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.

James Davidson – a Liberal MP in Scotland who should not be forgotten

The Times has carried an obituary for a former Liberal MP for Aberdeenshire West. You can be forgiven for not having heard of him because he served as MP from 1966-70 and he died at the age of 90.

But having read his story I really wish I had known him. Here are some extracts:

A British naval attaché was on a 1,100-mile train journey from Murmansk to Moscow in the early 1950s when he got talking to a young captain of artillery in his carriage. “We had lunch together and he asked if I would like to bring a girl from the embassy to come to have dinner with him and his fiancée,” recalled James Davidson. “Then, 48 hours before I was due to go, the phone rang and it was him. He just said, ‘This is Sergei. I am afraid we cannot meet you. I am sure you understand.’ And he hung up and that was the end of that.”

On another occasion Davidson and a colleague went for a walk in the forest and were stopped by soldiers armed with Kalashnikovs who tried to make them sign a confession that they had deliberately gone into a forbidden area. “But that was not true, there were no signs,” he protested.

More than a decade later, and back in Britain, Davidson discovered that the Russians had not forgotten their suspicions. Now serving as a Liberal MP, he was proposed as a member of a parliamentary Anglo-Russian friendship society, but the Soviets refused to accept him.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

LibLink: William Wallace gives the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture

William Wallace – one of our eminent peers – delivered the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture at the Social Liberal Forum Conference a week ago.

Professionally William was a professor in International Relations at the London School of Economics, and he has worked as a visiting professor in Universities around the world. So you would be right in expecting his lecture to be intellectually rigorous and thoroughly relevant to social liberals.

He took as his theme the question: Is a liberal and democratic society compatible with globalisation? You can read the full text of his lecture here, but here is a taster.

He sets the question firmly in an international context:

Dani Rodrik, one of my favourite economists – a Turk teaching at Harvard – wrote some five years ago that we may be discovering that democracy is not compatible with unconditional globalization; and that if we have to choose, we must prefer democracy and open society to globalization.  I take that as my text, and will explore its implications for Liberals, who believe in open societies and international cooperation but also in individual freedom within settled communities.   I have a second text, which is President Macron’s declaration that France must support a market economy, but not a market society’ – which is a good phrase for us to adopt in Britain, when Corbynistas are close to rejecting the market as such and the Conservative right sees the market as governing social provision.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 15 Comments

The tide is turning

 

The editorial in The Observer yesterday makes for interesting reading. Under the headline “The tide is turning against deceitful and incompetent hard Brexiters” it kicks off cheerfully:

What next from the lords of misrule, the Tory hard Brexiters who seem to be enjoying playing party political games with our futures while the world looks on bemused, if not baffled? Day after day, they stumble on, deaf to warnings on every side and blind to hard, objective facts – that delusions and jingoistic illusions do not a plan make. How did we get here? Is this the best Britain can do? The four Brexiters charged with plotting our political, economic and cultural future – Theresa May, Boris Johnson, David Davis, Liam Fox – cheered on by an undistinguished group of backbenchers, could hardly have had a less impressive three months since triggering article 50.

It cites:

Here is a report by the non-partisan Office for Budget Responsibility, warning that public finances are in worse shape than before the 2008 financial crash.

And here is the National Audit Office, the UK’s spending watchdog, predicting a “horror show” if Britain leaves the EU customs union without its own fit-for-purpose customs system in place.

Posted in News | 13 Comments

Leadership hustings – a chance to discuss the future of the party with Vince Cable

The first Leadership hustings will take place this Saturday in London.

Why a hustings, I hear you ask, given that there is only one candidate? Technically nominations close next Monday, so until then the advice is that we cannot assume that there will not be a contest (although, of course, the chances of a challenge are minimal).

The Social Liberal Forum Conference is holding the hustings at 1.30pm at Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA. Vince Cable has agreed to take part. If any other candidates do come forward before Saturday then they will, of course, be invited.

Whilst any party member is welcome to attend the hustings for free, we would love it if you could sign up for the whole day’s conference. In the morning the theme will be ‘The Retreat from Globalisation’ with some eminent speakers, while the afternoon will be devoted to more local issues including the Leadership election and a review of the General Election. You can register here: www.socialliberal.net/slfconf2017.

Posted in Leadership Election | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Will it be a hustings or a Meet the New Leader event?

Sal Brinton has explained that:

There will be a series of official Leadership hustings around the country (they are currently being arranged, so watch out for details near you), as well as some online or streamed events. In the last Leadership Election these hustings were very popular, as well as the SAOs who may also have social media Q&As with the candidates.In the event that there is only one nominated candidate we will discuss with them continuing with some of these dates as Meet the New Leader events.

The Social Liberal Forum has been quick off the mark. Our annual conference this year will be held on Saturday 15th July in London.

We had already rearranged the programme to include a slot for a hustings, and this will become a ‘Meet the New Leader’ event if there is only one candidate.  The latter seems the most likely outcome at the moment, but not all MPs have declared whether they are in or out, and someone may yet put their name forward to ensure a contest. We will know for sure by next Wednesday.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Leadership election

The timetable for the election of a new Leader for the Liberal Democrats has been announced. Here are the key dates:

Opening of nominations: 26th June (today)

Deadline for nominations: 20th July

Despatch of ballot papers to members: 16th August

Close of ballot: 11th September

Verification, count and declaration: 13th September

Posted in Leadership Election and News | Tagged | 16 Comments

Mystery posters in Somerset

Mark Blackburn is our man in Frome, in Somerset. It seems he has an anonymous supporter who has been putting up posters around the town. The word Hope appears beneath a portrait of Mark. The posters are numbered as a limited edition but not signed.

The Lib Dem team do not know who the artist is, who who has been setting them up, but they are delighted at the clear message of support.

Mark said:

We are also privileged to have one left in our HQs. Thank you to the artist who created it. Thank you for your support and your trust.

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment
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