Lib Dems in deep dodo

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by G.A.Ponsonby

A flurry of new opinion polls now indicate that the Liberal Democrats in Scotland are heading the way of the dodo.

Sub samples yes, but the trend is clear and leaving aside the fight for top spot between the SNP and Labour, one thing is obvious – Willie Rennie’s party are heading in the wrong evolutionary direction, fast.

Rennie’s stint as leader has been marked by some less than inspirational rhetoric, describing the SNP as a ‘bulldozer’ that the Lib Dems will stop grabbed headlines.  However looking at the state of his party in Scotland the only way Wlllie’s five MSPs will stop the bulldozer making progress is by lying in front of it.

One of Rennie’s problems is that he lacks charisma, there is simply nothing to the man.  He himself is a metaphor for the group that once shared Holyrood power with Jack McConnell’s Labour.  As the party jettisoned its democratic principles and soul, so it ended with leaders who revelled in the same shallowness.

It was power and peerage versus principle and to hell with the voters as Nicol Stephen and Tavish Scott forgot the ‘liberal’ and ‘democrat’ parts of their name and refused to countenance coalition with the SNP and a referendum.  Jim Wallace and Nicol Stephen must wonder if their House of Lords robes were worth the decimation of their party, Tavish can only look on and wonder what might have been.

At Westminster as in Holyrood the scent of Ministerial privilege is potent and the party’s two leading Scottish MPs appear oblivious to the repercussions of their actions, how else can one explain the behaviour of Michael Moore and Danny Alexander.

From nowhere Alexander made history as the shortest serving Secretary of State for Scotland before being shoehorned into the treasury role when a Lib Dem colleague failed a random mug test, traces of illegal expenses being found in his claims.

This ‘musical chairs’ led to even less well known Michael Moore being ‘volunteered’ for the SoS role, a role he was surely made for given that he displays absolutely no inclination to stand up for Scotland.

If Rennie thought things were bad already, then he must be wondering what on earth these two are on.

Moore and Alexander are perfect examples of Scottish politicians not realising that there is life beyond the M25.  Moore’s disastrous foray into the independence referendum debate demonstrated a man completely out of touch with the political landscape of his own country.  His insistence that two referendums would be required should Scots opt for independence was quite rightly ridiculed.

On the Fossil Fuel Levy and Air Passenger Duty request Moore looks to have the same inclination to ‘fight for Scotland’ in cabinet as Labour’s Jim Murphy had.

However there can be no clearer demonstration of the sheer contempt that the Scottish Lib Dems have for the Scottish government and Scottish voter than Danny Alexander’s Crown Estate stunt.

Despite asking for, and receiving, communications from the Scottish government that adhered to an agreed respectful protocol on the matter of Crown Estate funds, Alexander ignored the submissions and instead made a shock unilateral announcement from the safety of his home on the Western Isles.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he compounded the slap in the face by circumventing Scotland’s democratically elected parliament and bizarrely handing the administration of the funds to something called ‘the Big Lottery’.

Those coastal communities whose shoreline was generating hundreds of £millions were asked to submit applications for a portion of the funds they already owned.  Yes, a portion, for the UK Treasury Chief was only handing back half of what these Scottish communities shorelines were generating.

According to Joan McAlpine over at the Scotsman, such was the haste of this announcement that the lottery people knew little about it and were unable to answer questions from the media.

Alexander’s announcement was merely the latest in the ‘policy purge’ that has left the party staring into the abyss in Scotland, in opposition the Lib Dems argued for the Crown Estate to be fully devolved to Holyrood.

So, from Willie to Danny and Michael the evolution of the Lib Dems in Scotland carries on in true Darwinian style.  Only the fittest survive so the saying goes and the Lib Dems are proving that they are unfit to hold office.