- there will be no end to the universal postal rate - whether a letter is going to Kensington or Kyleakin it will cost the same to send it.
- Labour's post office closure programme will come to an end
- Posties will be allowed shares in the company
This is good news for many communities across Scotland where the local Post Office is the focal point of the village or area.
It's also great that there will be no extra, unfair charges for Royal Mail delivery to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Residents in these areas are often infuriated by companies who pile on extra delivery charges to rural areas. It's unfair and they should be stopped from doing so. The Highlands Liberal Democrats have been campaigning on this for a long time.
Tavish's speech highlighted the key battleground for next year's Scottish election, saying that the Scottish Liberal Democrats will be putting forward ideas on education, jobs and public services while the SNP will be talking about independence rather than their own, extremely modest, record and Labour will be sniping from the sidelines rather than taking part in the debate.
I was glad to see him demonstrate the failure of quangos and the SNP Government in the case of the wind farm technician's course at Carnegie College in Dunfermline which has been thrown a temporary lifeline by the Liberal Democrats on Fife Council. Alex Salmond disgracefully refused to help secure its long term future at First Minister's Questions the other week.
Tavish robustly stated his expectations of the UK Defence Secretary in securing the future of Scotland's shipyards and airbases:
So, today, I expect the Defence Secretary to listen to reasons why Scotland is so important for the defence of the UK. Our shipbuilding industry has been there when our country needed it. Thousands of people in Glasgow and in Fife are using the skills passed down through eight generations to meet our country’s defence needs. Aircraft carriers are being built in Scotland right now. Wipe away those skills and that knowledge and it may not return. We may never be able to build warships again. It’s that serious.
The social and economic consequences will be staggering. I expect the Defence Secretary to listen and to decide in the national interest. He should support Scottish air bases and Scottish shipbuilding.He then went on to set out the Liberal Democrat stall for the elections next year:
So what Scotland needs now is not a step backwards with Labour. Or more of the same with the nationalists.
We need energy, vibrancy, new ideas. A party that will listen to the people of Scotland. A party that really cares about making a difference.
We need a better country, a better Scotland, a Government for all of Scotland – and that’s what we will deliver.
Tavish also won me over because he mentioned Strictly Come Dancing in the first minute. Something which should be compulsory, I feel.
I also completely apologise to him for not getting his football joke:
Now Lib Dem Government Ministers here in Liverpool are as numerous as the goals that Gerrard and Torres will knock in at Old Trafford this afternoon.You know me, if it's not Inverness Caley Thistle, I don't care. I thought Gerrard and Torres were Man Utd players and tweeted that I thought there were too many Man Utd fans amongst his speechwriters. Turns out those two play for Liverpool and Tavish has been a long standing fan of the club.
Tavish's speech today was a very good curtain raiser to the Scottish Liberal Democrats' campaign.