Author Archives: Ed Fordham

Opinion: Church of England, call off your modern day inquisition

Archbishop Justin Welby Some rights reserved by Messiah Lutheran (Mechanicsville, VA)For those of you in York, and indeed last September at Glasgow, one of the loudest cheers in the closing day of the Leaders Speech always comes when the pre-film, or Nick as leader mentions the Same Sex Marriage Act.

Indeed Lynne Featherstone will go down in Liberal Democrat history, indeed in wider history, as the MP who made such a massive impact and a positive one upon society.

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Same Sex marriages – March 29th is the day

wedding ringsThe Government have today announced that Same Sex marriages can commence in 2014.

One of the ways of finding out who I was, who I might be and what shaped my thinking and existence was to speak to older relatives about themselves and my forebears.

Their memories are linked either to very small specific instances or to the large set piece occasions. In this cascade of history weddings stand out large and strong.

In photographs it is weddings that are posed and formal and vibrant – and yet – up to now …

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Opinion: My marriage will be different, but equal, my Lords and Ladies…

wedding ringsIt has been said that people who vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will be ‘standing on the wrong side of history’ – as those of us who know and study history accept, only time will tell.  But yesterday, as we led the Equal Marriage Vigil outside the House of Lords  I was struck that we were witnessing and perhaps even making history.

What occurred at our Vigil can be variously described as glorious, fashionable, tuneful and positive. In short we gathered together the LGBT+ communities and their families …

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Opinion: The same sex marriage bill is not perfect, but Lib Dem MPs should get behind it

In the next week it is likely that The Marriage (Same Sex) Bill will pass it’s third reading in the House of Commons and then will go up to the House of Lords. This is without hesitation good news for Liberal Democrats – a key part of the fight for equality will move forwards, it’s party policy and something that many members, individuals, charities and support groups have been pushing for.

The debate has been loud, full and genuine and sincere – the first debate in the House of Commons was emotional, real and heartfelt as members on all sides of …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 26 Comments

Marriage for same sex couples, but not yet equal for all…

In 2013 we celebrate 15 years of having been ‘going out’ together.  That’s a long time to be ‘going out’ – even for the decidedly commitment-phobic.

Over the last fifteen years we have attended many weddings, christenings, funerals of friends and family that mark out the great stations of life.

Apart from the occasional birthday bash and Eurovision party- we haven’t provided a similar opportunity for our friends and family to celebrate our life together.

On Tuesday the House of Commons will have a free vote on the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill – it’s not a perfect bill and in committee and …

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New Liberal Democrat Forum for Africa

The adage goes that all politics is local. And I believe it to be true – certainly local to the individual for whom specific issues are a concern. Living and working in London you can enjoy one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world. I can eat on any continent of the world every day of the week, you can pick virtually any country of the world and we have at least 250 from that country living near me in Kilburn, NW6. It’s just great!

Campaigning here is an education and a lesson in the rich tapestry of …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Opinion: Three steps to better campaigning in London

Immediately after the London Mayoral and GLA election Mike Tuffrey wrote some very shrewd observations on Lib Dem Voice. Now the dust has settled and the election results are known by ward perhaps it is time to think through the next stage of learning.

For me getting Caroline Pidgeon re-elected was always a top priority. I’m delighted that she has been joined by my long-standing friend Stephen Knight – the shame being that they are not joined by Bridget Fox and Shas Sheehan. But Stephen and Caroline will punch above their weight and the work they have already started …

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Opinion: Handling Israel/Palestine issues can be difficult, but…

I can still remember a night in 2009 when our canvass team came back from a night out on the doorsteps asking “Who is Jenny Tonge? We have just been canvassing and had the most awful time over this person who apparently is a Liberal Democrat…” I explained calmly and with a wry smile that Jenny was a former MP, now member of the House of Lords, that she held strong views and was not afraid to voice them. “But these residents are not going to vote Liberal Democrat because of the views she articulates,” said one of the canvassers. It was not a one-off incident.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , and | 32 Comments

Ed Fordham writes: Oooh… equal everyone – surely not?

Filling out a form the other day the options were single, married, divorced, civil partnerships – so I didn’t complete that question.

No other, no long-term relationship – so it clearly didn’t apply to me… I tried explaining this to the person at the desk and they were positively un-interested. But yet again it irritated me.

Surely I’m not the only person who because I can’t marry (and therefore can’t divorce!), who hasn’t had a civil partnership, but considers themselves to be in a long term relationship?

Cue Equality Minister, Lynne Featherstone and the influence of the Liberal Democrats in the Government.

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Opinion: BSF is dead – thank goodness‏

With the Conference season now upon us and with Labour preparing to crown their new Leader it seems appropriate that we lay to rest the myth that BSF (Building Schools for the Future) was some great effective scheme. In fact it was a bureaucratic joke with too few beneficiaries and huge expensive processes. The Liberal Democrat Conference is a good chance to cheer and toast the end of BSF and focus on education and pupils and real improvements.

It was 2005 and the local elections in London were scheduled for 2006. It was clear, we were clear, parents were clear, that there was a need for additional secondary school places in north west London in the Borough of Camden. The case for more places in the south of the Borough was also compelling – the campaign for a school ‘south of the Euston Road’ was pretty noisy and indeed compelling. And yet Camden Council had got itself to a place whereby it looked inactive, unable to articulate a more pro-active vision and lacking the political leadership to secure a new school.

I remember very clearly the conversation in Cllr Keith Moffitt’s front room in West Hampstead about the need for a new school.

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Opinion: I’m no longer prepared to support Stonewall under the leadership of Mr Summerskill

David Laws has resigned and the story has more or less moved along.  For my part I know and like David a lot and his loss is a real blow to the Liberal Democrats, the Government and the country.  But most of all this was a personal story.

So I was appalled by the decision of Stonewall’s Chief Executive Ben Summerskill to take the airwaves and print media to launch his own mini-campaign against David.

The very organisation that you would expect to have the courage to stand up and explain the moral realities of being gay and struggling with a public …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 38 Comments

Outstanding Liberal Democrat Campaigner of the Year

Campaigning is an all year round slog and most intensive for the staff and full-time campaigners who do this every day, every week. In that context many of you will have fond memories of Cllr Neil Trafford, Federal Campaigns Officer for the north west of England. Neil tragically died in an accident last year, but a group of us have used that sad occasion to institute a new award within the party.

This award will be for the outstanding member of campaigns staff – be they employed by a Local Party, constituency, MP, MSP, AM, MEP or indeed the federal …

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Opinion: Ed Fordham’s Career Choice

Last night my Dad rang me all concerned about my career choices. I stood in the general election of 2005 and am planning to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn at the next election – whenever it comes.

My Dad’s concern was pretty simple: why would I want to join a club of such scoundrels, hasn’t the career of politician been devalued and he was concerned that people get caught up in the maelstrom of the noise and the club-atmosphere and accept as the norm what in fact is wrong.

I believe politics is a calling …

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Neil Trafford’s memorial celebration

Last Friday saw the memorial celebration of Councillor Neil Trafford in Manchester Town Hall.

The memorial celebration was recorded and is now available on YouTube at www.youtube.co.uk/russelleagling. Part I is below:

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    Recent ONS statistics for a consumer prices index are available here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/cpi/consumer-price-indices/august-2014/consumer-price-inflation-summary--august-2014.html . Using the data give in the downloadable Excel file, prices now are...
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    It's 'Gerry' Stoker, not 'Jerry'. This is a really interesting debate, but is rather ill-timed because it is going to get completely swamped in an...
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    Strangely dismissive of regional assembly for Yorkshire.
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    52.4% No 47.6% Yes
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    Not changing the date of the general election would surely mean that the Scots wouldn't agree to anything they thought a Labour government would concede...