Author Archives: Charles Beaumont

Israel/Palestine: trying to find some balance

Israeli children visit Palestinian village of Tuwani and participate in bilingual activities together - Some rights reserved by delayed gratficationWriting about Israel and Palestine is a bit like that bit in Great Expectations when Pip asked whether it was a good idea to lend money to a friend. The cynical Mr Wemmick responds “choose your bridge and pitch your money into the Thames over the centre arch”. Or put another way, don’t waste your time.

I think that, at our best, Liberal Democrats are fair-minded people who try to accept that most arguments have two sides. So what follows is not my opinion on who is right, but five things that have

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Who’s the odd one out?

Name the odd one out: Timothy Edmonds (convicted paedophile), Hussain Osman (convicted terrorist), Julian Assange (Wikileaks founder wanted for questioning by Swedish police) and Abu Hamza (Egyptian-born militant Islamist now facing terrorism charges in a New York court). Not too difficult – it’s Abu Hamza, who was extradited to the USA after an eight-year legal battle.

The other three are currently, or have been in the past, the subject of European arrest warrants. All of them, if Theresa May gets her way, would have been able to evade justice for as long as

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

Opinion: The Arab Spring – a liberal paradox?

What should a liberal make of the Arab Spring as it becomes a bloody winter? The recent wave of violent protest at a mindlessly Islamophobic YouTube video is not an isolated incident. In Tunisia in June, hardline Salafists attacked an art gallery and a trade union office. Since Egypt’s revolution there have been regular attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. An Islamist-dominated panel reviewing Egypt’s constitution is likely to water down women’s rights, making child marriage easier and withdrawing from international conventions protecting women and children(£). Husni Mubarak, Egypt’s former President, must be wailing “I told you so” …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: With all constituencies declared, Labour has an overall majority

No, I didn’t just get in a muddle about what year we’re in.  But the collapse of Lords Reform has brought us, inevitably, to this point. Labour will win the next election with an overall majority.

Three years may be long enough for anything to happen. But consider this: it is hard to see the Conservative vote in 2015 being an increase on their 2010 showing. Since 2010 we’ve had the Euro crisis, George Osborne’s U-turn fest, a healthy reminder of the symbiotic relationship between the Murdoch empire and the Tory party and the longest recession in more than 50

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 46 Comments

Opinion: Make the bankers pay

Back in May I posted on a distinctive message for the next election. This post looks at the defining global political issue since 2008: no, not the House of Lords; the financial sector.

Long before the LIBOR scandal, the financial industry dragged millions into poverty, awarding the perpetrators staggering salaries. But you already knew that. What we need is an intelligent, credible policy response. It is tempting to

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 21 Comments

Opinion: It’s your country, we’re giving it back

All political parties are coalitions. And the messy reality of governing exposes these coalitions for the world to see. Even in the event that the UK economy is running on all cylinders by 2015 (looking increasingly unlikely), we all know that we’re going to be in a tight spot come the general election. So can we expect a debate between Liberal Left and Orange Bookers as we seek to define our message to the country? Between those who think that a distinctively centre-left message will take us back to the heady polling numbers of 2010 and those who argue that …

Posted in Op-eds | 78 Comments
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    Simon Shaw I don't think he's trying to be funny, just pointing out that UKIP took a large part of the normal Tory vote. In...
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    People should sign this petition if they agree that those who paid into their own pension funds for years can be short- changed and should...
  • User Avatarjohnmc 25th Nov - 11:30pm
    I enjoy your briefings Mark, and learn from them. A shame that UPyD was deferred, since Spanish politics has everything except a strong liberal voice...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 25th Nov - 10:39pm
    @ Tsar Nicolas "Does anyone think that mental health may be linked in some way to the health of the economy?" I would have thought...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 25th Nov - 10:38pm
    @Tsar Nicolas Eastleigh isn't in the least bit misleading. I said "In the only recent parliamentary by-election where we stood a realistic chance (Eastleigh) we...
  • User AvatarRabi Martins 25th Nov - 10:33pm
    Just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to all four (yes I include Linda Jack) people who had the courage and the will to...