Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Lib Dems - A Party of Employment Opportunities

Why do the Lib Dems exist? Easy. To create employment. Where else would someone like Nicol Stephen get a job! Of course he's far from alone. Apart from Tavish Scott, their 'gossipy' campaign manager (as he was described in the Scotsman this morning) who else can anyone name? In the Borders we have Euan Robson, 'Pudding' as he's referred to at Holyrood amongst the more acerbic MSPs (there are some? -Ed). Well I would be happy if he and the rest of the Lib Dems got their just deserts.

By operating in the centre ground, that overcrowded patch that every other party bar the loony left and small patch of green close to the compost heap, are situated, they really have no point of real difference. They bluster about renewables and wind farms and tinker around with the nuances of policies put forward by the other parties, but in truth there's nothing worth getting excited about. By doing a deal with Labour they've had a good long spell sitting in the sun and what have they achieved, apart from talking a good game? They've pushed through the Borders railway, which few people believe will bring substantial, if any benefits - others doubt that it will ever open and will have just been another white elephant costing us millions in consultancies and other drains on the coffers. I'm hard pressed to identify in what other tangible ways they've made any difference at all.

Now we have Nicol Stephen on a one-man image-building crusade. He's also the man who is so unfamiliar with the rules governing MSPs buying Edinburgh properties that he applied for and got a joint mortgage with his wife - this is expressly against the rules. He then apologises - sort of - and then nothing more is said or done about it. Every time he comes on TV he looks like he's just had his hair styled and his forehead polished – he’s that kind of politician. Makes me wonder have the Lib Dems got some American poll adviser? Everything in the Lib Dem campaign is focused on Nicol, the 'I', 'I', man. There's even a web site, Why should there be one for him and one for the Lib Dem party in Scotland? I'll wager big that they've done focus groups that say he's a likeable person, if only people knew who the hell he is - and what he stands for. carries news today of "One hundred new local health centres and a new Total Waiting Time Guarantee will allow people across Scotland to benefit from faster diagnosis and treatment close to where they live, under plans announced today by the Scottish Liberal Democrats." Where's the money for this? As they'll never be in a position to deliver the promise it's empty rhetoric. It's everything that is truly awful about the Lib Dems. They're short on ideas but big on promises. There’s more than a subtle difference.

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