We all make mistakes

As anyone who has ever read this blog will know I consider myself to be a Liberal, as many people do. To that end last year I joined the Liberal Democrats in the hope that I would find a Liberal home, even for this YES voting Liberal.

However, it has become increasingly clear to myself over the last several months that my beliefs and those of the Scottish Liberal Democrats are no longer in sync with each other, if they ever were in the first place. The parties support of the bombing of Syria, the replacement of Trident, all women short lists, the Alistair Carmichael affair to the decision of Willie Rennie (via the policy committee) to ignore the vote of party members on fracking at the recent Scottish Conference, and his performance on tonight’s shocking question time from Dundee, has led me to the realization that I can no longer remain a member of the party.

When I add in my belief in Scottish Independence I find that I no longer have a place within the party.

I do consider myself a liberal but find the recent decisions I mentioned above and others to be at odds with my view of liberalism. I have no faith in the party leadership in Scotland to put across a vision that will help Scotland to address its problems and concerns. I find that the message from both the leadership, and many within the membership, is SNP bad at all points and the parties only solution to the issues at hand is to have a policy on raising income tax on people earning the fantastic sum of £19,001 or above per year.

It has become increasingly clear to myself that I made a mistake in joining the party in the first place. I believe, and the party in Scotland has reaffirmed this belief, that the only answer to the issues facing Scotland, including the democratic deficit, is for Scotland to become an independent country in its own right and I will continue to support this in any way I can. Scotland needs liberalism but so does the Scottish Liberal Democrats and I have no faith at all in the party acting in the best interests of the people of Scotland or even to stand up for Scotland on issues of importance.

I do wish to be a member of a political movement but will now take some time to decide if that is the right thing for myself. I am also saddened that the many decent, honest members of the Scottish Liberal Democrats are being so badly let down in many ways by a leadership out of touch with the needs of Scotland. Now there are many who will say that the issue is myself rather than the party, but I guess the election in May will show who is closer to the truth. Scotland is facing an unprecedented assault from a right-wing UK Government in Westminster and when the Scottish Liberal Democrats need to be standing up for Scotland the party wishes to raise taxes, shout SNP bad at every opportunity, mess about with all women short lists and ignore a democratic vote by members at its recent conference in Edinburgh. I cannot be a part of that, as I noted in my previous post, our democracy is broken in so many ways.

Watching Question Time last night, and Willie Rennie agreeing with everything that both Ruth Davidson and the journalist from the Telegraph said was shocking to myself. There are two sides in Scotland now, YES and NO, I am firmly in the YES camp and have decided that my efforts in the future will be to that end.

I have been asked if I am re-joining the SNP. While it is clear that my politics and my beliefs are with the SNP in the main I will not be re-joining the SNP or any political party in the near future. I will blog on the issues that I feel passionate about and try to engage people in a discussion, try to get as many to read my blog and express their opinion as possible as I do feel I have things I want to say, to share. I also want to learn from the opinions of others.

While the NO side won a narrow victory in the referendum it is clear that their victory was hollow, they have no answers to the issues facing Scotland, they are even angry that they won. Their wish for YES voters to go away I’m afraid is not going to happen. If anything the unionist parties make me more determined everyday to fight for a YES vote in any future referendum. They are failing Scotland, they talk us down at every opportunity and their tactics are fear, their tactics are to rob the people of Scotland of their confidence, their self-worth, self-esteem. They have no answers other than a blind obedience to a dying Union that uses them to ensure that a very small percentage remain in their places of privilege. That is no longer acceptable if it ever were.

I know that Scotland can be a great and successful independent country and I just cannot be a part of anything that tries to stop that from happening.

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28 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Tris

    It’s been coming for a while. The party has been becoming increasingly i liberal in recent months but aws, over ruling the conference and then last night with Rennie on QT was the final straw. I am relieved as I have been holding fire due to being a member of the party, expressing my opinion but trying to be patient. There is no point, the party is in serious trouble and a huge part of that is down to the leadership which is very poor, a leadership that is just the tory party in yellow. They learned nothing from the coalition, and like Labour, have no idea that Scotland has changed,

    There is a blind hatred of the SNP which doesn’t allow the party to actually represent Scotland or it’s interests. While there are members in Dundee whom I have a lot of time for I feel sorry for them as they are in the main genuinely liberal and are being let down. Willie Rennie I just can’t stand at all, he is so poor it is scary. I am so glad that NS wiped the floor with him yesterday at FMQs, he was trying to be a smart arse and she owned him, good on her as Liberal members need to see him for what he is, poor and not a proper liberal.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Bruce

  2. Vince Diaz

    Nice of you Bruce to be an Indy supporter, the party you choose is inconsequential. I join Tris in the wish you find a home for the politics you believe in. In the meantime your thoughts are as welcome as usual.

    Thank you kindly, Vince.

    • Anonymous

      Vince

      I’ve always been a YES voter, that was never going to change but I always considered myself a liberal so joined the party. I met a few good people but in the main the party is as lost and deluded as Labour. I just feel that the 3 unionist parties have morphed into one, they have no idea and no ambition. I just had enough of being a part of something that I was finding more difficult to accept by the day. I won’t miss them and they won’t miss me.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  3. Alistair Robertson

    There’s a great deal of heartache in this post that will be obvious to anyone reading. Many of us have been through similar emotions over the last few years in particular as the case for an independent Scotland has distilled many’s thoughts and actions along similar lines.

    I hope you get and take the time and space you need – and don’t stop blogging in the meantime.
    Scotland needs it’s Grumpy old men.

    • Anonymous

      Alistair

      Won’t stop blogging, I enjoy it too much. I get to rant and express my opinion and hopefully learn when people take the time to contribute. Deciding to leave the Lib Dems has been a few months in the making to be honest, it just came to a head last night when I decided that the party does not have Scotland’s best interests at heart in any way. The leadership are Britnats to the extreme, they don’t care about Scotland in the same way that I do because they are British. It’s ok to be British, go for it if that is what you believe but don’t rubbish Scotland along the way and take joy in the difficult times. I might join another party, well re-join the SNP, but not anytime soon. When the next ref comes along I will get more involved then.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  4. lanark

    I respected your decision to join and now your decision to leave, I know you wont have taken it lightly. Rennie’s conduct on QT was absolutely shameful, he seems to enjoy trolling Scotland and its people.

    As I posted on Wings (I post as Provost Sludden on some sites), Back in the days before the 60s there was no Tory Party in Scotland but groupings of the Unionist Party, National Liberals and tne Progressives at council level. At Westminster they took the Tory whip and despite small differences, they agreed on major issues.

    To my Labour voting parents and grandparents, they were all simply Tories. The situation is the same today, where is the great differences between the parties in Scotland? They are all Tories and we should name them as such. Rennie has so much in common with Ruthie.

    I am not in the SNP either although my wife is

    • Anonymous

      Lanark

      QT was the final straw to be honest on top of the things I listed in the blog. Seeing Rennie, whom I can’t stand I must admit, agreeing with everything Ruth Davidson said was pitiful. They don’t have Scotland’s best interests at heart. They are party drones who have no vision. They measure Scotland by UK standards, some of the worst standards in the world, and just don’t see that Scotland could do things differently, try new approaches, end trident etc. It just came clear to me that if I stayed in a party that will never change I am wasting my time, my politics I like to think are about honesty, fairness and decency. The lib dems are on the way out unless they change very very quickly, it’s a yes and no Scotland now and they hate it.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  5. jimnarlene

    Bruce ( now there’s a name loaded with history, I’ve been reading a few books on our history lately, not all of it comfortable), I’ve always enjoyed your blog, in the past year or two, and I find you as a kindred spirit.
    We both, want independence, are left leaning and have an unshakable belief in the rights of our fellow man. It’s not you, but the Liberal party that have lost their way, they ( as have the “Labour” party) have become Tory lite (to use an Americanism).
    I don’t feel you need to join an organization, or a party; you can vote for whom so ever you wish, depending on the circumstance as you will always have Scotland’s , your family’s and your fellow travellers in life interests, in mind and heart.

    • Anonymous

      Jim

      It’s interesting you say that as I was going into May’s election with every intention of not voting for the Liberal Democrats as they had not done enough to earn my vote, I even said it at meetings. I told them if you can’t convince a member to vote for you what hope do you have, there are just too many SNP bad members with no vision for Scotland.

      They measure everything by UK standards and can’t see that things can be done differently. I won’t be rushing into joining another party anytime soon, if at all. I would rather try and blog more and express my opinion that way. Its very flattering that anyone reads it to be honest as it’s just my way to express my frustration.

      I really believe that Scotland is YES or NO now and I am firmly in the YES camp and that has to be the aim now. Keep trying to expose the unionist rubbish and try to encourage as many people as possible to consider the YES side of the argument.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  6. Galen Milne

    Hi Bruce, Clearly you are a nationalist first and foremost, federalist second. One can only change things from the inside and leaders come and leaders go. To be a genuine liberal one doesn’t have to agree with everything about the policy presentation but a supporter of the core beliefs of individual freedoms above state control. I doubt you will find this in any other Party in Scotland, and certainly not in the modern day SNP.

    • Anonymous

      Galen

      I’ve never considered myself a nationalist, certainly not in the way that it is put forward in Scotland. I consider myself a democrat and a liberal. I want an independent republican Scotland because I came to realise that the UK won’t change. The UK in the main has become a right of centre country and that is not where my politics lay and they never have.

      I can’t stand that I don’t live in a democracy, I can’t stand the hereditary principle and the HoL. I can’t stand that most of the political parties are only interested in the few and not the many. Any party that sees punishing the weakest for the folly of the wealthiest is not for me.

      I joined the Scottish Liberal democrats as I firmly believe that Scotland needs Liberalism. What I found was a party with too many SNP bad members and esp the leadership. A party that judges Scotland by UK standards and refuses to accept that things can be done differently. A party that wants to replace trident, a party that is happy to ignore the 45% of people who voted yes, a party that wants to bring in aws, a party that ignores conference, a party leader who cannot find any way to disagree with the leader of the Conservatives. That is not Liberal, they may as well merge with the tories as there is no difference.

      The Lib Dems in Scotland can be a party that means something but it needs the Rennies, Carmichaels etc gone. It needs to embrace new ideas, it needs to fight for PR and for a federal Scotland. It doesn’t do that and watching Rennie sit on QT smirking at everything Swinney said, and certain members of the audience was enough for me, that is something that I will not be a part of. There are good things and bad things about Scottish Government Policy but to sit like a clown when you should be reaching out is pure stupidity.

      Galen, I hope the Scottish Liberal Democrats can save themselves but I don’t see it and I have had texts from other members who are following, who will be resigning from the party, that is down to Rennie and the rest of the leadership.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  7. lanark

    I hope you don’t mind me commenting again, but your posts on this blog and your actions prove that you are a Liberal and a Demorat. Rennie and his ilk are neither.

    • Anonymous

      Lanark

      Comment anytime you want. I would love more people to comment, that’s how we learn about politics, there is always something to learn. I wish more people would comment as I always find the discussion interesting and I love hearing what other people think, I want people to disagree with me as well. Show me where they think I’m wrong.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  8. YESGUY

    Well about time Bruce.

    i followed you through the referendum but lost interest when you went LIB, when all around you could tell they were nothing but union and establishment toadies. When their member ( Carbunkle) lied, got caught and still tried to fleece the public. W. Rennie is a comical figure with the iq of a tadpole .( apoligies tadpoles everywhere) . Imagine him as FM ( never in a month of sunday’s)

    The libs i believe are the local tarts or slag who will sleep with any party for power and office. They stood for home rule for 100 years and when they had a chance to act on their part they joined Better together and abused and cheated the Scottish public.

    They joined the tories and have abused and starved our poor and needy. They promised free education , their flagship policy and still bent over for Cameron to up the costs to students in England. They are LIARS proven and cheats Proven .

    So yipee and welcome back from the dark side. I always enjoyed your blog Bruce . your going “darkside” really angered me and i stayed away . but lo and behold you have come back. . Thank goodness. i can rejoin and enjoy your stuff and commenters again.

    We need to leave this broken UK with its out of touch elitist politicians and anti Scots attitude. So nice to see your voice will be one of many attempting to win indi for us.

    Welcome back Bruce . 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Yesguy

      I’ve never stopped believing in independence and the need for Scotland to get out of this awful and disgusting union. I am still liberal in nature but learned that you just cannot change certain people’s minds, and esp many within the Liberal Democrats who just can’t see passed their hatred for anything SNP. The fact that not every YES voter is a member of the SNP or even support the SNP doesn’t register at all. I get called a nationalist all the time even though I am not.

      As I said in the blog, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, esp the leadership, are more interested in talking Scotland down and agreeing with Tories than actually coming up with ideas that support Scotland or even to defend Scotland, throw in Willie Rennie and it was time to go. The man is a plank, end of.

      Won’t be joining any party until indy 2 so I can get more involved so just blogging for me now.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

      • YESGUY

        Just a quick reply Bruce.

        Sorry if my attempt at a welcome was so sharp. It’s easier to say the words than write them down and you bloggers do that very well. Me i don;t always get the right point over in black and white so should always state early i intend no harm, anger, or anything other than i am soooooo glad your back.

        I will never be able to come to terms with the unionist parties for their disgusting behaviour during the referendum. They abused and slung insults and spoke down my country. One that i am proud off and will not stay quiet about.

        I was angry and left the blog until spotting the header on Munguins.

        I have to admit i was delighted . . Your good at blogging and get your pieces over so even us dafties understand. So glad you left the FIBS.

        And i am back reading up on you again. Thanks for having the nerve and drive to not only leave the party that has failed you but to show us in the public that we are not blind to their tricks, their smoke and their mirrors .

        Bravo Bruce.

        did i say i was glad to be back in your blog 🙂 😉

  9. Conan the Librarian™

    Hi Bruce. I too once voted LibDem, (admittedly tactically in Edinburgh West) and knew many of the activists there. They were horrified at the coalition with the Bullingdon Boys and the support melted like snaw aff a dyke.

    Console yourself with the fact that in an independent Scotland, there will be a Liberal party that actually reflects what it says on the tin.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Conan

      That would be my hope to be honest. A new Liberal Party within an independent Scotland would def be the way to go for me and something that I could embrace easily. At least it would be a Liberal Party fighting for what is in the best interests of Scotland. The current party don’t do that and I feel sorry for the many good and decent members who deserve better than they get.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  10. daviddrawsandpaintsDavid Cornelius

    Dear Grumpy,
    When a festering burden is lifted, when your eyes are opened wide, you are free to pursue your own independent direction. You can support the aims of any independence party and lend them your vote without fear or favour. I worked hard for the Yes campaign but when it came to post Referendum I preferred not to be tied to one party. I felt it gave my argument more credibility not being in the SNP.
    It isn’t easy to break free but liberating when it comes. The indyref opened my eyes and in particular to the curse of British Unionism. After fifty years a Rangers supporter I went through similar internal debates until now I am overjoyed to say that I broke the chains that bound me. I see them for what they are and who they attract as supporters.
    I appreciate the attraction of being part of a group but in the end we all must follow our own path. Look what Margo achieved in her lifetime as an independent – her influence was enormous.
    Your writing is more important than being a one party man.

    More power to your writing arm,
    DAVID

    • grumpyscottishman

      David

      Thanks for that, I totally agree. I love blogging when I have the time and have never pretended that my blogg is anything other than my own opinions and I have bneen critical of all of the parties. I do wish my writing was a bit better but I also try to write in a way that expresses how I feel and written in a way that we talk about our politics every day.

      I have always enjoyed politics and it took me a long time to understand how it worked and what governments of all parties get up to in our name, what I found disgusted me but the UK in particular. I have no doubt in my mind at all that UK Unionism is a horrible, maybe evil thing to have hanging around our heads, the only way to try and save Scotland is independence, that there is no doubt.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and express your opinion.

      Bruce

  11. katherine hamilton

    I think your ex-party will lose many like you. I went through the same process as hundreds of thousands of Scots re the Labour Party. The sense of liberation was actually surprising. I see now the intellectual compromises I made to keep supporting them. The “at least they’re better than the Tories” argument. Well they’re not, and neither are the LibDems.

    Keep blogging. I read a lot but rarely comment.
    Good Luck.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Katherine

      I have heard from a few people who are thinking the same way in the Scottish Liberal Democrats, they are close to have had enough of people like Willie Rennie, Alistair Carmichael and the new lot coming through who are just drones of the same kind.

      I just couldn’t do it anymore, I was getting angry and disgusted with the party and in particular Willie Rennie, who many say is a nice man but to be honest I doubt you can be a nice anything and hold his political beliefs.

      Thanks for reading, it’s always flattering that people bother to read my cynical moans but blogging keeps me sane.

      Bruce

  12. squidgybidge

    Hey Bruce.

    I’m actually a little surprised that it has taken you so long to eventually come to this decision. I’ve discussed this with you before when you have raised the thorny issue previously of being discontented with your membership and were thinking of leaving.

    So as you have now come to your decision, it might (or may not) help you, if I restate my position. I am not in a party (nor have I ever been in one). Although I was sorely tempted to join either the SNP, SSP or Greens shortly after the IndyRef.

    However, I chose not to, as I want to be able to criticise all 3 parties should they deserve it and if joined one of them, knowing myslef and my own hang-ups, I am not sure how critical I would be of them, if it was truly needed. I guess I am scared that my personality type would turn me into a supporter, (much like the football supporter, who can broach, nor bear any criticism of his team, no matter how poor they played). Thus I have steered away from joining, despite all 3 parties representing strong strains of my political make-up.

    I enjoy doing my politics this way (not within a party), because for me it allows me to be constructive and try to be a voice of reason without trapping myself into the supporter role. It also encourages me to look for the flaws in arguments presented by all 3.

    From reading your blog since before the IndyRef though, I can say with all honesty you are free those hang-ups that I feel I am not. Thus although you are saying you are going to stay out of party politics, I don’t believe you.😜You come across to me, as someone who is extremely capable, but also someone who likes to be in the thick of it, when it comes political decisions and party direction. I think you are going to be looking for a new political home very soon. I’ve suggested it before to you, but I think the SGP would be a natural home for you. Personally I see most Green and true Liberal ideologies as being interchangeable (whether the parties mirror that is another thing). If you do join in the future, I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

    Anyway just my tuppence worth and whatever you do I look forward to hearing your thoughts, as you are one of my must read bloggers, because you do wear your heart on sleeve and are always honest in your thoughts and opinions.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Squidgy

      I have found party politics to be too constraining, decision making is too top down for me and memberships in the main managed. I have found that the SNP is very top down and strictly managed, very little gets debated at conference that the leadership don’t want debated and not enough questins being asked, and with the Liberals there is a little more member decision making but this is being slowly eroded. Rennie ignoring conference via the Policy Committee on the fracking vote will haunt them for a long time, as will the continued failure of members to really challenge the leadership.

      I have decided that I won’t be involved in any party until Indy2. I don’t have the time to be really active within a party and I am not someone who can just hand out leaflets etc. I am interested in the policy development etc, I also struggle with the being polite all the time. I just can’t be bothered with that anymore, life is too short and our country too broken for it. If something is shit then we need to say it’s shit and keep saying it no matter whom we upset or who disagrees with us. Britnats can bury their heads in the sand but we just need to wear them down by not going away no matter what they do.

      I like to blog when I have the time, I know my blog isn’t up there with some of the briliant ones like Minquin’s Republic but I just write down what I think. I accept that I’m not always correct, that my grammer could a lot better or that I might miss some of the facts in my moans, but then you learn when people comment and that is what it’s about for me when blogging, learning from other people.

      However we are certainly living in interesting times.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

      • squidgybidge

        Bruce.

        You put yourself down too much. Your blog covers ground no other blogger I follow does, thus it is of major value. You are not scared to question yourself and to do so, so openly allows others to be introspective as well. That is extremely valuable for all of us.

        As for grammar, pphhtt. Some will say its of major importance. Me I tend to think that getting the thoughts down is more important than a lot of proof reading, if you don’t have the time to check it.

        It’s exactly that sentiment of being able to say something is shit that has kept me out of party politics. Amongst my worrying that I may end up a cheerleader to party policy, my other personality trait, is truth, brutal truth. I don’t do it out badness, but it can ruffle more than few feathers. Thus for me keeping my distance works best.

        Best of luck to you Bruce and I hope you don’t get too many withdrawal systems from not being within the party machine, as it’s clear that you like that involvement (and it sounds like you are a good “devils advocate” for the others within it too).

  13. Sam McComb

    Hi

    In expert evidence to the Health and Tourism Committee at Holyrood Dr Gerry McCartney, Professors McIntyre and Tannahill (see here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/85035.aspx#views)

    spoke about the causes of health inequalities in Scotland. McCartney identified unequal distributions of power, wealth and income. Mcintyre emphasised the importance of employment (presumably as protection against poverty) and Tannahill spoke about current work practices such as zero hours contracts possibly being worse for health than long term unemployment.

    As Harry Burns said in his 10th Kilbrandon Lecture the culprit in this is poverty. At the molecular level chronic stress imposed by the effects of poverty results in producing permanently elevated levels of cortisol.

    Implied in the expert evidence to the Health and Tourism Committee is the need for Scotland to have control of its economic and welfare policies. Devo max or independence? We must be one of the few countries in the world lacking the political tools to help our poor. We must be one of the few countries in the world to pass up the chance to take political control away from a parliament that repeatedly damages the interests of the people of Scotland, especially the poor.

    Campaign on that?

    • grumpyscottishman

      Sam

      I totally agree. Poverty effects so much of everything, I experienced poverty when I was younger in the 80’s due to parental unemployment and the people I work with in the main experience poverty today and in a country as wealthy as this one it is wrong.

      The failure of the unionist parties to fight for even devo max/federalism was a huge mistake and my joining the Lib Dems to try and change minds was a waste of time. My efforts will be to try and convince as many people as possible to the need for Scottish independence and to highlight when I can how rubbish the UK is and what it does to it’s own people.

      Thanks for the info above, very relevant and will check it out in more detail.

      Thanks also for taking the time to comment.

      Bruce

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