Ten Vital Months for the Lib Dems

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. 

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6 comments

  1. jimnarlene

    All good points but, I don’t think the liberal leadership (whomsoever that will be) will learn from their past mistakes, in relation to their regard for the people of Scotland.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Jim

      I have been swayed by Tim Farron so far in the leadership contest. He refused to be part of the coalition, voted against all of draconian Tory and Liberal Policies so I think there is hope. I would agree though that the party has to be seen to stand up for Scotland or they may face a near wipe out next year and that is not good. There really does need to be a liberal voice in my opinion.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  2. hektorsmum

    I have to say that the best thing for the Lib Dems is rather like the Labour Party, it needs to die,. Oh it may be mourned not stopping that, but have to say not done much good for itself in the past years. It has got into bed with whichever suitor asked oh except the SNP but that I am truly thankful for. It allows the SNP the freedom to govern as it wished within the strictures laid down. #All of the Unionist Parties were in a terrible rush to do down the Scottish Nation, none of them thought of whom they were talking to. Certainly I have a great distaste for their behaviour. Well funny when they got into coalition, a formal coalition we said in our house that this would be the death embrace and so it turned out. We are not political big beasties but we could see what the result would be. Labour did the same, rushing to the side of the Tory Party to defend the “Union”.
    Sorry Bruce but until one of these parties actually finds a policy they believe in rather than imitating the Tories they will simply be seen as Tory a wee bittie lighter and people would rather have the original than the pale imitation.
    Should someone here in Scotland actually come out and say they believe in Scotland, I shall make a tasty hat and eat it. I will never forgive or forget the waste of money down to the Three Unionists with the Edinburgh Trams, I hold every death on the A9/M90 on them.

    • grumpyscottishman

      hektorsmum

      My next post will highlight what I think is the way ahead for the Liberal Democrats in some ways and you might find it worth a wee read. I’ll finish it today after work and would value your opinion as always. You won’t be surprised to find that I disagree with you that the Lib Dems should just die. I don’t have a huge issue with coalition Government in the main, but both in Holyrood and Westminster I accept that the Liberal Democrats did little to show their Liberal beliefs and were used to a huge extend to legitamise two horrible parties but they (we 🙂 only have oursleves to blame. I certainly will never agree to any coalition that does not delivery a Liberal vision for Scotland in future. However I do think that the SNP facing no real opposition is neither good for the SNP in the middle to long term or Scotland. Policy has to be challenged where wrong and supported where good. Overall I don’t have that much to critisize the SNP about, I voted for them and voted YES but their good run and ok decision making can’t last forever and we know that. They need to be challenged if they are to make the right choices, that is something the Liberal Democrats can do but I accept did not do enough of in the past.

      Now that the Tories have a free reign we are going to have to work together to ensure what is best for Scotland. I think we can write Labour off to be honest as they have not learned the lesson and are at civil war. But I think there is hope in the Liberal movement if it can move away from the Liberalism of Carmichael, Clegg, Cable and Alexander and embrace the Liberalism of the Charles kennedy of old and Tim Farron who I believe is a decent man and a social liberal. Social Liberalism is what attracted me to join the party but I accept that the road back is a long one.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  3. Sue Varley

    The biggest problem the LDs have is credibility, particularly in Scotland where we are more aware, awake and paying attention. It doesn’t matter who they get in leadership, or what policies (federal or otherwise) they have, they seem, like labour, to be incapable of demonstrating that they have done anything wrong.

    It may not be illegal to ditch ones signature policies, but it is in my opinion, immoral. Liberals have been federalists for years, decades even, yet given the chance to do something different and popular in the referendum, they refused. They had the chance for electoral reform for a PR system, yet they went with the “miserable compromise”.

    It may not be illegal to leak, smear and lie, but it is certainly immoral. Leaving aside the Carmichael issue, the disgusting allegations of the SNP “murdering” or at least causing the death of Charles Kennedy by standing a candidate against him are outrageous. I campaigned for Ian Blackford – how much responsibility do I have for CK’s sad early death? I may have missed it, but I certainly didn’t see any prominent LDs public condemming this offensiveness. (Not saying LDs were responsible for all of this, but certainly some of it.) I voted for CK in the past, because he was a good leader, honest, and he stood against Iraq, btw. I switched to SNP after CK was knifed by his own party, against the views of many rank and file party members, and the electorate in general.

    I am seeing no change of heart in LD circles. Tim Farron in particular may have good socially liberal policies, but I can’t see him inspiring confidence in Scotland – remember his Question Time appearance in January where he called SNP insular and backward – by extension thats 50% of the Scottish electorate. Libs like Labour will do no good here unless they actually listen to what the SNP are saying, and recompute their knee-jerk reactions. SNP are not “blood and soil” nationalists. Its not anti-English to want self-determination in Scotland.

    If you want the LDs to survive, in my opinion, the best thing you can do as a member is to get them to treat Scottish aspirations with respect. With no sign that this is ever going to happen, I agree with hektorsmum.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Sue

      I agree that the Liberal Democrats have to demonstrate they are a credible party again in Scotland. Jim Wallace, Willie Rennie and Nick Clegg have been a disaster for the party in Scotland after all of the in roads they made under Charles Kennedy. They have got to be the federal party they profess to be or they will never be taken seriously in future and will be at serious risk of dying off as a party.

      I agree with your second point to a degree. I would never have expected the Liberal Democrats to campaign for independence, although some within the party did campaign for a yes vote from within. However, their failure to fight for a federal question being on the ballot paper in the referendum was a huge own goal, even thought the Tories would never have allowed it as it would have been the preferred choice I suspect the Liberals should have been fighting for it.

      Alistair Carmichael was wrong, there is no way around that. He totally failed to grasp that Scottish voters will not tolerate the politics of hate and blatant lies anymore, hense the wipe out of Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the election. The party have been weak in their response to the affair, at the very least he should no longer be deputy leader in Scotland. I also think the rules on recall are wrong and need to be changed. I also don’t accept that a political campaign lie is ok so there for his character remains honourable. That is no defence.

      I think that all the parties have problems with social media trolls but it is a minority. I have myself been rude on social media about other parties, never abusive but rude in the past. I just don’t do that anymore because we need to move on now, Scotland deserately needs change politically and the relationship with the UK needs drastic change, we won’t achieve that by abusing each other.

      I don’t agree with everything that Tim Farron says and I would never agree that the SNP are insular or backwards, if anything the refusal to really debate constituional change in the UK is that very thing. However I do think that the Social Liberalism that Tim Farron supports is the way ahead for the party, it probably won’t go far enough left for myself but any shift to the right will kill the party in Scotland. Time will tell I guess but I will be supporting Tim for the leadership ahead of Norman Lamb.

      I would also agree that the Scottish Liberal Democrats have to put Scotland first. They should be fighting for every power, no matter how small, coming to Scotland as that would be a step closer to Federalism which again the party profess to support. Time will tell if the party will survive, I suspect that it may have to fall a little further before it starts to see any recovery at all but I do believe that Scotland needs a social liberal voice.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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