Monday, 9 May 2011

The Monday after the Friday before...

The quote at the top of this blog - and the idea for its title - comes from a speech made by former Scottish Liberal Party Leader Sir Russell Johnston, and was posted on Facebook over the weekend. It's pretty apt, I thought.

Friday was probably the worst day in the 20 or so years I've been active in politics. If there'd been something that had been the fault of any of our MSPs, then it would have been understandable. Instead, the election showed the effect that the English-based media had on us, and add in some pretty shoddy reporting in Scotland and there really wasn't much hope. It also sent a pretty clear message from Scotland to England - we don't like what the coalition is doing

I didn't think Tavish had to resign. I'm not sure that there's much more he could have done to keep the campaign on track. But if he felt that he couldn't do it, or didn't want to, then fair enough. So where do we go from here? How do we climb the mountain?

Well, firstly we need a new leader who understands the concerns members have about the coalition. He or she needs to be able to express their distance from London when needed. And he or she needs to be able to communicate directly with the people, explaining policy in a way they understand. Personally, I hope Willie Rennie stands and gets the job - I know from working with him in Fife that he has all these qualities in bucketloads.

We also need to look at the party. Do we continue as we are, or do we have to consider other models to get our distinctively Scottish agenda across? Should we consider a looser arrangement with the English party,like the CDU/CSU in Germany, or do we go for a wholescale split, and set up like the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland? To paraphrase Sir Russell again, can we change the bottle without changing the taste of
the whisky?

I'm confident we'll fight back. We've been here before, and we still have the knowledge and expertise to battle on. With the right leader and a strong team of councillors and MPs, there's still something to
work with.

Finally, I don't intend this blog to be a really heavy, deep political one - there's enough of that already. At least, though, it'll give me the chance to rant a bit about things in writing!

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