A look ahead to conference

Next weekend, Scottish Liberal Democrat conference will return to Edinburgh for the first time since 1993.

A lot has changed since then, with the creation of the Scottish Parliament and the opening of the new Parliament building at Holyrood marking a fundamental change in the way that Scotland is governed.

Liberal Democrats have always fought hard to deliver more powers for Scotland and to ensure that local communities are able to take the choices which work best for them. In Edinburgh, this work has been supported by local Lib Dem champions like Donald Gorrie, Margaret Smith, Mike Pringle, John Barrett and Mike Crockart. We are also fortunate to have energetic candidates like Alex Cole-Hamilton leading the Lib Dem fightback in the city.

This conference will see Liberal Democrats from right across Scotland come together to debate motions on things like freedom for our public sector workers and tackling climate change. We will set out more details of our plan to invest £475m a year in education and hear from Tim Farron MP, our UK leader.

The message from conference will be clear. It is time to move on from the referendum and focus on getting Scotland fit for the future.

The truth is that after five years of talking about independence at Holyrood, it is time that we had five years for our public services. For our police, for our schools, for our NHS. The public sector has been put under huge pressure by an SNP government that is more interested in picking fights with Westminster than getting on with the day job.

We approach this election with a bright, green and liberal plan to reverse the decline in our NHS and cuts to our schools, protect the environment and our civil liberties and put the divisions of the referendum behind us. The motions we will debate at conference will set the tone for an upbeat, positive campaign to put our public services first.

If you are a member of the party and want to come to conference, there is still time to register. Every member of the Scottish Liberal Democrats can attend. Conference is how we have always taken major policy decisions as a party. Why not come along and have your say?

There are special rates available for first-timers, students and many others too. Find out more about how you can attend here scotlibdems.org.uk/spring_conference_2016 I hope to see many of you there.

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