Guest Editor of Lib Dem Voice today, Caron Lindsay, says:
I specifically asked both candidates to write 500 words on what they could do for Scotland so it’s not surprising that her article is specific to Scotland.
Therefore it should be noted that this post was originally posted at 11.14 a.m., prior to this clarification from Caron. I am maintaining the substance of the article, however, as it reflects the articles as they were posted.
In setting out her stall on Lib Dem Voice today, Lib Dem Presidential hopeful Susan Kramer MP, from Richmond, appears to have forgotten about the Welsh. She states
Nick Clegg and others have argued effectively that the benefits of coalition will be evident in time for the General Election in 2015. But Scotland has elections in seven months. We have to move rapidly to the front foot to argue that the coalition is putting key Liberal Democrat policies in place and to do that we need the ammunition.
Communication is absolutely key. This is why I will criss-cross the country not just to join local campaigns but to listen and make sure that grassroots voices are heard by the leadership and get a response. I would expect to meet regularly with ministers/special advisors to make sure that the information you need is passed on in a timely way. We need the kind of electronic network that we have had in general elections but with much more 2-way capacity.
In England the coalition has broad acceptance because the Tories won the largest share of the popular vote. But in Scotland they came fourth. The challenge to make the case for coalition but to protect our Liberal Democrat identity is therefore far more challenging in Scotland. The Scottish Liberal Democrats must be free to develop the Lib Dem response to Scotland’s problems. We must get across the idea that there is no conflict between promoting our distinct ideas, values and solutions and yet be a coalition partner. The Scottish Party has handled this with great skill.
Of course I hope that the Scottish elections will lead to a Liberal Democrat government in Scotland. But realistically all kinds of permutations are possible depending on what the voters choose. The President may be needed to “hold the ring” if the different nations chose different solutions. A President is there to put the party first and that will be critical.
I do believe that ‘the Susan Kramer’ (to quote her imprint on the badly designed, not impressive, terribly printed leaflet that was handed out at Scottish Liberal Conference Conference) has really mucked up this time. Whilst trying, perhaps desperately, to woo voters from outside England, she has ignored the fact that in Wales has elections to Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cmyru this May as well.
If Kramer wants to represent the whole of the Liberal Democrats, she would need to buck up her ideas – at least when putting across her view in print/ online.