Mental Health deaths must not be neglected

This October,  I will have been associated with the Liberals and the Liberal Democrats for some 45 years. In 1972 I joined the Liberal Students at Manchester University Medical School where my best subjects were Psychology and Psychiatry so it is unsurprising, perhaps, that I have not only pursued the interests of the NHS as a whole but have also retained a special interest in Mental Health matters.

One of the much-trumpeted achievements of the Llib Dems in Coalition was to raise the profile of mental health within the NHS and Norman Lamb in particular pushed the need for an earmarked expansion of funding so that Mental Health Services (whether we talk about Alzheimers or child psychiatry services) could reach a ‘level playing field’ with physical health matters.

But has this happened?  Two years after the Coalition has ended, there are reports that mental Health Services have been CUT across a wide range of NHS Trusts.  It is fine for Theresa May to talk the talk but does her government walk the walk?

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Unconditionally surrender to the EU or be a failed state

The fact that Brexit will be a total disaster brought about by deceitful propaganda and an illegitimate, undemocratic procedure, is now firmly established. Brexiteers, if you are not yet ready for reality: print and read in 2 years.

The election has produced a bigger remain-majority in Parliament:

“Hard Brexit” is a logically consistent, albeit disastrous, course of action. “Soft Brexit” is a nonsensical placeholder for the other logically consistent and only sensible course of action (until that becomes permissible to think and speak): “Stop Brexit”. Interpreting Labor-votes as endorsing “Hard Brexit” is ridiculous and desperate. “Soft” is the tactically smart “Stop”. A second referendum is a similar placeholder: systemically more consistent but electorally less effective.

Coming events will produce a bigger remain-majority in the general public:

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

Why I’m gambling on a second referendum

I’m not a gambling man, but a few months ago I placed a bet for the first time in my life. It was that Emmanuel Macron would win the French election.  It was an expression of hope, which paid off.

Today I am betting on the success of a second referendum on Europe – either staying in the EU or re-joining it, preferably the former. My hope is that the dice will roll in our favour and the people will get it right next time round.

Not that I’m any great fan of referendums, as readers of my previous posts will know. Much can be done to soften the blow without invoking another one. But to reverse the earlier result and stay a member of the EU is likely to require the voice of the people again.

How acceptable will that be to Brenda from Bristol? Well, the snap election was waved through without hesitation despite arguments to the contrary. It is in fact quite difficult to argue against putting things to the people.

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Leadership election

The timetable for the election of a new Leader for the Liberal Democrats has been announced. Here are the key dates:

Opening of nominations: 26th June (today)

Deadline for nominations: 20th July

Despatch of ballot papers to members: 16th August

Close of ballot: 11th September

Verification, count and declaration: 13th September

Posted in Leadership Election and News | Tagged | 8 Comments

Tim Farron on the Conservative/DUP deal

Tim Farron has responded to the deal between the DUP and the Conservatives. He said:

The public will not be DUPed by this shoddy little deal. The nasty party is back, propped up by the DUP.

While our schools are crumbling and our NHS is in crisis, Theresa May chooses to throw cash at ten MPs in a grubby attempt to keep her Cabinet squatting in No 10.

It would be better for the people of Northern Ireland for the DUP to buckle down and focus on the talks process to restore devolved Executive at Stormont, to bring the political stability that is needed for inward investment and growth, rather than demanding cash injections from the Treasury.

Theresa May must make all the details of this agreement public immediately, so we can judge for ourselves if she is acting in the best interests of the country or of her own party.

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Where next for the Liberal Democrats in Wales?

 

The 2017 General Election was a strange one for the Liberal Democrats. Up in seats, down in votes, another leader now out the door. The state of the party in Wales, however, is less questionable. We are in a bad place. Losing our remaining MP in Ceredigion, losing ground in other seats, hammered into third in Cardiff Central.

The party has been in decline for some years now and, unlike in England and Scotland, where seeds of recovery are more evident, here in Wales things don’t seem to be getting any better. Decline is not inevitable, but neither is our continued existence. It is all very well saying liberal values are needed now more than ever (they are!), but the question is how do we make them relevant to the people of Wales and what do we need to do in Wales to have any chance of regrouping.

Firstly, we have to resist the temptation to become a party that only talks about local things. The challenge between promoting a national liberal vision and community politics has been a question for decades (one Jo Grimond wrestled with, in fact). But there is nothing particularly liberal about working hard locally. From canvassing in multiple recent elections there can be no doubt that people respect our hard work on the local scene. However, when it comes to a national election they vote differently. We must make sure we are consistently promoting a liberal vision at a national level, alongside local work, or we will not rebuild.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

The Liberal Democrats: on your side and fighting for you

The Liberal Democrat vote fell in June because too few voters believed we were the party on their side and fighting for them on the issues they cared about.

That wasn’t the only reason of course, but it was the main one.

So what next?

Forget talk of a progressive alliance. Labour will use it to beat us up. Caroline Lucas championed a progressive alliance and for her troubles the Green vote more than halved. Labour are always happy to take Lib Dem votes lent to them in the cause of beating the Tories, but in Lib Dem/Conservative marginals Labour actively campaigned against the Lib Dems. Had they not done so, May probably wouldn’t be Prime Minister. But Labour prefers to stop the Lib Dems and Greens even if it means a Tory government and that’s not going to change.

No. The Lib Dems will only survive and prosper by carving out a space for ourselves. Not some theoretical slot on the left-right spectrum. Not simply “we’re not the Tories/Labour and we can win here”. But a space where a substantial proportion of the British public see the party as fighting for them and on their side.

Posted in Op-eds | 24 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDJ 26th Jun - 7:53pm
    "Losing our remaining MP in Ceredigion" - didn't he have to distance himself from his campaign days before the vote? Lib Dems don't often get...
  • User AvatarMike 26th Jun - 7:49pm
    'The Tory welfare cuts, which Corbyn and his allies are proposing to implement', and to hammer on that theme as if it isn't even contested...
  • User AvatarDJ 26th Jun - 7:41pm
    When the SNP threatened the rule of Westminster Scotland was granted further powers and it was granted the attention it deserved by the B(ritish)BC. Now...
  • User AvatarNick Baird 26th Jun - 7:30pm
    While I see plenty of scope for Brexit being a harmful disaster for the UK, all of this post assumes that the Government of the...
  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 26th Jun - 7:26pm
    @Mike Thanks for the comment. I'm afraid there's been so many contradictory statements about Labour's welfare policy that I don't think we can look to...
  • User AvatarJohn King 26th Jun - 7:25pm
    Yes I think point 2 is an especially good one, Christian. Brexit is a fad, an eccentric idea based on pure fantasy. It was previously...
Sat 1st Jul 2017