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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Lib-Dem Manifesto

Scottish Liberal-Democrat manifesto launch today. Big emphasis on the 'Scottish' here because no one is mentioning Nick Clegg.

Not a good start for the Lib-Dems with candidate defections and another retiring MSP supporting Alex Salmond for FM. Even for the Lib-Dems this is bizarre. But the real problem is their UK coalition deal with the Tories that is heaping so much pain onto Scotland.

This is a difficult manifesto to comment sensibly on as there is no discernable theme. Just a mix of random policies that appears to have been written by a large committee. Not a lot to dislike, but not much to excite either. Bit like the Lib-Dems really until Clegzilla sold them out.

The headline is the privatisation of Scottish Water. Whilst the Tories clearly understand that they are privatising our water, I am still not convinced that the Lib-Dems really understand how the industry is financed. As a consequence their proposal is just illiterate. £1.5bn for an industry that has assets worth around £20bn!

Much about local delivery which is fine, including local policing. But then the actual proposals let them down. 'Payment by results' doesn't sound much like local democracy. Who pays and who judges the results? The rest of this section is another eclectic mix of policies that simple don't gel together.

Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland to go and be replaced by ill defined regional development banks. These will help businesses apparently, but no mention of the big jobs undertaken by SDS, such as careers advice. Of course it was a Lib-Dem minister in the last administration who created SDS when he should have transferred the careers service to local government. Now that would be real localism.

I could go on, and the manifesto does - for another 85 pages. The problem is still there at the end. They still have Nick Clegg.

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