Yet again Scotland’s political leaders outclass their Westminster counterparts

Prime Minister’s Questions was even worse than usual today. Both Cameron and Miliband jumped into the gutter from the start and neither of them emerged. It was bizarre watching these people who had blocked every single attempt to reform party funding argue about each other’s paymasters. It was a matter of some considerable annoyance that Cameron kept saying how his government had done more to make sure people paid their taxes than the last one. Does anyone seriously think the Tories, left to their own devices, would have done that? Errr, no. That’s all been down to our man in the Treasury, one Danny Alexander. Cameron taking credit for our policy is bad enough. Using our success to cover his own party’s issues is worse.

It was all a bit classier in Scotland, though. Remember a couple of weeks ago how Scotland’s party leaders joked on Twitter about cancelling FMQs and drinking Pimms in Nicola Sturgeon’s office while watching Andy Murray’s semi-final in the Australian Open instead?

Well, they’ve done it again. After a journalist teased Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson about the fundraiser where a mega-rich Tory donor paid £17500 for a shoe-shopping session with Theresa May.

To cut a long story short, a shoe shopping session with all of Scotland’s political leaders is now to be auctioned to raise money for Scottish charity Cash for Kids. Buzzfeed has the story.

The only thing is that Willie Rennie has got a bit carried away with the shoe puns  – and he let slip a big secret about himself:

Yes, for cycling and running shoes maybe.

And that pun?

Wouldn’t it be good if the Westminster party leaders could do something sporting like this at some point?

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

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12 Comments

  • Nicola Sturgeon really is head and shoulders above Cameron, Miliband and Clegg when it comes to leadership. Sometimes I wish I still lived in Machrihanish, at least I would have a party with a leader worth voting for. If only the SNP would open an English branch under her leadership!

  • The Irish Nationalists had a seat in Liverpool for many years-a constituency known as the Scotland Division. After Irish independence he sat as an independent.
    An independent Scotland is economically unsustainable (look at the world price of oil now) so the SNP leadership is something that can be done without but it was never about independence was it?
    I was talking to an expat Scot a few weeks ago or rather he was talking to me -I could barely get a word in edgeways.. It was very clear how he looked down on Asians (he is in the oil business) He probably only spoke to me because of my light skin! Don’t underestimate all that emotion north of the border.
    Scotland is a great place, it just needs more of that Liberalism on which it will thrive.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 12th Feb '15 - 8:25am

    “I was talking to an expat Scot a few weeks ago or rather he was talking to me -I could barely get a word in edgeways.. It was very clear how he looked down on Asians (he is in the oil business) He probably only spoke to me because of my light skin!”

    So you meet one racist and automatically decide that Scottish Nationalists are like that? Most of them aren’t. There are some very unpleasant elements on the nationalist side who got a bit lairy during the referendum, but they are far from the majority. Most of them I’d be able to work with quite happy on other issues. I really do think that comment is dripping with prejudice and is unworthy of you.

  • matt (Bristol) 12th Feb '15 - 11:42am

    I am intrigued that what was intended as a tribute to all the leaders in the Scottish Parliament is followed by comments only about Nicola Sturgeon and the Nats.

    I have to say the political leader in Scotland who in general terms, at least, impresses me the most in unexpected ways is Ruth Davison (maybe my expectations were low for a Tory leader).

    Re: Scots in England – I think if the SNP were to run in Corby, Northants (at least in the past – not so sure about now) they’d probably have a good chance of making some heavy inroads into the Labour vote.

  • “There are some very unpleasant elements on the nationalist side who got a bit lairy during the referendum, ”
    Well I think the gentleman I spoke to would be aghast to be called a racist. He did say young people can travel more so they can now understand other peoples better. But this shouldn’t detract from the belief in superiority and the harm that can result from it because of bad decisions that can be made from those who hold this view.RBS is a case in point.

  • Alex Sabine 13th Feb '15 - 6:51pm

    @ Colin
    As with medicine, it rather depends on the dose applied and the condition of the patient. There is scant evidence that ‘austerity’ as applied in the UK – a sovereign currency issuer with a floating exchange rate – is incompatible with economic growth or employment. And there is plenty of evidence that it is required given that we started with a budget deficit of more than 10% of GDP (meaning that the government was borrowing almost £1 in every £4 that it spent) and still have a 5% of GDP deficit. In this context it does not seem overly draconian to seek to reduce public spending by a cumulative 5% in real terms over a decade (2010-11 to 2019-20) and return it to approximately the same share of GDP as in 1999-2000.

    What’s more, those who denounce UK-style austerity don’t seem to have changed their analysis and advice despite the sustained upturn in the economy since 2013. If it isn’t a good time to do deficit reduction when GDP is growing at 2.5% to 3% per year, then when exactly would the time be ripe? I suspect the answer is never… and that Keynes is turning in his grave as he hears his name taken in vain.

  • Colin, incompetence does seem to fit. The SNP call for billions in additional spending, their flagship economic policy change is to slash corporation tax so as to undercut England, they want to subsidise (!) the Scottish oil industry and they haven’t outlined a programme of tax increases to pay for any of this. I’ll grant you, this seems to work fairly well for them running a devolved government, where they can call for more money and rightly say that raising it is somebody else’s problem. But let’s not forget that after May, it might very well become their problem after all.

  • Colin, I oppose the Tory agenda, I am sceptical of the Liberal Democrat plan to press on with the lower rate band increase at this time and I regard Labour’s grandstanding against coalition policy while proposing an all but identical programme as hypocrisy. But I also think that the SNP’s programme of new spending alongside tax cuts to be unrealistic. Leftism has to be more than simply the status-quo with more borrowed money thrown at it, and if that’s the best that Sturgeon can do she wouldn’t get my vote, even if she wasn’t standing for a nationalist party.

    If anything, we need additional revenue. To get it, I put my hopes on a European solution to the tax avoidance racket that has been set up by countries like Luxembourg. On that matter, well, at least Mr Juncker knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak. But make no mistake, an SNP vision of Scotland would mean being part of the problem there, given their position on corporation tax and on being a ‘competitive’ choice for transnationals to domicile here.

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