How a boxer fighting in Manchester tonight typifies the horrors of Fidel’s Cuba

Anyone with a slight interest in UK Boxing will probably be watching the unstoppable Anthony Joshua (17 wins, 0 losses, 17 KOs) defend his IBF heavyweight title tonight and almost certainly demolish Erik Molina. However, on the undercard is another heavyweight, Luis Ortiz, known as the “Real King Kong”, who has an equally impressive record (26 wins, 0 losses, 22 KOs). He’s quite interesting because Cuba has produced many great boxers, but no great heavyweights – Ortiz is considered the greatest ever Cuban heavyweight.

As you may know, despite producing legendary boxers, the Stalinist regime in Cuba forbids them from turning professional, so they have to stay amateurs for the rest of their lives – or defect.

Ortiz took the decision to defect to the USA in 2009, not to secure a lucrative professional contract, but to able to pay for his daughter’s illness. Despite the Cuban propaganda, the healthcare system in Cuba is terrible. Their answer to Ortiz’s little girl being born with necrosis in one of her fingers, despite everywhere else in the world being able to treat this, the only answer from Cuban doctors was to amputate. Ortiz was left with two choices, stay in Cuba, fight as an amateur for the rest of his life, stay in relative poverty and have his baby daughter go her life without a finger or risk his and his family’s life by making a perilous journey to America where he can make an incredible living for his world class talents and his daughter doesn’t have to have a finger cut off and face a lifetime of backwards medical practice. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | Leave a comment
Advert

What would Britain be like in 2030 if the Liberal Democrats were in power? Your chance to shape our vision

Last year, Your Liberal Britain was founded by five new members who were keen to set out a clear statement of what a Liberal Britain would look like.

Their work has been supported by the Federal Policy Committee and they have already conducted a wide-ranging consultation. You can read some of the contributions made on this site here.

Now they are taking their work to the next stage with a competition, for which the closing date is 23rd December. Members are asked to set out what Britain would look like in 2030 if the Liberal Democrats were in power. Your Liberal Britain says:

As a party we struggle at times to explain what we stand for: our values mean the world to us, but they can be hard to communicate.

To overcome this we need a short, simple, inspirational description of how life in Britain would be better if the Lib Dems had their way. We need to supplement the preamble to our constitution with a temporary vision statement that helps communicate its statement of our permanent values to the people of Britain today.
We can then use this document to guide our policy making, inform our campaigns and communications, induct our new members and support our candidates and elected representatives.

I am going to be one of the judges and another, party president Sal Brinton, explains a bit more about the competition.

Posted in News | Tagged and | Leave a comment

LISTEN: To Sal Brinton on Any Questions

Sal Brinton Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13At last, there was a Liberal Democrat on a political programme panel on the BBC last night. It was such a welcome relief after the recent rightwash on all of these programmes.  Sal Brinton did us all proud.

I lost count of the times she was cheered rapturously by the audience. This was not just polite applause, but real, vocal agreement as she gave great, clear answers on all the questions. The best, I thought, was on the daft idea of private schools wanting money to offer bursaries. Excellent comprehensive education is the answer, she said loud cheers.  She said that all the evidence suggested that the most disadvantaged families wouldn’t apply for these sorts of schemes because they thought it wasn’t for them. The bit I found most moving was when she talked about her friends being separated at the age of 11, something which “really mattered to them.”

This took place in Norfolk, a place that voted Leave in massive numbers, yet the most popular person on the panel was the Remain supporter who offered a say on the final Brexit deal.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Lessons from Lincolnshire

Elections come and go, but the memories and the camaraderie live on.  The telling of old by-election stories and hearing them re-written over time and years is part of the fun.  But they can also be sad and hurtful.  

It has taken me years to get over the deep personal trauma that I now realise I suffered in the aftermath of years of campaigning to win Hampstead and Kilburn, and the impact of losing on a recount.  And I probably will never fully lose that trauma.  Yet I am sitting here now in the wreckage of a by-election HQ and I’m beaming.

Here in the HQ it’s down to just me and the agent Ian Horner. Even Ada our host has gone shopping, and yet neither of us feel sad.  There is a positive mood about what we achieved and a satisfaction about a job well done.

You all know the result. You had predicted it and over analaysed it before the count had even commenced so I won’t attempt to drag over it again here.  But  let me offer some thoughts that I think are important for the Liberal Democrats, and for me, issues we urgently need to address and tackle.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 26 Comments

Baroness Celia Thomas writes…Disability rights and Labour wrongs

Who would have thought that a valuable addition to the Licensing Act which would have made life better for disabled people had been scuppered by Labour Peers?  And yet that is what happened on Wednesday evening.

The amendment, which sought to improve the accessibility of licensed entertainment premises (pubs, clubs, restaurants etc.) for disabled people, was tabled by the Chair of the Lords Equality and Disability Committee, Baroness Deech, a crossbencher, and signed by me, as Liberal Democrat Disability Spokesperson, a Labour Peer and another crossbencher.

The Committee, which was set up last year at my suggestion, to look at how the Equality Act was working for disabled people, took evidence from, amongst many others, local authorities and from the National Association of Licence and Enforcement Officers. They were keen to help make premises more accessible but said they needed a small addition to the licensing objectives in the Licensing Act to be able to take action. Without the amendment, a licensing authority can only ‘suggest’ the provision of a ramp, for example, or that a restaurant should not store toilet rolls in the disabled toilet thus making it unusable.  With the amendment, the licensee would be told that if no reasonable adjustments were made, the licence would be in danger of being lost.  

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Last day to get early bird discount for Spring Conference

York bannerGiven the excellent results we’ve had in the past few months, most recently Sarah Olney’s fantastic victory in Richmond last week, the Spring Conference in York is going to be pretty good.

As well as that, the party will finally settle its position on nuclear weapons without fudging the issue as it has been doing for decades.

It is going to be well worth attending.

Registration is now open, and today is the last day you can claim the early bird discount. Registration (unless you are a first-timer, claimant or are …

Posted in News | Tagged and | Leave a comment

Why liberals should embrace the Steady State Economy

One of the saddest things about the lurch to extremism and the right wing of the political spectrum over the past few years—and especially these last few months—has been that attention has been taken away from the significant problems with capitalism and its reliance on continued growth that the 2008 crash had exposed.

The Classical Economists, in particular Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, had already theorised centuries ago that growth could not go on forever and that eventually states would enter the condition of being a “stationary state”.  John Stuart Mill wrote that the “increase of wealth is not boundless….the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 32 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarBen Andrew 10th Dec - 2:31pm
    I mean I said "fewer long sentences"... that of course implies that some people should still have long sentences. I never even suggested the contrary....
  • User AvatarFiona 10th Dec - 2:25pm
    We need to be sure the economy works for us, not the other way around. I'm not sure that focusing on GDP is really meaningful...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 10th Dec - 2:15pm
    When I click on “evidence that this generation is consuming less” I end up at apple.com with a loop of their products. I don’t think...
  • User AvatarManfarang 10th Dec - 1:53pm
    Ed Fordham Excellent article. Having a positive approach moves us forward. Eddie Sammon The referendum was fought on general election lines. It has no legal...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 10th Dec - 1:46pm
    Baroness Thomas What a sorry state the country is in when what is written is so ! Thank you to you and colleagues. I withdrew...
  • User Avatarpaul holmes 10th Dec - 1:37pm
    @Ed Fordham "I can retire happy". Ed, now you might ruin it! If you want I can write about why were so destroyed in recent...