Author Archives: Chris Richards

Opinion: One further lesson from the FDP


A lot of people have focussed on the FDP’s failure to surpass the 5% hurdle to gain representation in the German Bundestag, following elections this weekend. While a quirk, there is another way the FDP could have maintained representation in the German Parliament.

This is the first time since 1949, when the new German constitution came into force that the FDP have not held seats in the German Bundestag. Since 1949, the party has only been out of office in five sessions out of 17, the least of any other party – effectively anchoring German politics to their version of the ‘centre ground’.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Opinion: Halfway to 2015 – three bits of advice for new Lib Dem Federal Party Committees

The beginning of 2013 not only marks the start of the second half of the Coalition, but also the start of the newly elected Federal Committees. Here is some advice for the three crucial ones, Federal Policy Committee (FPC), Federal Conference Committee (FCC) and Federal Executive (FE).

For FPC: Radical policy is required for 2015
Common sense says the 2015 manifesto should play it safe, yet common sense is often wrong.

A study of policy positions in party manifestos since 1971 in Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK shows: Parties in Government who adopt relatively extreme ideological positions do …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Are we valuing the right kind of growth?

Our economic system is built around the indicator of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It measures how much we have produced as a country over a period of time. It does this by adding together the market value of what we have produced. As a result, an increase in the market value of what we have produced signifies that our economy is growing. But should it?

In the grand scheme of human history, GDP is relatively new. It was created to allow the US to better understand how to develop

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 15 Comments

Opinion: Time for Liberal Democrats to stop saying “No”.

If you Google “Lib Dems say no”, this is the result you get. Beyond the recent headlines on new runways you will see that this phrase is widely used in our campaigns. In the same search, click on Images to emphasise the point. One would be forgiven for thinking that this phrase is printed on our membership cards. This phrase is deeply  conservative and does nothing to help with our problem of explaining what the Lib Dems stand for, something I recently argued we urgently need to do.

At the next election an opportunity to set that vision our …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

Opinion: Creating a legacy for UK sport from London 2012 – lessons from Jamaica

Politicians of all colours are running around to claim credit for Team GBs success at London 2012. Similarly sporting figures are also running around to trying to gain funding for ‘their sports’ from the Government. How can we build on success in 2012 to gain even more medals in 2016?

I want to use the example of Jamaica, a country which has produced some of the best sprinters in the world. Since 1964 (way before Usain Bolt), Jamaica has won a medal in every summer Olympics – all of them but one in athletics.

As some of you know, I was born …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: A message from Paddy over a decade later

Back in September 1999 Paddy Ashdown gave his farewell speech to the Liberal Democrats’ Federal Conference. The speech set out some challenges for Liberal Democrats as we approached a new century. What is interesting to note, reading it almost 13 years later, is how prescient his speech is when looking at the credit crunch and the current Eurozone crisis:

Here is the inescapable fact. Power is now moving, increasingly, beyond the confines of the nation state and is rapidly making many of its institutions irrelevant.

He continued,

We must start taking global governance seriously. The nation states, their governments and their politicians are

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

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