Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

Nicola Sturgeon appoints controversial Brexit Minister

In the immediate aftermath of the EU Referendum, Nicola Sturgeon played an absolute blinder. She seemed like she was the only grown-up in power. She was calm, she was reasonable and she put up a massive big tent that allowed all parties to unite. Well, not the Tories, but who cares about them in Scotland, anyway?  Given the chaos they have inflicted, as Brexit gets underway, I suspect that their good performance in the Holyrood elections will turn out to be a high water mark.

Within days of the result, the Scottish Parliament debated and passed a motion which authorised the First Minister and the Scottish Government to look for a way to preserve Scotland’s relationship with the EU. It was not, Nicola Sturgeon told Parliament, about independence.

However, let me be clear that if the Government concludes that the best or the only way to protect Scotland’s place in the EU is through a referendum on independence, we will return to Parliament with that judgment and it will then be for Parliament to decide. I am emphatically not asking Parliament to endorse that step today. A vote for today’s motion is not a vote for a referendum on independence.

I was glad to see that the Scottish Liberal Democrats backed Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts. Everyone seemed to be working together well with the SNP even removing wording from the motion to make sure it was  something all the parties except the Tories (who ultimately abstained) could sign up to.

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Could train-gate derail Corbyn’s leadership campaign?

I travel up and down to London pretty frequently. I haven’t often had a problem getting a seat on the East Coast mainline – and when there has been an issue, it’s usually because there has been some extreme weather issue and two trains worth of people have been decanted into one train.

So when I saw that Jeremy Corbyn had had to spend a journey to Newcastle on the floor of a train, I was a bit surprised but didn’t let it distract me from enjoying my holiday.

Today’s development in that story is worthy of some comment though. It appears that the Labour leader could have had a seat on the train after all. Virgin’s media people have ridden a convoy of coaches and horses through his claims.  In an unusual step, they have released CCTV footage and said:

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In which I consume news like most people…

As I wrote earlier, I properly chilled out on my holidays. Very little work, next to no reading and lots of walks,silly games and fun. I could get used to that lifestyle…

This all meant that I consumed news like a normal person rather than an obsessive who has half an eye on Twitter and the rolling news channels at all times lest something might happen in the world and she might miss it. If the news happened to be on, I’d watch it if there was no gripping Olympic action going on at the same time, but I wasn’t too fussed about it.

I didn’t totally cut myself off. My car would probably fall to pieces if it wasn’t tuned into Radio 4, after all.

So, from my rather more normal news consumption over the past week, what sparked my interest? Four stories leapt out at me.

Of course the heartbreaking photo of Omran Daqneesh would break all but the hardest of hearts. The traumatised and blood covered little boy symbolised the effects of war on children. As these things go, though, Omran was relatively lucky. Most of his family are still alive, although his brother died of injuries sustained in the same airstrike. Children suffer horrendously every single day in Syria and other war zones across the world. The previous week’s horribly distressing footage of the chlorine gas attack showed tiny babies struggling for breath. This is a horrible, relentless reality for millions of people. We must never forget that. The pictures should provoke an empathy in us that leads us to push the Government to do more to help those still in Syria and those who have escaped. They should make us all realise that those who have fled had good reason to do so and we should challenge those who suggest otherwise.

Prejudice and punishment

I’m not a fan of anyone telling women what to wear. There’s nothing like a public figure telling women that they shouldn’t wear something to make me want to wear one in sympathy. When the mayor of Cannes banned the “burquini” it made me furious that the likely effect of this would be that those women who wear such a garment, who were guilty of no crime, would effectively not be able to access their own seaside for no good reason. And if they couldn’t go, then it would be likely that their children would be restricted, too.

Garments aren’t divisive. Banning them on a whim most certainly is.

There are few cultures in the world in which women are treated with the equality they deserve. France might want to have a wee think about how its own globally renowned fashion industry has forced unrealistic and often damaging expectations on to women, for example.

Governments should be setting an example of inclusiveness, not picking on specific group of people in a manner that effectively incites prejudice against them.

Should people start seriously arguing for similar bans in this country, I’ll be first in the queue to wear one in solidarity.

Fat lot of good that was

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 24 Comments

What I learned on holiday

I’m just back from the first two week holiday I’ve had since 2008. I was fairly determined before I went that I was going to have a proper break. My aim was greatly helped with the discovery that I’d managed to book a holiday cottage that had no wifi. I almost succeeded in keeping away from work for the whole time and I feel much better for it. After fighting two national elections and two referendum campaigns in 2.5 years, I was pretty close to completely knackered. I knew I had to switch off properly for my own wellbeing.  I am very grateful to the team for covering while I’ve been away. They’ve done a great job even though some of them have been dealing with major life events.

I had planned to do what I always do on holiday – read lots of books. That didn’t work out either.  I only got through the new Harry Potter book and the latest edition of Liberator. Instead, I found myself gazing at the views (and who could blame me?), watching the Olympics and walking for miles on Rosemarkie beach with the dog. The weather was so wonderful the second week that it would have been criminal not to have been out and about enjoying it while we had the chance.

Cromarty sunset

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 24 Comments

LDV at 10: Pick of the posts: What we said when the Coalition was born

On 27th August, LDV will be 10 years old. In that time, we’ve brought you over 24,000 posts and published over 337,000 comments. Over the Summer holidays, we’ll take you on a nostalgic meander through a decade of Liberal Democrat history, seen through the eyes of our editors and contributors. We hope you enjoy our choices.

Cast your minds back to May 2010, when Nick Clegg walked along Downing Street as Deputy PM for the first time. How did LDV contributors take the news?

101 ways to win an election co-author Ed Maxfield described family tensions but looked at the opportunities the coalition offered. His comments about the way we campaign should probably have been more widely read:

Those entering government face an enormous responsibility – to deliver good government with a distinct liberal tone. But the wider party must also recognise this is potentially a moment of transformation. We have to start work now on winning the referendum on voting reform. We have to plan for the next election to be on radically different boundaries returning far fewer MPs (and on AV too). Hardest of all, perhaps, we have to ask whether the guerilla campaigning techniques that have served us so well for the last 40 years are ‘fit for purpose’ now.

I am unsettled but full of hope for the future today. Being in government is much harder than being in opposition.

Posted in From the LDV Archive | Tagged | 4 Comments

Book Review: The Residence: Inside the private world of the White House

The Residence cover

If you get a chance over the Summer, have a read of Kate Andersen Brower’s book detailing the history and lives of the people who look after the first families at the White House. Find out about their relationships with the various occupants of the biggest goldfish bowl on the planet.  From the Roosevelts to the Obamas, find out about the details of domestic life and the varying relationships between staff and residents.

It is a little biased towards the Republicans and if you know a lot about US politics, there are no new sensational revelations, but it is a fascinating read nonetheless. My emotions went from sympathy for the Clintons and Obamas to annoyance with Lyndon Johnson’s obsession with his shower.  You feel the shock and fear around the Kennedy assassination and 9/11. How does it feel when you realise that your workplace could be the next target – especially when you leave some of your colleagues behind.

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

Book review: My life on the road by Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steimen My life on the road coverI read this book as the primary campaigns started in the US earlier this year. There is a chapter dedicated to the misogynistic bile directed at Hillary Clinton in 2008, which seems tame given what she’s getting now. “Life’s a b****. Don’t vote for one.” was an actual badge being sold by Republicans in Cleveland at their convention. I’d like to think that Federal Conference Committee Chair Andrew Wiseman would fling out anyone selling similar at a Liberal Democrat Conference.

My Life on the Road details four decades of travel all over the world as Gloria Steinem’s work took her to all sorts of  places. It is a wise and gentle book which is primarily about bringing people together and making sure diverse voices were heard. It’s a great insight in to the  history of the feminist movement and the importance of intersectionality within that.

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

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 26th Aug - 12:05am
    Caron, thank you , yes , of course what you say makes sense on the Tories UK wide and in the rest of the countries...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 25th Aug - 11:56pm
    Barry Snelson 25th Aug '16 - 11:16pm "As to the view that market forces are the work of Satan, well that’s a pity as the...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 25th Aug - 11:54pm
    Lorenzo, Ruth Davidson did well up here by decoupling herself almost completely from the Conservatives down south. I don't think she'll get away with that...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 25th Aug - 11:52pm
    @Dave Orbison "So please point me to the articles in Guardian, Indy, Telegraph or others where the official LibDem response has been made and where...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 25th Aug - 11:51pm
    "the vast majority of non/anti-Tory voters don’t share the same sense of loyalty and tribalism expressed in many of these comments and they will never...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 25th Aug - 11:46pm
    Caron has correctly described Nicola sturgeon in words she deserves , what I do not understand is the opening of the article . Glowing comments...