Author Archives: Joe Otten

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 | 25 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

Proof arrives that Remain are right on the economy

Until now the economic argument in this EU referendum has been whether you believe the experts – whose reputations depend on the quality of their prognostications – or whether you believe that an ‘expert’ is someone who automatically has less expertise than everybody else.

Just to summarise, thanks to Sky News:

  • International Monetary Fund – Britain could cause “severe regional and global damage by disrupting established trading relationships”, should it vote to leave the EU. “Negotiations on post exit arrangements would likely be protracted, resulting in an extended period of heightened uncertainty that could weigh heavily on confidence and investment, all the while increasing financial market volatility.” The consequences ranged from “pretty bad to very, very bad”, managing director, Christine Lagarde added
  • PWC for the Confederation of British Industry – GDP down 3 to 5% by 2020, 5% corresponding to 950,000 jobs and £100bn lost.
  • Institute For Fiscal Studies – Brexit would cost the UK between £20bn and £40bn, according to the IFS. The Government would need to find equivalent of £5bn of public spending cuts, £5bn worth of savings from social security spending and roll out tax hikes worth £5bn – two more years of austerity – to cover the cost.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – GDP in the UK could be between 3-5% below the level it might have been if it had remained in the EU, equivalent to £2,200 loss per household.

No longer need we believe them. With polls in the last few days showing a high risk of Brexit, the markets have reacted.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 69 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – Britain braced for momentous day of decision

Tim FarronTim Farron writes for the Yorkshire Post today, looking behind the Blue on Blue punch up to see what is at stake for the region.

The leave campaign wants you to forget that voting to leave will endanger our access to the world’s most valuable single market. Over 250,000 jobs in Yorkshire, or almost one in 10, are linked to trade with the EU. I would never suggest these jobs would all vanish if we left, but the fact is Yorkshire remains hugely dependent on trade with

Posted in LibLink | Tagged | 15 Comments
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