Author Archives: Alex Paul

A morning at the White House

A frisson of expectation sweeps the crowd as the tannoy crackles to life and the announcer declares “Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States.” The honour guard comes to attention, the band strikes up Hail to the Chief and the most powerful leader in the world emerges. And when moments later, a black SUV sweeps round the drive and stops in front of the White House to deposit Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian Prime Minister… well, perhaps only a visit from the Queen herself would top Washington DC’s current level of excitement.

This was the scene on the South Lawn of the White House as President Barack Obama welcomed his Canadian counterpart to the capital of the United States yesterday. Clutching my ticket, I had joined the great and good of Washington in a line that stretched halfway round the block, excited to be part of the occasion. Three ID and security checks later and I was in.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: Predictions for a new Parliament

 

As the dust settles from Thursday, one key question is what will David Cameron do with his unexpected Conservative majority? Here are a couple of predictions for the upcoming Parliament.

Where the £30bn of proposed cuts will fall is largely unknown until the autumn. Health spending is protected though – which means bigger cuts elsewhere, such as £12bn to welfare. The only bright spot could be the linking of the personal allowance to the national minimum wage – raising it to around £13,000 pa.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 20 Comments

Opinion: A commitment to Trident diverts resources from the real threats to the UK

The ratcheting up of tensions in the last Cold War conflict in recent days has got David Cameron reminiscing about Britain’s own Cold War relic. Writing in the Daily Telegraph this Wednesday, the Prime Minister argues North Korea’s threats of nuclear war demonstrate that “it would be foolish to leave Britain defenceless against a continuing, and growing, nuclear threat.”

When I first heard this it struck me how out-of-date this view seems. As the world has watched the North Korea issue increasingly apocalyptic threats and the U.S. Government respond almost daily by deploying more military hardware

Posted in News | Tagged | 58 Comments

Opinion: Jury duty: in need of some government assistance?

When the trial of Chris Huhne’s ex-wife Vicky Pryce collapsed on Wednesday, the judge felt moved to declare that the jury had, in his opinion, demonstrated “a fundamental deficit in understanding” in the task that was required of them, an occurrence which “in 30 years of criminal trials (he) had never come across”. He was, of course, referring to a list of 10 questions submitted to him by the jury, a list which is now quickly gaining notoriety across the blogosphere and which has prompted one commentator to even label the jury as the worst “in the history of …

Posted in News | 26 Comments

Press regulation – something a liberal party can support?

My reaction to the report of the Leveson Inquiry today was mixed to say the least. On the one hand, any intrusion of Parliament into our free press seems fundamentally illiberal to me – the heavy weight of bureaucracy coming smashing down to dampen our fiercely independent media, which has shown itself more than capable of exposing the very worst excesses in recent times. After all, it was Nick Davies at the Guardian whose reporting exposed the phone-hacking scandal that led to the Leveson Inquiry in the first place. And it was the Daily Telegraph that reported on the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems need to wake up to drastic implications of legal aid cuts

Lib Dem Voice last week featured a brief post on the Coalition’s plans for legal aid reform. But this is an important change that’s been passed with barely a murmur from any Lib Dem MPs, when in fact it strikes at a principle at the heart of the party – civil liberties.

The bill in which this change is contained, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, is currently making its way through the House of Commons. For something that will have fairly drastic effects on many people’s access to justice there has been relatively little talk …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: our growing military impotency is restricting our foreign policy

Recent events in the Middle East have demonstrated how the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) is cutting the British military back to the barest of bare bones. In doing so, we risk losing our position as a leading world player, as befits a nation with a veto on the UN Security Council. Instead we are becoming a two-bit regional player, all diplomatic swagger but militarily impotent.

Amidst the criticism of the Government’s evacuation of British citizens from Egypt and Libya, one success story was the deployment of HMS Cumberland, a Royal Navy frigate, to Benghazi in February. Whilst other countries were having …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 28 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarChris Key 30th Jul - 4:53am
    Thanks for all the comments. My ire is directed at the politicians who voted leave who have never made use of the opportunities I had...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 30th Jul - 1:14am
    @Stevan Rose "Pretty stupid and transparent tactic really which somewhat backfired." Indeed. I was also struck by the way that Bremainers slated Turkey and in...
  • User AvatarAl 30th Jul - 12:11am
    Ah, historical revisionism. "He who controls the present controls the past. He who controls the past controls the future." - George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four
  • User Avatargavin grant 29th Jul - 11:55pm
    rightsaidfredfan Turkey joining the EU required Turkey to recognise all existing EU Member States including Cyprus and all existing EU Member States. Including Cyprus to...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 29th Jul - 11:33pm
    I commend you Caroline for being willing to do a job I couldn't. Having sat through an online council meeting it would drive me to...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 29th Jul - 11:12pm
    @Rightsaidfredfan: Turkey joining the EU was an aspiration. It NEVER meant that Turkey should be allowed to join at any price, or that the criteria...