Businesses across Scotland have more than enough to deal with at the moment - remember that recession thing that's been going on? Remember those banks you and I own part of which refuse to lend money to sustainable businesses? I mean, that's like refusing to put oil in a car. Just so you know, the Liberal Democrats would make sure that the banks supported businesses a whole lot better.
But anyway, you get the drift - it's not easy to run a business at the moment. In the background, a business rates revaluation has been going on which has seen businesses across Scotland get a very nasty shock when opening their bills for the coming year. This is affecting businesses all across Scotland - some businesses have seen their rates much more than double. Well, last week, the Liberal Democrats decided to try and do something about it by putting a motion to the Scottish Parliament seeking to limit the rise to 12.5%.
The Tories go on all the time about how they support businesses. They never shut up about about how Labour's planned NI Rise is a tax on jobs and how they'll reduce it - even if they haven't got the first clue how they'll pay for it. So you'd think that given the opportunity, they'd jump at the chance to reduce the extra pressure on businesses that the rates rise would have. Well, err, no. They ended up voting with their SNP pals against the Liberal Democrat motion.
T S Eliot has a phrase that just seems to sum up the Tories at the moment:
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
This is not the first time the Tories have been caught failing to put their principles into action. As you may have read, I've blogged a couple of times about Perth and North Perthshire Tory candidate Peter Lyburn and how he submitted a letter to newspapers with the names of local business leaders attached to it - some of whom deny ever giving their consent for him to do so. Andrew has more.
It's clear that they are more than happy to exploit people for political gain but not to actually help them when given the opportunity.
Liberal Democrat MSPs from across Scotland spoke of the impact of the rate rise in their constituencies. Full coverage of the debate is here. Iain Smith, MSP for NE Fife said on his Facebook page that he:
"cannot believe the bare faced cheek and rank hypocrisy of the Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament who are circulating a leaflet asking why the SNP Government won't take action on unfair rates hitting local petrol stations - then vote with the SNP to block Liberal Democrat proposals to help."
The particular leaflet Iain's talking about is one circulated in the Borders by current MSP and would be MP for the Borders, Roxburgh and Selkirk John Lamont. Might he have voted in favour of the Liberal Democrat motion? No, of course not. Mind you, Mr Lamont's leader, David Cameron, doesn't think that members of one Parliament should stand to be members of another but it hasn't stopped him allowing Lamont to stand for Westminster, barely 3 years after being elected to Holyrood.
Mike Moore, who's seeking re-election as local MP said:
'At a time when businesses all over the country are continuing to struggle as a result of the economic downturn, the sharp rate increases we have seen recently are putting additional jobs in the Borders at risk.
'The Conservatives have criticized Ministers in Edinburgh and London over their failure to support local businesses, but wasted every opportunity they have been given to provide small local companies with essential relief.
'After all their tough talk on next year's planned increase in national insurance, it is baffling that the Conservatives will not take action on a rate hike that is hurting local businesses right now.'
A salutary tale to anyone thinking of voting Tory. What you see isn't necessarily what you get. This posting has given you three very strong examples of that.