LibLink: Sarah Olney: Brexit undermines universities at every turn

Sarah Olney has written an article for the Times Educational Supplement talking about the difficulties facing universities as a result of Theresa May’s push for a hard brexit.

Citing Cambridge University’s assertion that Brexit poses a significant risk to our Higher Eduction sector, Sarah outlines this in detail:

Unfortunately, the Conservative government doesn’t seem to be listening. Theresa May has chosen to pursue the hardest and most destructive version of Brexit possible: taking us out of the single market and the customs union, and even threatening to do so without a new trade agreement with the EU. The government is also refusing to guarantee the rights of EU nationals  living and working in the UK to remain after Brexit.

The government’s hard Brexit policies and rhetoric risk driving away international students and academics. The number of EU nationals applying to British universities has already fallen by 7 per cent compared with last year, despite the government’s assurance that those starting this year won’t face higher fees after Brexit. Some 53 per cent of foreign academics are now actively looking to leave the UK, and 88 per cent say that Brexit has made them more likely to do so in future.

And what about the EU’s Erasmus programme? It gives 16,000 British students the chance to study abroad every year but the government has made no commitment to maintaining or replacing it after Brexit. Last year, the Liberal Democrats delivered a petition to No 10 and the European Parliament, calling on them to save Erasmus. This petition was signed by more than 10,000 people.

And contrasts the Lib Dem view:

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Why I’ve always gone to help in target seats

This is the 9th General Election in which I’ve been politically active. Let’s not think about how old that makes me! You can also add 4 Holyrood elections to that. I missed out on the first one because I was living in England and just about to give birth. That didn’t stop me running a committee room in Chesterfield on polling day, though. Nor did it stop me doing stuff for the Newark by-election that never was.

I’ve just been reflecting on all these campaigns and maybe I should write about each one individually at some point.

In each election, I have made sure that my effort is concentrated on target seats, even if that has meant travelling on a daily basis. The reason for that is that I’ve always been very aware that I know that what matters the day after polling day is the number of bums we have on seats in whatever legislature we’re in. I could not have it on my conscience to lose a key target by a few hundred votes while I’d concentrated on getting single figures in percentage terms in my home seat. Believe me I have seen that happen several times.

Building that momentum throughout the campaign needs extra help. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful people from across the East Midlands region who travelled several times a week to Chesterfield in 1997, or the Lothian people who travelled to help us in Edinburgh South in 2001 and 2005. Martin Garnett, who’s our candidate in Erewash again today, was part of that Chesterfield support team in 1997.

That help from outside ensures that can establish ourselves as the challenger, that we can out-campaign the opposition and put ourselves in a winning position. It means that we can talk to more voters and build that all-important impression of a growing campaign. Every single day of the campaign, extra people are needed to boost local capacity and sow the seeds of victory.

I would go as far as to say that if you are spending the majority of your campaigning time in a seat that is not a target, you are actually doing the party more harm than good.

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Brian Paddick writes…A gap has opened up and we need to exploit it

Following on from Theresa May’s promise of a free vote to lift the ban on the cruellest of hunting with hounds, allusions to country sports seems to becoming increasingly apt.  On Monday, it was alleged that she had “shot our fox” by changing the Conservative manifesto to include “consultation on an absolute limit on what people need to pay” for their own social care.  In fact Theresa May has shot herself in the foot.

If we had deliberately set an ambush for the Conservatives, we couldn’t have done a better job.  The Tories had already broken a promise in their 2015 manifesto by not implementing the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission.  Instead, what had been agreed across all political parties, to put a limit of £72,000 on what any anyone would have to contribute to their social care was deferred until 2020.  Even then, £118,000 of assets would be protected.

Instead, in the 2017 Conservative manifesto, the Tories say they would introduce a “dementia tax”, where all your assets, except the last £100,000, could be taken to fund your social care, including your home.  Those lucky enough to be amongst the 1 in 4 who need little or no social care would be able to pass all the benefits of a lifetime of work to their children, while the 1 in 10 whose social care costs exceed £100,000, could be left with little for their loved-ones to inherit.  Instead of society sharing the risk, those unlucky enough to get dementia would have to bear the whole cost of their care without limit.  In the face of mounting criticism, until yesterday, the Tories were “strong and stable” – when asked specifically whether there would be a cap on individual contributions to social care, the answer was a definite “no”.

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Farron: Corbyn putting politics before people at a time of tragedy

Jeremy Corbyn seems hellbent on squandering any advantage that he may be gaining in the polls due to Theresa May’s stumbling over the “Dementia Tax.” She really struggled in her Andrew Neil interview on Monday night. She’s laid her weakness bare. Her opponents should be all over that. Instead, Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to make some comments linking terrorism to British foreign policy at a time when people are really hurting after Manchester, which, as well as being insensitive when people are hurting, is also opening the door for all the usual attacks on him. He had the chance to go on the front foot and he fluffed it. It’s hardly the first time. Remember the Article 50 Bill…

Tim Farron has called Corbyn out, accusing him of putting politics before people:

A few days ago, a young man built a bomb, walked into a pop concert and deliberately slaughtered children. Our children. Families are grieving. A community is in shock.

Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to use that grotesque act to make a political point. I don’t agree with what he says, but I disagree even more that now is the time to say it. That’s not leadership, it’s putting politics before people at a time of tragedy.

Earlier Paddy had said that, yes, there is a time to think about what the attack means for the direction of future policy – but not now.

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LibLink: Amna Ahmad: The Tories’ response to the refugee crisis shows that they are turning their back on the world

Lib Dem candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Amna Ahmad, has written for the House magazine about the ongoing refugee crisis.

We have always helped those seeking sanctuary, even at times when we faced domestic challenges and hard times, and we must continue to do so. Recognising others’ need even when we have distractions of our own is part of our identity, or “British values”, and I will not allow Brexit or Nigel Farage to take that away.

Furthermore, at a time when we are seen by many to be turning our back on the rest of to the world, behaving with compassion in the way we relate to those fleeing their homes sends a hugely significant message of unity and understanding to other nations, and we will find it affects our standing in the world for years to come.

But Theresa May has shown that she does not care. Under her government, the Conservatives have U-turned on two previous pledges, including one to take more refugees from Syria and another to help abandoned child refugees.

She outlines what the Liberal Democrats would do:

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Labour and the Tories are talking about the IRA but, as ever, not about Ireland

The recent revelations about Diane Abbott’s support for Irish nationalists in the 1980s have not been particularly surprising. For many old enough to remember the horrendous violence and terror the IRA inflicted on people, such support is unpalatable; but we already knew that, as a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, she was likely to have shared his rigidly anti-West approach to world affairs. Criticism of the British State’s policies can of course be healthy, and indeed must be present in a functioning democracy. But in the pattern of Corbyn‘s criticisms there seemed to be something more extreme, an apparent dislike of the State that led him to become close to IRA leaders. The claim that he was purely concerned with peace is rather belied by the absence of his reaching out to any unionists prior to the creation of Stormont in 1998.

It is not wrong for the Conservatives and the national newspapers to be pointing out these things. Many people of voting age are too young to have experienced the IRA threat. But there is another reason that people should be aware of Corbyn’s perspective, and which the Conservatives are not highlighting: understanding Corbyn’s views is relevant to the situation we find ourselves in right now.

It is noticeable that, even recently, Corbyn has only condemned the IRA in the vaguest possible terms while pointing out that force was used by the State too. He believes in a united Ireland. And that is of course legitimate, but were he to become Prime Minister it would have potentially profound implications for Northern Ireland on account of Brexit, and would change completely the dynamic of discussions around the future of a border that has extraordinary political significance.

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The campaign starts up again

It’s the first day of national campaigning since the Manchester attack on Monday night.

For Tim Farron, it’s not an immediate return to hostilities. Instead, he’s going to Warrington to visit a Jonathan Ball/Tim Parry Peace Foundation in Warrington.

The Foundation was set up by the parents of the two boys who were killed by the Warrington Bomb in 1993.

Tim wants to learn about the charity’s work.

Later he will attend a remembrance service at a Mosque with the Ahmadiyya community in Manchester.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 26th May - 3:29pm
    @Jayne Mansfield "What does not gel for me Simon, is how someone whose opposition to violence is a matter of record, is somehow a Jekyll...
  • User AvatarAdrian PR 26th May - 3:25pm
    > Brian Paddick wrote: > We are being realistic... We are protecting older people and the vulnerable > with a set of fully costed policies...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 26th May - 3:18pm
    Caron, If we all campaigned only in seats that are "target seats", then how would we ever add to the number of our target seats?
  • User AvatarSteve Griffiths 26th May - 3:18pm
    I have been active at every GE from Feb '74 until 2010 when I left the party, but have been persuaded to return. But which...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 26th May - 3:18pm
    @PHIL THOMAS "Why this morning did Nick Clegg call for a pact with Corbyn after the Election ?" Where did he say that? Having done...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 26th May - 3:10pm
    @PHIL THOMAS "Clegg never learns ?" Perhaps he does. Corbyn's popularity, surprisingly, seems to have risen (or his unpopularity has fallen) over the course of...