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.