Willie Rennie’s New Year Message: Lib Dems THE pro UK, pro EU progressive party

Last year Liberal Democrats started winning again. Our wins in the May elections, our victory in local council elections and our stunning win in Richmond were great progress. Those wins combined with our thousands of new members means the Liberal Democrats are back. We started winning again because people want champions for an open, tolerant, generous, internationalist, progressive kind of country.

This year our ambitions are for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union, Scotland to remain in the UK and Scotland to adopt a progressive programme to make us the best again.

Liberal Democrats are the only party that is Pro UK, Pro EU and Progressive.

My colleagues and I will make the powerful case for a Brexit Deal Referendum on the terms of the deal. It would only be right for voters to have the final say rather than just signing a blank cheque for the Prime Minister to agree any deal she likes no matter what the consequences.

Liberal Democrats will also oppose Scottish independence. Scotland’s place is with our partners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We need to put the politics of division behind us and focus on making Scotland a better country to live in.

Our final ambition for 2017 is to secure a progressive programme for the governance of our country. Liberal Democrats will seek to negotiate a Scottish budget that delivers a transformational investment in education, a step change in mental health services and a package to tackle climate change. We want Scotland to have the best education system, the best services for people who need mental health support and the best programme to tackle climate change.

So the ambition for the Liberal Democrats for 2017 is to be united with the UK and Europe and to be united for a progressive programme for Scotland.

* Willie Rennie MSP is leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

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  • If you’re pro EU you’re against UK people. UK decided not be a member of the EU- respect it instead creating division.

  • How about respecting democracy instead of trying to subvert it ?

  • Eddie Sammon 1st Jan '17 - 10:33pm

    Policy positions like being resolutely pro UK and pro EU make more important progressive battles harder to win. The Lib Dems shouldn’t institution worship.

    On healthcare I’m not comfortable with politicians deciding the division of the health budget. Why does Willie mention health twice and all other conditions no times? Why does education, mental health and climate change get exalted above everything else?

  • Why is Simon s on here ? This is a place for LD members and supporters. Eddie Sammon – Who would decide the division of the health budget ? Unaccountable “professionals” ?

  • Steve Comer 1st Jan '17 - 11:35pm

    I’m a bit baffled by Willie’s comments, he says, “Scotland’s place is with our partners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. ” Yet does not say “Scotland’s place is with our partners in the European Union.”
    And how can we ” put the politics of division behind us.” It was the Tory Government that has divided people with its anti-European bias, and its inept and ill-planned referendum.

    We have to face the fact that British politics is now permanently divided in much the same way as US politics is, the division is between narrow minded nativists, and open minded progressives and Liberals. This gives Liberals an opportunity, let others bleat on about “unity.”

  • Eddie,
    Let’s be honest your a Tory hanging out on a Lib Dem message board; while your views are interesting your hardly the target demographic, we tried Tory lite it doesn’t work.

  • Eddie Sammon 1st Jan '17 - 11:42pm

    Tim Hill, not entirely unaccountable, but we are asking politicians to do too much by expecting them to meticulously plan the health budget. They should decide the overall budget and only step in further if something is seriously going wrong. Yes, mental health has been historically under funded, but it’s not the only area that could do with more money. I know Willie doesn’t think that either, so I don’t think he should single it out in such a way.

  • Tim Hill

    What’s wrong with differing views or you just want an echo chamber ?

  • John >What’s wrong with differing views or you just want an echo chamber ?

    Different views are welcomed. People just endlessly posting cut/paste ‘will of the people’ statements really is an echo chamber, because it’s the same thing over and over. Entrenched opposition by people one suspects aren’t willing to engage in debate beyond ‘you are wrong’. Quite happy to rebut Brexiteers’ arguments, but it gets a bit tedious when they never move on from ‘we voted for it, suck it up.’

  • The EU certainly favours having multiple referenda until the desired result is achieved. It does not make it good practice democracy.

  • @Cassie B

    “. People just endlessly posting cut/paste ‘will of the people’ statements really is an echo chamber, because it’s the same thing over and over”

    Frustrating isn’t it, it’s a bit like the constant phrase, people voted for departure but not destination.

    I have a new one for you.

    When we purchase a plane ticket, we know the destination, we just don’t know the route. We rely on the captain to get us there as safely and as efficiently as possible. The Captain will make adjustments to the route as they come across weather and conditions, but we know at the end of the journey we will have reached the destination..

  • Martyn Clayton 2nd Jan '17 - 4:16pm

    If the final deal includes retaining membership of the single market (increasingly likely), free movement (goes with the single market) and associative membership for any individual that wants to take it up it will be the most strident Leavers who will be calling for a referendum on the final deal.

    They’re very short sighted politically to trust the government so completely in the hope it will deliver the most extreme form of Brexit.

  • Martyn Clayton 2nd Jan '17 - 4:19pm

    @Matt the problem with the airplane comparison is that there isn’t an agreed destination and nearly half of the passengers are travelling under duress.

  • @Martyn Clayton
    “Matt the problem with the airplane comparison is that there isn’t an agreed destination and nearly half of the passengers are travelling under duress.”

    There is an agreed destination. The destination is the one that was on the ballot box. Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?
    1)Remain a member of the European Union
    2) Leave the European Union.
    Voting to leave, meant just that, leaving the EU, leaving membership of the Single Market.
    The majority voted to leave. That’s the destination.

  • @Martin
    “I certainly recall that Norwegian, Swiss and even Lichtenstein models were touted by Brexiters during the campaign.”

    That’s not my recollection of events at all. I recall the remain campaign constantly asking what type of brexit do you want, EFTA, Norway, Swiss, Canada, etc. in an attempt to fudge the debate. I remember people from the leave campaign responding with the same thing, They want a UK bespoke deal, which could include “access” to the single market, which is entirely different of course as to being a “member” of the single market, at the forefront of everything though has always been an end to free movement of people and control of our borders.
    Attitudes have not shifted one way or another.
    The Majority still want to leave the EU
    The Majority still think the decision to leave was the right decision
    The Majority still want to control immigration over market access

  • Matt. Thanks at least for an original angle. People who keep posting the same argument can expect others to repeat the same answer(s) back.
    I don’t want to be on your plane. As far as I’m concerned, it’s been hijacked. You can drag me kicking and screaming to where you want to go, but you can’t make like it. And I suspect a lot of the passengers will find the destination is a half-built hotel with a view of the corporation tip, not the sun-kissed palms they expected from the travel brochure.

  • gremalkincat 3rd Jan '17 - 12:36pm

    @matt I have many recollections of Leave stating that we would remain in the Single Market. They can be found here:


    Daniel Hannan says: “Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the Single Market”.

    There were many advocating this position during the campaign – Stephen Phillips resigned because he did not agree with the “Hard Brexit” stance taken by Theresa May and her cabinet. (We did rather well in the by-election, btw, 5.3% increase in our vote!)

    Voting to leave the EU is not the same as leaving the Single Market. As there are various countries which are in the SM, but are not members of the EU. Your hard line stance misrepresents the views of those that voted to Leave.

  • John Littler 3rd Jan '17 - 5:32pm

    LibDem revival in West Country & Oxfordshire published in the Guardian:


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