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Letters / Always someone else’s blame

I am sorry that my old friend Peter Malcolmson thinks that the Liberal Democrats left him, rather than him leaving them (Insurance policy; SN, 01/06/2017).

But by backing the SNP he has definitely left his liberal principles behind. The creed of nationalism is fundamentally illiberal. The SNP lives off grievances against Westminster, real or imaginary.

Its leaders, in Edinburgh and Shetland, may try to present a cuddly, caring image but that is just a veneer over less pleasant forces.

This was plainly demonstrated by the emailed comments of one of their prominent members which were so bad the local party had to disown them. The trouble with the SNP is that their politics of whinge and blame stir up the very sentiments they try to disown.

I understand Peter’s dismay when the Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Tories but without their influence the 2010 to 2015 government would have been much worse.

Without Alistair Carmichael working inside the government the Lerwick Coastguard station and the Northern Isles based emergency tug would have been lost and Shetland Islands Council would still be saddled with a crippling housing debt.

But the end result was the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote both giving the Tories a majority at Westminster in 2015 and boosting the SNP control at Holyrood.

Lessons have been learned and I welcome Tim Farron’s undertaking that there will be no Liberal Democrat coalition with the Tories after this election.

The SNP and the Tories would have us believe they are sworn enemies. But they are more like Siamese twins, each feeding off the other. The SNP needs the Tories in London to blame for everything.

To date, they have refused to use their new income tax raising powers to temper Tory cuts because the more we suffer in Scotland the more they can blame the Tories. And the Tories use the SNP and their demand for another independence referendum as a means of keeping the spotlight off their tax cuts to the well-off while benefit cuts leave others struggling.

The anti-Westminster nationalism of the SNP and the anti-Brussels nationalism of the Tories are remarkably similar and are equally illiberal.

If Peter wants to walk away from his former liberal values fair enough, but in these dark times I urge real liberals to rally to the Liberal Democrat banner and vote Liberal Democrat next Thursday.

Theo Smith
Whiteness

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