Monday, 31 May 2010

Upcoming Cruise on the Tay

Local Lib Dems have organized a cruise on the Tay on Saturday 12th June. This is a great way to see the river, see perth, and see all sorts of wildlife and interesting habitats. If you have not been out on the river before, why not come along?

Lib Dem Summer Events 2010


Newburgh - Friarton Bridge – Newburgh

Saturday 12th June leaving Newburgh 2.30 p.m.

To book call Jane Kerr on 01337 860271


Tickets £15.00

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Friday, 21 May 2010

May Executive Meeting

We had our Executive meeting for Perth & North Perthshire Liberal Democrats last night, which included a debrief on the election campaign, a good discussion on the national outcome and planning things for going forwards over the next year or so through to the Scottish Elections in 2011.

Although we came fourth in this seat, we did not get squeezed as much as the Lib Dems did in some other areas. Our general strategy was judged to be the right one. The emphasis going forwards will be to increase our capacity and do more of all the things we are doing at the moment. It was a very exciting campaign, a number of people got experience for the first time and we recruited new members. We are therefore certainly looking at the positive.

On the national level, although a few of us are cautious about the arrangement with the Conservatives, the mood is very positive, with no-one disapproving of the outcome. The coalition arrangement with Labour in the Scottish parliamnent in 1999 was, for example, very much more controversial at the time.

So, for those who might have thought that this colation in 2010 would split the Liberal Democrats down the middle......sorry to disappoint you. We are very much behind the new set-up and will make the very best of it going forwards.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Still there......

Liberal Democrats have now been in government for a few days and the world has not fallen apart yet. Schiehallion (above) was still there yesterday and it was in fact a beautiful spring day. The penny does not seem to have dropped with sections of the Press yet, who seem quite unable to grasp the theory that a coalition government requires making compromises, and the fact that two parties might have different views on some issues is not necessarily news. Interestingly, on "Have I Got A Bit More News for You" last night, the normally cynical Ian Hislop has picked up that this is now new territory, and seems genuinely taken with the idea and willing to give things a chance. Journalists are going to have to up their game now, and it appears that many of them are incapable of doing so. Alex Salmond was having to bite his lip and be nice to David Cameron and Danny Alexander on Friday at the Scottish Parliament. The Calman recommendations are going to be prominent in the programme for government, and Liberal Democrats will be playing an important role in taking those forwards now.

Schiehallion- closer.......

Rain moving across.........

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Love & Peace in Downing Street

It was all sweetness and light yesterday as David Cand Nick Clegg sealed their "marriage" in the garden of Downing Street. Although there are a lot of sceptics about how things will progress, most people are more hopeful than not and anxious that the government now just gets on with things and does what they were elected to do. The arrangement that we have is the arrangement that the voters deliovered after all.

Although the Conservatives are holding on to all the big jobs, there are 5 Liberal Democrats in the main Cabinet, and there will be others in junior ministerial posts as well.

Nick Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister. David Laws and Vince Cable are Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Business Secretary respectively. As such, they should be able to moderate the possible excesses of George Osborne, the new Chancellor, and keep him under some sort of control. Danny Alexander is the new Scottish Secretary, ad it will be interesting to see how the dynamic changes now on that front. Also, importantly for Scotland, Chris Hulne is the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary and he will have a big job forwarding the green agenda over the next five years.

A five year term has been agreed. The Lib Dems have secured the four main manifesto pledges from the election campaign. There has been a certain amount of give and take, of course, and it will be interesting to see how things pan out.

Can we make a success of things? Yes, we can!!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Nearly there....?

Looks like we are going to be in government folks........

Monday, 10 May 2010

Nick Clegg playing his hand well.......

Nick Clegg seems to be playing his hand well at present.

Gordon Brown has agreed to stand down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, and the Conservatives have suddenly offered a deal on the Alternative Vote system of proportional representation.

Nick Clegg obviously cant go on playing one side against the other for too long, but so far so good.....well done sir.

Gordon Brown looked a real statesman this afternoon, we have to give him that. He spoke well, and chose his time to perfection. Well done to you too sir.

Still talking.......

Everyone now seems resolved to the fact that the talks are going to take a few days. One thing that emerged yesterday is how much more experience the Lib Dems have in conducting such talks than the Conservatives have.

Danny Alexander, MP for Inverness, Stathspey and Badenoch immediately to the north of us here is the spokeman for the Lib Dems negotiating team. Danny is featured a bit further back on this blog when we went up to help him out in Newtonmore/ Kingussie in the early part of the election campaign.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Still talking........

Discussions will begin at 11am again today between Lib Dem leaders and the Conservatives, with contacts at other levels with other parties as well.

Nick Clegg is keeping his cards close to his chest, and both sides are displaying a welcome level of discipline and apparently trying to give the process every chance of succeeding. Gordon Brown has apparently told his cabinet just to keep mum in the meantime, although it appears that he has had a few phone conversations with Nick Clegg himself.

We still have no idea what the outcome is going to be, but I think we can be more optimistic than not........there seems to be a very strong mood in the country for the parties to work something out, and, no doubt, this will not be lost on the party leaders.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Scottish Lib Dems doing their bit behind the scenes.....

Negotiations are ongoing this weekend to try and put together a coalition government at Westminster. After all the ineffectual analysis on the radio yesterday, things are mercifully much more quiet today. The Lib Dems have been asked to try and form an administration with the Conservatives, or to try and form some other stable arrangement. If successful, this would give a comfortable working majority in the Commons and provide a stabe government.

If nothing is agreed, then Gordon Brown has offered us the opportunity to try and negotiate an arrangement with the Labour Party. This would not give an overall majority, and other smaller parties would also have to somehow have to be brought in to the equation.

Labour are offering an immediate opportunity to reform the voting system, the Conservatives are being much more slippery over this.

A number of key Scottish Liberal Democrat figures are in London to help advise the negotiations, following on from the experience gained from setting up stable coalitions in Scotland in 1999 and 2003.

The outcome from all this is yet to be determined but, for the moment, good luck to all involved. Party structures will allow democratic endorsement or otherwise with our membership.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Disappointed or not?

The expected Lib Dem surge did not materialize, with the party ending on 57 seats, with 11 in Scotland. Nationally, our seats were down 5, with 23% of the vote.

However, neither of the other parties got a majority, and we are in hung parliament territory. Things have been moving quickly today, with both The Conservaives and Labour trying to woo Nick Clegg. It will be a number of days probably before we know where all this is going, but our initial disappointment, mixed with tiredness, may well disipate for us to find ourselves in government by the start of next week.

There has been a huge amount of ineffectual talk and "analysis" on TV and radio today. Lib Dem MSP Ross Finnie was the most sensible saying "Dont panic.......!! These things will sort themselves out in due course."

Quite right too. We have had plenty of political analysis over the past 4 weeks or so, and for probably two years before that. The party leadership will try to negotiate the best deal that they can for the Lib Dems, in consultation with party members. Good luck......

As an afterthought, 65% of the population voted and they managed to deliver a siuation where we actually now have no government at all to bother us for a few days. How good is that.........!!

Talk about achieving radical change through the ballot box..........maybe the British electoral system is'nt so bad after all.

Result for Perth & North Perthshire

Naturally, we are all disappointed by the result, coming fourth behind labour and getting just over 12% of the total. However, we did all we could over the campaign, we picked up new supporters and members and this will serve us well for subsequent campaigns for Holyrood next year and the local elections the year after that.

Thanks to all members of our campaign team and for all those people who helped us and voted for us. We will endeavor to persevere and will look forward to the next campaign when it comes.

General Election Results For Perth & Perthshire North
At the General Election in Perth & Perthshire North on 6th May 2010, 48268 votes were cast (approximately 67% of the total number of eligible voters) with the following result:

Pete Wishart (Scottish National Party): 19118 votes (+5.9%).

Peter Lyburn (Conservative): 14739 votes (+0.2%).

Jamie Glackin (Labour): 7923 votes (-2.3%).

Peter Barrett (Liberal Democrats): 5954 votes (-3.8%).

Douglas Taylor (Trust): 534 votes (+1.1%).

End of the road........

If we are disappointed, it is nothing compared to what Peter Lyburn must be feeling today.

This is quite a funny incident, captured by local SNP members. We put out our posterboards before first light, and put a Lib Dem board against this sign, not realizing what it was. Photos were taken by sharp-eyed SNP Cllr Ken Lyall, and promptly sent to our agent and candidate for their amusement. This additional photo with the Conservative board was also then staged. Naturally, I am not going to post the photo of ours.......!
Everyone gets caught up in the excitement of election day, and it is good for everyone when people can spot the funny moments like this.
Congratulations to the SNP on their win, and for their good humour on the day. We will of course be reminding them that we got twice as many seats in Scotland.....

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Day in Perth & North Perthshire

It's election day in Perth & North Perthshire and an exciting day for all involved.
The Liberal Democrats had our poster boards out first at every polling station west of the A9 this morning, at the start of a very long day.
The result should be known at approx 3am.

The Queen's View at Loch Tummel this morning

Pitlochry this morning

Bridge of Cally


Breadalbane Library, Kenmore


Molteno Hall, Fortingall

Two Peters.......

The man........


Nae Tories at Grandtully.....

The Conservatives have been very slow to get out several poling stations it was only the Lib Dems and SNP in evidence. The Tories used to be interested in rural Scotland, but not any more it would appear.......


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

One day to go.......

Just one day to go until polling day. We will have leafletters out in Dunkeld/ Birnam folowing by canvassing in Perth and elsewhere. We had an excellent day in Blairgowrie yesterday. There are a huge amount of things to be doing at the last minute but, no doubt, everything will be OK on the day.

Next posts will be Friday sometime.........

Good luck everyone. Peter Barrett is the first name on the ballot paper, no need to look any further.

Craigvinean Forest, nr Dunkeld

VIDEO- The world passing by (along the A9)

The A9 and the Tay both lie between the camera and Craigvinean Forest near Dunkeld.

Trees coming in to leaf

We have been very caught up in all the election excitement for the last month or so. It is good to stop for a few minutes from time to time and just take in the country around us. The trees are really starting to come in to leaf now.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Blair Atholl with the mountains behind

We were leafletting right up in to the wilds of Glen Tilt and Glen Fender this evening after doing Blair Atholl just before tea.

Pitlochry with Ben Vrackie Beyond

Some sheeps at Killiecrankie- io

Looking west from Glen Tilt this evening

Beinn a Ghlo

New born lambs in Glen Fender

Say "Ahhhhh..."

Aberfeldy this morning......

Scottish Debate in the Edinburgh Festival Theatre

There was a great debate last night featuring our Scottish politicians. The crowd was allowed to cheer, there were party banners hanging up, the politicians kept arguing, it was funny and well chaired by Glen Campbell. Terrific entertainment all round.

In the chair......

Glen Campbell had his work cut out in controlling his four guests, but used the crowd to help him when he got in to a tricky spot. Jim Murphy kept trying to take out, but Glen won out.

The Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy tried to take over the stage every chance that he got. It is good to see a politician that is willing to fight his corner, especially if he can show a touch of humour.

Our man, Alastair Carmichael


The First Minister, Alex Salmond.......


Och, dinnae ask me tricky questions like that Glen.....

David Mundell....

David Mundell put in a plucky performance although the majority of the crowd were obviously against him.

The Scottish Secretary speaks.......

Jim Murphy is very good at getting under the skins of the Tories and Nats. Here, David Mundell and Alex Salmond are hanging on his every word.........Alastair carmichael is'nt that bothered really, keeping his own counsel.

Have we seen the last of Jim Murphy....?

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Scotland on Sunday backs the Scottish Liberal Democrats

The editorial of Scotland on Sunday has came out today firmly in favour of the Liberal Democrats......a wonderful endorsement just days before the election. The Guardian and the Observer are also backing us at a national level.
Their Editorial concludes:
" So, in the hope that new faces can bring about new politics, and that the economic crisis can be tackled with maturity and responsibility, energy and vision, let's get the Lib Dems as many seats as we can"
Exactly what we have been saying all along........!!

Front page coverage in Scotland on Sunday

Again, from Scotland on Sunday, Scots see the value in acheiving lasting change in the voting system. This sort of coverage on the weekend before the election is great for the Scottish Liberal Democrats and just underlines what we have known all along.......we have the messages that really chime with voters, and voting for Peter Barrett in this constituency is the best way of securing the changes that people really want.

The proof is in the polls.......

This is how the polls in Scotland have been changing over the election campaign. The Labour vote in the central belt is pretty solid, bucking the national trend, but they are not relevant in Perth & North Perthshire. The Lib Dems (Orange line) have moved decisively from 4th to 2nd place. Dont let anyone persuade you of anything else.
The SNP vote is falling away right at the death. The Tories are increasing a bit now, but are definitely 4th in Scotland as a whole.
The momentum is unquestionably with the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and that is official.

Wee Pete is getting worried.......

A letter came in from SNP candidate Pete Wishart yesterday. Beyond saying that he had been the MP for nine years,it said very little positive and it barely mentioned the SNP manifesto at all. It mentioned the Tories five times......trying to convince all non-Conservatives to vote for him to keep Peter Lyburn out. Wee Pete will work for us all if he is elected apparently, but all MPs are duty bound to do that anyway are'nt they if a consitituent asks them for representation?

SNP or Conservative? I am not sure that one is any better or worse than the other, and given the understanding that David Cameron has struck up with Alex Salmond and their relationship at Holyrood, the overall outcome would probably be more or less the same anyway, which ever way people vote.

Peter Barrett is operating below the radar of both these parties at present, will take votes of both of them, and they will be kicking themselves on 7th May that they took our challenge here so lightly.

It is too late though now guys to do anything about us, Perth & North Perthshire Liberal Democrats have had a good campaign, we will atract a lot of extra votes, and it is very much a three horse race here and no mistake. If Wee Pete is worried about the Tories, he should lose a bit of sleep about us as well.

Atholl Road, Pitlochry.......

This was one of our leafletting areas yesterday. We got two new 16-year old helpers here yesterday as well..........happy and motivated to help the Liberal Democrats because they were the "modern party", and they will be able to finish off our leafletts in Pitlochry at the start of the week. Well done girls.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Another beautiful day in Highland Perthshire

The Scottish Farmer endorses the Lib Dem election effort

This is the Editorial of the Scottish Farmer saying that it is only the Liberal Democrats and to a lesser extent the SNP who are showing any interest in rural Scotland. This reflects the actuality on the ground, along with the fact that George Lyon MEP has hit the ground running in his new role representing Scotland in Europe, where nearly all the big decisions affecting Scotland's farmers are made.
During this election campaign, we have been making a big effort to get out and about throughout the constituency, and people in rural areas like Highland Perthshire appreciate that.

Husting at St Mathews Church, Perth

We attended a very interesting and well attended hustings in Perth last night, at which all five candidates were putting forwards their messages in front of a crowd of 120-150 people in St Matthews Church by the Tay.

Peter Barrett was really the only one to say clearly what he and his party were going to do if he was elected, carefully setting out the main points of th Lib Dem manifesto and what this would mean in Perthshire. He was measured and thoghtful, and came across very well on his home turf. All the others were more superficial.

Pete Wishart of the SNP is obviously a born performer, always aware of the crowd and how he is being perceived, and able to ad-lib as required, turning on the charm or attacjing an opponent as required. He was quite willing to have a go at his Labour and Conservative opponents, and is obviously a dogged little fighter. Very short on policy though, as per the SNP manifesto in general at this election.

Jamie Glackin looked every inch the central belt Labour politician, hopelessly out of touch with voters in Perthshire, light on policy and offering only a very weak defence of his government's record. We wont be hearing from him again.

Douglas Taylor of the Trust Party (he stood as the Conservative candidate in 2005 and came close to winning) was very limited in his message, and although he was very strong on defending civil liberties and freedom of conscious, it will take a lot more than that to get attention in this area. A distant fifth definitely.

The boy Peter Lyburn is determined to throw this all away. Obviously not at ease in front of a crowd like this (a bit strange for a politician), he trotted out his party line, said very little of specific interest to Perthshire, and only very superfically said much about himself. Peter Lyburn could be a very imposing politician if he was tutored a bit better. He stood up for his opening speech and the summing up at the end, and dominated the room and almost sounded convincing at times. He is tall and looks very striking with his mop of black hair, and he would certainly get people's attention if he had something worthwhile to say.But during the questions, he sat when everyone else stood up to answer and project themselves.......he could very easily have dominated the room if he had chosen to do so, but he did'nt, and he threw away his natural advantage. Peter Lyburn needs to go away and find himself a proper job for ten years and he can see if he is still interested in all this in 10 years' time. It would be a travesty if he managed to win in Perth & North Perthshire. He is not ready to be an MP, and might never be.

Going by these hustings, you would say that this was a two horse race between the impressive and tenacious performer Pete Wishart, and the steady, measured Peter Barrett who was able to articulate a lot more clearly what he would actually do if elected. I got the distinct impression that Pete Wishart and Peter Lyburn were so enthralled in their own little battle that our own Peter is operating completely under their radar and will almost certainly do them both some damage on polling day, probably a lot more than they might be expecting.

There are three Peters in this race, no doubt.

Thank you Mr Postman

The Chairman of a Highland Perthshire SNP branch had managed to make his block of flats too inaccessible to the postman, and returned home to a message that he had some mail awaiting him to be uplifted from the local Post Office. Down he trotted expectantly to get his mail, only to find, yes, it was the Liberal Democrat Election Address.........!! Priceless.

Thank you Mr Postman.

Target Pitlochry......

More leaflets.......

Leafletting routes

Oh yes we can......!!

The inside spread.......