Tuesday, 13 October 2009

In Response to Calum Cashley

Much as I love the image of Nats texting Calum Cashley with breaking news from my blog, I wonder if the last time I saw Tavish reach in his pocket to read a message it was because somebody, or my RSS fed had alerted his Blackberry, I feel his latest post needs a more thorough response than I could provide in his comments.

The crux of the matter is that the conversation that is being started under the watchful eye and listening ear of Ross Finnie is to kick off in a members only session at conference. He's highlighted the fact that I blogged during conference about how open discussion of policy takes place on the floor of our conferences and not behind closed doors and says it is hypocritical to do otherwise on this issue.

For starters this discussion is not debating a substantive policy motion it is a review of the stance that the party holds. Such a review could well have been carried out by policy committee, or any of the local parties in closed session and then brought to conference, but instead of taking a small sounding of opinion it is looking at the broad church of opinion. By doing so forthright views will no doubt be expressed, something that even if it was a policy debate wouldn't be that toned down, but within the confines of fellow party members. Yes it may prove less embarrassing to senior members of the party than certain interventions during the Bournemouth debate but that is not the reason for it being a closed session. It is a party business session at this stage, along with party governance and finances these sessions are members only sessions. Hardly any dark sorcery, although such comments from SNP sources does not really help those of us who want to back a referendum on the issue of independence get that message across to our party colleagues.

Indeed the fact that Ross is leading this reappraisal is good it is actually the fulfilment of one of his leadership election pledges to look into what the party thinking was on this issue. I genuinely do not know how this conversation within the Scottish Lib Dems will turn out. There are points that I have made in public on this blog in the past that I will re-emphasise, there are others that I have only raised in private with fellow party members, I think such a session and process is the ideal environment for others to do likewise. After all not every party member is going to be so bold as to say in a blog post or from the conference platform that the leader may be wrong, if outsiders then pick it up as a split rather than a disagreement of ideas.

We shall have to see just what comes out of the process which Tavish himself called for.

Now I wonder how long before SNP or Lib Dem's have their small boxes in their pockets vibrate and light up with a strange ringing noise after I press publish?

PS In response to Calum Cashley's comment that I will soon be voting SNP, I'd love to be able to do so in Westminster and Holyrood election under a fair STV system. I'm glad to see he is wanting the same, I'll admit it's unlikely that they will get my first preference they are far too illiberal on a number of issues and far to centrist for my liking. But it is hardly breaking news or worth holding his breathe for, indeed I have already done the deed in 2007, just didn't vote for them with my first preference. I do believe that part of my vote will have counted for a SNP councillor mind.


  1. If the result is a decision to support an independence referendum how long do you think Tavish Scott will remain as leader of the Lib-Dems in Scotland?

  2. There are two factors to be considered. The first you mention is what the result will be. The second is how Tavish will react after a decision on which path to pursue is chosen.

    If he lives up to the democratic priniciples of the party and accepts the voice of the majority (whichever way that goes) then he is secure.

  3. Tavish kept the Lib-Dems out of coalition with the SNP in 2007 on the basis that the Lib-Dems could not countenance a referendum on independence, ever.

    He's been vehemently against it from the start and nothing he has said has indicated that his view on the issue has changed.

    This isn't a "policy decision" on a referendum it's a vote of confidence in Tavish. Mr. Finnie is mounting a coup.

  4. Any reason why you've opted to post this in a smaller text size than normal, Stephen?


  5. Doug you may think it is a coup, from discussions I had at Bournemouth I can assure you it isn't.

    Richard, it is merely because this is an email upload to my blog. I really must learn what font to post emails to here so people don't notice. I'll be editing the html for a few posts once I get off this bus and in the house. Not a job to carry out on the M8.