The Once Proud and Powerful Scottish Liberal Democratic Party Membership Should Exercise Its Right and Get Shot of Willie Rennie as leader if It Is to Survive

 

 

The remorseless decline of the Liberal-Democratic Party in Scotland

2007:

In the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections, the party won one fewer seat than in the two previous Scottish elections.

The experience led to criticism of the party’s election strategy.

Although it was arithmetically possible to form a majority coalition with the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Green Party, the party refused to participate in coalition negotiations because of a disagreement over the SNP’s policy of a referendum on Scottish independence, and sat as an opposition party in the Parliament.

The Tories, stepped forward and agreed to support the SNP minority subject to agreement to implement a number of measures, in the Tory manifesto.

2008:

On 2 July 2008, Party Leader, Nicol Stephen was dumped.

The former deputy leader Michael Moore MP served as acting leader of the party until Tavish Scott MSP was elected party leader on 26 August 2008.

2011:

At the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, the party lost all its mainland constituencies, retaining only the two constituencies of Orkney and Shetland.

It also secured three List MSPs.

This was by far the party’s worst electoral performance since the re-establishment of a Scottish parliament in 1999.

Tavish Scott was dumped. Willie Rennie stepped forward and was elected leader unopposed.

2014

At the 2014 European Parliament elections, under the leadership of Willie Rennie, the party lost its only MEP.

2015

At the 2015 general election, under the leadership of Willie Rennie, the party lost 10 of its 11 MPs with only Alistair Carmichael narrowly retaining Orkney and Shetland with a 3.6% majority.

2016

At the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, again under Willie Rennie’s leadership, the Party had 5 MSPs elected but was pushed into last place in Holyrood by the Scottish Greens.

While it gained the 2 constituency seats of Edinburgh Western and North East Fife from the SNP, its vote share was reduced further.

 

 

The Decline appears to be Terminal

Election

1999: Share of seats: 13%

2003: Share of seats: 13%

2007: Share of seats: 13%  Nicol Stephen dumped following disastrous performance. Tavish Scott took over.

2011: Share of seats: 4% Tavish Scott dumped following disastrous performance. Willie Rennie took over.

2016: Share of seats:  4% Wee Willie produced another disastrous performance but hangs on, no-one interested.

 

 

 

The European Referendum outcome – The Scottish Lib-Dem Party public statement

In the early hours of the morning of June 24th, everything we understood about the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe changed.

The European Union and our belief in its goals of peace and economic prosperity is an enormous part of what it is to be a Liberal Democrat.

We are internationalist, co-operative, tolerant. And as that reality sank in we realised there was another consequence: What did this mean for our relationship with the rest of the UK?

And that is why Liberal Scotland in Europe has put forward a motion to this autumn’s Scottish Conference which aims to keep the party’s, and Scotland’s, options open.

Other parties may only be about unionism or nationalism, but the Liberal Democrats are about more than that. Our policies are decided by the membership, and as a membership we need to live up to our radical traditions and take on the challenge of finding a creative way forward for Scotland.

We want to encourage our leadership to explore all possibilities, with all parties, to pursue the best possible outcome for Scotland.

This period of political history may prove to be the most significant for our constitution in 300 of years.

It is for the Scottish Liberal Democrats membership to decide what role the party will play and what route we will choose.

But if we are to secure the best future for Scotland and the strongest relationship with both the UK and EU, we will need to leave no possibility unexplored.

 

 

 

Willie Rennie – a disastrous party leader and tediously boring speaker in Holyrood needs to give up the reins of leadership to a better qualified person

Witness his cynical manipulation of the Scottish Lib-Dem conference, (poorly attended by approximately 120 Delegates)

The afore-stated motion, proposed by Party members was not put to the wider party membership for discussion and likely implementation in the Party manifesto and was not excluded from discussion at the conference agenda.

The under-noted substitute proposal was included, with the full support of Willie Rennie

This substitute motion was placed before the conference by MSP for Edinburgh Western, Alex Cole-Hamilton encouraging the party to:

* seek to win support for a public vote across the whole UK on the final EU deal;

* persuade the rest of the EU to be pragmatic in response to such demands;

* work with colleagues across the UK to be the UK-wide rallying point for all those who are pro-EU;

* and campaign for re-entry in the event of EU withdrawal.

The motion was carried by conference and included in the Lib-Dem party manifesto – but conference votes are not binding on the Party membership.

 

 

 

 

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Westminster Debate Israel-Palestine – Tory MP for Aberdeen South – Ross Thomson – seizes his chance to donate his own weird and wonderful interpretation of recent historical events

 

 

 

 

 

Westminster Debate Israel-Palestine – Tory MP for Aberdeen South – Ross Thomson – seizes his chance to donate his own weird and wonderful interpretation of historical events

In yesterday’s General Debate on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks, Conservative MP Ross Thomson said that his visit to Israel and the West Bank last year with CFI provided him with “the greatest insight possible into the issues” after “being able to speak to people on the ground, on both sides of the conflict”.

He described Israel as “a country that celebrates diversity”, where “you will find churches, mosques and synagogues standing almost side by side, and see Jews, Muslims and Christians living alongside each other in peaceful coexistence”.

He added that Israel is “truly is a beacon of democracy and hope in a troubled region”.

The MP for Aberdeen South expressed his deep concern over Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protests in his constituency, where anti-Israel activists have tried to drive an Israeli cosmetics company out of business, displaying “poisonous and divisive banners stating: ‘Anti-Semitism is a crime, Anti-Zionism is a duty'”.

He joined Conservative parliamentarians in calling for the Home Secretary to proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety, stating that “Hezbollah cannot be forgiven for its criminal, terrorist, or militant pursuits simply because it engages in political or humanitarian ones”.

The Conservative MP outlined the main obstacles to the advancement of peace, which include “Hamas’s rearmament drive in Gaza and internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah”, but underlined that as we “proudly mark the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration, we are presented with a unique opportunity to renew the Middle East Peace Process”.

 

 

Note:

But, “he walks on water” Ross rarely gives voice in public, except to advance his own agenda, in this case protests by Aberdonian’s about trade links with Israel. His contribution to the debate distorts facts, to his benefit and his colleagues, pertaining to the Tory Party delegation working holiday to Israel. And I have added a correcting record of events below.

 

 

 

 

Tory MSP’s enjoy an all expenses paid trip to Israel

The Electoral Commission released figures detailing expenses totalling £12,000 paid to six Conservative MSPs by the lobby group, Conservatives for Israel (CFI).

Data confirmed that the MSPs were each given £2,000 by the group, financed through Jewish sources, who support the maintaining of business, social and security connections between the UK and Israel in the political arena.

The financial gift fully funded the working holiday to Israel by the MSPs.

The group included:

The director of the Scottish Conservatives, Mark McInnes

The Scottish Conservative chief whip, John Lamont.

The shadow justice secretary, Douglas Ross.

The shadow economy, jobs and fair work cabinet secretary, Dean Lockhart.

The shadow environment secretary, Maurice Golden.

The tourism and small businesses spokeswoman, Rachel Hamilton>

The community safety spokesman, Oliver Mundell.

The digital economy spokesman, Jamie Greene.

The further education, higher education and science spokesman, Ross Thompson

The welfare, reform and equalities spokeswoman, Annie Wells.

 

 

 

November 2016: High-Level, Scottish Tory Party pro-Israel lobby group visit to Golan Heights

The UN, in 1981, issued a resolution saying that Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights was illegal.

The strategic ridge was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and formally annexed in 1981.

Since then, every year the UN passes a General Assembly resolution titled “The Occupied Syrian Golan” which reaffirms the illegality of the Israeli occupation and annexation.

A high-powered group of ten Scottish Tories visited an Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan Heights.

Called ‘Building Bridges with Israel’, the group was recently set up in a bid by the Tory Party to oppose anti-Semitism and offer an ‘alternative viewpoint’ to what it says is a pro-Palestinian stance that has been dominant since the Scottish Parliament’s inception in 1999.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, (formally given the support of the Holyrood parliament) strongly opposed the Scottish Tory Party pro-Israel lobby group’s message.

Their spokesman said: “Israel doesn’t build any bridges, it demolishes homes, farms and is demolishing Palestine.”

Al-Marsad, the only human rights organisation operating in the Golan Heights, is at loggerheads with the group after raising concern about the visit to the Golan Heights winery in Katzrin.

They say the delegation did not contact Al-Marsad or other representatives of the Syrian community in the “occupied Syrian Golan” to get a “balanced view”.

And they say they have repeatedly failed to get an explanation for the visit to the territory or any condemnation of the illegal settlement.

Al-Marsad, described as an independent, not-for-profit international human rights organisation, said it was “highly concerned” that the visit sends the message that Scotland endorses the illegal activities of such settlements.

http://www.impartialreporter.com/news/14884171.Ruth_Davidson_slammed_over_high_level_Tory_visit_to_illegal_Israeli_settlement/

 

 

 

Response by Al-Marsad, the Arab Human Rights Centre in The Golan Heights

Al-Marsad, which has previously voiced concern over what it deems Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Syrian Arab population in the Golan, say they have written two letters to Ms Davidson asking in particular about the visit of the Scottish parliamentary pro-Israel lobby group to “occupied Syrian Golan” but without response.

Dr Nizar Ayoub director, said “Given this lack of clarification, I am highly concerned that the Scottish pro-Israel lobby group (Scottish Conservative party) appears to condone the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements – illegal under international law – in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

He went on to say: “it is “highly concerning” if human rights issues, in particular, in the occupied territories should not be “not considered or trumped by business interests”.

Dr Nizar Ayoub told Ms Davidson in his letters: “As I imagine that you are aware, such settlements are illegal according to international law, and their construction and expansion at the expense of the native Syrian inhabitants have been repeatedly condemned by the international community.

I am highly concerned that the delegation has visited a winery in an illegal Israeli settlement without providing any explanation of the purpose of the visit.

In effect, this sends a message that the Scottish parliamentary pro-Israel lobby group (Scottish Conservative party) endorses the illegal activities of this settlement – built on land illegally appropriated from its original Syrian owners.

Even more worrying is the fact that the Scottish pro-Israel lobby group (Scottish Conservative party) has refused to answer questions about whether the delegation raised the broader issue of the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan during its visit.”

He was further concerned that, describing the visit, Mr Lamont said “on Israel’s northern border with Syria we witnessed first-hand the devastating civil war raging metres away from Israel”

Dr Ayoub reminded Ms Davidson that: “The only part of Syria that Israel borders is the occupied Syrian Golan. The fighting in Syria is not taking place metres away from Israel, it is taking place metres away from the occupied Syrian Golan.

From Mr Lamont’s comments, it appears that he considers that the occupied Syrian Golan is part of Israel, which it is not.”

He added: “I am highly disappointed that the delegation did not contact Al-Marsad or other representatives of the Syrian community in the occupied Syrian Golan in order to discuss the daily challenges faced by the remaining native Syrian population in the Syrian Golan due to Israel’s illegal occupation.

This would have ensured that the delegation obtained a more balanced view of the situation in the occupied Syrian Golan.”  (http://golan-marsad.org/)

 

Lest Ye Forget – The aftermath of the 2014 Scottish Referendum

 

 

 

 

THE NO CAMPAIGN’S BROKEN PROMISES

The EU During the referendum, the Better Together website said : ‘Scotland enjoys membership of the EU because of our membership of the UK and if we no longer are members of the UK then it follows that we are no longer are part of the EU…
( http://web.archive.org/web/20140914205737/http:/bettertogether.net/blog/entry/eu-cant-trust-them)

Ruth Davidson said “I think it is disingenuous of Patrick [Harvie] to say that No means out and Yes means in, when actually the opposite is true, No means we stay in, we are members of the European Union.”

Better Together tweeted saying: “What is process for removing our EU citizenship? Voting yes. (https://twitter.com/hashtag/scotdecides?src=hash)

 

 

 

Devolution – The future is for Scots to decide

In the STV referendum debate, Ruth Davidson said “It’s disingenuous to say No means out and Yes means in, when actually the opposite is true. No means we stay in.”

Now, Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU against our will in the aftermath of the UK’s vote for Brexit. Extensive new powers

The then three Westminster party leaders promised “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament.

However what they actually legislated for left decisions about 70% of Scottish taxes and 85% of current UK welfare spending in Scotland in the hands of the Westminster government.

The STUC and numerous third sector groups expressed disappointment at the limitations of what was finally legislated for.

The cross-party Devolution (Further Powers) Committee said that the Scotland Bill “falls short” in “critical areas”. (http://www.parliament.scot/newsandmediacentre/89468.aspx)

A YouGov poll in September 2015 found that only 9 per cent of people in Scotland believe that the promise of “extensive new powers” was delivered.

 

 

 

Power lies with the people of Scotland

In a joint statement of 5 August 2014 David Cameron and the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson -along with the other party leaders, signed a pledge saying: “Power lies with the Scottish people and we believe it is for the Scottish people to decide how Scotland is governed.” (http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/08/party-leaders-unite-promise-more-powers-scotland)

Yet when the very same people power supposedly lay with voted for 56 of Scotland’s 59 MPs to be SNP on a platform of even more powers within the UK the Tories MPs vote against those proposals and let 1 MP of Scotland’s 59 to decide to veto them.

 

 

Shipbuilding

Before the referendum, the No campaign said jobs in shipyards would be under threat if there was a Yes vote –including a leaflet saying that ‘Separation Shuts Shipyards’ and making promises that “Govan and Scotstoun will get the order for 13 Type-26 frigates from the Royal Navy”.

Better Together tweeted saying that a No vote would “ensure the future of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry.” (https://twitter.com/UK_Together/status/345468209916428289)

However, on 7 November 2015, the Scotsman reported that the programme could be slashed because funding was required to pay for Trident. (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/live-800-workers-set-go-2681909)

On 23 November 2015, the UK government announced that the number of frigates that would were intended to be built had been reduced from thirteen to eight.
The UK Government then announced the number of frigates would be reduced from thirteen to eight. (http://www.defensenews.com/naval/2015/11/23/royal-navy-to-reduce-frigate-buy-design-lighter-warship/)

It has since been reported that the continued delays to the works are to be delayed still further risking jobs on the Clyde in the process. (https://stv.tv/news/politics/1358829-no-warship-deal-until-value-for-money-is-ensured/)

 

 

 

Energy

At PMQs David Cameron argued for a No vote on basis that “…when it comes to vital industries like green technology, the combination of a green investment bank sponsored by the United Kingdom Government and the many natural advantages that there are in Scotland can make this a great industry for people in Scotland—but we will do that only if we keep our country together”. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/8869455/David-Cameron-backs-report-warning-of-rising-energy-bills-in-independent-Scotland.html)

Also on 7 April 2014 Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “The broad shoulders of the United Kingdom is unlocking the power of Scotland to take its place as one of the world’s great energy hubs -generating energy and generating jobs”. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/8869455/David-Cameron-backs-report-warning-of-rising-energy-bills-in-independent-Scotland.html)

After the referendum on 18 June 2015 the BBC reported: “Scotland could lose £3bn in investment because of a UK government decision to exclude new onshore wind farms from a subsidy scheme a year earlier than planned, an industry body has said. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-33182367)

It was reported that German company Siemens will not invest in any further renewable s projects in the UK, as a result of uncertainty caused by Brexit.

 

 

 

HMRC jobs

Before the referendum it was claimed that HMRC delivered a ‘jobs dividend’ in Scotland and that this would be risked by a vote for independence. The UK Government has since announced closure of HMRC offices – 2,000 Scottish jobs to go.

 

 

Carbon capture

Before the referendum, the UK Government stated that “Scotland benefits from other competitions and grants provided by the UK Government and the wider UK consumer and tax base, such as a programme to support the commercialisation of carbon capture and storage” (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/301772/2901910__ScotlandAnalysis_Energy_acc.pdf) (page46)

This commitment to a £1billion investment in CCS was also set out in the Conservative’s 2015 manifesto.

The UK Government cancelled this investment six months before it was due to be awarded. Peterhead was expected to be the winning project https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/25/uk-cancels-pioneering-1bn-carbon-capture-and-storage-competition) and there were financial consequences (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/19/carbon-capture-and-storage-uk-government-shell-drax)

Canada didn’t hang about and developed the technology. (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/01/canada-switches-on-worlds-first-carbon-capture-power-plant) Closing Longannet was a wilful act of destruction by a government hell bent on expanding nuclear power at the expense of new clean technology.

 

 

 

Social security

Before the referendum, the No campaign suggested that independence would be a threat to the welfare state –saying that “we are better placed to support the most vulnerable in Scotland ” with a No vote.

However, the July 2015 budget announced £12 billion cuts & changes to welfare and benefits. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said the budget was an attack on the poorest and most vulnerable people in communities and that the Chancellor was “demonstrating a cruel disregard for the impact this will have on hundreds of thousands of people’s lives”. The Child Poverty Action Group said the budget cuts damaged economic security of working families “with higher child poverty for millions and lower taxes for the better off”.

 

 

 

Civil service jobs

Before the referendum, the Scotland Office issued a press release boasting that the UK Government protects civil service jobs in Scotland. (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13171111.Scotland_s_3_200_tax_office__jobs_dividend_/)

Information from SPICe published this year shows that between 2011 and 2015, there has been a greater fall in UK Civil Service employment in Scotland than in any other UK nation–falling by 17.5 per cent in Scotland, compared to 12.4 per cent in England, 9.3 per cent in Wales and 16.1 per
cent in Northern Ireland. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34798266)

 

 

 

EVEL

Before the referendum, Scotland was told that we were an equal part of the UK ‘family of nations’ and were urged to ‘lead not leave’ the UK.

The morning after the referendum David Cameron announced English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) –creating two tiers of parliamentarians in the House of Commons and created the situation where Scottish MPs can’t properly consider the ‘Barnett consequentials’ on legislation branded English only.

 

 

 

Barnett Formula

The Vow, which was signed up to by each of the three main parties at Westminster clearly promised “the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources”.
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, fresh suggestions are being raised by the Tory-right wing and others about cutting Scotland’s budget further.

Brexit campaigner Lord Owen called for a vote to Leave the EU to be used as an excuse to axe the Barnett Formula, while Tory MEP David Bannerman tweeted that a “new Brexit Government should suspend the Barnett formula for Scotland” –raising the spectre of Tory government at Westminster initiating a systematic and cynical erosion of Scotland’s finances.

One time Tory leadership candidate Michael Gove again raised the prospect of axing the Barnett Formula.

(http://defiaye.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/No_Broken_Promises.pdf)

http://www.rusartnet.com/scottish-independence/postal-ballot-at-the-scottish-independence-referendum