not have to sit on the sidelines of society and the economy.

Lower taxes on income to make sure work always pays and that people on low and middle incomes keeping more of what they earn.

And personal freedoms, that come from a liberal society, that means the whole of society can benefit from the talents and contributions of every individual.

 

This is the balanced offer.  The balance between the economic discipline we know we need and the social justice that is necessary.  It is the liberal, radical, centre ground offer that has a yawning space in our political spectrum. With the SNP and Labour off to the left slugging it out and the Conservatives veering to the right we can provide that radicalism that moves the country forward.

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

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25 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 27th Aug '15 - 10:41am

    I’m going to go on a bit of a break from discussing politics (don’t cheer!), but my temporarily parting thoughts are that although I am roughly a centrist, banging on about the centre-ground doesn’t seem to work. Personally, I would embrace nationalism and say to the Scottish Nationalists and UKIP, Labour, Conservatives and everyone else that we are the true nationalists.

    You don’t even need to change your politics, if you believe they are the best for the country then say so and defeat the SNP and others on their own ground. That would be quite exciting and fun, I think.

  • Simon McGrath 27th Aug '15 - 10:44am

    What a great speech .

  • Polls predict a Lib Dem wipe-out at next years Scottish Elections as for Willie Rennie boasting about what the Lib Dems did in the Lib Dem Tory government won’t help him it will only guarantee that he will lose his seat in the elections. As for being the the oldest leader in Scotland yet still young compared to politicians of the past meaning he has more time in politics is unlikely, if as polls predict a Lib Dem wipe-out and Willie Rennie loses his seat it will mean extinction of the Lib Dems in Scotland and even if Willie Rennie lives to 100 he will never get re-elected in Scotland.

  • “…Willie now finds himself as the oldest political leader in Scotland at just 47 years old. Nicola Sturgeon is 46, Ruth Davidson 36, Patrick Harvie 42 and Kezia Dugdale 33. It’s certainly different from when I was growing up when most political leaders were in their 50s and 60s ..”

    How odd — when I was growing up Harold Wilson became Prime Minister in his 40s. Ted Heath was the same age.
    David Steel became leader of The Liberal Party when he was in his 30s.

    I realise that I am much older than you Caron but UK political leaders under the age of 50 ain’t such a novelty. . 🙂

  • Richard Underhill 27th Aug '15 - 1:13pm

    John Tilley 27th Aug ’15 – 10:59am
    Crosland called the (Labour) leadership election “A choice between a crook (Wilson) and a drunk (Brown)”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Brown,_Baron_George-Brown.

  • Mick Taylor 27th Aug '15 - 3:23pm

    It’s a great shame that people like Will think that telling the truth will get you drummed out of politics. Look what happened to Labour when they tried to pretend that the economic disaster that befell the country under their watch was nothing to do with them. The electorate are not fools. They want information on which to base their judgements and if Liberal Democrats don’t tell them what we achieved in government, then no-one else will and you can be sure that our opponents will continue to lie about what we achieved and to tell people that we are closet Tories.
    So yes, we must talk about what we achieved and look to the future when we can achieve more. Willie’s speech tells it how it is and I for one am proud of him.

  • Mike, what did the Lib Dem Tory government do for the people of Scotland the answer is in the last general election nothing, how many Lib Dem MPs do you have in Scotland, oh yes let me see 1 whose election is being challenged through the courts for telling porky pies very nice. The polls for next years Scottish Elections predict an SNP tsunami wiping out the Lib Dems completely and that my friend will follow by extinction for an irrelevant party in Scotland enjoy.

  • Simon Horner 27th Aug '15 - 6:55pm

    Thanks, Will, for your incisive contribution! I particularly enjoyed the intellectual challenge you presented to us by cunningly leaving out most of the punctuation.

  • This is all well and good, but does not take the Scottish party one millimetre forward. The Scottish Liberal Democrats will soon cease to exist unless they identify themselves as totally distinct from Labour and the Conservatives and come up with a policy that is clearly identifiable, reasonably credible and different, something that is theirs. They have to create a distinct position. At present they are perceived as just a very minor part of the Westmisnster consensus.

  • Martin Thomas 28th Aug '15 - 11:39am

    Great speech Willie! Much for us in Wales to think on!

  • Will: What did the polls predict for the last UK General Election ? It did not happen. One day the Scots will tire of the negative carping and victim culture of the SNP and will look for a party with a positive and enlightened message for this proud and ancient people and then the SNP will shrivel away along with all the trolls and those who are desperately trying to make what they hope for happen. It will not.

  • John Tilley 28th Aug '15 - 1:07pm

    Richard Underhill
    “…Crosland called the (Labour) leadership election “A choice between a crook (Wilson) and a drunk (Brown)”

    He was spot on!

    Who do you think he would support this time around? I am not sure history has “been kind” to Crosland. Perhaps because he was dead before his contemporaries wrote their memoirs. Crossman (whose diaries I enjoyed reading decades ago) was evidently not a great fan of Crosland. I am not entirely sure I remember why.

  • Richard Underhill 28th Aug '15 - 2:32pm

    John Tilley 28th Aug ’15 – 1:07pm
    I have a copy of “The future of socialism” but have not got round to reading it. It was remaindered and might be out of date. I paid £1.
    I am reading “Four years in the death of the Labour Party” by Austin Mitchell 1983 (£3) including a cartoon by Gibbard, whom i met once. ISBN 0 413 54570 9 ISBN 0 413 54550 4.
    It contains a bookmark in the form of a Don’t Card.
    “In the event of my involvement in a major disaster Don’t let Mrs Thatcher visit me”
    “Let your relatives know your wishes and keep this card with you at all times.”

  • Jonathan Hunt 28th Aug '15 - 3:29pm

    I thought Yvette Cooper appeared ridiculous claiming the outdated oxymoron the ‘Radical Centre’, and it is doesn’t become able Lib Dems to also repeat it. For a start, the centre is always where others decide to put it.

    The Tories, unfettered by coalition partners, have swung the political agenda so far to the Right that no self-respecting Lib Dem should seen anywhere near it. It is unlikely that Jeremy Corbyn will take Labour MPs with on him on his nostalgic trip walking backwards to dreams long lost.

    So Tim Farron’s Lib Dems fighting back with real policies for social justice, redistribution and economic growth may be the most Left-leaning party. Just as we were under Charles Kennedy when we won 57 seats and controlled many important councils.

  • Richard Underhill 28th Aug '15 - 4:09pm

    Jonathan Hunt 28th Aug ’15 – 3:29pm Yes. This is why the swingometer needed to operate in more than two dimensions.
    We should discard outdated language and simply tell it like it is.
    The words that YC uses may be derived from a Labour Party context as referring to a faction,or a mode of thought that we might not accurately interpret, nor understand after translation. If so, she is entitled to do that in an internal contest within the Labour Party.

  • John Tilley 28th Aug '15 - 6:36pm

    Richard Underhill
    I too used to have a credit card size version of ““In the event of my involvement in a major disaster Don’t let Mrs Thatcher visit me.”.
    They were very popular throughout the NHS. One of the newspapers began calling her ‘The Angel of Death’ probably The Mirror.
    I don’t think I finished reading Crosland’s ‘The Future of Socialism’. The Labour party before Wilson was a bit before my time so I think of Crosland as in with Wilson, Brown, Crossman, Barbara Castle, Roy Jenkins and that crowd. From what I have read he seems to have been influential within a small group and that influence spread beyond eventually. Not sure if he ever had the popular appeal,that would have been necessary to put some of his ideas into practice.

    It is extraordinary to think that Shirley Williams was in with that lot 50 years ago and is still going now.

    If Crosland was still going today it would be interesting to know what he thought of the education part of the speech at the top of this thread —
    “If we are going to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty and remove those stubborn barriers that condemn too many people to the margins, then we have to make a radical change.
    That’s why I have been campaigning about childcare and badgering ministers for more provision for two-year-olds.
    Investment in a child’s education before the age of three is the investment that gets the biggest return: in terms of that child’s achievement and in the benefits to wider society from them being an engaged and successful part of their community.”

    I am not convinced about the beneficial impact of the state “capturing” children before they are 2.
    The Germans seem to have a relatively good education system with children starting at 7 (someone will correct me if that is wrong, but 7 is I think the starting age for German schools).
    In the UK I think we keep children in school for too many years already and then expect half of them to put themselves into debt by going to university.

    Where is the evidence that having children leaving full-time education at 22 after twenty years of state intervention improves their lives?
    There are already too many graduates selling Vimto and sandwiches in Greggs.

  • Liz Makinsom 28th Aug '15 - 8:53pm

    Absolutely agree with Jonathan Hunt. The Lib Dems again fitting in with where the other parties are is nonsense. The radical progressive centre left is where we do best and where our greatest achievements have been. We are not a random piece of a political jigsaw puzzle to be fitted in when the other pieces are in place. We should stick to our principles and positioning and people will return to us for decency, compassion and social justice.

  • “Aspirational (Scots) with a social conscience”. “Radical centre”. These are sad old politician words. These are a Lib Dem equivalent of Burnhamspeak.

    Burnham speaks of “the beating heart of Labour”. He does so, I fear, because he can’t really identify any heart that is still beating, in the way he would want it to beat. (All he can actually see are a bunch of newcomers who want to take Labour somewhere it never truly went before!)

    If we can’t do better than this, then we won’t do any better than Labour are doing.

  • John Tilley 28th Aug ’15 – 1:07pm…..Richard Underhill…“…Crosland called the (Labour) leadership election “A choice between a crook (Wilson) and a drunk (Brown)”………
    ………….He was spot on!…………..

    As Crosland had supported James Callaghan it’s hardly surprising that he was scathing about the ‘survivors’ after Callaghan had been eliminated…..
    As for Wilson, that ‘crook’ kept the young men of the UK out of Vietnam despite unrelenting pressure from the US president…A feat I don’t believe any PM from Thatcher on would have achieved….

  • There is a quotation from Anthony Crosland in David Kynaston’s book, “Modernity Britain”, which is apposite to the current and coming struggle in the Labour Party: “Revisionism destroys the simplicity, the certainty, and the unquestioning conviction that come from having clear-cut crusading objectives to fight for. It makes everything complicated and ambiguous; it is an explicit admission that many of the old dreams are either realised or dead. No wonder it is resented – especially in the moment of defeat”. The difference between then and now is that socialism and its old dreams are irrevocably dead, and the left has been unable to find a coherent ideology to replace them.

  • tonyhill 29th Aug ’15 – 9:20am……………………. The difference between then and now is that socialism and its old dreams are irrevocably dead, and the left has been unable to find a coherent ideology to replace them…………

    By “socialism” I assume you mean the pre-Thatcher country of publicly owned transport, utilities, housing, etc….I worked in the Britain of the 1960/70s and, for all its faults (trust me; I’m a doctor), it was a far, far happier land than today….
    It is the ‘Capitalist’ dream, rather than that of the ‘Socialists’ that has made Britain a country whose population don’t even consider themselves amongst the world’s top twenty ‘happiest nations’….

  • expats – I agree with you absolutely about the ‘Capitalist dream’ but our challenge is to develop and communicate an alternative that people will embrace. Corbyn and his supporters are harking back to the dead dream.

  • @tonyhill – “our challenge is to develop and communicate an alternative that people will embrace”

    How about this I posted on an older thread earlier but is just as relevant here (and someone may actually read it 🙂

    Fairer, Stronger Communities where everyone looks out for and looks after each other, and at the same time cheers and celebrates individual success (as long as its not gained at the expense of others).

    The concept of ‘Fairness’ is so deep rooted from when we are toddlers, it is I believe, probably the main universal value deep in the core of us all
    People know intuitively and instinctively when something just doesn’t ‘feel’ right or fair
    This surely is the key to building a brand about which people can then say:

    ‘ they believe what I believe – they just feel like the right people to vote for’

    They will then be voting for THEMSELVES, as they believe what they see us believing

  • John Tilley 29th Aug '15 - 1:59pm

    expats 29th Aug ’15 – 8:47am
    “As for Wilson, that ‘crook’ kept the young men of the UK out of Vietnam despite unrelenting pressure from the US president…A feat I don’t believe any PM from Thatcher on would have achieved….”

    This is a very fair point. I would definitely credit Wilson with that.

    I was 19 years old in 1971 when the average age of dead US troops in Vietnam was 19.
    Many of my american contemporaries escaped the US draft and took refuge in Canada or in this country.
    Those that is who were not rich enough nor clever enough to escape to university, or in George W Bush’s case have a rich Daddy who could wangle them a sinecure.

  • Simon Arnold 30th Aug '15 - 11:30pm

    At 49, I’m older than many at Holyrood and Westminster, as those in power get younger, and, the older generation, retire to the House of Lords, or, move upstairs.

    Watching a lot of the nonsense, once the main MP/MSPs have spoken at the conference on TV, makes my toes curl up. To many with a Corbyn mindset, with too many daft ideas, that slap Liberalism in the face. It is hard to follow, to few people have a say, on the policies – that thankfully never survive past the cloakroom. Lets have electronic voting and start talking english, so we all understand, what is being discussed and voted on. Then we’ll have a stronger party. Lets make it all sound more Liberal, instead of a Labour meeting at the Socialist club. Tim Farron, Good left. Corbyn, bad left.

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