Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

Tim Farron campaigns in Richmond Park

The first big photo-op of the election campaign saw Tim Farron return to the scene of our most audacious recent triumph – Richmond Park, where Sarah Olney beat Zac Goldsmith.

Here’s a reminder of her stunning victory speech just 4.5 months ago.

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Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #476

Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 476th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the five most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator together with a hand-picked seven you might otherwise have missed. This week’s covers the two weeks from 2 April as we had our Easter holidays last week. Or at least, I couldn’t drag myself off the beach in time to do it.

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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An Easter shoutout to some special people

Easter means many things to people. For Liberal Democrat campaigns staff, it often means long hours working in the run-up to an election. From the hypnotic rhythm of the Risograph to the chatter of activists who need occupying with leaflets, canvass sheets and letters to stuff, there is a Campaign Beast to be fed and it’s the organiser who cooks up the menu.

Now, if you are a candidate or a volunteer, you have some element of choice about if and when you hit the streets at this holiday time of year. If you are a member of staff, you have to be there at both ends of that range of possibilities.

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Manchester Gorton: Times reports on “serious challenge by the Liberal Democrats”

According to the Times today (£) the Liberal Democrats are putting up a serious challenge to Labour in the Manchester Gorton seat. We know that’s true, of course, because we are running a pretty vigorous campaign. Key people in the party are making it known that they are clearing their diaries and heading there as much as they possibly can. However, it’s good to hear serious journalists taking serious note of what they are being told:

With the vote less than three weeks away, party sources said that the Lib Dems were stronger than they had been in the Witney by-election, when Tim Farron’s party lost but achieved a 19.3 per cent swing from the Tories.

Losing would be a disaster for Labour and would rank as one of the great by-election shocks. The 31 per cent swing required for a Lib Dem victory would be the eighth largest since the war, according to Matt Singh, an election analyst.

The Guardian quotes a campaign briefing written by the Party’s Deputy Campaigns Director Dave McCobb:

But a briefing for senior Lib Dem officials and campaigners – written by deputy director of campaigns Dave McCobb – says the party’s messages on Brexit, including calls for a second referendum on the outcome of negotiations, are winning over voters in a seat where more than 60% voted remain in last June’s Brexit referendum.

McCobb says the Lib Dems are making up ground fast and are on 31%, with Labour on 51% – a level of support that is, he says, “running well ahead of where we were in the Witney byelection and approaching Richmond Park levels of support at this stage.”

But someone doesn’t seem to have noticed this:

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Irish Brexit official: British ministers think that Brexit is an act of self harm

The Irish Times had an interesting story yesterday, quoting one of the Irish Brexit officials as saying that British Ministers realise that Brexit is a huge mistake.

The British government is slowly realising Brexit is “an act of great self-harm” and that upcoming EU-UK negotiations must seek to limit the damage, the State’s top Brexit official has said.
The official, John Callinan, said on Thursday: “I see signs in the contacts that we’re having, both at EU level and with the UK, of a gradual realisation that Brexit in many ways is an act of great self-harm, and that the focus now is on minimising that self-harm.”

Mr Callinan also highlighted the existence of internal divisions on the British side just weeks out from the start of formal withdrawal negotiations with the EU, saying it was clear there was “no single, settled position” on Brexit in London.

“Even within the British government, there are very different views,” he said.

Responding to this report, Tim Farron said:

These reports confirm what many of us have suspected. The Liberal Democrats have warned from the get go that Brexit is a monumental act of self-harm.

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The most disgraceful Government form ever #rapeclause

There are many occasions at the moment when the UK Government makes me ashamed to be British. Two examples this week show what Tim Farron described on Question Time the other night as “Cruel Britannia.”

The first is the removal of Personal Independence Payments from people suffering serious psychological distress. Matt described powerfully here what that would mean for him.

When outdoors I can become so distressed by events and this can trigger an episode of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms. Symptoms include flash backs to an event that has caused much psychological harm and distress, visual hallucinations of the event that makes me feel that I am in another time and place, reliving the event as though it is really happening at that moment, becoming completely unaware of immediate surroundings. Coming out of one of these episodes is extremely distressing, confusing and disorientating and leaves me full of fear. My entire thought process is filled only with getting home and getting safe. I am no longer capable of following the route because my brain and thought process will not quieten down enough to think. I can only liken it to a petrified dog that will run off at full speed ahead, unaware of dangers / hazards / roads, petrified of people. All you can think of is getting home to the safety of your bed and cowering. The situation has caused me to put myself and others in danger whilst in this panicked state of mind. There are many things that can act as a trigger for me, It might be the way someone looks reminds me of person from my past, It can be a certain smell that acts as a trigger, it might be something I hear. I spend most of my life avoiding triggers. These are obviously easier to control within the safety of my own home, but impossible when I am outdoors.

The second example is the removal of benefits to cover third or subsequent children. In itself this is utterly wrong in principle. Benefit should be payable according to need. Children are suffering now because their families are now significantly worse off. The idea that large families should be penalised is so wrong. Are we really saying that if someone finds themselves as a single parent and they have four children, that the state should only provide help with two of them? What are the others supposed to do? It brings back the sort of attitude from Victorian times when the state would provide a parent with help with child support for a couple of weeks before taking the children off the parent and putting them in the workhouse. The idea that the poor are in some way culpable and should be punished is not something any liberal should accept. 

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UK Government launches consultation on axing lettings fees – another Lib Dem win

Back in the day, Liberal Democrat peer Olly Grender worked for Shelter. Her passion to help people with housing matters has never left her and she continues to campaign on a range of housing issues. The pressure that she put on the Government resulted in their decision to end lettings fees for tenants. We reported that this was going to happen last November but the Government launched its consultation on Friday.

Olly introduced a Private Members’s Bill in the Lords last year which would have outlawed these fees. Five days after the debate, the Government announced the measure. Olly explained why it was so important to protect tenants from these charges in her speech proposing her bill:

Shelter’s research shows that average letting fees are £355 per move, with one in seven people paying £500. On rare occasions, renters have been forced to pay fees of £900 or more to a letting agent, simply for the privilege of moving into a home. Reference checks, credit checks, administration fees, inventory fees—the list goes on. Invariably, the fees charged are extortionate compared to the cost actually incurred by the agent and they are not necessary. Furthermore, any cost actually incurred should be covered by the lettings agent’s client—the landlord—not by the tenant. Far too often these high up-front costs are proving a barrier to tenants, who simply cannot afford to move.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarNicholas Cunningham 24th Apr - 9:42am
    Great news regarding membership figures and with the French election showing that politics of the centre can overcome political extremism, hope can win over fear,...
  • User AvatarWilliam 24th Apr - 9:42am
    Absolutely! Well said.
  • User Avatarbob sayer 24th Apr - 9:33am
    Spare a thought for us elderly membership secretaries in a Branch, I keep finding members I didnt know we had I can only exist because...
  • User Avatarfrankie 24th Apr - 9:11am
    How are the online donations going? Wife will kill me if she works out how often I'm just donating a fiver, after awhile it mounts...
  • User AvatarJohn Kelly 24th Apr - 9:04am
    Membership system seems pretty robust. Membership officers in local parties get real time notification each time a new member joins online. My local Party has...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson 24th Apr - 8:24am
    A hearty welcome Nicholas as our standard bearer for the UK's largest constituency, in terms of voter numbers, which has elected two Liberal/LibDem MPs in...