Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

At some point the Tories will run out of people to blame for the state of the NHS…

I went through just about every emotion there is watching BBC2’s new series Hospital which follows events and pressures at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. Partly because some of what was shown is just a bit too close to my recent experience, partly because of the life and death decisions made every day with too few resources, I was in tears several times.  One man awaiting cancer surgery is told at the last minute that they don’t know if they will be able to operate because there isn’t an Intensive Care bed available for him.

This comes as every news bulletin carries ever more harrowing accounts of the pressures in hospitals at the moment. What is the response of the Minister responsible? To blame the public. He talked  saying that 30% of A & E patients don’t need to be there as if it is their fault that they have no other option. If people could get GP appointments or had community pharmacies to go to, they would never need to go to A & E. Whose fault is it that they have no alternative? Step forward Mr Hunt.

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Alex Carlile leaves the Liberal Democrats Lords Group: Why now?

The news that Alex Carlile is going to sit as a crossbench peer rather than a Liberal Democrat is perhaps not surprising.  His views on civil liberties and his passionate advocacy for the state to have greater surveillance powers often put him at odds not just with the Lords group but with the wider party. PoliticsHome says:

Lord Carlile felt the party “was not taking a strong enough line in support of surveillance,” a senior Lib Dem source told PoliticsHome.

“He was unhappy with our stance on the Snooper’s Charter,” the source added. “We made a big thing about voting against the Data Communications Bill and he didn’t like that at all.”

A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “We are disappointed but not surprised at Lord Carlile’s decision.

“He has been at odds with party policy on a number of occasions in recent years, especially over civil liberties.

“We are grateful for his years of service to the party and wish him well in future. “

Why now, though? Nothing has really changed. He’s had these views for a very long time and the party has opposed them for a very long time.  I have certainly thought for some time that it would be better if he was a cross bencher but I didn’t have any expectation that it would happen. In fact, for even voicing such an opinion, I was accused of “grisly soviet intolerance” by the Noble Lord in the comments to that article. 

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Massive Lib Dem swing to GAIN Sunderland council seat from Labour in by-elections clean sweep

We’ve run some cracking results late on Thursday nights in the last 8 months but this one is pretty amazing even by those standards.

Last May, in the Sandhill ward in Sunderland, we got, to put it euphemistically, a modest 90 votes. Labour got 1229.

And tonight, this happened.

I’m sorry. What?!

Yes, you read it right.

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Could Rebecca Hanson be fighting a long game in Copeland?

It was great to see Cumbrian Councillor, health and education campaigner and erstwhile Liberal Democrat Voice contributor Rebecca Hanson selected as our candidate for the Copeland by-election.

Rebecca  has built a career as a teacher, lecturer and education advisor. She grew up in a deprived area of Newcastle and went on to study at Cambridge University. She is passionate about educational policy and ensuring no child is left behind.

Labour, for some reason, seems to be putting the word out that the by-election won’t take place until May 4th, the same day as the county elections.

I guess they think that Jeremy Corbyn has had such a fantastic week, they just want to let him bask in the admiration of the public for a while.

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Tributes paid to Willie Goodhart

It’s sad to hear that Willie Goodhart, founder member of the SDP, retired peer and co-author of the Liberal Democrat constitution, has passed away.

Tim Farron paid tribute to Willie:

Willie Goodhart was a founding member of the SDP and stalwart of the Liberal Democrats. He believed passionately in social democracy, human rights and the rule of law. In writing our party’s constitution, he has left a lasting legacy that will be cherished by party members for decades to come.

I send my heartfelt sympathy to his wife Celia and his children Frances, Laura and Benjamin.

Lords Leader Dick Newby said:

Willie will be very sadly missed by friends and colleagues in the Lords. He was a doughty campaigner for human rights, for Europe, and for a fairer society, issues which he promoted tirelessly in the Lords.

He played a vital role in establishing the SDP and in its subsequent merger with the Liberal Party. He won the respect of all those with whom he worked and he will be remembered with great fondness.

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Norman Lamb leads calls for National Convention to resolve NHS funding crisis

Norman Lamb has co-ordinateda cross-party group of MPs to call for a national convention on health and care to resolve the crisis in NHS funding.

Norman said:

The health and social care system in England is facing unprecedented challenges. Failing to find a solution to this crisis puts some of the most vulnerable people at risk – frail and elderly people in need of care services, disabled people who need support and people with long-term illnesses, particularly those suffering from mental ill health.

Building a sustainable health and care system that can provide high-quality care can’t be realised without putting aside party political point-scoring.

The public is sick and tired of the NHS and care system being treated like a political football.  People have had enough, and are crying out for an honest discussion and bold solutions to these challenges.

It speaks volumes that so many Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum are backing this initiative.  At Prime Minister’s Questions, I will urge Theresa May to recognise the gravity of the situation we are facing, and to agree to meet with us to listen to our proposal.

Norman has persuaded an illustrious group of MPs and former health secretaries to back his call. They include the  Conservative former health minister Dan Poulter MP and Labour former shadow care minister Liz Kendall MP. It is also supported by four Select Committee Chairs – Sarah Wollaston MP (Health Committee), Meg Hillier MP (Public Accounts Committee), Clive Betts MP (Communities and Local Government Committee) and Frank Field (Work and Pensions Committee) – along with former Health Secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn.

The full statement says:

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Farron: Corbyn’s relaunch shows that Lib Dems are the real voice of opposition

I have to say I do feel for my friends in the Labour Party – those people whose views on many of the issues of the day are not wildly dissimilar to mine. They stuck with Labour through Iraq and the erosion of civil liberties despite feeling uncomfortable with both of these things. And now they are faced with a leadership delivering them at the feet of Theresa May and her Brexiteers.

When you have devoted a huge amount of your life to working for a political party, you have a huge amount of your social and emotional ties wrapped up in it too. It’s not easy to walk away from.

I understand those ties because I feel them for this party, an organisation to which I have devoted more than two thirds of my life.

I wouldn’t ask or expect my friends to leave Labour – although I think most of them could be quite happy in the Liberal Democrats – because that has to be a personal decision for them. I’d welcome them if they did decide to join us and I will certainly find ways to work with them on the issues where we agree, most notably in opposing the Tory/Labour hegemony on Brexit.

This is the biggest thing that this country has done in my lifetime. The shock waves will be felt for generations. The vote was knife-edge close, so the government should have to prove itself at every step of the way by being scrutinised within an inch of its life – ultimately by the people of this country being asked to ratify the Brexit deal or not. Yet the Labour Party under Corbyn has capitulated and given the Tories free rein.

So I won’t be asking my friends in Labour directly to join us. They can make their own minds up about where their future lies. But I do extend an invitation to all those people out there who vote Labour, or who maybe have never been involved in party politics before but who are deeply uneasy about what they see unfolding before them.

Tim Farron this afternoon recorded a short video in which he outlined the two reasons why Corbyn’s relaunch is bad news. Firstly, the obvious Brexit one, but secondly and as importantly, having a Trump on the left is not a good thing. Populism is bad news wherever it comes from.

He also sent an email to Lib Dem members entitled “We’ve got to talk about Jeremy” saying:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Pocock 20th Jan - 11:55pm
    Tbh I would protest trump but this protest already feels like it is further left than I'm comfortable. I think at some point we have...
  • User AvatarJen 20th Jan - 11:49pm
    Sarah - to check - you mean the organisers tweeted inviting other parties including UKIP but didn't tweet inviting the Libs?
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 20th Jan - 11:25pm
    Catherine If nearly everyone was the same or similar how dull it would be and how strongly I do encourage a range of views ....
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 20th Jan - 11:23pm
    Lorenzo, I was incredibly proud when Vince Cable as acting leader refused to engage with the Saudi Arabian king who was here on a state...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 20th Jan - 11:14pm
    Caron I think you are right in criticising Trump. I have written a lot about my views on this man, on here , and on...
  • User AvatarGeorge Flaxman 20th Jan - 11:07pm
    Watching Twitter daily there seems no letup in "I joined today" posts. A great time to be a LibDem.