Lib Dem members must all do their bit in this election

As I write this I am filled with pride as the party of rational thinking, the party of evidence based policy not knee-jerk reactions reaps the rewards of our stance on Brexit. Our membership is soaring, our poll ratings are creeping up and our results in by-elections both council and parliamentary are truly a sight to behold. However just beholding the wonders of our achievements since the General Election in 2015 isn’t enough. We have a General Election on the horizon!

While some may have the “Brenda “reaction of “not another one” we cannot be complacent. We must win as many seats as we can in order to show Mrs May we mean business! This means we have a number of Richmond Park campaigns to run.  We’ve got to win big in South London and return Sir Vince Cable and Sir Ed Davey to parliament. In Cambridge we’ve got to get the phenomenal campaigning machine who is Dr Julian Huppert back. But, we can only achieve this if we pull together and enthuse our newfound membership base.

To paraphrase Nelson, Tim expects every activist to do their duty! I am what we would call a “newbie” to the party. I joined during the local elections last year from Labour.They had a membership surge too  they they  haven’t motivated their new people. They obsess about internal matters and  not about who really matters, the public. We have so far engaged the membership, now we must motivate all of them into action.  Remember every vote counts. What this means is that we have target seats where we really must win. If you’re unsure where your nearest target seat is then bug your local party chair and they’ll let you know. We can only be an opposition truly worthy of the title if we take seats. Votes in all constituencies are needed but we won’t win them all (this time). Therefore targeting is key.

So remember:

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Campaign contrasts: land of hope and fears

“Be afraid, be very afraid”. Hardly an inspiring rallying call in progressive politics, but scaremongering is a strategy that often wins elections, and we cannot ignore that.

The Labour party used that very slogan in the 2001 general election, depicting William Hague on a campaign billboard resplendent with a Margaret Thatcher hairdo, It worked and Hague’s Conservatives took a humiliating beating at the ballot box.

Fast forward to 2017 and the party that wins the battle of hopes and fears is still likely to come out on top. Fear of the liberal elite, used so effectively by Trump in last year’s US election, is going to be a big factor in the coming weeks. The Conservatives and UKIP would have us believe that the liberal elite is trying to defy democracy through the courts and in Parliament. This Conservative narrative is helped hugely by the massive machinery of big money donors and media moguls are backing this message. The Tories outspent all the other political parties put together in 2015, and with the daily artillery fire on whingeing liberals and dangerously deluded Corbynites from Paul Dacre’s Daily Mail and Rupert Murdoch’s Sun, the odds are stacked heavily in their favour.

So between a heartless right wing machine and a clueless left wing opposition led so ineptly by Jeremy Corbyn, where does this leave the Liberal Democrats? With our yellow ‘liberty bird’ emblem, we have never been an angry party, but now is the time to harness fear and righteous indignation because our principles are under attack.

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Tim Farron commitment to end homelessness – reason to be proud, but also conscious of a great challenge

A party press release yesterday said:

The Liberal Democrats have committed to ending the scandal of rough sleeping in Britain, as the Homelessness Reduction Bill enters into force today.

Following a campaign visit to the Hundred Houses Society, a charitable housing association in Cambridge, Tim Farron announced a series of measures the party would put in place to help end rough sleeping.

These include introducing a Housing First provider in each local authority, to put long-term homeless people straight into independent homes rather than emergency shelters. Other policies include increasing funding for local councils for homelessness prevention, reinstating housing benefit for under-21s and reversing planned cuts to Local Housing Allowance rates.

This is a good reason to be very proud of our party. Making this commitment is a big deal. Housing is a basic human right, and we are right to base our policy on that.

Shelter advocate an approach based on the American “Housing First” model. I see that Tim Farron embraces that method.

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Election diversity – as if by magic

The Conservative Government has called a General Election for 8 June 2017 after its leader Ms May repeatedly said she would not do so.

We have responded with the truncated General Election process to ensure a full slate of candidates are in place by June 2017.  This has seen candidates up and down the country engaged with internal applications and shortlisting processes in a bid to become the PPC candidates for this election.

As if by magic, we may well see our biggest ever selection of visible ethnic minority candidates making it to PPC status – fulfilling a personal pledge of our Leader Tim Farron, who openly seeks diversity for both internal and external political positions.

Mr Farron has frequently articulated the importance of diversity and our party’s credibility.  No doubt he will be pleased with the current wave of candidates being announced as PPC  candidates who are also known as ethnic minorities.

So far we have in first name alphabetical order: Alexander Cunliffe for Ruislip Northwood and Pinner, London; Anita Day for Grantham and Stamford; Anita Prabhakar for Mansfield;  Amna Ahmad for Sutton and Cheam, London; Brian Haley for Tottenham, London; Dave Ravel for Hackney South, London; Dawud Islam for Middlesbrough; Gitanjali Gordon for South Shields; Glanville Williams for East Ham, London; Hina Malik for Feltham and Heston;  Humaira Sanders for Ealing North, London; Irfan Ahmed for Blackburn, Manchester; Joe Naitta for Derby South; Joyce Onstad for Hammersmith, Marisha Ray for Chipping Barnet, London; London; Michael Bukola for Camberwell and Peckham, London; Nigel Bakhai for Southhall; Rabi Martins for Luton North; Sarah Cheung Johnson for South Cambs; Suzanna Austin for Kettering; Tahir Maher for Milton Keynes South; Ukonu Obasi for Walthamstow, London; Zuffar Haq for Harborough Oadby and Wigston; and Zulfiqar Ali for Huddersfield.

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A proposal for tv leaders’ debates

I’ve been racking my brains about getting Theresa May to debate the other party leaders. With recent polls causing undisguised glee amongst Conservative MP’s and right-wing commentators, the perceived wisdom is that she really has nothing to gain from debating Tim, Nicola or even Jeremy and no pressure from a press led by the likes of The Daily Mail and Express to force her to do so. We need to change this.
The TV debates provide an opportunity for the PM to explain herself. If she is so sure of her approach to Brexit and the economy why won’t she take part? The answer, quoting Margaret Thatcher, is she’s “frit”. Anyone, having watched her lacklustre performances at PMQ’s, can see she is weak in debate. Forced into a corner she evades, quotes soundbites, launches personal attacks or relies on bluster from the MP’s behind her.
Given the likelihood that debates would damage her chances in the election the PM is unlikely to give in to a clamour to debate from fellow politicians. But could she resist a demand from the public?
For the first time and in order to overcome the current impasse I think that the general public should be asked to sponsor a series of prime time TV debates with pledges donated to charities such as Great Ormond Street or Help for Heroes.
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Autumn Conference registration now open

An email from Andrew Wiseman, chair of Federal Conference Committee, announced that registration was open for Autumn Conference in Bournemouth.

The Dorset town is my favourite conference venue. Maybe I’m just biased because the weather was so gorgeous the last time we were there, and the Goat and Tricycle pub is one of the nicest and has fantastic beer, but I’d strongly recommend coming. Let’s hope that we have many more MPs to welcome, too.

The exceptionally good news is that the Early Bird Discount rate would normally run out before the election, but it has been extended until 23rd June. This shows that the Conference Office and Federal Conference Committee have listened to criticism they received (some of it from me) about previous events when the discount has expired at a time when it would have caused difficulties for people. So, well done to them for that. 

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Vince Cable predicts second economic storm

Remember back in 2003, when Vince Cable was saying that at some point the economy would collapse because of the amount of consumer credit?

Well, he was right then and he’s now saying that we could be up for another Brexit fuelled crash.

The former Business Secretary, who hopes to win back his former seat of Twickenham, says that a combination of declining consumer confidence, job losses and inflation has the potential to outstrip the economic storm of the previous decade. That, if you remember, was the direst economic crash since the Depression in the 30s.

Vince said:

For Britain, the economic weather is arguably worse than it was before the credit crunch. The pound has plummeted, which is driving up prices and trapping consumers in a vicious Brexit squeeze.

Consumer confidence was all that kept the storm clouds away. But with job losses at everywhere from Deutsche Bank to Nestlé, that confidence is going to drain away further.

The Chancellor clearly has no confidence in the economic strategy of the government, because he knows that leaving the single market and customs union has the potential to devastate the UK economy.

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Recent Comments

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