Salmond propmises post independence childcare revolution weeks after turning down Rennie’s plans for nursery education

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond  gave his keynote speech to SNP Conference this afternoon. There were three things in it that struck me as a Liberal Democrat.

A numbers game

Apparently a “yes” vote for independence would be a vote for a “prosperous economy and a just society.” Does this remind you of any phrase being used rather a lot at the moment by any Liberal Democrat who can be persuaded to do so? I wonder how prosperous an economy built on wildly optimistic estimates of oil revenues would be to start with.
Many nationalists have been complaining about their fixed budget doesn’t give them enough control. Come 2015, they’ll have much more power to change that thanks to the Scotland Act introduced by Liberal Democrat Secretary of State Michael Moore. As he’s always said, that’s a stepping stone and there’s a growing consensus for further devolution in the future.

Power to the people?

It is said that to govern is to choose but even more fundamental than that is to choose how you are governed. I did wonder if he was having a laugh, here, as his SNP Government will centralise anything that sits still for a minute or more. Schools, police, you name it. They have taken power from the people to Holyrood and they don’t get the idea of local communities having a say on things which affect them. As a highlander, I instinctively find the idea of a centralising SNP Government in Edinburgh as unpleasant as a centralising government in London.
People should not vote for independence thinking they will have more say. They won’t if the SNP have their way. However Ming Campbell set out a blueprint for giving more powers away from Holyrood in his Home and community rule commission report.

Transforming childcare

Salmond knows fine that women are more sceptical about independence and he has to win them over somehow. So it’s hardly surprising that he talked about childcare and even used the phrase the gender gap. Look what he had to say:

But I believe a transformational shift towards childcare should be one of the first tasks of an independent Scotland.

What a cheek! This comes only weeks after he turned down Willie Rennie’s pleas for more nursery education for 2 year olds. He already has powers to do something about this, but chooses not to. It’s a cynical move, especially given that Nick Clegg and Jo Swinson are in the process of implementing a radically different system of shared parental leave and are offering help with childcare costs to the tune of £1200 per child per year.
Voters in Scotland will have to choose between the reality of what is available to them and some unspecified revolution yet to come.
Willie Rennie noticed the same thing and said:

The First Minister’s decision to put childcare into his list of independence promises for tomorrow is not the outcome 50,000 two year olds who will grow up in Scotland between now and the referendum deserve. I’m disappointed that our reasonable and costed plans to deliver free nursery care for forty percent of two year olds is now being used as a sweetener in the independence referendum.

However I’m sure that parents, mothers in particular, will be even more disappointed. I want to build a stronger economy in a fairer society which enables every person to get on in life. It could not be clearer, or more saddening, that the First Minister is now confusing our nation’s ambition with his obsession for independence.

If I had to summarise the speech in a tweet, it would be “Iraq bad, Westminster evil, and we’re not going to give you goodies until you vote yes.” It was, as ever light on detail.
The other big news elsewhere from Inverness was a challenge to David Cameron to come and debate Salmond. The SNP know they don’t have the arguments, but if they can get an unpopular Tory PM an hour and a half’s airtime, they think that will scare voters into the arms of the Yes Campaign. The pro-independence arguments are so weak that even Cameron could demolish them, but Salmond’s challenge reveals more about the desperate situation of the Yes campaign.
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About caronlindsay

Scottish Lib Dem pro UK activist, mum, Doctor Who, Strictly, F1 and trashy tv addict and blogger.
This entry was posted in Alex Salmond, childcare, Independence Referendum, Jo Swinson, Nick Clegg, SNP, Willie Rennie. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Salmond propmises post independence childcare revolution weeks after turning down Rennie’s plans for nursery education

  1. Still writing fairy stories I see thankfully more and more people are seeing the LibDems, in their present 'leadership', irrelevant to what is best for Scotland's future.

    Scotland is moving into the 21st century and leaving the corrupt 16th century Westminster behind.

    Now let us see what utter nonsense you believe.

    I wonder how prosperous an economy built on wildly optimistic estimates of oil revenues would be to start with.

    Now is any oil producing democratic country poor? No only in the bitter together groups eyes.

    Come 2015, they’ll have much more power to change that thanks to the Scotland Act introduced by Liberal Democrat Secretary of State Michael Moore.

    Your lot set up Calman and what is being delivered is a miniscule of what biased commission came up with and eve what the past LibDems fought for. Failure by the biggest hypocritical party ever.

    Home rule Failure, abolishment of SoS failure, Crown estates failure and on and on and on………….

    The pro-independence arguments are so weak that even Cameron could demolish them, but Salmond’s challenge reveals more about the desperate situation of the Yes campaign.

    You really have no knowledge about anything outside your party political bubble, sad.

    Half of your membership.

    Like

  2. David says:

    Salmond can promise to spend to improve the lives of ordinary Scottish people after the goal of Independence is won and the purse strings are in Sottish Hands.
    His hands are tied until this happens.
    No harm, but it isn't rocket science.

    Like

  3. Dubbieside says:

    When all your MSPs can turn up in one taxi all you can do is plea. Until then better let the big boys get on with government.

    Like

  4. r moffat says:

    Dear Caron
    I recently posted a comment on your previous post regarding the timing of the 2014 referendum vote. You deemed it not fit for publication (as is your prerogative).
    In your current post, simply claiming that Scottish Govt oil revenue forecasts are “wildly optimistic” doesn’t make it so. Five varying independent estimates were available for use and the middle, or average, of the five was used by the Govt.
    The powers of the Scotland Act that you so warmly welcome amount to no more than robbing Peter to pay Paul, as well you know. We can raise or lower income tax and have our block grant cut for the privilege of doing so – what a game-changer.
    A growing consensus for further devolution? Amongst whom? I’m afraid your lot removed that option from the ballot paper. As I pointed out in my last unpublished reply, the LibDems talk the talk but have never delivered any form of “Home Rule” for Scotland – ever.
    As for railing against the centralisation of government and the provision of childcare…well you had your chance in 2007 but for some reason rejected the notion of coalition government with the SNP, eagerly choosing instead to jump into bed with the Tories in 2010, a move that will ensure none of your policies ever see the light of day in Scotland for at least 40 years to come.
    Finally, you conflate the current SNP administration and the broader Yes Scotland 2014 independence movement (of which some LibDems are supportive) when you talk about voters facing “the reality of what is available to them and some unspecified revolution yet to come”. Or to put it another way, that’ll be “jam tomorrow” you’re talking about, then?
    I’m not a blogger, not a political activist, just a Scottish father that wants the best for his kids and grandkids. So please put more thought into what you post, cut out the negativity and give us some musings that have a modicum of positivity. It’s important.

    Like

  5. John Ruddy says:

    I agree, Caron. Of course, we might take Mr Salmond more seriously on child care, if he didnt cancel Sure Start back in 2007, giving Scots poorer child care than those south of the border.

    I see you have the usual suspects having a go. I dont always agree with you (as you might expect), but some of the rubbish they are coming up with here is really quite risible.

    Like

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