Author Archives: Mary Reid

Mary Reid was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, and has developed websites for several parliamentarians and Lib Dem organisations. She manages the annual conference for the Social Liberal Forum.

Pauline Pearce on the Daily Politics Show

Pauline Pearce was the studio guest in Monday’s Daily Politics. She deals with questions on Iain Duncan Smith’s latest reforms of the welfare system, and on Nigel Farage and the EU.

Half way through the show there is a profile of Pauline, which explains why she became known as the Hackney Heroine. It is followed by a discussion between her and David Lammy about the Hackney riots – I leave you to decide who won!

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Imprints on online political ads?

Do you remember Bingo graphic that Grant Shapps tweeted last month, which not only went viral but attracted a lot of parodies?

At the time nobody commented on the fact that the ad did not have an imprint. Party activists all know that any printed political literature must have a ‘Published, promoted and printed …’ imprint on it, and not having one can be a criminal offence during election time. And yet there is no such requirement for online ads.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 6 Comments

In the media today, April 1st

spiralThe Guardian reveals plans for Scotland to switch to driving on the right after Independence. The article includes a video (which we can’t embed here) and uses a natty Lego model to explain how the crossover from left to right at the border will work .

To ease the transition, Scottish transport planners, under strict conditions of secrecy, have begun drawing up plans for a series of spiral interchanges at the major border transport nodes. These will transition drivers to the correct side of the road – whether travelling south–north or north-south – and avoid cross-border crashes – “a PR disaster worse than horsemeat in haggis”, according to one planner.

It is understood that another proposal involving traffic light sequencing has been rejected. Instead of red, amber, green, it would have become red, amber, blue. But there was a fear that this would be adopted south of the border by the Conservatives and so lose any distinctiveness.

Posted in News | 13 Comments

Fewer workless households

welfare-vs-workfare.s600x600Lib Dem HQ tells us that the number of workless households is falling.

Over the last four years, under the Coalition, the number of households in which no-one works has dropped by 450,000, with a substantial drop of 137,000 in the last year alone.

This outcome appears to validate the campaign to make work pay, so that people will always be better off in work than on benefits.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 10 Comments

By-election victory in Ludlow North

Congratulations to former Lib Dem Voice editor Andy Boddington on a resounding victory in the Council by-election in Ludlow North!

Winning in Ludlow North

Andy is the man in the hat – as always.

Posted in Council by-elections | Tagged and | 5 Comments

“I love how proud we are to be modest” and other things that Nick Clegg did not say

Craig Brown has written a parody of Nick Clegg’s speech to conference in the Daily Mail. Here is a short extract:

The same nation that came up with the Curly Wurly is now developing Oscar-winning visual effects; cutting-edge design; theatre, fashion, music, film, deputy leadership — you name it, we do it, and we’re up there with the best.

I love our weather forecast, and the way it tells you what the weather might be like tomorrow.

I love the sea, and the way it can be rough one day and calm the next.

I love the sun for the way it

Posted in News | Tagged | 5 Comments

How to follow what is happening at Spring Conference #LDconf

If you are not in York for the Lib Dem Spring Conference, you can follow what is going on in various ways.

For as-it-happens coverage follow the tweets on #LDconf.

Sadly, although the BBC broadcasts the main Autumn conference each year, it does not cover the Spring one – largely because the other parties do not hold similar events. Instead you can follow the live blog on the party website.

For an independent view, the York Press is making the most of having the conference on its doorstep and is also live blogging.

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Liblink: Nick Clegg – security oversight must be fit for the internet age

nick clegg pondersNick Clegg writes today in the Guardian under the headline: ‘Edward Snowden’s revelations made it clear: security oversight must be fit for the internet age.’

Until this week, the revelations published by the Guardian about the nature and extent of internet surveillance had provoked little reaction from British politicians. The quality of the debate in the US provides an unflattering contrast to the muted debate this side of the Atlantic.

Some of the revelations have described far-reaching intelligence-gathering capabilities. There are questions of principle here that require answers. Are such capabilities necessary and proportionate? Does the benefit to national security clearly outweigh the infringement of privacy? Are there proper checks and balances to guard against abuse? To ask these questions is not to question the good faith of those who work for the agencies. I have had the privilege of working with all three security services, and have nothing but praise for their professionalism.

I don’t doubt that they comply with the legal framework set for them by parliament. The issue is whether the rules we have set are fit for the internet age.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Nick Clegg announces 2015 negotiating team

Nick Clegg has announced the team who will handle coalition negotiations after the election in 2015 (if needed, of course).  It will consist of Danny Alexander, Steve Webb, Sal Brinton, Lynne Featherstone and David Laws.

In his book ‘22 days in May‘ David Laws revealed that Nick Clegg had appointed the 2010 negotiating team in secret during the previous year. The team was not put together in haste after the election, as many had assumed, so there were really no excuses for the absence of women. Politically David Laws and Danny Alexander were drawn from the economic liberal wing of …

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Should political parties pay for policing at conferences?

policeFollowing a Freedom of Information request the BBC has obtained figures for the amounts spent on policing political party conferences.

It seems that over the last five years the Home Office has provided £106 million in special grants to fund the police presence at one-off events such as major protests or the Royal wedding. £50 million of that has gone on party conferences.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 10 Comments

Call Clegg: On the Somerset floods and Sochi

Nick Clegg LBC squareOn his weekly phone-in today on LBC, Nick was asked what the Government was going to do to help gay people in Russia, in the light of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. This is what he said:

I am appalled as you are about this law in Russia. It’s just the most regressive law imaginable, it has a very chilling effect, intimidating effect, on many people in the lesbian, bi-sexual, gay community in Russia and elsewhere.

I’m not in favour of sports boycotts, in fact I’m  a big fan of winter sports. We’ll be cheering our athletes as much as anyone else when watching the Sochi games, but I am not going to go and I certainly wouldn’t want any Liberal Democrat minister to go there given the strength of feeling in my party, and I feel this very strongly as well, that what Russia has done, on that legislation, is just plain wrong.

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Nick Clegg’s Twitter Pic

When Nick Clegg was at LBC today he was presented with a portrait of himself painted by a 12 year old. He promised to make it his twitter picture for the weekend.

And so he did.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Lib Dems amongst the top ten peers’ peers

House of LordsEd Lowther at the BBC has identified the ‘top ten peers’ peers of 2013‘, defined as backbenchers in the House of Lords who were name-checked most frequently by their colleagues in the chamber. As he says: “This approach may not measure popularity or power, but it gives an impression of impact. ”

And are any of those lordly sociometric stars Lib Dem, by any chance? Of course they are.

At number 4 – drumroll, please – is ….

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YouGov asks: What is it about Lib Dems and Sci-Fi?

TARDISYouGov has the hard evidence for something that a lot of us have suspected for a long time – that “There is a strange correlation between supporting the Liberal Democrats and being a fan of Science Fiction“.

YouGov regularly polls its panel of 400,000 people (including me, as it happens) so has built up some rich data. The survey last year on Doctor Who showed that while 31% of the population are interested in the programme, that jumps to 41% for Lib Dem supporters. (Nick Barlow blogged about the survey at the time)

Time and time again the Liberal Democrats appeared as the most correlated political party for Sci-Fi related topics. Movies like The MatrixBlade RunnerAlienThe Fifth ElementStargateBack to the Future and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and sci fi classic books like Hitchhikers’ Guide to the GalaxyDune and I Robot – ALL show positive correlations to support for the Lib Dems.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 29 Comments

Paddy and Jane Ashdown shaken by fatal car accident

Paddy AshdownThe Telegraph reports that Paddy and Jane Ashdown were involved in a road accident  yesterday afternoon on the A356 near Crewkerne.  A Vauxhall Corsa clipped their car, and the driver of the Corsa, Mark Hurford, sadly died at the scene.

Paddy Ashdown said:

We were coming back from the station and my wife was driving me home. We were about a mile outside Crewkerne and a car came around the corner.

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

LibLink: Lorely Burt – “Then I went to Holloway”

lorely-outside-parliament-1

Yesterday, Lorely Burt was beaten by Sir Malcolm Bruce (some say closely) to the Deputy Leadership of the Parliamentary Party.

A few days ago The House Magazine interviewed her. In the article headlined Wouldn’t it be Lorely?, Lorely explains how her  ”imaginative parents” chose her unusual name.

There was another child who was named Lorely and as far as I know there has only ever been two of us. They heard about this other child and thought ‘ooohhh that’s a nice name.’

She makes a number of comments relating to women in politics including the “very chauvinistic environment” in the Commons.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Lib Dems appoint Pastoral Care Officer

jeannetarrantLib Dem HQ has announced that Jeanne Tarrant has been appointed as Pastoral Care Officer. This post was created following the Helena Morrissey Report into process and culture within the party.

In August Party President Tim Farron explained what the party would be doing in response to that report. One of the commitments was to create the new post.

Jeanne introduces herself:

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Stephen Williams says ‘Ask Me Anything’

Stephen Williams MPStephen Williams used reddit yesterday to answer questions put by his constituents in Bristol West.  He answered questions about web filters, homelessness, foreign policy, CCTV, voting reform, fracking, Bristol’s Mayor, HS2 and academies.

And this:

What is your favourite type of cheese?

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Nick Clegg lambasts George Osborne’s “monumental mistake”

Clegg on OsbourneThe media are full of stories and commentary about  George Osborne’s announcement yesterday on the need to make a further £25 billion cuts after the next election, the bulk of which would come from welfare benefits.  Even the Telegraph refers to him as a “prophet of gloom“.

There is also much coverage of Nick Clegg’s response at his monthly press conference in which he said the Tories were making a “monumental mistake”.

You’ve got a Conservative party now who are driven, it seems to me, by two very clear ideological impulses. One is to remorselessly pare back the state – for ideological reasons just cut back the state.

Posted in News | Tagged | 14 Comments

Paddy Ashdown warned Thatcher about CIA’s activities

Paddy AshdownEach New Year brings the unveiling of Government files from 30 years ago. This year’s revelations include some highly topical references to CIA approaches to British citizens.

In 1984 Margaret Thatcher ruled. Paddy Ashdown was one of 23  SDP/Liberal Alliance MPs – he did not become Leader of the Liberal Democrats until the merger of the Social Democrat and the Liberal parties in 1988. Before he entered Parliament he had been an MI6 officer, so he was well placed to observe the CIA’s activities.

According to today’s Guardian, this is what …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

My grumpy Christmas

Clegg family Xmas card 2013I really do not like the practice adopted by most party leaders of sending out Christmas cards adorned with portraits of themselves and their families.   Having caught a glimpse of the card sent by Charles and Camilla this year, it seems this is not limited to politicians, but it is certainly not widespread amongst the rest of us.

Most of us send cards that illustrate the significance of the season, drawing on religious or mid-winter symbolism.  So why do politicians usurp the underlying message of peace and hope with their blatant  acts of self-promotion? Even Nick Clegg’s ironic take this year, which was charming and playful - and yes, I did receive one of those through the post – was still saying ‘look at me’.

There are subtler ways of harnessing the power of the Christmas card. Many MPs invite children in local schools to submit Christmas card designs, and the winner has the pleasure of seeing their card in print and sent to hundreds, if not thousands, of local people.  This gives a great message to constituents – the self-effacing MP supports local schools, likes to encourage young people, and endorses the true meaning of Christmas.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

LibLink: Vince Cable opposes Heathrow expansion

planeVince Cable’s constituency of Twickenham is already under the Heathrow flightpath, and he is strongly opposed to any further expansion of the airport.

He writes:

The Davies Commission interim report has put Heathrow at the front of its thinking which is questionable economically, damaging environmentally and probably undeliverable politically.

My strong view is that the Davies review should not decide to press ahead with Heathrow options and I will be making that view known in the strongest terms.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 6 Comments

Nelson Mandela – the long walk is over

nelson-mandelaBarack Obama described Nelson Mandela as ‘a hero for the world’ and it is difficult to think of another politician who was as admired globally as he was. Perhaps the only comparable figure is Mahatma Gandhi, who also began his public life as a lawyer working for the civil rights of South Africans.

However, while Gandhi practised non-violent civil disobediance throughout his life, Mandela moved towards militant opposition to apartheid. His transition in public perception from terrorist to saint has been unique.

In 1996 Mandela was granted the Freedom of the City of London. I was very privileged to be present at the event in London’s Guildhall.

Posted in Obituaries and Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

Vince Cable justifies the payday loans cap – and the intervention by the Archbishop of Canterbury

vince-on-newsnightAccording to the Independent today, George Osborne’s surprise decision to impose a payday loans cap was precipitated by a threatened revolt by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Justin Welby had been planning to speak in favour of an amendment to the Banking Reform Bill today, which would have imposed a 10% cap. The amendment was expected to attract support from cross-benchers and would probably have inflicted a defeat on the government.

The Independent claims:

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, and Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat minister responsible for consumer affairs, have both

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Launch of Scottish Government’s white paper on Scottish independence

scotlands-futureThis morning the SNP is launching the Scottish Government’s white paper on Scottish independence. It is 670 pages long and can be downloaded here.

Yesterday the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury minister,Danny Alexander, who is, of course, a Scottish MP, has written to Alex Salmond, First Minister in the Scottish Parliament, to warn him of the consequences of independence. He wrote:

The White Paper published tomorrow must address the tax rises or spending cuts required to balance the books in an independent Scotland.

Even under the most optimistic scenario the

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 12 Comments

Ed Davey: Energy customers are not just cash cows

Ed Davey - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsEd Davey’s speech to Energy UK today has been well trailed in the media. The headline features a much quoted soundbite: “Customers are not just cash cows to be squeezed in the pursuit of a higher return for shareholders”.

It was one of those occasions when the whole discussion took place ahead of the actual event, with Energy UK (which represents the energy industry) posting a ripost before the speech had been delivered.

Here is an extract from Ed’s speech:

We need our energy companies

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

Study shows that UK benefits from immigration from European countries

UK-BordersLiberal Democrats celebrate the fact that immigrants make a substantial social contribution to UK society, and they have long suspected that immigrants make a net financial contribution as well.  That claim is now backed up by a recent study undertaken by University College London, and reported by the BBC.

In a paper for the Centre of Research and Analysis of Migration, authors Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini conclude that:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 33 Comments

Nick Clegg’s speech at the PinkNews awards

Last week Nick Clegg was a guest speaker at the inaugural PinkNews Awards, which were held in Parliament. In his speech he referred to the fact that the deputy editor of PinkNews had just proposed to his partner during the ceremony.

You can watch Nick here (if only to find out why Stephen Gilbert was so well placed to rescue a woman from the Thames):

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‘Go Home’ vans to go home

Liberal Democrats have expressed delight at the news that the notorious ‘Go Home’ vans are to be withdrawn. Home Secretary Theresa May admitted that they ”not been a good idea” and were a “blunt instrument”.

Posted in News | 5 Comments

‘Brent councillor moves his surgery underground’

So the leader of the Lib Dems on Brent Council is planning to hold surgeries in a Tube Station. Cllr Paul Lorber will hold a monthly surgery for local residents in the volunteer library at Sudbury Town station on the Piccadilly Line.

I see a challenge coming on.

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment



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    Mark Valladares Does it really matter if he's Danish or Norwegian? The point is still the same, he comes from a small country with no...
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    Slightly off-topic, but I would like to suggest that some who write articles for LDV should look at the site before doing so, and instead...
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