Author Archives: Chris Key

We can learn from the aviation industry about preventing and managing disaster

Air travel is safer than it has ever been. Despite a 60% rise in worldwide passenger numbers in the ten year period to 2015, that year was the safest on record for aviation. The following year was the second safest.

So this begs the question of whether we should look to the aviation industry when we consider how to respond to future tragedies like the Grenfell fire.

Put quite simply the airline industry is very good at learning from past accidents and near misses to understand why these have happened and what changes need to be made to make flying safer.

As an example after the Manchester airport runway fire in 1985 in which 53 people died, procedures from how pilots should react to an on board fire on the ground, to the seating configuration on planes were altered.

Planes are taken out of service when deemed a safety risk  and parts changed, pilots are re-trained and technology moves on to adapt to the safety needs of the industry. National air accident investigation bodies from different countries share knowledge and often work together after a crash.

This gives passengers re-assurance that their odds of being caught up in a plane crash are incredibly low.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

War with Spain over Gibraltar?

 

Normally I try to switch off on holiday. I am in the Canary Islands with my family. When I switched on my Twitter feed I nearly choked on my cafe con leche after reading Lord Howard’s comments about Gibraltar.

Today was the 35th Anniversary of the start of the Falklands war and should have been a day to remember the dead and learn from the past. Yet instead Lord Howard used an interview on a Sunday politics program to remind people of what Thatcher did in 1982 and support a similar reaction in relation to Gibraltar.

This was wrong at so many levels. As my wife who is from Argentina said, how can someone of his experience make a comparison between the military junta of Argentina in 1982 and the democratically elected government of Mariano Rajoy.

Secondly, we want to set up trade deals with the EU and other Latin American countries. Does Lord Howard think that being the class room bully  will help us to enter this wonderful global world we are told by Brexiteers was created on June 24, 2016 ?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 35 Comments

The refugee ban harms not just our reputation, it will harm our armed forces too

 

Yesterday, Tim Farron quite rightly called out the desperate situation in which Theresa May now finds herself. Like a door to door salesman selling their wares she is now desperate in terms of who she will deal with on the world stage.

The refugee ban imposed by Donald Trump goes against all of the British values we stand for as a party and has even resulted in a Conservative MP being banned from visiting the US.

The primary duty of any Prime Minister is to defend British citizens. Yet when quizzed at the press conference in Turkey she claimed it was for the US to determine the refugee policy of the United States. Imagine if Churchill had said the same about Nazi Germany in 1940 when it came to the treatment of Jews.

Secondly there is the impact this ban will have on our armed forces. Among those detained at a US airport was an Iraqi who had been a translator for the US army. He was held in handcuffs and quizzed for 17 hours before being released. If that’s how the US treats those who work for their military risking their lives it is much less likely that Iraqis or others for that matter will step forward to help. Would you do so if you knew safe passage to the US could not be guaranteed?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Our nation’s mental health is a clear and present danger

On Monday, Theresa May’s announcement about mental health came to precious little in money terms – a mere £15m of additional investment to be precise. This despite the fact that Norman Lamb and others have made it clear that extra money that was earmarked for mental health last year has in fact been used to prop up NHS trusts who are suffering from financial difficulties. Mental health is crying out for more money as Isabel Hardman eloquently writes about in the Telegraph today based on her own experience.

The statistics are clear. Research in 2014 found that one in ten people wait over a year just to get an assessment for a talking therapy, while four in ten wait more than three months. Two thirds told the We Need To Talk coalition that they had become more unwell while waiting, with one in six attempting suicide. In 2014, over 6,000 people died from suicide which is 16 per day. Nobody would be happy to wait three months for a broken leg to be treated or to have to travel 300 miles to see their children for a broken arm. Yet this is precisely the state of mental health in the UK today.

Posted in News | Tagged | 15 Comments

How the Lib Dems can reach out to lower paid voters ignored by the Labour leadership

 

This year’s revelations about Amazon and Sports Direct’s business practices have shown that even though we are in the year 2016 some companies still behave as if we were still in the Victorian age. As the Labour party drifts into an ocean of hard left anti-business irrelevance we in the Liberal Democrats have an opportunity to speak up for a better way forward.

In the area of low pay, many companies especially in the retail sector have taken advantage of the introduction of the living wage to chip away at other benefits. Take the example of Cafe Nero which took away the free panini from staff in response to the Living Wage.

Paying staff properly so that they do not have to take second jobs is good business sense. Making work pay reduces staff turnover and consequently recruitment costs as Costco found out in the US a few years ago.

We as a party should be calling for an expansion of the teams involved in enforcing regulations on pay and calling out companies who act in this way.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 22 Comments

Liberal Democrats need to play smart on immigration and border controls

If we are to learn from the lessons of Trump becoming President and the EU referendum, we progressive politicians must play smarter in the area of immigration. This does not mean aping Mr Trump or Nigel Farage but working out where the real blame lies for failures in our border controls and who has accountability for fixing them.

The current government has decided landlords and schools are suddenly  quasi immigration officers. Even the Daily Mail noted that the government pilot project to require landlords to check tenants rights to live in the UK had been an abject failure. Many parents at my own children’s school complained about the need to audit the nationalities of their children and where their parents were from. Parents were not even told this was optional and that they could refuse to complete the census. The head teacher complained of the administrative burden of this new dictat. Quite rightly so, given no extra resources were given to schools to carry out this work.

This brings me back to where I think we as Liberal politicians should be looking to do more around border controls. The introduction of proper exit checks last year was long overdue and the Lib Dems contributed to this in the Coalition. Yet individual landlords and schools are being asked to mop up the mess created by previous governments. Technology initiatives from the Labour government on immigration control during the 2000s cost up to £1 billion and were not fit for purpose.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 35 Comments

An Economics lesson for Trump voters

 

No doubt the millions of Americans who voted for Trump will claim he will be the economic saviour of the United States bringing back millions of jobs from Mexico and Asia. For anyone who has studied even a basic level of Economics knows that this false promise will only bring disappointment to those who voted for him.

Argentina is a classic example of what happens when a country takes a protectionist and nationalistic approach. During the years of its former President Cristina Kirchner, it gorged on a diet of economic populism including ridiculous import restrictions in the vain hope that everything would be suddenly mass produced by “Industria Argentina”. Things got so bad that at one point women could not even by tampons because they could not be imported and prices sky rocketed with inflation hitting 40%.

Americans would do well to realise that slapping a tariff of 45%, as Trump wants to do on Mexican imports, will not encourage US industry to become more efficient as it will simply isolate them from competition. Moving car production back to the US will simply serve to raise prices, and reduce demand which will lead to less demand for employees. Furthermore all the tariffs in the world will not help prevent technology from replacing humans in producing everything from I-phones to Electric cars.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSteve Trevethan 28th Jul - 5:30pm
    @ Katharine Pindar My pleasure! Here are some further bits and pieces: We would serve our fellow citizens and party well if we could spread...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 28th Jul - 5:28pm
    @David Raw As I understand you are no longer involved with the Liberal Democrats, it's really none of your business. However I feel it important...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 28th Jul - 5:05pm
    @ Simon Shaw I'm really amused that a Liberal Democrat Councillor from the Cleggcentric side of the party can't see the irony of saying Corbyn...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 28th Jul - 4:54pm
    @ Michael BG I agree with the vast majority of your post, Michael, but it begs one enormous question. If we ever form a Government...
  • User AvatarGordon 28th Jul - 4:40pm
    Katherine – Thanks for responding. Let me clarify what I meant by “policies made by others” (my comment of 27th @ 2:59 pm). As Catherine...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 28th Jul - 4:30pm
    Excellent posts from Joe Bourke and Palehorse, a good level of co operation and common ground. I understand David Evans with his points about the...
Wed 2nd Aug 2017
Thu 3rd Aug 2017
Mon 21st Aug 2017