Tavish Scott has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats
Statement from Tavish Scott“I want to announce that I am resigning the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats with immediate effect.“Thursday’s Scottish General Election result was disastrous and I must and do take responsibility for the verdict of the electorate.“The party needs a new direction, new thinking and new leadership to win back the trust of the Scottish people.“I am honoured to serve as Shetland’s MSP in this Parliament.”
Normally one could find little fault with such a decision after such a disastrous showing in the polls and that is why many are wondering why Clegg is still leading the Lib Dems after the drubbing handed to them across the UK.
But should Tavish have gone?
Arguably the Lib Dems performance had little to do with it’s campaign in Scotland (despite those misleading and now embarrassing “only the Lib Dems can win here” leafelts) and had little to do with the Lib Dems who had sat and represented their constituencies and regions in Holyrood. Tavish Scott did the best he could with the hand he was dealt and falling upon his own sword, whilst admirable, is I believe mistaking.
The person who should resign for this is clearly not Tavish Scott. Tavish has become in effect nothing more than a proxy for Nick Clegg.
In leading his party into a coalition with the Tories Clegg effectively signed their death warrant in Scotland and in many parts of England and Wales.
Will Clegg now resign?
I suspect not.
The Lib Dem leadership will now have a shortlist of just four: Jamie Stone, John Farquar Munro, Liam McArthur and Willie Rennie. Of those I suspect some permutation of Stone and Farquar Munro in leader and deputy roles seems most likely.
There are huge issues for the Lib Dems to now confront.
- How much of their core support still exists?
- Can they rebuild and fight back in Scotland or are they doomed for a generation?
- How much of their vote have they lost by no longer being a protest vote?
Tavish has left his party but whoever comes to lead it faces the challenge of ice skating uphill. I wish them luck. Leading the Lib Dems in Scotland has become a poisioned chalice less tempting than managing the Scottish football team.
I’m sorry to see you go Tavish – it wasn’t your fault.