Friday, 13 May 2011

Willie Rennie for Scottish Leader

I was delighted to sign Willie's nomination forms for the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats the other day. Within about an hour or so of Tavish Scott's resignation, I had posted on Facebook saying that Willie should stand.

I've worked pretty closely with Willie over the last 5 years or so; three of them as a Councillor for an area covered by his constituency. There's two things about Willie which really stand out - his energy, and his ability to connect with the man on the street.

Sometimes, Willie can seem almost like a hyperactive child - certainly, during his election campaigns, he was on the go from early morning until late evening, and even when not on the stump he was working a 6 or 7 day week as an MP, knocking on doors and talking to people across the Dunfermline & West Fife constituency. Maybe it comes from the coal-carrying training, but he really does have the ability to keep people going!

He is also brilliant at talking and connecting with people. He has quite a personal style - for a politician, I think people really relate to him and think "this is a guy I can talk to openly." He's as comfortable talking to workers knocking off from Rosyth dockyard as he is talking to the Babcock senior management, for example. 

Both of these are things which the Scottish Liberal Democrats need right now. His energy and enthusiasm will be vital in reinvigorating what is, frankly, a bit of a demoralised party. His personality will connect directly with people, getting our message across in a way which I think we've not really done recently.

I know that nominations don't close until Monday, but I can't really see past Willie for the time being. I'm really excited about the potential for his leadership and am looking forward to his election.

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