Peter Taylor to fight Watford mayoral race for the Lib Dems

News reaches The Voice that Peter Taylor, currently Watford’s Deputy Mayor, has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate to contest next year’s Mayoral election in Watford. Peter, who currently serves as Dorothy Thornhill’s Deputy Mayor, lives in Watford with his wife Rachael and their three children and has served as a councillor for Oxhey since 2012.

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James Davidson – a Liberal MP in Scotland who should not be forgotten

The Times has carried an obituary for a former Liberal MP for Aberdeenshire West. You can be forgiven for not having heard of him because he served as MP from 1966-70 and he died at the age of 90.

But having read his story I really wish I had known him. Here are some extracts:

A British naval attaché was on a 1,100-mile train journey from Murmansk to Moscow in the early 1950s when he got talking to a young captain of artillery in his carriage. “We had lunch together and he asked if I would like to bring a girl from the embassy to come to have dinner with him and his fiancée,” recalled James Davidson. “Then, 48 hours before I was due to go, the phone rang and it was him. He just said, ‘This is Sergei. I am afraid we cannot meet you. I am sure you understand.’ And he hung up and that was the end of that.”

On another occasion Davidson and a colleague went for a walk in the forest and were stopped by soldiers armed with Kalashnikovs who tried to make them sign a confession that they had deliberately gone into a forbidden area. “But that was not true, there were no signs,” he protested.

More than a decade later, and back in Britain, Davidson discovered that the Russians had not forgotten their suspicions. Now serving as a Liberal MP, he was proposed as a member of a parliamentary Anglo-Russian friendship society, but the Soviets refused to accept him.

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New thinking on job creation


One of the big challenges of our time is to provide work for all those who need it, work which is useful, fulfilling and which pays enough to live on. And although the British economy is creating around half a million jobs (net) a year, many of them do not satisfy those simple criterion.

The need for good quality jobs will increase as the population increases and working careers get longer, yet hardly anyone is thinking about where these jobs are to come from.  Government departments, unions and think-tanks tend to concentrate on where jobs have been created in the past or predicting where they may come in the future, or on skills training or how to improve conditions for those already in work. The private sector seems to regard jobs as a by-product, a necessary evil in the process of making a profit, and in the public sector the government wants to cut as many jobs as possible to save tax-payers’ money.  No one is actively looking at areas where new and worthwhile jobs can be created and how to do it.

Let me be bold and suggest six sectors where this might be done, in what I call the “infinite industries” ie where there is no limit to the amount of production that can be done: education, health, energy, environment, sport and the arts.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

What should Liberal Democrats expect of our leaders?


Members are sovereign in the Liberal Democrat party. Members will be consulted on the overall party strategy at the next Federal Conference, prior to a motion being passed. Yet the party leader is expected, both by the membership and by the country, somehow to embody the image of the party. He or she is identified with its perceived success or failure by the media, regardless of how much control they may actually have had.

So what do we members think the first duty of the Liberal Democrat leader should be?

Surely he must show in outlining his political priorities that he is true to the party’s principles and values. This Tim Farron did, when elected in 2015. He said, for example,

We see people as individuals. The Liberal mission is to help us to be the best we can be. Standing up for the individual is not what we do – it’s what we are.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 37 Comments

Crackdown on unfair Leasehold Practices


The Communities secretary, Sajid Javid, has issued a consultation to look at a range of measures to tackle unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold.

The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and Carlex seek to represent the interests of residential leaseholders and end unfairness in this form of property tenure.  Carlex, the Campaign Against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation, represents the interests of retirement leaseholders. They provide the secretariat to the new All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and common hold, formed on September 7 2016.

Ed Davey MP, has been closely involved in the investigation of Cartel-like practices and Leasehold abuses in retirement homes.

England and Wales are unique in the world in perpetuating flat “ownership” in the form of a tenancy – leasehold – with all the vulnerability that that involves. Many who live in flats are young, old and single. Often knowledge of leasehold is very limited, and in disputes they are disadvantaged.

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Two months with the Lib Dems


Two months ago today I joined the Liberal Democrats amongst the peak of political campaigning for the general election (the first in which I was able to vote). Before this year I had seen myself as someone more on the right when it came to business and the economy but also felt strongly in favour of civil liberties.

As someone who has grown up in a Conservative stronghold in the South, and only really came to better understand politics under the Coalition government, I had always seen the Tories as the better choice out of the two major parties. Until the referendum last year, I was probably well on the route to putting a cross in the box next to Conservatives, not out of total agreement with Tory policies but seeing it as the lesser of two evils. When I found out the result of the referendum early the next morning, followed quickly by the news of David Cameron’s resignation, after the initial anger, confusion and disbelief, it left me reflecting on my own political stand point.

It emerged Theresa May would take over as Conservative leader several weeks later and earlier this year a general election was called for June. In the time from the Brexit result to the election being called, I found myself unable to be supportive of the Conservatives who had done nothing but shift rightwards on the political spectrum and witnessed a Labour party move much closer to its socialist roots. I was left unsatisfied with what the two major parties were offering, and so I looked elsewhere for inspiration.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 34 Comments

Willie Rennie – the “secret guilty pleasure” of singer and columnist Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Winner of Pop Idol 2003, singer, broadcaster, actress and columnist, Michelle McManus must have brought blushes to the cheeks of Willie Rennie with this passage in her Glasgow Evening Times column:

Posted in Humour | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User Avatarpaul barker 27th Jul - 6:43pm
    "What should we expect of The Leader?" First, that they get us noticed, Vince seems to be doing a good job of that so far....
  • User AvatarSam 27th Jul - 6:21pm
    Hi again Joe, I think its not so much people oppose any kind of IHT its 'relatively' low exemption twinned with the relatively high rate,...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 27th Jul - 5:49pm
    Lorenzo, thank you for your kind remarks. I don't think it can be acceptable to give the leader carte blanche on any issue, even if...
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 27th Jul - 5:47pm
    @Catherine Jane Crosland "But it cannot be democratic to prevent the referendum result from being implemented." Disagree. The referendum was not binding and if we...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 27th Jul - 5:40pm
    @ Mick Taylor "The leader should promote party policy where it exists and not push ideas of his/her own". You couldn't do it that way...
  • User AvatarLaurence Cox 27th Jul - 5:38pm
    Vince is already getting more articles in the papers than Tim did at the beginning: Unfortunately, The Guardian headline writers have made it sound...