The latest TNS polling is not very good reading for us Lib Dems in Scotland. Many were saying that our polling could not get any lower, I disagreed, and sadly it would seem I was correct. The constituency poll put us on 3%, if it’s as bad as that next year then we will lose our seats and might even lose the list seats if our vote continues to plunge.
The fact that us Scottish Liberal Democrats are in serious danger of being wiped out at Holyrood should make us all seriously have a rethink. Now it may seem unlikely that we have no one in parliament, but we seriously need to think hard over the next 6 to 7 months. I have a few ideas.
We need to acknowledge, no matter how much we might have took the edge off the Tories in Government, that the decision to have a formal coalition with the Tories was a disaster. We need to distance ourselves from that brand in Scotland full stop.
We need to be seen to be taking the Alistair Carmichael issue very seriously. Shouting SNP bad does not take away from the fact that many out there see the Liberal Democrats as untrustworthy across the board. I think that at the very least Alistair needs to consider his role as Deputy Leader for the good of the party, french gate will be milked to death and attacking nationalists or others via social media will not change that fact. A serious error took place and we must be seen to take that very seriously if we are to be trusted again.
We need to campaign hard for the Smith Commission to be implemented in full. Scottish voters are extremely educated and see through our leaderships claims of Smith being devo max etc. It is not and never will be, if we truly are a federalist party we need to be fighting for as many powers coming to Scotland no matter how small.
We need to embrace most of the Social Liberal agenda of Tim Farron. Social Liberalism can resonate in Scotland. I believe that many voters want a Scottish Government that facilitates opportunities for people to be the best they can be while providing support for the most vulnerable. Liberals can get the message across that Liberalism is about creating the environment where you can be the best you can be, with the assurance that the system is fair, and as equal as best we can make it. I don’t believe that most people want things done to them, they want the opportunity to do things themselves. Liberalism devolving power to the lowest level can help those aspirations be achieved.
We need to stand up for Scotland, we are not any better than anyone else but our elected representatives have to put Scotland at the top of the agenda. Scottish voters expect no less now, and if we don’t ensure that we are a Scottish Party first we will fall further and harder than the Scottish branch of Labour and we may never recover from that.
We need to campaign to stay in the EU, campaign for election reform and fight for human rights. If that means standing beside the SNP then we have to, nothing formal, but the right choice is the right choice no matter who is standing there. I have always believed a good idea is a good idea and a good policy is a good policy and I don’t care who came up with it. Surely we are here to do what is best for Scotland and that’s that, nothing else will really count in the eyes of the voters.
Just some thoughts. I’m not pretending that I am a Liberal genius overnight but I hope my opinion and ideas are worth reading and maybe even considering.