SCVO’s response to Willie Rennie MSP in full

by Aug 15, 2012 3 Comments

Alison Elliot, SCVO convener, has responded to Willie Rennie MSP following his calls to ask Martin Sime, Chief Executive, SCVO to consider his position.


15 August 2012


Willie Rennie MSP


The Scottish Parliament

EH99 1SP


Dear Willie

In your letter (14 August), you have made serious allegations against the CEO of SCVO, based on two specific incidents. I consider your allegations preposterous, your interpretation of the incidents fanciful and your attempt to interfere in the business of an independent organisation unworthy of a public leader. I have no intention of asking Martin to resign.

It can be argued that, were it not for the efforts of civil society, through the Constitutional Convention, there would not be a Scottish Parliament for you to be an MSP in. That was of its time but civil society always has a role in a healthy democracy.

The poll which the Future of Scotland published last month indicates that there is an appetite among the public at present for a wide debate about Scotland’s future, something which should be no threat to the seasoned politicians who lead the two referendum campaigns.

It is this debate which organisations in civil society are promoting, with the intention of encouraging people to develop a vision of the kind of Scotland they want to see so as to inform their referendum decision. It is not a campaign for any particular outcome, or for any particular mechanism for achieving an outcome.

Special advisers from all the main political parties, including your own, have been in dialogue with SCVO in recent months; that is their job. We welcome these conversations and engage in them vigorously from our perspective as a civil society organisation that has an interest, on behalf of our members, in contributing to policies that shape the environment in which the third sector works. We are quite clear about the grounds on which we base our arguments; they are formed by the work and concerns of our members, not by any party political stance.

SCVO is not a front for anyone, nor will it be told by outsiders what it will or will not debate or how it should conduct its business.

Yours sincerely


Alison Elliot
Convener, SCVO



Katie Mackintosh Katie Mackintosh

Katie is Holyrood magazine's Health Correspondent and has been with the magazine since 2005. She has an MA in Sociology with Gender from Edinburgh University and a post graduate diploma in Journalism from Napier University. Katie has been named PPA Scotland Feature Writer of the Year three times - in 2008, 2009, and again in 2013. She was also shortlisted for magazine writer of the year at the Scottish Press Awards in 2012. An Aberdonian by birth but a Glaswegian by nature, she now lives in Fife with her husband and young...


  1. @ThereWasACoo

    Dearie me, Wullie. Enough said.

  2. Interested Person

    I am keen to hear the "wide debate" about Scotlands future to help shape my own views.
    I would be very interested to know the mechanisms SCVO have used to gain the views of all their member organisations and some presentation of their members concerns on both sides of the argument.

  3. Danceswith Haggis

    It seems that the over promoted rent a mouth Mr Rennie has been stewed,fried and boiled by Alison Elliot.

    He should spend a bit less time on British nationalist fantasy allegations and a bit more time trying to think up a positive case for the Union otherwise known as the Sisyphus Quest

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