Saturday, August 09, 2008

Leadership Elections: Edinburgh Hustings 1 Tavish Scott

This morning the Scottish Liberal Democrat leadership candidates were addressing the members in the central belt, Edinburgh in the morning and Glasgow this afternoon. I attended the Edinburgh event armed with pen and not book to take copious notes in order to blog how the three fared in what I hope is a balanced way. The order in which they spoke was drawn by lot and after their 15 minute presentations (which the other two were not present for) all three returned to face questions from the floor. The order of today's blog entries will follow that order with Tavish Scott, Mike Rumbles, then Ross Finnie followed by a summary of the questions and answers given.

Tavish Scott

Tavish started by noting that Gordon Brown was in town to attend the book festival and had brought dreek weather with him. Wondered what book he would be reading from.

He felt that the state of Labour is in the city is that "We're all doomed!"* He noted that with Labour in decline and the Lib Dems holding two Scottish Parliament seats and one of the Westminster ones he wants to see the party take the North and South of the capital in the next general election. In fact he went on to say he wants the whole compass. (Is he really meaning Edinburgh East as well then?) Well he did go on to say that he had massive ambition for the party and Scotland, and didn't want to see us sleep walk into independence.

What makes a leader? Well Tavish believes it is experience, character and taking the right position on issues, before stating that he had all three. He wants to see the party confident, determined and energetic providing "Scottish solutions to Scottish problems". He then list three key areas that we need to speak out the environment, schools and hospitals.

What should the Lib Dems be saying and how? We should be talking about fairness, liberty and community said Tavish but we need to look beyond ourselves to is important to Scottish people not just what is of interest to us Lib Dems. It may mean we have to step out of our comfort zone and address hard issues.

The people have woken up to Labour he said, it means that Fred Mackintosh and Kevin Lang should be able to win in Edinburgh "whenever David Miliband decides to call the next general election". Alex Salmond is no superhero, he doesn't have all the solutions, people are "still waiting for him to push land slipped earth back up the hill", Tavish joked, "some superhero that!"

He drew to a close by saying we need to define ourselves as Scottish radicals with blunt tongues and sharp elbows to take on the other parties. To respect the work by our local councillors at local level in partnership. He acknowledged the need to recruit new members but we won't achieve this merely by speaking to ourselves. Therefore we need to be more innovative especially in policy making.

He did conclude by mentioning the fact that he has more support in both parliaments than any of his colleagues (not always the wisest statement to make to independent minded membership) and by saying:
"If you lend me your support. I will give you my all."
*Is using John Laurie's (Private James Fraser) catch phrase so early in your speech really cricket when one of your rivals is likened to the leader of TVs Warmington-on-Sea platoon of the home guard.


Unknown said...

Do you know what's really funny about that? When you mentioned John Lawrie, I thought at first you were talking about the scrupulous, efficient and generally wise and wonderful returning officer of these proceedings:-)

Stephen Glenn said...

Just for you Caron a slight clarification of the subtlety of my footnote. :)


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