Saturday, March 06, 2010

#SLD Conf - Clegg and Scott emphasise Schools and Fairness and Viking Dress

Well, I'm not at Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference in Perth. I am on the couch feeling pretty rubbish. I'm hoping that resting today will ensure I have enough energy to cope with the last morning tomorrow.

I did see the little bit they showed of Nick Clegg's speech on BBC News 24. I enjoyed his praise of Tavish Scott, teasing him as someone who burnt ships and dressed up as a Viking. He joked that he couldn't match Tavish's energy, having refused point blank to climb up a bridge to do a photoshoot with him. Tavish doesn't often let us in to these personal kind of insights so I liked the fact that Nick did it for him, showing us the person behind the policies. I know that Tavish is wary of making personalities bigger than ideas, understandable in a political environment where we have a First Minister who relishes every bit of limelight he can get. I personally think Tavish is too modest and whether we like it or not, people like to feel that they know what makes their political leaders tick.

I've had to make do with the Conference broadcast to get my Scottish Lib Dem fix for today. Watching it brought back happy memories of the run up to the General Election campaign 5 years ago when I was part of the team that put that conference broadcast together. How I tore my hair out over that one - arrangements kept changing and changing again right up until the day of filming. It was great fun to do, though. I just wish I could find a version of that one to put up on here so you could compare it with this year's, which is here:

It fits in well with the motion on A Fairer Society (honestly, you'd think there was a theme here) which was discussed this morning. MP Michael Moore said of the motion:

“The divide between rich and poor is still all too evident in the UK.

“The SNP Government in Scotland has failed to tackle the income gap with regressive policies that unduly benefit the rich and do nothing to help the poor.

“The Labour Government is forcing millions of people on low incomes to pay hundreds of pounds in income tax every year.

“Many people in low-paid jobs find that working simply doesn’t pay

“The Liberal Democrats are the party in the UK who will bring much needed change to this unjust system.

“We want a new fairer society for all.

“Our radical tax proposals will close the loopholes exploited by the very wealthy, so we can take the income tax threshold up to £10,000 for everyone.

“This will save middle and low earners £700 a year and take 530,000 Scots out of income tax altogether.

Yes, you did read that right - that's half a million low paid Scots we'd take out of tax completely and give every other taxpayer £700 back from the increase in the personal allowance. Clearly the very rich will have to pay more, but for ordinary households, this will make a big difference.

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