Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Thursday, 9 October 2014
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Twice previously on this blog, I've related tales of having put a card in to speak at Liberal Democrat Conference only for me not to be selected. You can read about those instances here and here.
Well, today I broke my duck. I was called to speak in a debate on a motion containing measures to reform the banking market and availability of finance to small and medium sized enterprises. I spoke in favour of the motion, and an amendment that, in part, sought to promote the role of peer to peer lending in corporate lending.
Here it is...
Thursday, 18 September 2014
As decision day looms I've decided to put down some of my thoughts and to explain why I want my friends, family and compatriots to vote "No" tomorrow.
The vote itself has been a long time coming: arguments over the question, timing and prospectus have come and gone (and in some cases come again.) At the end of it, though, we have come down to this: an engaged electorate, an impassioned debate and a vote that, whatever the bookies say, is too close to call.
Viewing it from a distance, both frustrated and relieved at not being more directly involved, has been something of a roller-coaster ride. At times I've thought Better Together was doing its best to get a Yes vote, at others I've been reassured to see contributions from the likes of Charles Kennedy. Its been up and down - and unlike a roller-coaster it's left me stressed and distressed.
Of all the feelings I've felt, though, the more I consider the prospect of "Yes" vote, the emotion I find myself feeling, with a deep, visceral knot in my stomach is grief.
Grief at what Scotland will lose - membership of a 300 year old Union. The security of shared defence. The resources to back Scotland's Financial Services sectors - and to rescue it when things went so badly wrong. A shared sense of belonging in a political and social union more stable than any the world has ever seen.
Grief, too, at what the UK will lose. The contribution Scotland has made to our society - the thinkers, the philosphers, the leaders. Great minds who contribute much to our culture. Our shared history has made us what we are today - I want to see Scotland continue to play its part.
Whatever happens though, tomorrow will bring change - independence or greater devolution, In its wake it will also bring changes across the rest of the UK - a new settlement for England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or a more Federal UK.
So tomorrow, vote for change - and vote NO. Vote for a United Kingdom in which Scotland has greater powers, vote for a chance for a federal UK, vote for a shared future. But don't just vote, take the engagement of this debate and work to change your neigbourhood, town, country and this United Kingdom.
Keep up the pressure for change and work to make the future better for us all.