Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wise words from Willie Rennie at Christmas

This is Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie's Christmas message, released last Friday. I put it up on Lib Dem Voice then, but thought I'd let you have another chance to see it here.

“As we gather with friends and family this Christmas, it is important that we, both individually and collectively, look back, take stock and reflect on the last year. "There is no doubt it has been an extremely testing time for political leaders with falling budgets, economic turbulence, growing unemployment and social problems that threaten to rip the fabric of society.

“Making decisions when there are no easy answers is difficult but those problems are nought compared with those who are unemployed, face the threat of unemployment or are struggling to make ends meet.
“To be fair, this is the focus of all politicians I know and work with daily. We may disagree on the decisions but share the objective.
“Robust debate, however, is required even in the most challenging of circumstances. To simply agree even if we have a different opinion would be wrong as people need politicians who test, debate and inquire so that ultimate decisions reflect the best possible option.
“Over the last year Scottish Liberal Democrats have focussed on building strong communities across Scotland that offer opportunities for all; from people who want to set up their own business to young people who want to gain the skills and education needed to get up and get on. “While the Coalition Government works to get the economy back on track from the mess that Labour left behind, here in Scotland we have to make the right choices with the resources we have to support people through these tough times. “That is why, as Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, I have engaged in vigorous debate to ensure we get the best deal possible.
 “While the Nationalists play a game of political poker, bluffing their way from one missed opportunity to the next, I am determined to focus on what matters to the vast majority who just want a fair shake in life. “To those looking for a new job, a more secure job or to create more jobs, Scottish Liberal Democrats have pressed for the £500 million of extra investment from Westminster to be spent on an economic boost through investing in improving train services and some of the most dangerous roads in Scotland. “To those looking for skills, training and education opportunities, Scottish Liberal Democrats have argued that college places under threat from SNP cuts must be protected. I have started a campaign to save the 9000 student places that could go in Scotland next year if the SNP continue to dither and delay. “And to the 150,000 Scots who are languishing on housing lists and the 2000 families with children who will be spending Christmas in temporary accommodation, Scottish Liberal Democrats have been forthright in our view that eradicating homelessness should be a top priority in Scotland. “I believe that on jobs, on skills, on housing, the SNP have made the wrong decisions as they are too focussed on splitting Scotland from the UK.
 “Scotland needs strong liberal voices to make the right calls that benefit communities in Scotland in the long term. “We must not fail in this task. With one eye on the future we say farewell to the challenges of the last year and look forward to the opportunities that the next could bring if the right choices are made. “Wherever you are, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas."
I thought this was very serious, reflective and grown up, acknowledging that all politicians here have the same goal, to improve jobs, education, housing, but different ideas on how to achieve those ends. Interestingly, not one single word about independence, the referendum or the Scotland Bill. This year, he's rightly raised some serious issues on these matters, but his priorities always have been the things that matter to people in their day to day lives.

Next year, I want him to think about putting his Christmas message out on You Tube.  It's not hard these days to do. His Facebook is also full of how he's been all over the country visiting carers, homeless and drugs projects, businesses, all sorts of places. I think we need to have more video of him talking about these things.

6 comments:

Fourfolksache said...

Wise words? Willie Rennie?
Oxymoron surely?

Bob said...

"While the Nationalists play a game of political poker, bluffing their way from one missed opportunity to the next"

How sad. But just what we've come to expect from the Lib Dems. Sold out in England and nasty in Scotland with no Christmas spirit of goodwill.
Oh and you do know that the cuts in Scotland are due to budget cuts from London don't you ? From Danny and his team ? You know Danny from up in Moray who closed Leuchars and kept Lossie open ? And that the Lib Dems reneged on their pledge to scrap tuition fees in England ?
Just checking.

Munguin said...

Caron: I’m disappointed!

I would have hoped that you, at least, (if not your leader) could have risen above this cheap and tawdry party politicking at this time of the year. Rennie, is bad, and bad enough for saying this in the first place; you are trebly so for repeating it and dressing up such cheap nasty puff in the most transparent of half-hearted valedictions I have seen in many long years.

cynicalHighlander said...

I gave you the benefit of doubt when you didn't post this bitter man's rant when it came out, sadly you have not only let yourself down but Scotland as well by publishing it.

Caron said...

Well, I'm not sure I could have withstood the shock if you guys had had a good word to say about Willie. It's been clear from your comments so far that you hate him with a passion. I can only assume that's because he has been so effective in tackling Alex Salmond - remember when Salmond had to backtrack when Willie tackled him on the double question issue when he was backed up even by the SNP's favourite expert.

Bob, Willie said times were tough and acknowledged that all politicians were trying to get to the same goal, even if their ideas of how to do so were different. How is that nasty? He's right to say that robust debate is important to scrutinise ideas - how is that wrong?

And have you not noticed that the global economy is teetering on the brink and that's why cuts have to be made. In fact, the Tories would have cut a lot more on their own.

As for tuition fees, sure, we made a huge mistake in the way that was played out in England. Sadly, free tuition would not have got through the House of Commons but by getting involved, we managed to create a system that means that the lowest paid will pay significantly less than under the system Labour created and significantly less than if the Tories had been governing alone.

And having a bigger military footprint in Scotland is a much better outcome than we could have hoped for given the total bourach that was left at the MOD. Now, how many air bases would there be in an independent Scotland?

CH, tell me exactly how I've let Scotland down by publishing the Christmas message of one of its political leaders - the one who's been acknowledged by many journalists to have really made an impact in Holyrood.

Disagreeing with the SNP is not letting Scotland down. I know you would have preferred that the message was full of praise for your leader, but that's not generally how these things go. Maybe you could point me to where Alex Salmond has spent his messages bigging up his opponents?

Anyway, happy new year to you all when it comes, and I'll look forward to another year of sparring with my three favourite SNP commenters:-)

Bob said...

Merry Christmas Caron. I hope you had a good one.
I've never hated anyone in my life. Hate only makes the hater a lesser person so I don't hate Willie.
But I do think you should rethink your statement when you said.."he has been so effective in tackling Alex Salmond "
That's patently untrue.
And I stopped reading what you had to say there and then.
This is the problem that the Lib Dems have in the UK as a whole. As soon as you start speaking the people stop listening. We watch you with the sound turned down. Nick's photogenic gestures to camera for people to trust him. His solemn eye contact. All ignored as so much fakery and an attempt to treat us as fools.
But you seem a good sort so I'll wish you a Happy New Year to you and yours.

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