6 August 2012

The party should listen to Judy Steel (not her husband)...

The excellent Andrew Page's Scottish Liberal blog reports more indescretion by Judy Steel - following from the revelation she had a pink jaguar tattooed on her shoulder for her 70th birthday.  This time she declares she will be voting 'Yes' in the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014 - unlike her husband.

It is of course her husband - David Steel - who has disloyally and foolishly lead the opposition to Nick Clegg's Lords reform proposals from the red benches and provided succour to the 91 Tory backswoodsmen in the Commons whose intransigence appears to have scuppered the whole reform agenda.  And it doesn't take a huge amount of imagination to work out what the still radical Judy might think about that.

The fact that influential Scottish liberals - like Judy Steel and Andrew Page are prepared publicly break ranks over the constitutional conservatism of the Scottish Lib Dems is a good sign.  Shortly after the annihilation of the party in last year's Scottish general election I wrote:
"...Michael Moore again allows the party to be seen to be on the wrong side of the debate and trying to illiberally block the expression of the will of the Scottish people.

The way back for the party in Scotland can only be by steering a distinct liberal path that recognises the liberal elements in the nationalists (and the easy willingness of both parties voters to interchange their votes at Holyrood/Westminster levels). Aligning the party with the forces of constitutional conservatism was the wrong decision in 2007 and is even more so now." 
At the moment the party has nothing distinctive to say on the big constitutional issue and is seen as an ajunct of the Tories on the economic ones - a recipe for disaster in 2015.  So a more organised campaign by Scottish liberal home rulers for a yes vote - as Andrew is trying to create - will only be a good thing for the party north of the border. 

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