Lib Dems offered free Green membership after poll move

For immediate release 30 March 2011

The Scottish Greens today offered free membership of the party to disillusioned Lib Dems, following the YouGov poll published in today's Scotsman showing the Scottish Greens ahead of the Lib Dems for the first time. Former Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Ford is now the Greens' top candidate in North-east Scotland, having resigned from the Liberal Democrats at the start of 2009 and joined the Scottish Green Party later that year.

Patrick Harvie said:

"Tavish Scott's election campaign has been holed below the waterline, by his Tory-supporting colleagues in Westminster, by the resignation of Hugh O'Donnell, and above all by the public's clear rejection of his party. Disillusioned Lib Dem voters are heading our way in substantial numbers, recognising that the Greens offer an alternative to the cuts to public services, to new nuclear power, and to tax breaks for the highest earners.

"We'd particularly like to extend a hand to those Lib Dem members who feel it is no longer the party they believed in. The Greens are a growing international movement, encompassing the principles of sustainability, social justice and freedom your party used to stand for. Just send us your torn-up membership card and join today for free."

Martin Ford said:

"Since I resigned from the Liberal Democrats, the party has gone from bad to worse. The party appears to have now lost all connection with
the liberal and democratic principles that were the core reason for its very existence - and, as the polls show, the public have noticed.

"I remain committed to the liberal, democratic and environmental principles I have supported all my political life. Those principles are alive and well in the Scottish Green Party.

"The Scottish Green Party will be a comfortable home for anyone who believes in the liberal, democratic and environmental principles the Liberal Democrats used to support."

The YouGov poll for the Scotsman newspaper was conducted between 25-28 March, among 1,025 Scottish adults.
Constituency voting intention (comparison with 2007 in brackets):
- SNP: 40% (+7.1%)
- Labour: 39% (+6.8%)
- Conservative: 11% (-5.6%)
- Lib Dem: 5% (-11.2%)
- Others: 5% (+2.9%)

Regional voting intention (comparison with 2007 in brackets):
- Labour: 39% (+9.8%)
- SNP: 32% (+1%)
- Conservative: 12% (-1.9%)
- Lib Dem: 5% (-5.3%)
- Green: 6% (+2%)
- Others: 6% (-4.6%)

Scotsman's seat prediction results
- Lab: 57 (+13)
- SNP: 48 (+1)
- Con: 13 (+4)
- Green: 6 (+4)
- Lib: 5 (-11)

In his resignation letter from the Liberal Democrats in January 2009, Cllr Ford wrote:

I have been forced to the conclusion that the party does not do 'what it says on the tin'. I still strongly support the vast majority of the party's stated policies and the liberal and democratic ideals it was formed to promote – I just don't trust the party any more to adhere to these things itself. I also recognise that the great majority of party members are decent people who sincerely support the things the party says it stands for and act accordingly.

There comes a time when a stated position ceases to have any meaning or value; when it is set aside again and again in response to short
term pressures. The point about having principles is that they are supposed to inform your own behaviour. Too often that is not what is happening in practice with the Liberal Democrats in my experience.