Author Archives: Antony Hook

Royal access to official secrets must stop

In recent days it has been revealed that Prince Charles and Prince William have access to UK official secrets. Charles “routinely receives” secret documents including Cabinet papers. It is not clear whether access stops at the two of them.

This is entirely inappropriate and should cease.

In a democracy, control of the state rests, or should rest, with the elected government. A monarch’s role is purely ceremonial and should entail no real control over any part of the state. The Queen (or William, Charles, George or another person who may succeed her) is unqualified to exercise power, has not been chosen by the people to do so, is subject to few checks and balances and is not accountable to the electorate.

Ministers, officials and others sometimes need access to official secrets to do their work, although almost none have unfettered access. An individual can see secret material relevant to their duties. As members of the Royal Family, William and Charles have no public duties to which secret material could be relevant.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 35 Comments

Speaking for England – a reply to Chris White

Chris White’s article “Speaking for England” rightly invited people to share their views with the Federal Executive’s review of party governance but wrongly made a number of express or implied criticisms of the English Liberal Democrats that are incorrect and unjust.

Chris writes “most members think they… can vote for the committees which look after campaigning”. Indeed, they can. Local parties are chiefly responsible for local campaigning. National party strategy is constitutionally the responsibility of the Federal Executive, of which both Chris and I are members.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 41 Comments

Design for Europe

The referendum on Europe will probably be the most important political event of our lives. Our choice will have consequences for decades, or even centuries.

Britain is better off in. Europe is better with Britain. The planet has better prospects with a strong Europe, living up to the best of our history and the brightest visions of our future. The Europe I fight for is one that changes, learns from the mistakes of the past and becomes a better Union tomorrow than it has been.

This campaign is our chance to fightback against the peddlers of spin and division, to tell people …

Posted in Campaign Corner | 11 Comments

Lib Dems are the natural party for Eastern Europeans in Britain

Britain’s always changing. That is one of the best things about our country.

Liberal Democrats, and before us Whigs and Liberals, have long supported outsiders seeking to make this place their home.

Whigs supported Huguenots – religious refugees from France. In the nineteenth century Liberals supported equality for Jews and Catholics, who were denied basic civil rights.

It is well documented in history that the arrival of new people has made our country greater. Immigrants have brought new talents and energy.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 43 Comments

You should stand for Police & Crime Commissioner

 

Next May, the entire United Kingdom will vote. It will be the first national election since the General Election and will be seen as a test of all parties one year into the new parliament.

Police & Crime Commissioner elections will take place in England & Wales, on the same day as devolved elections.

If you care about human rights, as Liberal Democrats do, policing is where human rights come into sharp focus. No other civilian agency in entrusted with powers so affecting liberty and so at risk of political demands based on popular misunderstanding. Policing needs checks and balances from a liberal point of view, and strategy founded on evidence.

Posted in Campaign Corner | Tagged and | 23 Comments

Opinion: 200 years on from Waterloo: democracy not dictators, unity not barriers, peace not war.

WaterlooThis week’s 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo is a reminder of how far Europe has come.

At Waterloo, 65,000 men were killed or wounded in one day.  In contrast, we have now had 70 years without war in Europe.  Long may peace continue.

We enjoy secure peace partly because every country in Europe now has an elected government. There are no more monarchs or dictators seeking out war for vanity or power. Most importantly, we have the European Parliament where modern opportunities and problems, which cross old national borders, can be discussed by MEPs we elect rather than fought over by armies.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Have a local party meeting after the election

We will all be very busy for the next few weeks, working hard to get Lib Dem MPs elected.

But once the votes are counted, the job of setting the country on the best direction will not over.  There is every chance no party will win a majority.

Thinking about this must not distract us from campaigning.   But it would be irresponsible to think that polling day is the end.  It is just the beginning.

The Federal Executive has agreed processes for how Liberal Democrats approach inter-party negotiations.

A negotiating team will operate on appointment by the Leader.  It will report to a small reference group drawn from FE, FPC members and MPs/peers. They will report to the full committees and all MPs/peers.  Any proposed decision to work with another party in government will go to a Special Conference.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 13 Comments
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    Not to detract from Catherine's success, I also note "Ed Davey is commended for his work as Minister for Energy and Climate Change in the...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 5th May - 12:22pm
    David Cameron has told Tory MPs that Turkey will not be joining the EU for decades. Every country has a veto and France will have...
  • User AvatarMatt (Bristol) 5th May - 11:43am
    Good luck to everyone standing in Bristol!
  • User AvatarWilliam Jones 5th May - 10:57am
    In Trafford we have two fabulous new members standing in wards here. @simonlepori Gorse Hill and @meenaminnis in Brooklands. They have also added energy and...
  • User AvatarJonathan Ferguson 5th May - 10:53am
    Lorenzo: Further to your comment, I guess this might be a case of 'attack the idea, not the person.' The latter is not a moral...
  • User AvatarJonathan Ferguson 5th May - 10:49am
    Thank you, Lorenzo. I think that people underestimate sometimes the good that Nick Clegg has done, including as a 'public communicator,' for want of a...