Author Archives: David Warren

Dave Warren has over thirty years experience in the UK postal industry both as a front line worker and senior trade union representative. He also has experience of being a full-time carer.

No country for old men?

It doesn’t seem that long ago that the trend was for younger political leaders.

We had Blair, then Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.

Our American cousins elected the youthful Barack Obama as their President.

Ming Campbell one of the Lib Dem leaders in this period was thought too old by some and his age was clearly a major factor in his stepping down.

He was 66 at the time.

Oh how things have changed.

Labour’s Corbyn is in his late sixties, in the US the President is 71 and arguably his main opponent the excellent Bernie Sanders is 75!

As Britain’s Liberal party undertakes a leadership election it looks like the septuagenarian Vince Cable may be the only runner.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 30 Comments

A personal reflection on the General Election, its aftermath and liberalism

I allowed my membership of the Liberal Democrats to lapse a while back but I took that decision without rancour.

My involvement had not been passive I stood for local council and campaigned vigorously in other elections.

I liked the party, still do but I just couldn’t live with the position it had taken on Brexit.

Another principled stand by yours truly, one of many over the years.

So as the General Election came upon us my personal focus was on the need to stop the Conservatives winning.

At the start of the campaign their arrogance and swagger was worse than ever and they are pretty bad at the best of times.

My election activity largely focused around the need to get a hung parliament which would then hopefully lead to some form of PR for future elections.

Like many other carers campaigners I wanted to see the future of adult social care high on the agenda, of course Theresa May did that for us with her dementia tax proposal.

A crucial moment in the campaign which I believe contributed in no small way to her losing her parliamentary majority.
On election night itself I stayed up hoping for Tory losses.

The social media campaign to get young voters registered, Corbyn mania and what I felt was a strong campaign by Tim Farron gave me hope.

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

To leave or not to leave – that is the question

 

The EU is in the news and is likely to stay there for many months to come.

My relationship with Europe as a political issue started way back when I was 11 years old. It was 1975 and my school organised a debate on the referendum to decide the future of Britain’s membership of what was then called the Common Market. I spoke for the NO campaign.

After reading my carefully prepared speech, my Father said he would turn me into a politician. I supposed he succeeded.

More than 40 years later we approach another referendum and I have to say I am undecided. It’s been a bit of a journey though!

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 16 Comments

Blue Collar Liberals update

In October 2015 I wrote an article for Lib Dem Voice entitled ‘We Need More Blue Collar Liberals’. Since then I have been attempting to keep the issues raised by the article ‘live’, turning statements by leading figures in our party regarding encouraging people from lower socio economic groups to become more involved in the Liberal Democrats into concrete actions.

These efforts haven’t met with any success so far.

With the notable exception of EMLD, the dialogue has not resulted in anything concrete and a cynic might say that the party hierachy appears more than happy with the comfort zone of the status quo.

This has led me to consider launching a group probably called  ‘Blue Collar Liberals’, (although I am open to alternative suggestions), with the following founding statement:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 30 Comments

What hope for liberalism in the US presidential election?

American history and politics are a passion of mine, so I always look forward to their primary season.

A year when the incumbent President is not seeking reelection is always especially interesting because it means both big parties engage fully in the lengthy process of selecting a candidate. 2016 is such a year.

American politics is unique and finding a viable candidate from what we would call the centre left is difficult. The Republicans have been an almost exclusively right wing conservative party for decades. Even those in the establishment who have resisted the insurgency of the so called tea party can be pretty scary.

Democrats too have shifted rightwards. Bill Clinton founded the ‘New Democrats’ before Blair’s New Labour and, inspite of all the talk of change, the Obama Presidency has turned out to be pretty much business as usual in most areas.On human rights and civil liberties in particular the administration varies little from its predecessors. The prison at Guantanamo Bay remains open and the draconian Patriot Act firmly in place.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Blair’s other legacy

It is inevitable given that it became the issue that defined his premiership – the failed invasion of Iraq will be seen as Blair’s great legacy.

He got plenty of other things wrong too, but for all his words about a progressive majority, his inaction on electoral reform paved the way for majority right wing government.

Had he been brave enough to face down the conservative forces in his own party we could have seen the 1999 Jenkins commission proposals implemented.

He wasn’t.

In his excellent autobiography, Ming Campbell recalls his wife Elspeth whispering to Blair at John Smith’s funeral, ‘Don’t Forget The Liberals’. ‘I won’t’ was the response.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Let’s get some national campaigns going on issues the voters care about

Our Party is all about campaigning. It is what saved the old Liberal Party from extinction and what sustains us in difficult times. I know local parties up and down the country are running campaigns on many different issues, but we lack some important national ones.
What about Europe I hear you say, or the Human Rights Act?

Well, yes, the EU and human rights are important issues and we do have to campaign for them, but they are not high on people’s list of concerns.

Apart from Europe, we have individual initiatives launched by the leader or an MP, which is great. I am thinking in particular of Tim Farron’s prioritising of housing, and Norman Lamb on social care. However we need that little bit extra, something that really captures attention. What I am thinking of are issues where we can get out amongst the voters with a petition and potentially get lots of signature on equally important areas of policy that emphasise our social liberalism.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 18 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLaurence Cox 23rd Sep - 8:26pm
    @Andy Hinton I am glad to hear that it was discussed at Conference, my own experience of the IT setup while working as a volunteer...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 23rd Sep - 7:46pm
    frankie, no problem, really. Remaining and paying annually is a good thing, and the UK having no voice or influence is well-established pre-Brexit practice.
  • User AvatarSimon 23rd Sep - 7:15pm
    This article is simply inaccurate in a number of ways. For example if we are going to use Vince's support for competitive markets, let's also...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 23rd Sep - 7:10pm
    She's certainly welsh and is determined to do her best for the educational system in Wales. And I trust she will do her best for...
  • User AvatarAndrew Meadowcroft 23rd Sep - 5:39pm
    More like this please, I get dozens of excellent lefty videos sent every week through various anti-brexit, anti-racist pages, the GE was full of them...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 23rd Sep - 5:16pm
    Chris writes a very poignant article. I do not know if more people are victims or more of those are very keen to be heard...