I don’t care much for Malcolm Bruce’s political operandi. I bear him no malice, and note with only moderate distaste that he will likely enjoy his retirement on the comfy red benches of the House of Lords. He’ll be cloaked in ermine and assured in all matters! But what he and his party offer voters in the North East, Highlands and the Northern Isles is little other than bluster, grievance and tactical diversions to cloak the paucity of their own ideas.
While Bruce and his protege avoid discussing the fruits of 5 years in government, other than they have cut taxes (in a country cloaked in austerity!), he has been willing enough to talk up Alex Salmond and the SNP.
(In Lording it over the referendum result in Aberdeenshire last year) Sir Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon, said: “I think it’s a complete rejection of Alex Salmond and the SNP’s Yes message” – Scotsman, 19/09/14
Alex Salmond is “a nightmare” says Sir Malcolm Bruce – Herald 01/04/15
Bruce is a Unionist. He would also consider himself a grandee of the Liberal Democrats. I’ve seen a few of those, including Robert Maclennan in his latter days as MP in Caithness, Sutherland and ultimately Easter Ross too. I’ve come to realise these men are also Establishmentarians. They and their ilk uphold the British State, without question, and I believe they prioritised that over the representation of their constituents. They have not led, but rather maintained ( the establishment ) during their terms of representation.
The Liberals, their origins as the Whigs, are the original partner of the Tories in our two party state. Liberal legacy goes back to the 17th century and were the natural party of government throughout much of the 18th century. They were in with the Limestone blocks. As the successors of the Roundheads, Whigs established Parliaments’ primacy over monarchy and sealed the constitutional monarchy we see now. They were reformers. No longer.
The current state of the Liberal party in Scotland, typified by Bruce, is literally petrified. There is little element of reform in the outlook presented to Scots in 2015. They are frozen like deer in headlights, fixated on Westminster and only fit to utter two mantras.
mantra 1 (The UK mantra from Nick) – we’re neither Tory, nor Labour, but somewhere in between. Caithnesian – As if between Labour and Tory is a good place to be. Really should do better, this policy line is completely undefined and actually a distraction from the trash they have supported the Tories in (welfare reform – bedroom tax for instance)
mantra 2 (the rural Scotland one) – we’ll defend and protect Scotland from the SNP and any talk of another referendum, ever. Caithnesian – taking a big assumption that Scots wish to be saved from anti-austerity and more power to Scotland. This is a most desperate non-policy, derived from absolute fear of extinction – and not without foundation! Last gasp attempt to gather all non-SNP votes in a pact that offers nothing other than their own survival, careers, privileges and another chance to squeeze into bed with one (any one) of the Westminster parties.
As a result of their own actions, the Liberals are open to the charge of not holding to any principle. Which equals the number of original policies they offer. However, the Liberals in Gordon do offer vitriol. In the absence of a vision, La Jardine passionately, with clenched fists, tells you it’s all about Alex and how she’ll stop him. Negative campaigning thinks it’s had a shot in the arm from the referendum – GE15 will tell us if Scotland is still better than that.
So back to our Mr Bruce. Quoted from this past weekend, “We are finding that people are voting tactically because if you take these polls all the way through, Scotland could effectively put itself out of reach of being part of any government because we have elected nobody of the governing party, whatever it is. That’s not good for Scotland.” – Scotsman, 19/04/15
Eh? Perhaps he means “We’re desperately praying Tories are voting tactically because the polls tell us we’d be glad to get 3rd in Gordon with Angry Jardine blowing my majority”. I couldn’t print any of Christine’s quotes as you may be reading this before 9pm.
Their only innovation is to be the establishment party, portraying themselves as the arch Union holders. I used to think the Liberals tried to represent rural Scotland fairly. They’ve lost the plot altogether with a few shots in coalition and they behave and sound like every other Austerity shovelling, welfare grabbing, tax cutting, Trident splurging Westminster party.
Gordon deserves better.