Friday, 5 March 2010

***Exclusive*** Tavish Scott Reaction to Nick Clegg's Speech #sldconf

I had been hoping to bring you an interview with Nick Clegg in a short while after he had dealt with some press commitment. But conferences being conferences not to mention the press taking more of Nick's time, something about a Fifer appearing before Chilcott, that was not to be.

Instead at very short notice I had to direct my questions to the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Tavish Scott.

Stephen: What were your highlights of the speech Nick has just given?

Tavish: I think his utter commitment to the Scottish and UK values of fairness. The need to change our country to reflect that in the four ways he highlighted, fairer taxes, a fair start in life for our children, a fairer, green sustainable economy and a fairer politics.

Under the Lib Dems it has to be better and fairer future than what Brown and Blair before him have done. All that David Cameron offers is a different slick manager, but no real change.

Also on this day when Brown is facing Chilcott, it is good that Nick is here. To emphasise once again how our party offered a clear and absolute opposition to the illegal war on Iraq.

We now are going to have the Prime Ministerial debate's including Nick what could Alex Salmond possibly have to tell the rest of the UK? (Nick had mentioned in his speech that Salmond had "elevated independence to a one man fetish")

Well it is not just a one man man fetish, it is a one idea fetish. It is all that the SNP truly have left on the table. They have failed to deliver on so much of what they promised just 3 years ago.

They are out of ideas and out out of time, a lot like what has also happened with the Labour party. The only thing they have over Labour is that Alex is a better salesman.

Salesman? Wasn't that Cameron's phrase?

Quite. But Alex is only out to try and manage the decline in the economy. Nick in his speech has outlined ways to bring about the recovery. Admitting it is going to be tough, but bringing fresh ideas to table to turn us around.

One of those was the idea of utilising the ship yards of the Leith and the Clyde to produce off shore wind turbines. How can we take this further ever more?

It is a very positive message. It shows we're taking our commitment to a greener economy beyond the theoretical, into economic reality for job creation for people. In real ways, that make a real change and have a real impact.

Something that even the Greens fail often to do?

Indeed. But not only is it a commitment to our long term goals of sustainability, but showing ways that by achieving our aims we can also help the country out of the mess that Brown has got us into.

One of the areas that Nick commented on was a fairer education. Obviously that is a devolved issue and we have just had our own debate on "A fair start for all our children?". What does this mean for the future of Scotland?

Well again it is a positive message and one I will be touching on more in my own speech tomorrow. But again it highlights the unfairness of the mess we have got ourselves into. The other parties are not promising to protect key services making things worse. There is a danger they will even take away some of the little choice that they have now.

The Lib Dems will give them a real boost. There are hard choices in public expenditure, but the Lib Dems are committed to give a real choice for these people.

As time is running out I have one final question on a lighter note. It is rumoured in Liberal Youth Scotland circles that you didn't pay the entrance fee for you attendance at their quiz and debate night last year. Are going to be attending tonight and will you be paying double?

(laughs) I'm not aware that I didn't but I shall certainly be attending again tonight. But whether I did or I didn't I shall certainly be making a donation to this very worthwhile organisation.

Thank you for your time.

Thank you Stephen and good luck.

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