Author Archives: Joe Otten

Rage or reason? Two reviews from Miranda Green

Over at Prospect Magazine there is a thoughtful review from Miranda Green of Politics: Between the Extremes by Nick Clegg, alongside The Death of Liberal Democracy? by David Boyle and Joe Zammit-Lucia.


The result, in this book , is a mix of avowed optimism—that a liberal worldview can and must survive—with a hugely gloomy analysis of British political culture. Politics: Between the Extremes is part memoir of the Coalition years, part meditation on the rebellious spirit of the post-crash period (to call it an age seems premature). Its balance can be uneasy, but Clegg’s book is a necessary contribution to a pressing current debate: how much and for what reason are liberal values, in the broad sense, at bay? And can any moderate politician find a way to turn the tide of resentment against the political system and its practitioners?

Posted in Op-eds | 9 Comments

Dear Theresa May, don’t miss this opportunity to unite the nation

Theresa May might have said this

I will deliver Brexit. I will be faithful to the mandate given to us by the British people. I will heed their anxieties about immigration and I will act so that we have more control about who comes in and out of our country. But, friends, I must tell you candidly that I will not act in a way which will jeopardise the open, dynamic economy upon which our great trading economy relies.

And that means I will also fight to retain our membership of Europe’s single market, the world’s largest borderless marketplace created by

Posted in LibLink | 6 Comments

Politics between the extremes – some highlights

Nick Clegg’s account of the coalition and its aftermath is an insightful and in many places startlingly frank account. This is not a complete review, though do buy and read the book for yourself, but I’ll pick up a few of the issues raised.


Nick devotes a chapter to “the plumage of power” – looking at how a government anchored in the centre ground by Liberal Democrats ended up appearing from the outside merely to be run by unusually moderate Conservatives. One aspect of this was being seen with the trappings of power. The value was understood all along by Conservatives – because they live for this sort of thing. Speaking at the door of number 10, etc. There’s a fascinating contrast between the coalition DPM who had a veto on government policy but no real visible trappings – and, say, the US Vice President who is well adorned with plumage, but whose powers are ‘not worth a bucket of warm spit’.

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Boundary commission proposals published

As expected yesterday, the Boundary Commission has reported its initial proposals for reviewing the Parliamentary constituencies, with the objective of having more equal constituencies (a strict 5% tolerance, down from 10%) and reducing the number of seats to 600.

This is similar to the exercise in the last parliament, though we were told there would be greater willingness this time to split wards to avoid absurd geographies.

So lets take a look at what happens to – lets say Sheffield Hallam.


Apologies for the patchy nature of this picture – as you can see the website is under rather more load than it can cope with.

Posted in News | 24 Comments

Open Britain divides opinion

Yesterday’s announcement of Stronger In’s rebranding as Open Britain pushing for greatest possible openness, and greatest retention of the benefits of EU membership post-referendum has divided opinion.

Statements like this one

Despite being drawn from different political parties, all of us campaigned proudly and passionately for Britain to remain in the European Union. The result was not the one we wanted, but of course we respect the democratically expressed verdict of the British people.

The UK may have voted to leave the EU, but the certainty ends there. What does Brexit actually mean? Europe will continue to be our biggest trading partner and

Posted in Op-eds | 30 Comments

Liberal Democrat Federal Conference: outline agenda published

The outline agenda for Federal Conference in Brighton this September has just been published here, with the full agenda to follow mid-August.

Highlights include a slot reserved to debate Europe with an extended deadline for a motion and amendments so that we may consider something topical. Federal Conference committee was concerned that the motions proposed in July might have been overtaken by events by September.

Other policy debates include Welfare, Transport, PreP, Racism (with reference to the rise in hate crimes as a result of the Leave campaign), the Green economy and Parent Governors; there are consultative sessions on Nuclear Weapons …

Posted in Conference | 6 Comments

Liberal Democrats vote against like for like Trident replacement

Yesterday the House of Commons voted 472-177 in favour of the like for like replacement of Trident.

While much coverage has focussed on the split in the Labour Party, which voted 141-48 against its leader, to renew, Liberal Democrats, who are also reviewing policy on nuclear weapons, voted 7-0 not to renew like for like.

Posted in News | 24 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 25th Oct - 4:03pm
    Dr Samuel Johnson Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. "It is the quality of patriotism to be jealous and watchful, to observe all...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 25th Oct - 3:53pm
    David Raw Three cheers to what you said but not on the use of the word market . Yes if you mean the money consideration...
  • User AvatarEl Sid 25th Oct - 3:50pm
    This is an argument for two things: 1. Leaving the EU. 2. Accepting that remaining in the single market will not be possible. Because it...
  • User AvatarPsi 25th Oct - 3:41pm
    Lester Sorry, I don't have a Times log in. I'll try a few other routes to try and access to see if they work.
  • User AvatarLester Holloway 25th Oct - 3:18pm
    @Psi In response to the link you shared, if you have a Times login, can I recommend this article by Trevor Phillips: It acknowledges...
  • User Avatartheakes 25th Oct - 3:13pm
    What is the point of Goldsmith resigning and forcing a by election where he will stand and probably get back in, despite our very best...