It was a cold dreich morning in Blackhall on Tuesday, so the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and the 2019 General Election Campaign Director for LibDems in Scotland decided to skip along the street to meet the press, partly to warm up we suppose!
Yes folks, it is silly season when politicians will do almost anything to get themselves noticed. The LibDems were launching their 2019 General Election campaign.
Neither Willie Rennie or Alex Cole-Hamilton are actually standing for election, as both are MSPs at Holyrood, but they are in positions of power when it comes to the upcoming vote. Rennie leads the party in Scotland and Cole-Hamilton is in charge of their election campaign. Neither ever turn down an opportunity to get in front of the cameras!
Leader Willie Rennie said that the UK and Scottish Governments should stop Brexit and focus on investing in education so that Scotland becomes the best place in the world to get an education once again. The Edinburgh Reporter reminded him that education is a matter devolved to the Scottish Government but he is adamant that due to the Barnett consequentials Scotland would still profit from ending the Brexit process.
The Barnett formula is largely based on population and allows the Treasury to adjust the amount of public expenditure allocated to Scotland and the other devolved nations. It applies to the block grant and reflects any increases or decreases in public spending in England, by increasing or decreasing the Scottish block grant. It is only a convention and is applied only to some areas of public spending, but Scotland would be at liberty to spend any uplift in the block grant as it wished.
Mr Rennie said:“Brexit means less money for public services. Independence means years of chaos and distraction. Lets ditch it all and focus on making Scotland the best place in the world to get an education.
“If we stop Brexit then we can have a fresh start and a brighter future.”
He went on to tell us that schools in Edinburgh stand to benefit from the Brexit bonus.
He said : “Scottish education used to be one of the best in the world but it’s slipping down the international rankings. We are determined to reverse that so kids right across the country can get the best.”
The Edinburgh Reporter pointed out that education is a devloved matter. Mr Rennie would not be swayed from the party line and continued : “Well being part of the United Kingdom we will get the benefit of that remain bonus – that £50 billion over the next five years so we can invest in schools like this.”
This is very much the party line which Jo Swinson the leader of the Liberal Democrats launched last week. The brighter future is very much attached to the new leader who was elected to lead the party earlier this year when Sir Vince Cable stepped down.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said :“A Liberal Democrat government will invest in education and provide the money for the Scottish Government to recruit more great teachers so every child achieves their potential.
“Rather than cutting and running with a independence, we will deliver a brighter future for the whole of the UK.”