Council elections in Scotland: What are the Liberal Democrats for? – Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

It’s election time again, and in the dying embers of the campaign, candidates will be doing everything they can to get you to put your number in their box.

Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 4:45 pm
Voting Liberal Democrat is a way to bring about change, says Alex Cole-Hamilton (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA)
Voting Liberal Democrat is a way to bring about change, says Alex Cole-Hamilton (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA)

For many people, a knock on the door from a party activist is a rare occasion when politics intrudes on their lives and they sometimes ask a question that seems obvious to political anoraks but deserves a proper answer: “What is your party for?”

Unlike the Labour party with its trade union roots or the SNP with their tunnel-vision obsession with independence, the Liberal Democrats can seem more challenging to pin down.

Lib Dems are not just defined by tax policy, or whether we believe in the Union. Instead, we are motivated by a deep-held belief in the power of liberalism to help people reach their full potential and a burning belief in the importance of local decision-making.

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It’s our belief that in Scotland, no matter who you are or the start you’ve had in life, everyone should be afforded the opportunity to thrive.

Every Liberal Democrat candidate is a local champion, someone who will work late into the night figuring out ways to fix your concerns. No party will outdo us on that front. We fight harder, work longer and care more.

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We will fight to guarantee our communities access to adequate housing and well-funded public services, like education and healthcare.

We’ll do everything we can to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and reduce NHS waiting times, whilst making sure bins are collected and potholes filled.

Lib Dems understand all those little things add up. We sweat the small stuff because it makes a difference. That’s why we want to deliver a power surge to local councils, giving them more control over budgets, business rates and planning decisions, so they can serve you without one hand tied behind their back by distant SNP ministers.

I’ve recently met thousands of voters across the country. Many of them are tired, and it’s no wonder. These last two years have put everyone through the ringer.

The pandemic has been harrowing and it’s hit people in their pocketbooks, just as the price of food and energy soars. Many are anxious about the future.

After everything we’ve been through, Scotland needs a new approach, new hope.

In the SNP’s 15 years in power, they’ve starved councils of the funds to deliver vital local services, whilst making a litany of unforced errors, costing millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money with no consequences for those culpable.

Meanwhile it’s a case of ‘the less said, the better’ when it comes to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, who partied their way through lockdown while so many sacrificed so much to keep others safe.

People are fed up. So, it’s time to send a clear, unambiguous message: it’s time for change. It’s time to move beyond the tired old nationalism that has defined our politics, north and south of the Border, for too long.

We need to be able to look to the future with a sense of optimism, safe in the knowledge that the things that really matter will be front and centre.

That’s what the Scottish Liberal Democrats are for. Put your faith in us on Thursday. You won’t regret it.

Alex Cole-Hamilton is Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh Western