Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

Tim Farron talks coalitions with the New Statesman

The New Statesman has published extracts of an interview with former party president Tim Farron. Their headline suggests favouritism for a coalition with Labour, but that’s not quite what Tim said. He was talking about having to play the hand the electorate dealt us, just like we did five years ago:

Last time round, us plus Labour was 11 short of a majority of one, so a majority where we’d have had to rely on Jeremy Corbyn voting through the Budget, things like that, for instance, so 11 short even of that level of a majority, so it wasn’t an option.

He added: “I think the same thing will be the case this time round, almost certainly. We will not have a choice. We will be presented with an arithmetic by the electorate and all parties must be grown up enough to accept it and not say, ‘well, thank you for your opinions, we didn’t like it, tough’. Whatever the electorate give us through this fruit machine of an electoral system that we have, we have to be big enough, grown-up enough to make sure it works.

“The fundamental promise we must make to the electorate is that we will respect the outcome of the electorate and we will ensure, do everything in our power to ensure, stable government straight after the election, whether we are part of it or not.”

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What does the Twitter “sarcasm detector” tell us?

They Say sarcasm detectorJohn Rentoul told us in yesterday’s Independent that he had found a tool which analysed what was being said about party leaders on Twitter, taking into account whether the comment was sarcastic or not.

I spoke to Karo Moilanen at the company about how “sentiment analysis” works. He told me the algorithm detects positive and negative sentiments associated with the leaders, and can even recognise a double negative as a positive, for example, “kill bacteria”.

What about sarcasm, I asked, thinking about how Twitter works. “We have a rudimentary sarcasm detector,” he said. “There are patterns which tend to correlate with sarcasm.” But how accurate is it? “Sarcasm is hard for people to detect. Human accuracy can be as low as 40 per cent.”

TheySay “trains” its computer programme by feeding it texts that humans have marked as being sarcastic. “Algorithms can hence learn that sarcasm tends to involve cases in which someone likes something negative,” said Moilanen, “or conflicting or abrupt changes of sentiment between strongly positive and negative words and phrases.” He said that computer algorithms can detect sarcasm between 55 and 95 per cent of the time, depending on the study, with an average of 77 per cent.

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Three reasons why Talk of the Glens is much better than the Daily Mail

Talk of the GlensThe Daily Mail has been casting a critical eye over a publication being delivered to voters across Danny Alexander’s Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency by Danny’s campaign team.

Needless to say, the magazine, Talk of the Glens, does not meet with the Mail’s approval. “Toe curling” and “garish” they call it.

It is very nice of the Mail, however, to reproduce the magazine almost in its entirety. Their readers, who may have inadvertently recycled it, therefore get a second chance to see it.

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

We need to be careful about the SNP and coalitions

Labour appear to be saying they would entertain the idea of putting the SNP in charge of Britain in a government and that’s in my book just not going to happen. In the same way I’d never put UKIP in charge of Europe, I’d certainly never put the SNP in charge of a country that they would basically want to rip apart.

This is what Nick Clegg said about the SNP in today’s Call Clegg. It builds on an article written by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie on here last week. Willie said:

We’ll always be asked by the media about various scenarios and outcomes. But the reality is that all of us are campaigning hard for  Liberal Democrat votes. We want to win here.

And just as you would not put UKIP in charge of Europe, it’s right that we make clear you would not put the SNP in charge of Britain.

This doesn’t mean we won’t take a reasonable approach to politics as a party. We have formed coalitions with the SNP on councils and, in the Scottish Parliament, we have worked with them on their budget and on a range of other issues. So have other parties.

But just imagine for only one second what would happen if Alex Salmond became Deputy Prime Minister. The minute you turned your back he’d take the screwdriver out and try to break up the UK.

This is in no way comparing the SNP and UKIP as some have suggested on earlier discussions. There is no direct comparison. Aside from the constitutional issues, there are many policy issues on which we could find agreement with the SNP and we could work with them. We could also temper their lack of respect for civil liberties. I can’t think of anyone in UKIP I’d want to even give the time of day to and our policy divergence is huge.  While I totally get the analogy Nick and Willie are making  I would urge caution about explicitly ruling out dealing with the Nationalists. It would be counter-productive to do so.

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John Bercow should look to Australia for ideas on how to deal with unruly MPs

John Bercow did try to get an Australian installed as the new Clerk of the Commons in what seemed to me to be quite a sensible move to split the roles of Chief Executive and Procedural expert. He might want to take a leaf out of the book of the Australian Speaker who has developed a habit of ejecting unruly MPs. At one PMQs session at the end of last year, she ejected 18 of them in 73 minutes.

You can watch the video and ensuing drama unfold below.

The reason I say this today is because of the disgraceful tidal wave of heckling which greeted Mike Crockart when he got up at Prime Minister’s Questions. It was so childish and there was simply no reason for it.You can see it from 10 minutes in. It wasn’t particularly unusual behaviour, but it’s high time Bercow moved beyond his sarcastic comments and started chucking people out. It’s the only way they’ll learn. He might want to make sure he throws people out from both sides, because there are plenty who deserve it.

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“We need a lap dancing club” – Kendal Tory Councillor’s big idea for economic regeneration

Last night, South Lakeland District Council discussed its local plan. Councillors were free to offer all sorts of ideas which would benefit the community and the local economy.

Conservative Councillor Andrew Gardiner had a novel suggestion. What the area really needed, he said, was a lap dancing club. Really. Kendal is doing great things in making a name for itself with fantastic initiatives like the Kendal Mountain Festival, which beat the Ashes to the British Tourist Event of 2013.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Phil Walker called on the Tories to take action against Cllr Gardiner:

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Jo Swinson defends Rachel Reeves from “staggeringly sexist” attack

Jo Swinson GlasgowRemember in 2010 when the Daily Mail went apoplectic and Tory backbenchers’ murmured criticism made headline news as David Cameron took time off after the birth of his daughter Florence just weeks after becoming Prime Minister? No, me neither, because it didn’t happen.

Five years on, however, Labour’s Rachel Reeves is under fire from the Mail and Tory MP Andrew Rossindell after announcing her plans to take 3 months’ maternity leave after she gives birth to her second child in June. From the Guardian:

Andrew Rosindell, the Tory MP for Romford, told the Daily Mail that a role in the cabinet required a person’s full attention. “I don’t want to say someone who is having a baby is not eligible to be a cabinet minister, but I certainly think perhaps the demands of that particular job will require someone to give it their full attention.”

“I don’t expect Rachel Reeves to be in the cabinet after the election because I expect the Conservatives to win, but clearly people need to be put in the positions they can handle.

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It may not be popular, but it needs saying: Most politicians are decent people who work ridiculous hours serving the public

So, wherever you look today, you see Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, both secretly filmed saying things that most voters will find difficult to comprehend. That includes those of us who are active in politics. By far the most bizarre thing was Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s assertion that he didn’t get a salary.  What on earth does he think the £3000 on his bank statement every month with House of Commons next to it is?

It is perfectly possible that when the investigations to which Straw and Rifkind have submitted themselves are complete, they will find that no rules were actually broken. Both men have been pretty bullish this morning. Straw says he’s mortified he fell into the trap, Rifkind says he has every right to get paid for passing on his expertise. Many people will feel instinctively uncomfortable about politicians who once held the main offices of state or still chair influential parliamentary committees claiming they could offer things like access to ambassadors, or suggest they might work for a daily rate of £5000.

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #412

Welcome to the 412th  Golden Dozen, and our xxxth 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 (15-21 February, 2015), together with a hand-picked quintet, 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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Parliamentarians “gorging” on a maximum of one and a bit chocolate bars a week? I don’t think so.

chocolateYou have to wonder who thinks up freedom of information questions like “How many chocolate bars do the catering outlets in Westminster sell?” But the Sunday Times (£) reports that somebody has asked precisely that question and that the number of chocolate bars bought in 2013 and 2014 totals just under 200,000. This leads them to conclude that our MPs and Peers are “gorging” their way through some massive chocolate stash. It’s like we’re meant to see them as some sort of court of Henry VIII busting out of their breaches.

In fact, I was surprised that the amount is so low. Let’s think about it. There are 650 MPs and 800 members of the House of Lords who attend regularly. Even if we only count them, that’s 1450 people. That only allows them 69 chocolate bars a year each. It’s not even two for every sitting week. When you add in all of their staff (and most MPs will have at least one person in their Westminster office) and all the visitors to the place, it reduces that amount even further. Maybe they’d all be happier if they ate more chocolate, not less.

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Back to the days of toxic factionalism in the Labour Party – will they ever learn?

I’ve always felt that the Labour Party would be much more effective if they could put their energies into fighting the problems the country faces rather than fighting each other. We all remember the schism between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair from Day 1 of their administration which overshadowed everything they did. Do you remember the time when they decided to show everyone what good friends they were in the run up to, I think, the 2005 election, sitting  together uncomfortably on the GMTV sofa.

Today the Sunday Times (£) shows us that toxic factionalism is still alive and well in the Party. Brown and Blair couldn’t even get on when things were going well for them. The two Eds, Miliband and Balls are apparently at daggers drawn and Balls may face demotion after recent blunders:

A shadow cabinet member said if Miliband becomes prime minister he should move the shadow chancellor and accused Balls of behaving with “contempt” towards colleagues and “undermining the leader’s agenda”.

Frontbenchers attacked Balls last night for committing Labour’s two worst gaffes of the election campaign so far.

They said his reputation as a “safe pair of hands” had been shattered when he failed to name a single Labour business backer and told voters they should get a receipt for work done cash in hand, both of which attracted ridicule.

Senior figures also expressed frustration and incredulity that Balls has dug his heels in over funding a cut in English tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year — three years after Miliband first backed the policy and with the announcement due at the end of this week.

Insiders say a meeting between Miliband and Balls last Wednesday, which many hoped would settle the policy, had “ended badly”.

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Austin Mitchell gives a masterclass in taking your constituents for granted…

That sound you can hear is the wailing of Labour campaign organisers in Grimsby as they work out how to deal with outgoing Labour MP Austin Mitchell’s latest bout of Foot in Mouth disease.

From the i:

From the shuttered-up homes by the once bustling fish market to derelict harbour-side factories, politicians of all stripes admit privately that the east coast town alternates between being forgotten and taken for granted in Westminster.

It’s a narrative that Ukip is pushing hard and one that the Lincolnshire town’s veteran MP, Mitchell, unwittingly reinforced by telling the Independent on Sunday that Labour would win the seat “even” if they selected a “raving alcoholic sex paedophile”.

We knew that Labour have a real sense of entitlement to power that is most unattractive. Breaking their fiefdoms in Scotland by introducing STV for local government is one of the best things the Liberal Democrats have ever done in government. Labour are finding that years, decades of neglect and taking voters for granted is coming back to bite them on the bum. The thing is, I don’t see much sign of their attitude really changing that much.

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Liberal Democrats ensure government gives added protection for journalists’ records

Police will need to get a judge to give them permission before they access journalists’ phone records, according to the BBC.

A temporary measure means officers must follow the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and get legal permission to obtain any communications data.

The move comes after strong criticism of the way police were using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to access journalists’ sources.

The Home Office said it was an “interim solution” ahead of the next parliament.

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Appearing on the Big Debate talking about ISIS, alcohol at football matches and decriminalising drugs

Yesterday, I went to Paisley in Renfrewshire to be part of the panel for Radio Scotland’s Big Debate which is the Scottish equivalent of Any Questions.

Also on the panel were shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, local SNP MSP George Adam and Peter Murray from the Media Trust.

I did try to persuade presenter Gordon Brewer that he should “accidentally” call Douglas Danny in homage to Jo Joyner who made an error with someone’s name in the EastEnders live episode the other night but he was having none of it.

It was a much more thoughtful and less combative discussion than usual. George Adam did try to do the “let’s blame Westminster” thing that SNP people are prone to do but that was about it. We talked about ISIS and whether we could negotiate with them. I said that I didn’t think that would be on the agenda any time soon but whatever we did should be carefully thought out with very clear objectives. I talked a bit about the article from the Guardian the other day which told of the horrible conditions under which women are supposed to live. I also emphasised that we need to be very careful not to fuel Islamophobia given that ISIS are about as representative of Islam as the Westboro Baptist Church are of Christianity.

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STV report talks up Tory chances in seats the party has written off

The Scottish Conservatives meet in Edinburgh today for their Conference. The other day, the STV political correspondent filmed with them and talked up their chances in seats like Argyll and Bute and West Aberdeenshire. He can’t have realised that those seats are among five Lib Dem seats in Scotland that appear on the list of seats that the Tories are not targeting in Scotland as Mark Pack reported last week.

The Tories have also written off their chances in Edinburgh West, Ross, Skye and Lochaber and North East Fife.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott described the Tory leak as a “letter of surrender”:

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Nick Clegg top British politician in Mumsnet poll

Nick Clegg is the leading British politician on a Mumsnet poll. Sadly, it’s not for voting intention. The Mirror has the story:

Over at Mumsnet, one user started a thread asking “Am I being unreasonable to ask which politician would make the best lover?” There were over 400 replies and we added up the mentions of each name for you. The results are in…

American President Barack Obama beat all local politicians to come out top with 22 votes.

Nick “Clegg-over” Clegg makes a close second, showing he’s kept his sex appeal since 2010 despite the battering his political reputation has taken.

Perennial sex favourite Gordon Brown (he’s Scottish, the accent is kind of sexy) is third.

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SNP branch encourages its members to take pictures of Labour canvassers and put them on social media

Something very rare happened to me on Sunday afternoon. So rare that it hasn’t happened at all in the almost 15 years I’ve lived in my house. That it happensd at all is indicative of a jitteriness in politics. Yes, a Labour canvasser turned up on my doorstep.

Clearly they are feeling that they have to try after years of just assuming that the votes will pile up in their favour. That is probably a good thing. Mind you, the one who came to us will have to do something about the look of sheer incredulity on his face when I told him I was voting Lib Dem.

He was such a rare sight, and his look was so funny, but it never occurred to me to take his photo and stick it on social media. Because that would be creepy, even if it were to be one of a handful of times I’d ever seen one on my doorstep. It would be quite intimidating as well. As a political activist, I guess I understand what it’s like for a fellow political activist. the massive chunk it takes out of your life. I may not agree with the opposition, but there’s a bit of empathy there.

The SNP in Edinburgh Western have no such qualms, though. According to the Daily Record, they asked their members to ask Labour canvassers 3 questions and take the photos of any who “lied”:

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Guardian’s coverage of Liberal Democrat General Election campaign accentuates the negative

So what does the Guardian do to cheer itself up when a poll has shown Labour support is falling? Ah yes, they just write about how rubbish life is for the Liberal Democrats. Words like perilous, doom and resigned are peppered through the piece. I’m not suggesting that our prospects are the best they’ve ever been, but so much of what’s written about us is not so much “glass half empty” but “no liquid anywhere near the glass.”

I’d like to think that when Patrick Wintour and Nick Watt were doing their research for this, they were shown the vibrant Team 2015 operation, the busy and spirited things going on across the country in our key seats and that they just chose not to write about it because it doesn’t fit in with the pessimistic narrative. There are many things about the party’s campaigning that it can take a huge amount of pride in. There are bright and talented people in HQ who are doing the best they can with the material available to them. Did Wintour and Watt get to talk to the Austin Rathes and Steve Jollys of this world? I hope so.

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Layla Moran shows the benefits of the Liberal Democrats drive to deliver 2 million apprenticeships

Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran was on Channel 4’s political slot tonight talking about apprenticeships. She interviewed apprentices, including Paige McConville, the 2 millionth apprentice. She also interviewed business owners who told her of the high value training apprentices receive and how having apprentices benefits us all as they provide the skills the economy needs to grow.

You can watch it here:

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Stephen Tall and I on the Westminster Hour

On Sunday night, Stephen Tall and I were on the Westminster Hour discussing the party’s prospects for the coming election and beyond. You can listen to the whole thing here. They also have a shorter clip of Stephen talking about the dilemma facing the party about portraying itself as a “split the difference” party. He rightly said that concern about it is something that unites activists on both sides of the party but on the other hand we aren’t going to win the election outright so we have to claim the centre ground between the other two.

In my contribution on this issue, I said that there was a place in our campaigning for showing what we’d stopped or would stop. We had done so very effectively in coalition with Labour in Scotland. However, we had to show our heart as a bold, radical liberal party.

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #411

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 411th 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 (8-14 February, 2015), together with a hand-picked quintet, 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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Snapshots from the Lib Dem campaign trail

Lib Dems being out campaigning is such a normal thing – we have always been proud of our all year round work ethic. So what have our councillors and candidates been up to this weekend?

It seems to have been lovely weather everywhere:

Martin Horwood and his team were out in his Cheltenham constituency:

But, look, how sweet is this? He still found time to remember someone special:

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Did Charlie Whelan really put his cigarette into Ed Balls’ coke can?

The Telegraph has unearthed an STV documentary on the early days of Labour in the Treasury in 1997. It makes fascinating watching for all sorts of reasons. It feels not unlike an episode of The Thick of It, with Ed Balls a bit like Ollie Reeder to Whelan’s Malcolm Tucker. Everyone looks so young, Gordon Brown particularly.  Ed Miliband has become significantly less geeky over time, too.

The Telegraph article is full of derision for Labour’s removal of regulatory powers from the Bank of England.  That principle seems fine to me, and fairly logical. If you give the bank the power to set interest rates independently, then you need to get someone else to do the regulation. Labour’s failure to build an effectively regulatory framework for the banks can’t be pinned on that.

There is an arrogance about the way they went about it. The Permanent Secretary of the time was clearly worried about all this change. If you are going to reform, you need to just get on and do it, but they did seem to be enjoying smashing the established order a little bit too much.

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TfL boss attends 3 men only dinners and doesn’t notice there were no women there

Transport for London boss Sir Peter Hendy is under fire after he accepted an invitation to attend not one, or two, but three dinners from which women are excluded. The Independent has the story:

The CommonSpace website said that Sir Peter, 61, who receives a £348,000 salary, attended the December dinner in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Portman Square, London, as a guest of the Scottish-based bus company Alexander Dennis Ltd. Photos of the event posted on the society’s website showed a “handsome body of men enjoying their dinner” alongside another picture of female performers in thigh-cut dresses who were said to be bringing “a new spectacle to the dinner”.

The golfing society’s rules state membership is open only to “gentlemen associated with the transport industry”, and that the dinner is “for gentlemen only”. Its website described the gathering as “one of the best sporting dinners of the year. With a glamorous string quartet playing exciting music in even more exciting tight dresses, a troupe of can-can dancers and a truly fun atmosphere”. It added: “Over the years we have been privileged to welcome top men from the worlds of sport, industry, show business and politics. They always enthusiastically wave their napkins to the patriotic sounds of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and leap enthusiastically to the feet when their table’s turn comes to sing ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Some even do the actions!”

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Sarah Teather shows how to do an exit interview with dignity, empathy and thoughtfulness

Sarah TeatherSarah Teather’s announcement that she was standing down as a Liberal Democrat MP on the eve of our conference in 2013 did create some waves at the time. She was very critical of some of the things that the party had done in government, most notably welfare reform. Since then, she has done what she’s always done – been a strong voice speaking up for poorly treated asylum seekers and was a strong voice in the campaign against cuts to criminal legal aid.

She’s now done an interview with the Telegraph in which she talks about her time in Parliament. She’s thoughtful, reflective and does not show one trace of bitterness. In fact, she shows sympathy for Nick Clegg, despite the fact that he sacked her in the 2012 reshuffle.

Her appointment as Minister for Children meant that she could address special needs education, something which meant a huge amount to her personally:

Back in 2010, however, she found the new job a positive challenge, and felt a particular, personal, satisfaction in bringing forward legislation to transform the teaching of children with special educational needs.

“I have rather an odd educational background, I was very ill as a teenager, I missed four years of school so I suppose I have a particular affinity for children who, for one reason or another, had not found education an easy process.

“I spent a lot of that time wheelchair bound. For me it was a bit of a passion, that reform on special educational needs and disability.

She talked about her struggles over welfare reform, how she fought and won concessions and how she thought she was going to have to resign over the issue. I can understand her dilemma. I remember writing to one minister who might have gone over tuition fees to ask them to stay because of the good things they would be able to achieve for other people in their government role. For Sarah, she didn’t want to leave without making a difference for kids facing the same problems as she had.

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Lib Dems “a vital option for the electorate” – Independent

An editorial in yesterday’s Independent will give both heart and motivation to Liberal Democrat troops heading out on to the doorsteps this weekend.

Its acceptance that our fate is sealed for this election will irritate those teams of canvassers in our key seats who are finding a good response on the doorsteps. Those of us who have been around for a while will know that our demise has been predicted at virtually every election.

They demolish Jeremy Browne’s theory that we need to position ourselves on the centre right, highlighting the unprecedented successes of Charles Kennedy’s time as leader.

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Jeremy Browne isn’t going quietly…

Jeremy Browne has used an interview with the Independent to continue his love-in with Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. The headline says he called Nick Clegg “insipid” but he didn’t use that word directly about the leader. However, he did say something that will probably find some sympathy across the whole party. I’ve often said that we need to be passionate about who we are and not define ourselves by who we are not so that we’re just pushing ourselves as moderating influence on the other parties. I don’t like it when a speech is memorable for its mention of which body parts we share out. I do like it when we say what we are about.

Browne makes a similar point:

We are defining liberalism as the precise mid‑point between conservatism and socialism. Whatever liberalism is, it is not defined by where the other parties choose to pitch themselves or by measuring the distance between them and splitting it in half.

All we offer is a desire to water down their strong views. We offer an insipid moderation. Whichever party is the biggest one, we will stop them implementing a large number of their ideas. It is entirely negative. It is a deeply conservative position. We have become the most small-‘c’ conservative party.

Where I part company with Browne is his assertion is that this makes us more conservative than the two parties who have resolutely junked political reform whether it be electoral, party funding or to the House of Lords, throughout this Parliament. On devolution, it’s our party which has driven more powers for Scotland and Wales. You don’t find a conservative party creating opportunities for disadvantaged kids in school or transforming the way we deal with mental health.

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Why the front page of our manifesto reminds me of 50 Shades of Grey

Manifesto_Covers_2015So, it’s out. The front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto gives five key policy priorities. These things are a negotiation in themselves and the version released is substantially zingier than the version initially presented to the Federal Policy Committee on Monday night. By way of example, I understand that the Five Green Laws point was initially described as a “Nature Law.” Why that makes me think of the Glee Club song “English Country Garden”, I can’t imagine.

Now, every single Liberal Democrat, being the
unique bunch that we are, will think that we could have worded these priorities much better, or we would have chosen something else. I certainly could. I’d have had housing in there and I sure as hell would not have put balancing the books as the first thing on the list. I’m not convinced of the need to do so in the next Parliament, even if I recognise that we can’t go back to the Days of Deficit Central while the economy is growing. The reason it is there, though, is because the economy, jobs and continued recovery feature highly in every survey of voters’ priorities.

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Jo Swinson takes part in Marie Claire election debate

I had fully intended to keep tabs on Jo Swinson and four women from the other parties taking part in Marie Claire magazine’s election debate. However, life had other ideas and I spent the morning at A & E instead. Handily, Marie Claire have put everything together in a Storify thingy which you can read below to catch up on the events.

It seemed remarkably civilised with quite a lot of agreement. There does seem to be a reasonable consensus among women across politics about what needs to change in society.
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Yet again Scotland’s political leaders outclass their Westminster counterparts

Prime Minister’s Questions was even worse than usual today. Both Cameron and Miliband jumped into the gutter from the start and neither of them emerged. It was bizarre watching these people who had blocked every single attempt to reform party funding argue about each other’s paymasters. It was a matter of some considerable annoyance that Cameron kept saying how his government had done more to make sure people paid their taxes than the last one. Does anyone seriously think the Tories, left to their own devices, would have done that? Errr, no. That’s all been down to our man in the Treasury, one Danny Alexander. Cameron taking credit for our policy is bad enough. Using our success to cover his own party’s issues is worse.

It was all a bit classier in Scotland, though. Remember a couple of weeks ago how Scotland’s party leaders joked on Twitter about cancelling FMQs and drinking Pimms in Nicola Sturgeon’s office while watching Andy Murray’s semi-final in the Australian Open instead?

Well, they’ve done it again. After a journalist teased Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson about the fundraiser where a mega-rich Tory donor paid £17500 for a shoe-shopping session with Theresa May.

To cut a long story short, a shoe shopping session with all of Scotland’s political leaders is now to be auctioned to raise money for Scottish charity Cash for Kids. Buzzfeed has the story.

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  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 28th Feb - 3:24pm
    "Tim Farron ... revealed that he believes the Lib Dems will have to support whichever party wins the most seats (with Labour the obvious choice)."...
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    Stuart 28th Feb '15 - 12:43pm | Edit Moderator's note: Stuart 12:43: "I once had a comment banned because I used the word “daft”." Stuart,...
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    Who is simon shaw? I've been reading these threads for many months now and he's the rudest person on here. Is he definitely a Liberal...
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    @ Malc. "One of the problems is that most LibDem workers who are out on the doorsteps prefer Labours policy to the coalition policy on...
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    I wonder if the Labour party would have been just as delighted if they had come up with a decent policy? We've published one opinion...
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