Author Archives: Jon Hunt

Opinion: How contracting fiascos, such as West Coast, threaten localisation dreams

The fiasco over the West Coast Mainline contract has exposed a long-running sore at the heart of government: the problem of public/private contracting.

Rail and Information Technology are merely prime examples of the troubled and costly contractual relationships that often exist between the public and private sector.

The Liberal Democrats have a policy review of public services under way – but will it tackle the real issues? For if contracting at

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Opinion: Beyond the Ebacc

Two years ago theWest Midlands Region embarked on a project which we called “Beyond the Ebacc.” We chose the title because we recognised then that the Coalition government was intent on embedding the Ebacc as the gold standard qualification at 16 and wanted our party, the Liberal Democrats, to emerge from coalition with our own radical policies in this critical area.

We were able to draw on a wide range of experience, including that of overseeing education in large municipal authorities.

Our concern was the stark evidence that our school system is failing many young people. Every government that has sought to …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 13 Comments

The Gladstone Lecture: what Alan Beith said…

Alan Beith’s Gladstone Lecture – and specifically his comments that church disestablishment is “not necessary” – attracted much comment earlier this week on LDV. Here Jon Hunt reflects on this and much else…

The grand old man of Liberalism was given his due respect last month.

The phrase is generally applied to Gladstone but could almost be applied to Sir Alan Beith, the former deputy leader of the party, who was chosen to give the first annual Gladstone lecture.

Sir Alan, who is only 65, has just published his autobiography, marking 35 years as serving Liberal MP for Berwick. But if …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 39 Comments
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    David Raw: On-train catering is generally run at a loss; while the market for sales is captive it is also rather small with a limited...
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    The EU in the past has found a way of accommodating anti EU electorates in Ireland and Denmark. Bill Fowler suggests one initiative. Another would...
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    Homeless people are always likely to look for some way to escape their situation they are in. The temptation to escape the world they live...
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    I absolutely agree with Caron. Thank you for this article. In particular I think the following is a real possible problem; Apart from anything else,...
  • User AvatarBill Fowler 24th Aug - 8:05am
    Well, Vince Cable et al need to camp out on Merkel's doorstep and persuade her to come out with a major concession such as no...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 24th Aug - 7:55am
    Practicality on the London Underground? Lots of new carriages?