The remorseless decline of the Liberal-Democratic Party in Scotland
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.
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.
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.
At the 2014 European Parliament elections, under the leadership of Willie Rennie, the party lost its only MEP.
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.
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
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.