Author Archives: Joe Otten

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

Theresa May open thread

So congratulations are in order to Theresa May on becoming Prime Minister.

May has usually been described as dull, diligent and effective, but I expect now that she has the top job a little more of her personality will be stamped on the government. She is famous for calling out the Conservatives for allowing themselves to be seen as the ‘nasty party’ and was considered a moderniser, but has not always risen above the nasty herself – the “Go home” billboards for example.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 26 Comments

Even UKIP have no plan for this

Sheffield Full Council yesterday was met with a large pro-EU rally with speakers from all parties and other groups, including Sheffield Lib Dem group leader Shaffaq Mohammed.

Sheffield Stay

The debate continued in the chamber, on item 10, which was moved up the agenda in response to the demo. Sheffield is one of those councils that has this kind of debate quite regularly in full council, the business of running a council being decided in cabinet. Whether this is a good use of everyone’s time is questionable, but it is how we do things.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 15 Comments

A reflection on the use of numbers

One of the lies that didn’t survive a day after the referendum result was that there would be £350m a week to spend on the NHS. My suspicion is that this number was widely understood to be untrue but was still highly effective.

Now it would have been quite easy for Leave to say that there would be £136m a week to spend on the NHS, and although it is a lesser number, do we really think the political impact of £136m is going to be all that different to £350m (were it true)? Or to £250m? (The amount sent of which some comes back.) All are large numbers beyond our normal experience, and, in principle, if we had that money, we could spend it on a great deal of something good.

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarManfarang 26th Sep - 6:14pm
    Jayne Mansfield Absolute poverty means having nothing. Rangoon had streets with sewage running down them from the broken drains, buildings unrepaired since the time of...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 26th Sep - 5:59pm
    @Nick Collins I saw it coming at the Rose Garden! Realistically we may have to go into coalition for the sake of the country, hence...
  • User AvatarManfarang 26th Sep - 5:59pm
    Paul The Christian Democrat Party in Germany was founded after WW2. Various center and right wing parties existed during the Weimar Republic.
  • User AvatarRoland 26th Sep - 5:20pm
    "Furthermore, by creating more grammar schools we’re focusing on the children who we see as the brightest. But these are the ones who will probably...
  • User AvatarNick Collins 26th Sep - 5:19pm
    What's all this about "soggy centrists"; has LDV been taken over by refugees from "Bake Off"?
  • User Avatarpaul holmes 26th Sep - 5:02pm
    Actually Weimar Germany was not necessarily soggy centrist. One area in which the Christian Democrats and the Roman Catholic Centre Party were able to feel...