Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

In Full: Nick Clegg on tearing down the barriers facing women at work and the £23 billion boost if we get it right

Clegg Speech 40I have always said that if I had to pick one policy enacted by the Coalition that summed up our liberal values it would be the revolution that Nick Clegg and Jo Swinson have enacted on parental leave. From next year, parents will be able to choose how they split parental leave following a birth or adoption between them rather than the mother having to take it all. It’s the stronger economy, fairer society and enabling people to get on in life all in one.

Yesterday, Nick Clegg made a

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Austin Rathe talks to the Standard about the importance of political geekery

imageThe appointment of Obama’s strategist David Axelrod to advise the Labour Party has prompted the Standard to take a look at the digital operations of the three main parties. All three are looking to the success of the Obama campaign’s collection and use of data.

We know that the most effective digital campaigners are those who spend most of their time on the doorsteps. Jo Swinson was a Twitter pioneer, as was Willie Rennie and we know how much time Tim Farron spends on there. These three share a massive commitment and …

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There are way too many elephants in Lib Dem Members’ survey

elephants - Some rights reserved by Colin the ScotYesterday, I was delighted to receive the latest Liberal Democrat members’ survey and I quickly completed it. Once I actually read the questions, though, some things made me snort with rage. I would be very surprised if they were able to glean any meaningful data from what they asked. Yes, they may well get a few decent press releases out of “Lib Dem Members’ favourite achievements in Government” or favourite things that we have stopped the Tories doing that will be covered only …

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #372

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 372nd weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the seven most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (13-19 April, 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, normally courtesy of LibDig, you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

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Indiscriminate and insensitive overuse of benefit sanctions needs to be tackled by Liberal Democrat ministers

Benefits-welfareI came across this article about some of the circumstances which had led to sanctions being imposed on benefit claimants. Everything in the article is sourced, but I also take it seriously because it resonates with real life examples that I have heard about.

The coalition has dramatically increased the scale of withdrawal of benefit for infringing rules. A claimant can be sanctioned for not apparently looking hard enough for work, for not attending job centre interviews or for turning down job offers. The minimum period you can lose your benefit …

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NHS under pressure across whole UK – how do we fund the health service we need?

StethoscopeA clinical commissioning group in South Warwickshire was heavily criticised last week for suggesting that it might charge patients for use of mobility aids like crutches, walking sticks and neck braces.  A rather hyperbolic Guardian column screamed that this was the “first painful step towards the dismantling of the NHS” which seems a bit strange given that they’ve been telling us for the past two years that the NHS had been all but privatised anyway.

The furore over this idea made me think, though. While you don’t and never should …

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LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 14000 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

On Sarah Wollaston’s naming and shaming in the Times of  “very aggressive male bloggers” (8 comments) by Stephen Tall

Daily Mail attacks Nick Clegg for Cyril Smith RIP tribute. Why? (34 comments) by Stephen Tall

Jeremy Browne’s Race Plan. I’ve read it, so here’s my review. (58 comments) by Stephen Tall

Opinion: Regina v Nigel Evans should wake up MPs (35 comments) by Antony Hook

Lib Dems: “Cyril Smith’s

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Alistair Carmichael as many of you will never have seen him before

Do you know what, this independence referendum is actually starting to have some nice moments.  I would never have thought it. Sadly, few of them are to do with the actual substance of the campaign, but there’s always hope.

One of the best things about it for me is that for what I imagine will be the only time in our lifetimes, my Dad and I are on the same side in a political debate. I was absolutely thrilled when he took up volunteering for Better Together one day a week and he’s become a bit of an expert on the …

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I don’t care where Alex Salmond lays his head – but does he have to be so evasive about it?

The Benjamin HotelBuckwheat or memory foam, or water. Those are some of the pillows Alex Salmond could have had, according to the Telegraph when he stayed in New York’s Benjamin Hotel in 2007 when he was there on official business. But, do you know what? I’m not really that bothered. Yes, luxury hotel suites are expensive but in the world of international diplomacy and business, it’s pretty much par for the course. Sure, some people would be happier to see our politicians stay in a Bed and Breakfast with squeaky, staticky, purple nylon sheets and those duvets with flowers on that were so popular in the 70s, and a bit of thrift never goes amiss, but I’m not going to get in a lather about it.

photo by: Reading Tom
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Jeremy Browne and his plan for the privileged

Eton college sign. Photo by Paul WalterOver the last couple of days, discussion of Jeremy Browne’s new book has caused, it’s fair to say, a bit of controversy on this site. Race Plan, contains ideas which make some liberals dance with joy and others wince. We previewed it yesterday and Nick Thornsby has produced an extremely well written review. You might well disagree with it, but he presents his arguments knowledgeably and respectfully.

I have not read this book. I probably will, but it’ll take a wee while before it gets anywhere near the top of my “must read” list. I do, however, feel that I know enough of its contents from Jeremy’s Daily Politics video, various press articles and, of course,  Nick’s review.

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A trio of damning reports on impact of Government’s welfare reforms

Joseph Rowntree FoundationThree reports published today on the impacts of the Coalition Government’s welfare reforms should concern anyone who is interested in creating a fairer society.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation publishes two reports on wider welfare reform in general and the Bedroom Tax in particular which should inform those who are responsible for the Liberal Democrat manifesto as well as our ministers.

photo by: HowardLake
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Maria Miller resigns – but is that all that needs to happen?

Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and SportThe writing was on the wall for Maria Miller in the 33rd second after she began her grudging apology last Thursday. Even if she had shown the required amount of contrition, the very fact that a system which allowed a committee of MPs to water down the Standards Commissioner’s judgement looks, even if it isn’t, motivated by self interest, by the privileged protecting their own.

At no point did she, or David Cameron, show any signs of “getting it”, of showing any understanding why the original issue was a serious matter.

By allowing it to become a battle between the Conservative leadership and the Tory right, one in which the latter has triumphed, Cameron has weakened his own position.

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LibLink: Ming Campbell: I will vote no to independence because I love Scotland

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TWillie Rennie’s “sunshine strategy”, talking up the positive side of Scotland staying in the UK even got a mention on the Andrew Marr Show during our Scottish Conference. The independence referendum is sorely needing a lift, and on the rare occasion it gets it, it is usually down to a Liberal Democrat, it has to be said. Charles Kennedy, Mike Moore, Willie Rennie and Alistair Carmichael have all added some much-needed appreciation of the UK and thoughtful consideration of the arguments. …

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Ros Scott speaks out against food waste

Food waste 215 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year.

122 million tonnes wasted in the industrialised world (which makes the British contribution of an eye-wateringly high proportion).

The latter figure is equal to the entire food production of sub-Saharan Africa.

It’s a far cry from the days when we were growing up. Any waste at all horrified my Granny. She went to the shops every day and bought what she needed for that day and no more. Most of what she bought was relatively locally produced, unprocessed and fresh.

photo by: Nick Saltmarsh
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In Full: Kirsty Williams’ speech to Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference – Proud, passionate and “hungry for Welsh success”

rally kirsty williams 1This weekend, Welsh Liberal Democats have held their conference in Newport. One of these years, I must try and get there because it sounds great fun.

Kirsty Williams closed Conference this afternoon with her leader’s speech. A few weeks ago, I linked to an article she wrote for St David’s Day which expressed her pride in her nation with such positivity that I suggested that those in the pro-UK campaign in Scotland should take note. She was every bit as proud and passionate today. She outlined the Labour governments …

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #370

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 370th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the seven most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (30 March - 5 April, 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, normally courtesy of LibDig, you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

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What’s on in our Parliaments next week? 7-10 April

Houses of ParliamentThe Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd are in recess next week, but Westminster is still sitting.

House of Commons

The Commons is still dealing with the Finance Bill, implementing the measures in the Budget. There, is however, a Justice and Home Affairs debate on Monday.

Communities & Local Government, Foreign Office, the Department of International Development (therefore Lynne Featherstene) and Business, Innovation and Skills face questions.

photo by: wwarby
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Scotland mourns Margo MacDonald MSP

Contains Scottish Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.There won’t be a dry eye anywhere in Scottish politics this afternoon. Margo MacDonald, the spirited, warm-hearted, funny, plain-speaking, independent minded MSP for Lothians died this lunchtime.

Margo shot to prominence after winning the Govan by-election in 1973. Although she lost her seat in the General Election 2 months later, she made an impact on Scottish politics. She never returned to Westminster, but has been one of the real stars of the Scottish Parliament over the last 15 years. She …

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Nick v Nigel: What the commentators say – and don’t say

Farage cleggWell, there’s a surprise. After last week’s largely positive stories, the headlines aren’t so good this week. It’s interesting to see that those who called for Nick to be more passionate and to go less on the detail weren’t satisfied when he did just that. I wonder if last week’s coverage prompted too much of a strategic rethink to an approach that was working fine. In my opinion, the only thing that needed changing from the LBC debate was a stronger answer on the referendum question, especially as it …

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Party gets smart over fundraising

Pound coins with no dateWe know that the Obama campaign made great use of micro-fundraising during its two successful campaigns. If you are signed up to the emails, you’ll know the kind of thing. You get an email asking you to donate $5 before midnight to get a chance to have dinner with Obama or some (other) celebrity.

The Liberal Democrats have been experimenting a lot with that sort of thing. During the Eastleigh by-election I had a whole host of emails, with increasingly emotional appeals, designed to get me in my …

photo by: Images_of_Money
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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #369

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 369thth weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the seven most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (23 - 29 March, 2014), together with a hand-picked quintet, normally courtesy of LibDig, you might otherwise have missed.

Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.

As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:

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Liberal Democrats put mental health on the agenda in Holyrood and Cardiff

Phrenology head - mental health - Some rights reserved by evansvilleWe know that mental health has always been one of Nick Clegg’s top priorities. His first major speech as Liberal Democrat leader was on the subject. In the coalition, he, Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb have been pushing forward improvements to mental health care from making sure people in crisis see health professionals and not the inside of a Police cell, to a massive expansion of talking therapies to action to tackle the stigma that still exists.

A friend of mine has recently had some time off work for Depression. She wrote on Facebook, and asked people to share, the following:

What I do want to say is that until being off work for eight weeks with depression is regarded on equal footing with the same period of time off with a physical ailment of any kind ( from a hip replacement, to heart attack,stroke, badly broken limb, severe diabetes, or any of countless medical conditions ) then we will all suffer individually and as a society.

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Tim Farron “will withdraw party’s support for Bedroom Tax”

Bedroom tax demo , all the photos taken with a iphone 5Ok, so we’ll overlook the Guardian’s inaccurate headline. Have they learned nothing from years of watching our policy making process? Tim Farron doesn’t have the power to do what the Guardian says he’s done:

The Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, will withdraw his party’s support for the bedroom tax on Wednesday, saying it has caused “huge social problems.”

I think he’s right, of course. It might just about be ok if there were suitable smaller properties for people to move into, or if …

photo by: paul bevan
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It’s #NickvNigel Round 2 and we have bingo and billboards

Nick v Nigel Round 2 poster

Today the second debate on EU membership takes place between our Nick Clegg and UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

The image you see before you will be beaming down on commuters and shoppers in Tottenham Court Road, one of London’s busiest areas from around now. At least I think that’s the case. I’m only from Scotland.

It’s also fair to say that no social media timeline will be safe from the image of Cameron and Miliband missing

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Clegg slams Farage over “extreme” and “utterly grotesque” Putin comments

Nigel Farage MEPMost Liberals would have been choking into their Corn Flakes this morning upon reading that Vladimir Putin, who apparently has designs on Finland, is the object of Nigel Farage’s admiration.

I just think it is utterly grotesque that Nigel Farage apparently admires – and that was the question to him, ‘Who do you admire?’ – admires someone, Vladimir Putin, who has been the chief sponsor and protector of one of the most brutal dictators on the face of the planet, President Assad, who has blocked at every single

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In Full: Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

Willie Rennie speaking at Lib Dem Spring conference, Liverpool 2008Willie Rennie’s crucial final leader’s speech before the independence referendum highlighted the party’s achievements in UK Government – 8 words, Taxes down, pensions up, new jobs, more childcare.

He also highlighted his team’s contribution in the Scottish Parliament, pressing the SNP government over 18 months until they expanded childcare for 2-4 year olds and fighting against the “wrecking ball” being taken to the justice system. He announced that the party would be putting down amendments aimed at properly regulating stop and search to …

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone: Two same sex weddings, one happy politician

Protest against a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriageIt was a struggle to stay awake till midnight on Friday night because I’d been up at stupid o’clock to travel to Scottish Liberal Democrat conference. But I did, just to mark that very special moment when same sex marriages started to happen. In the morning, the scenes of happiness on the television news had me blubbing.

Both Nick Clegg and Lynne Featherstone talked over the weekend about how this isn’t just an important thing for the couples themselves. In his speech to Scottish …

photo by: Fibonacci Blue
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In full: Nick Clegg’s contribution to the “sunshine strategy” at Scottish Lib Dem Conference

Forth Railway Bridge at North Queensferry Fife ScotlandI’ve been saying for a long time that the pro UK side of the independence referendum campaign in Scotland needs to make sure that there’s a positive melody to go a long with the necessary deconstruction of the SNP’s arguments. Nick Clegg stepped up to that plate with aplomb yesterday in his keynote speech, saying that the case for staying in the UK must be as “thrilling” as that for independence.

There was one hilarious moment when he slipped up and talked about he and …

photo by: conner395
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Carmichael: We should be proud of what we are achieving in the UK, not talking about leaving

Union FlagIn a week where I’ve despaired a bit of the pro-UK campaign in the Scottish Independence Referendum, it’s good to see Alistair Carmichael come out brimming with pride at what we have and what we’ve built together in the UK. In a speech at Edinburgh University last night. Yes, it’s a wee bit listy, but we actually need to look at and appreciate what we’ve got rather than just assume that the grass on the other side is going to be greener. Frankly, when people are wooed by the thrill …

photo by: mrs.timpers
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Call Clegg: Nick condemns morning after pill critics as misogynist, medieval and insulting to women

call cleggI do love it when Nick gets all cross about things. He’s always been pretty open about his views but at times can come across almost too careful. Those occasions when he just lets rip are so good.

This morning, he did not mince his words about those “experts” (sorry for the Daily Mail link, but who they count as experts is really funny) who think that giving women access to the morning after pill will fuel promiscuity. It took me about 4 tweets to get it all in – misogynist, …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 25th Apr - 2:41am
    Matthew, I think we need to remember that in Gladstone's day the British East-India company was the largest global corporation in history, accounting for half...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 25th Apr - 12:40am
    @jedibeeftrix. Have you really descended to this? Your comments always used to be interesting and challenging!
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 25th Apr - 12:37am
    There'll always be crises. It's a fact of life. Politics is the art of managing them and learning from them, and learning is what is...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 25th Apr - 12:23am
    Matthew Huntbach, If you read very carefully, you will find that Alex Marsh did not write a "flood of propaganda which insists that the pre-merger...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 25th Apr - 12:06am
    the article, and the degree of division in the comments makes me lol. but at least the division represents a degree of sanity returning to...
  • User AvatarRay 24th Apr - 11:54pm
    There should be no bullying down to the "normal and harmless" homosexuality.
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