Monday, July 07, 2008

Wake Up Scotsman!

The following Scotsman headline obviously grabbed my attention this morning.

Inside Holyrood: Lib Dems go down the unpredictable route

Obviously I was wondering what on earth has happened now. Imagine my shock when basically the unpredictable route of the headline was very predictable. It starting out by talking about the fact that the election of our new leader will be one member one vote by STV. Hello Hamish Macdonell, every leadership election, every committee, every candidate selection, indeed every election to any position within the Liberal Democrats has always been by STV and one eligible member/rep one vote. It's the reason the word Democrat is in the party's name.

Does giving the power of selection make the election any less predictable. Well to the gentlemen of the press certainly. It's easy for them to gauge the opinions of the MSPs and MPs of Scotland. They may also be able to get a feeling from the Lib Dem councillors in Scotland. But they'll not be wholly able to gauge the opinion of the various party members many of whom are very private individuals to be able to predict just how the first round of voting may turn out.

Yes we clearly are at a crossroads as a party. The first declared candidate, Mike Rumbles, has clearly declared intentions to make a major shift not on fundamental policy, as that too is decided by the party, but in how we might interact in today's Scottish Parliament. The party hasn't been asked the question of a referendum on independence at any level since devolution came into play. The decisions made last May were made at the top.

So this could well become the party's referendum on a referendum, it may well be the most clearly defined difference between candidates. After all fundamentally we all adhere to the fact that our policies are shaped and voted on democratically at conference and we all uphold the decision of the majority. Therefore the real differentiation at leadership level is how those policies are conveyed and presented to the people of Scotland.


Bernard Salmon said...

The Scotsman's coverage is as usual dire, a point I made on my blog the day after Nicol stepped down when according to the Hootsmon, we were in turmoil and disarray.

Stephen Glenn said...

I did notice that post Bernard.

Today took the biscuit a startling headline to try and make something out of the certainty that each Lib Dem member the electoral system in use would be. Just the dates and procedures for nominations and hustings really having to be set over the weekend.


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