Willie Rennie has been all over Scotland over not just the past four weeks, but ever since he was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats last May. His motivation and enthusiasm has been a fantastic support to activists everywhere. In the last month alone, he has supported 47 campaigns in 18 Council areas from the Borders to the Highlands.
As the campaign nears its close, he’s been talking about the Party’s record in local Government, where we’re in administration in 13 authorities, more than any other party.
Together with our excellent candidates I have been listening. We’ve been listening to concerns, taking up requests for help and responding to enquiries on our positions at Westminster, Holyrood and on the local council. I’ve learnt a lot. “I have been especially encouraged that people value the hard work of their local Liberal Democrat council and candidates who are champions for their community. “Every area deserves a councillor who will stick up for them, listen, report back and work with them to get a fair deal.
“That’s what Liberal Democrats do best. “Our local teams of councillors also have a record of action on the council – creating jobs to boost the economy, protecting the environment by boosting recycling, providing nursery education to give children the best start in life and high quality care for elderly people because they deserve it.
People in Dunfermline will see the lovely new Dunfermline High School, campaigned for for years and delivered by the Liberal Democrats, in Edinburgh, homelessness has been cut, as has crime and social care improved and increased. In Perth, Peter Barrett has ensured the Council met its targets on homelessness ahead of time. In the Highlands, local services have been protected by the Liberal Democrats despite the financial challenges presented to local Councils and the effect of the Council Tax freeze.In Aberdeen and Edinburgh, Labour left the place in a right financial mess and in both cases it’s been the Liberal Democrats in the administrations who led the way in taking the tough decisions to sort it out.
The SNP were crowing yesterday because a poll put them in the lead at 35% for these elections. That’s a full 9.7 point fall since the Scottish elections last year. Not much to boast about, to be honest. In contrast, we’ve gone up in the poll from 6.6% last year to 10% which shows steady progress. Of course, it’s real votes in real ballot boxes that will count on Thursday. Until then, there’s a power of work to be done.
Liberal Democrats stand for sustainable people centred local services which give control to communities. The SNP leader in Glasgow, Alison Hunter, said that “Everything the SNP does is a stepping stone to independence.” Liberal Democrats just want to give people better schools and better housing and sensitive social services, quality services that meet their needs. No other agenda.