Author Archives: Joe Otten

Reaction to Fidel Castro’s legacy

The death of Cuban revolutionary, dictator and hard left cause celebre, Fidel Castro has reopened a debate on his legacy.

Tim Farron released the following statement

There is no doubt that Fidel Castro was a vastly significant 20th century leader, but even as we respectfully acknowledge this on his passing, we must not overlook the appalling human rights abuses including brutal summary executions for which he was responsible

As expected Jeremy Corbyn was among the more fulsome in praise, to objections from progressives:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 46 Comments

The Rustlings Road Tree Massacre

A knock on the door in the middle of the night. “Move your car or it will be towed”. Three peaceful protestors, including two public spirited women in their 70s, arrested for the crime of “suspicion of preventing lawful work“.

Is this an anti-terror operation? Is this happening in Putin’s Russia? No. It is a Labour council seeking to cut down eight trees on the highway, that residents have been campaigning to save for the last two years. Six of the eight trees could be saved according to the council’s own Independent Tree Panel – whose advice …

Posted in News | 16 Comments

It’s not about inequality

I recall after the financial crisis of 2008 everybody with an unconventional opinion on banking and monetary policy felt confirmed that this showed they had been right all along. Whether they believed in more regulation of banks or less, or in the superficially plausible but ultimately wrong-headed notion of banning bank lending altogether and making up the money supply by having the government print a lot extra – they felt proven right by events.

We are in danger of doing the same with Donald Trump’s victory. Last week Helen Flynn argued that it was about inequality. Thus the solution …

Posted in Op-eds | 37 Comments

More United consult members on endorsing Sarah Olney

More the post-referendum cross-party campaign for an open tolerant and inclusive Britain, is consulting its members on whether to endorse Sarah Olney in the Richmond Park by-election.

This comes at a crucial moment as postal votes are landing and there is a concerted effort to speak to postal voters. If you can’t get to Richmond Park, just log into Connect and you will find a Virtual Phone Bank ready for you.


This decision by More United is a critical test of its core concept, of a willingness to endorse candidates from any one of a number of different parties, should they subscribe to the values. If it doesn’t endorse Sarah in Richmond Park, how can it ever deliver? The letter to members is as follows:

Posted in News | 25 Comments

Alistair Carmichael on Article 50

Alistair Carmichael was on the Daily Politics today, quizzed by Jo Coburn over the party’s position on the Article 50 debate, the Single Market/soft Brexit and a referendum on the final deal.

The segment starts at 21 minutes below, and Alistair is on from 24 minutes.


It was put to him that making the A50 vote conditional on single market membership and a “second” referendum was seeking to thwart the will of the people:

It is impossible for everybody who voted to leave for a whole range of reasons to get what

Posted in News | 38 Comments

What do you want from Parliament’s Article 50 debate?

With the issue of whether Article 50 needs parliamentary approval currently before the courts, there is some discussion of what Parliament ought to do with the process if it gets the chance.

While clearly there is no majority for simply blocking article 50, it is quite reasonable for MPs to put constructive amendments to the proposal, respectful of the mandate from June, and to vote against if those amendments are not accepted – as one would with any other bill before Parliament.

One amendment should be to give the people a vote on the final deal, so that we can choose, once …

Posted in Op-eds | 33 Comments

Fighting fun politicians in the age of entertainment news

Yes, this is another “how do we fight back against the politics UKIP/Brexit/Trump” type of article, though I hope a different one to the rest.

I read two articles yesterday, both illuminating, but doubly so when read together. This on the BBC explains a cultural difference between the UK and Germany that may be hobbling diplomatic understanding. British are liable to say “oh no I couldn’t possibly” to mean yes, to which Germans will consider the matter settled at no. Swashbuckling overpromising bluster is far more tolerated in British political culture than in German, which values consistency much more highly and is to our ears extremely dull.

The other was this at the Washington Post expressing bemusement at the “corrupt Clinton” narrative that exists, when “Trump’s history of corruption is mind-boggling.” A list of Trump’s corrupt activities is given. Each has been reported and then we move on. Journalists shrug. The Florida attorney general takes a donation from Trump and drops an investigation into his “university”. Hillary, meanwhile is investigated to within an inch of her life, and even when nothing is found, the investigation is used to support a narrative of guilt.

Posted in Op-eds | 34 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Payne 3rd Dec - 4:55pm
    Michael BG, Thanks for your response. My understanding of LVT is slightly different. I suspect, though I can't know, that Conall Boyle used site values...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 3rd Dec - 4:44pm
    Lorenzo - sounds like you need a free transfer to my local party and I need a free transfer to yours! x
  • User AvatarTynan 3rd Dec - 4:33pm
    Well, congratulations Lib Dems, good luck to the new MP. Love democracy.
  • User AvatarTynan 3rd Dec - 4:16pm
    'He also said that Brexiteers are rubbing voters up the wrong way by dismissing their concerns and right to be heard.' So now they know...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 3rd Dec - 4:11pm
    "How, they wonder, do we manage to recruit 1000 people in one weekend, from all over the country?" I always struggle to reconcile Lib Dem...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 3rd Dec - 4:02pm
    I really like this piece because Jon Taylor’s solution is not to put more money into the NHS and his ideas need careful consideration. They...