Author Archives: Carl Quilliam

The weekend debate: Should Boris Johnson get his way on London’s tax take?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Incumbent Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson has developed plans for Londoners to keep more of the tax revenue generated in the city to spend on better public services. Boris said the capital should be getting a greater return from the tax it contributes to the exchequer.

According to the Evening Standard the equivalent of £2,500 for every Londoner goes to other parts of the UK rather than being spent on public services in the capital.

Boris Johnson said that London should no longer be …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

The weekend debate: Should Lib Dems support the pasty tax?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The details of the budget have been trailed extensively in the media and the blogosphere. We’ve had the increase in the personal income tax allowance, we’ve had the ‘granny tax’ and we’ve had a new stamp duty level of 7% for homes worth more than £2m. There were always going to be winners and losers in this fiscally neutral budget. But arguably the one measure that affects every self-respecting Briton is …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 26 Comments

The weekend debate: Should we support dropping the 50p tax rate?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

With leaks pouring out of the Treasury pointing towards the dropping of the 50p tax rate for high-earners above £150k in this week’s budget it seems a good time to have a robust debate about its merits.

The 50p rate was one of the party’s most high profile policies under Charles Kennedy, but was dropped in 2006 with greater emphasis instead placed on taxing wealth not income, as well as pollution taxes. However, in government, we have broadly supported the 50p rate’s retention …

Posted in News | Tagged | 38 Comments

The Weekend Debate: Should we boycott the Murdoch machine?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

This week Labour MP Tom Watson and others made a fair amount of fuss on Twitter about ‘Blue Labour’s’ Lord (Maurice) Glasman intending to write for the new ‘Sun on Sunday’, Rupert Murdoch’s replacement for the disgraced News of the World.

Watson’s position seems to be that anyone associating themselves with the Sun or the Murdoch press is tacitly condoning their behaviour over phone hacking.

So firstly, should we as …

Posted in Op-eds | 23 Comments

The weekend debate: When should an MP rebel against their party?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

In the Australian system even a single rebellion against your party can mean the whip is withdrawn but in the UK we’re much more used to MPs ‘crossing the floor’ and voting against their party.

In fact there’s been a fair amount of coverage on Lib Dem Voice of Mark Pack’s research on the number of backbench Lib Dem MPs who have rebelled against the government since the last election.

One could argue that MPs have a duty to vote with the party …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 17 Comments

The weekend debate: Should Stephen Hester accept his bonus?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Since the £963, 000 shares bonus for RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester has been revealed there have been opinions pouring out from across the political spectrum.

When Ed Miliband accused David Cameron of a “failure of leadership” over it, Cameron promptly distanced himself from the process altogether, with George Osborne claiming it was due to rules put in place by Labour.

Boris Johnson seems to be against it, as is our usually economically …

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

The weekend debate: Should we do business with people who don’t share our values?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The weekend debates have been light on foreign policy so far, so for those foreign policy buffs out there here’s one inspired by our former leader.

Over at Ted talks, Paddy Ashdown has been discussing ‘the global power shift’ from the West to the rest and in particular to the nations around the Pacific rim.

He touches on a lot of areas, including what the future of global governance might look like, how long American power might remain dominant and the growth of …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments

The weekend debate: Should we end the bargain booze bonanza?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Just in time to kill everyone’s new year buzz David Cameron has announced government plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing in England, similar to recent proposals by the Scottish government.

The details are still to be confirmed but the proposed system could stop the sale of alcohol at below 40p to 50p a unit in shops and supermarkets and cost drinkers up to £700 million a year.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 17 Comments

The weekend debate: Should former MPs get to keep their parliamentary passes?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

This week saw the revelation in the Independent that there are now 326 former MPs who hold Former Members’ Passes.

The passes allow them access to bring guests into the House of Commons and book restaurants with family in the Palace of Westminster. The Independent raises worries that former MPs may be using these passes to further there lobbying careers.

Former speaker Michael Martin introduced the scheme to allow former MPs to keep up with friends in Parliament but should former MPs have …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Tagged , and | 16 Comments

The weekend debate: Lobbying

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

It has been a week of scandal surrounding the lobbying industry, with The Independent publishing a series of stories based around the claims of the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger to be able to influence government policy.

The consultants at Bell Pottinger made claims to undercover reporters that they had already influenced government policy and could do so again for a fee. The government initially responded by saying these claims were rubbish but later conceded that lobbying from companies did have some impact.

So who’s …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

The weekend debate: Should the Government send a King James Bible to every school?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Michael Gove is planning to send a King James Bible to every school in the UK to mark the 400th anniversary of its translation, with a short introduction written by himself.

The National Secular Society has criticised the decision and believe that there are already enough bibles in British schools.

So, is this a worthwhile celebration of an important part of British history or is it a waste of money that could …

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

The weekend debate: Who would you send to Mars?

NASA’s latest astronaut recruitment drive is talking about sending people to Mars. They are looking for people with advanced degrees in engineering, maths, biology or the physical sciences. You can’t be shorter than 5’2″ or taller than 6’3″. Pilots with more than 1,000 hours of flight time are desired; so are educators.

And of course you’ll need a sense of daring!

But let’s forget all that and think instead about the more whimsical idea of who we’d like to send a few million miles away.

The only rules are: stick to …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 13 Comments

The weekend debate: What if Gordon Brown Were Still Prime Minister?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Over at the New Statesman Guy Lodge has posed the question, ‘What if … Gordon Brown was leading the Eurozone crisis?’, and come up with quite a flattering answer for our former Prime Minister.

He believes that Gordon Brown would have shown more leadership than David Cameron and George Osborne in the Eurozone crisis, and crucially would have more credibility to deal with Nicolas Sarkosy and Angela Merkel.

Is he right?

What if the Lib Dems had propped up Gordon Brown in …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 29 Comments

The weekend debate: Are Lib Dems too pro-European?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

With the looming debt crisis in the Eurozone and Eurosceptics from across the political divide baying for blood, the LDV weekend debate couldn’t resist the pressure any longer.

So, with people openly talking about the possibility of the end of the Euro as we know it, and Europe seemingly in crisis, are Lib Dem Ministers taking the right decisions for the party and the country as a whole?

The party has long been …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 59 Comments

The weekend debate: Is it time to end the ban on political TV advertising?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

A few weeks ago a campaign advert made by ONE, an organisation founded by Bono (of U2 fame) was banned from TV because it breaches political advertising rules. 

Many people seeing this story for the first time might be quite pleased not to have to deal with the unbearable smugness of Bono on their TV screen again. But outside of any personal dislike of a particular celebrity, politician or political party is this an issue where broadcast regulations are simply out of …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 8 Comments

The weekend debate: Would Mitt Romney make a better President than Barack Obama?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Over the last three years Obama has had to concede much of his programme to Republicans in Congress. His healthcare reforms had to be significantly watered down even before Republicans won back the House of Representatives in 2010. And the reforms themselves have since acted as a lightning rod for criticism of the President.

Obama is struggling to get the economy going again amid continued turbulence in the global economy and unemployment is staying stubbornly high despite the massive £800 billion stimulus package. …

Posted in LDVUSA and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

The weekend debate: Is there nothing left to vote for?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Over on the BBC, Noel Gallagher has been talking about the last election and attempting to explain why he almost didn’t vote at all. In the end he voted for the Pirate Party because “there’s nothing cooler than a pirate”.

He went on to say:

 The Labour Party have managed, proved themselves to be just as sleazy and horrible as we all know the Conservatives are. There’s nothing left to vote for anymore.

Now as Liberal Democrats we know there’s an alternative but with …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 25 Comments

Opinion: Delivering local citizens’ initiatives

Five years ago, back in the final throws of the Blair government, when Cameron was still hugging hoodies and Ed Miliband was just a twinkle in the unions’ eyes, I worked for an organisation called Our Say.

Our Say campaigned for the introduction of citizens’ initiatives in the UK, referendums that can be instigated by a petition of a certain percentage of citizens in a given area.

The campaign wasn’t active for very long but it received cross party support, primarily from backbenchers. Overall, Conservative MPs more than Liberal Democrats or backbench Labour MPs received it better. In fact the Lib …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 3 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSara Scarlett 26th Oct - 1:47am
    I have to admit I don't agree with the grounds on which they were protesting. Just seemed like a bunch of vague, unhappy lefties being...
  • User AvatarSara Scarlett 26th Oct - 1:23am
    Stephen [Tall], Some good points. I'm not entirely convinced by 6. Although I do see it's merits. I'd like to see the devolution of power...
  • User AvatarCharlie 26th Oct - 1:07am
    Glenn From my time at university and discussion with many charity /ngo workers. An example is golden rice which through genetic modification has much greater...
  • User AvatarSarah Noble 25th Oct - 11:24pm
    Callum: mind you, that would mean that a) the SNP would have to drop their policy of abstention on English matters and more importantly, b)...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 25th Oct - 11:21pm
    I think it's fair to say that I am not a fan of the Labour Party. One of their first acts in government was to...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 25th Oct - 11:18pm
    Since only the already relatively decentralised matters of education and NHS gained majority support amongst members of the party most in favour of localism, does...