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.

Tim Berners-Lee: It is up to all of us to build the web we want – for everyone

 

I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for the last week, but somehow Conference got in the way.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote an important article in The Guardian about a week ago, which should be taken seriously by anyone involved in politics who a) cares about democracy and b) understands the significance of online campaigning – which I guess means most LDV readers.

As the inventor of the worldwide web, Berners-Lee has ardently campaigned for web universality and net neutrality, and he has put structures in place to try to ensure its independence from political and commercial interference. I wrote something about his concerns in 2010 when he marked the 20th anniversary of his invention with a warning article in Scientific American.

He repeats some of those worries in his latest article, demonstrating that the threats have not gone away, and indeed have been joined by new ones.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Lib Dems on Surrey County Council call on Tory leader to resign over ‘sweetheart deal’

Some of you from outside the area may have missed the story that has been rumbling along about the communications and connections between the Government and Surrey County Council.

Back in January Conservative-led Surrey announced that they were planning a 15% increase on Council tax this year.  They could only implement that by holding a referendum, which they would hold on the same day as the county council elections.

Then in February, David Hodge, the Leader of Surrey County Council, stated, to some bemusement, that they would not be holding the referendum after all. All became clear when Jeremy Corbyn asked the PM whether a special deal had been done for Surrey. She replied that the matter was entirely up to the Council. Corbyn then read out leaked texts from Hodge to a civil servant in the Department of Communities and Local Government.

I am advised that DCLG officials have been working on a solution. You will be contacting me to agree a memorandum of understanding.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 5 Comments

LibLink: David Laws – UK reaches socially acceptable limits of austerity

David Laws has written an article in the Financial Times, but you have to be a subscriber to read it.  We will give you a flavour of the piece here so you can decide whether to subscribe (the trial version is £1 for 4 weeks).

In May 2010, as the chief secretary in the UK’s coalition government, I warned that the choices available to us in Britain’s biggest postwar spending squeeze lay between the unpalatable and the disastrous, and that we were moving from an age of plenty to an age of austerity.

It has not been a bad prediction, by political standards.

At that time, public sector austerity was both necessary and deliverable. Necessary, because our budget deficit was an eye-watering £163bn, in excess of 10 per cent of gross domestic product. Deliverable, because the UK had only just ended an unprecedented expansion of public spending under the Blair and Brown governments.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 23 Comments

LibLink: Catherine Bearder on World Wildlife Day

 

I’m afraid we didn’t mark World Wildlife Day on LDV last Friday. Fortunately our MEP Catherine Bearder did in an engaging post covering the top wildlife wins and losses in the past year.

She writes:

2016 was a historic year in the global fight against wildlife crime. From the ivory bans to the new CITES protection for over 500 species – there is a lot we can be proud of.

But we would be kidding ourselves if we think the work here is done. Wildlife trafficking is still a top four global criminal activity and the money streams gained from it are often used to fund other illegal operations like arms trafficking and even terrorism.

Wildlife by its nature is unsupervised and therefore vulnerable to the criminal gangs who exploit it for massive profit.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

What is the collective noun for peers?

 

If you didn’t drop into LDV over the weekend you will have missed Caron’s marathon effort in reporting on all the speeches made by Lib Dem Lords last week on the Bill on Article 50.  There were 32 of them, amounting to over 30,000 words.

You can find all the speeches listed here.

It was an excellent reminder of what an important job our peers are doing and how important the second chamber is. In the Lords the decisions in the House of Commons are subjected to in-depth scrutiny and challenge, and we don’t hear enough about the impact this has on virtually every Bill that goes through Parliament.

Of course, we want the House of Lords to be reformed, but we can’t allow it to stagnate while we wait for another opportunity to bring in a directly elected second chamber. We have an excellent cohort of active peers, who between them have immense experience in politics, business, social action, law, academia and diplomacy.

Posted in Parliament | Tagged | 33 Comments

LibLink: Kishwer Falkner on ‘How I will vote on Article 50’

Baroness Kishwer Falkner has been explaining on her blog how she plans to vote on Brexit and Article 50. She writes:

In life, with voluntary relationships there is a clear line between the length of a relationship and the one’s attachment to it.  I have felt those 32 years acutely in the last few months as I have reflected on my own position with respect to the Liberal Democrats position on Brexit and the need for a second referendum.  But in arriving at my decision to vote against the Lib Dem position I feel that it is the fact that I am a Lib Dem – a pro-European to my core – that makes this the right thing to do.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged | 72 Comments

Topping up your suntan – and your favourite soap

 

I’ve just got back from a holiday, replenishing my Vitamin D in the Canaries. Although I had a wonderfully relaxing time I didn’t want to cut myself off completely from things happening back in the UK.

Like most hotels across the world, we were offered just two English language TVchannels – BBC World and Sky News – which was a bit limiting. Unlike business hotels, holiday hotels  took a while to realise that their customers would value free Wi-Fi anywhere on site, but that is now pretty standard. So I could also listen online to the radio live and on catch-up whenever I wanted through the BBC and other channels. But that did not apply to TV programmes.

Whenever I tried to access www.bbc.co.uk, I was redirected to www.bbc.com, so I wasn’t able to watch UK based BBC television programmes live or on catch-up. This didn’t exactly spoil my holiday but I was rather keen to see the final two episodes of Apple Tree Yard, which had left us with a cliffhanger. No doubt other holidaymakers would have appreciated a chance to follow their own favourite soaps and series, as well as news from their home towns.

Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRuth Bright 25th Mar - 10:24pm
    Tony I don't think you actually read the post - it was about keeping going and that London has seen it all and so much...
  • User AvatarTim13 25th Mar - 10:16pm
    Peter, I am surprised you say you haven't met anyone who likes closer integration or ever closer union. There are many of us - certainly...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 25th Mar - 9:56pm
    What gets me about this debate is not that the party has a laughable policy (fortunately no-one outside cares too much at present about our...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 25th Mar - 9:48pm
    One deranged idiot armed with a car and a knife...tragic for the dead and injured but hardly a cause to appeal to the "blitz spirit"....
  • User AvatarMartin 25th Mar - 9:00pm
    Thanks for the ramble, Red Liberal, you give a pretty comprehensive list. I would query item 4: is it true that most European Liberal parties...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 25th Mar - 8:33pm
    Anyone who sings "Rehab" at their first Glee Club has got to have star quality.