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Sunday, September 17, 2006


I was sent this from somebody who used to be part of the Rutherglen Branch of the Lib Dems. It may be argued that it is unimportant that the Smoking Ban motion was improperly set up in this constituency's name since the Policy Committee could easily have done it in their own names. I take the opposite view. The very fact that the rules were so cavalierly broken when it was not necessary (Robert Brown who is the local MSP is also senior apparatchik on the PC) shows how much contempt the leadership have for their own constitution. As a lawyer Mr Brown should have known better.

I have commented previously on the fact that all the motions but 2 at the recent spring conference did not come from constituencies & there had always been a suspicion that, even then, MSPs had used their constituencies to provide cover for Executive policies but I must admit I had not suspected that this was being done without the approval of the constituency in whose name it was done.

It makes the decision by "Maryhill branch" (actually held at a very special meeting miles outside Maryhill) that my Enterprise motion was "too right wing" to debate look even more corrupt than previously.

The Lib Dem adoption of No Smoking as policy back when Paddy Ashdown was leader was also illegal as it was put to the LibDem Conference as coming from the Rutherglen Constituency who had not in fact ever heard of the proposal until the Conference agenda was issued and the LibDem Constitution states that proposals shall not be put forward until or unless they have first been agreed by constituency members. That simply didn't happen. We had discussed and put forward a proposal for health, but it didn't mention smoking. Our whole proposal was 'mislaid' and the no smoking proposal put in its place without reference even to the constituency committee of which I was secretary at the time. It was because of this that I resigned. The LibDems then got Charles Kennedy who as an avid smoker himself didn't countenance a ban, so I guess Labour had to wait until the LibDems got rid of Charles and brought in Ming before they could get full pact agreement for their ban.

If a single MSP had been truly liberal the possibility of having smoke-free and smoking pubs would have been proposed as that way anyone who didn't like smoking could go to a non-smoking pub while smokers could still have been sheltered from Scottish winter weather but this was not even mentioned in the debate instead the MSPs decided to pander to their own petty personal prejudices and to hell with the voters.

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