Author Archives: Laura Willoughby

Everything Jeremy Corbyn taught me about being a liberal

I grew up in Yate and Somerset, and my first job was in Kingston – so having lived in Tory facing seats it was a big change to really cut my political teeth in Islington where there has not been any Conservatives for a long time.

And where else to study Labour up close and personal than Islington. I did 12 years as a councillor and twice as a general election candidate against Jeremy. Political campaigns in Central London are tough. Activists in all parties work hard, Labour had great resources and tied us up in one standards board complaint after another – because they could.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 42 Comments

Opinion: Three opportunities for us to do better as a political party

Understanding what party membership and political volunteering really means to people in 2015

I have always felt that we have missed on all the learning from the voluntary sector about how to motivate and engage volunteers, but in 2015 we need to go even further than that. Just like the electorate we need to know a lot more about our members, their motivations, their skills and the ways they want to be useful.

Technology allows to engage all our members in different ways that are not bound by geography (which bearing in mind our lack of organisation in many local parties this …

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Opinion: The firm hand of the state where you least want it

A government with Liberals in it has banned spanking on film. Who would have thought it? I was hoping for a society where the state at least kept pace with social attitudes. Instead we find that through obscure bits of legislation we are continuing a move towards controlling people more and more that was started by the Labour party.
Porn made in the UK can no longer include sexual acts such as facesitting, spanking, caning, fisting and female ejaculation thanks to the  Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 . There are many reasons why these changes are bad, 10 of them are here in an article by Emily Dubberly. It includes the fact that they are arbitrary, sexist and infringe civil liberties.
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Opinion: The marriage tax allowance is no free lunch

We could give kids free lunch up to the age of 11 if we did not have this silly marriage tax allowance …..

In my last blog on the marriage tax allowance I wondered what we would gain for Lib Dem acquiescence over the illiberal and expensive marriage tax allowance. It is not what I expected but I quite like it.

In the most obvious bit of horse-trading in this coalition yet we won free school meals for five to seven year olds. (I hope that is as far as the involvement of horses goes – sorry!)

I don’t want to

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Opinion: Rewarding marriage – with less than the cost of the cake…

There must be better ways for Liberals to support families that the marriage tax allowance.

Politics has always been about compromise and pragmatism and in a coalition Government we are seeing the impact of this in a very public and often painful way. For every moment of joy there are two where I want to bury my head in my hands and weep for the future of liberalism.Don't Judge

Whether we like it or not the coalition agreement set out a commitment to introducing a married couples’ tax allowance. I don’t know what the logic was at the time for agreeing such an obviously un-liberal and expensive gesture. I hope that what we gained outweighs the feeling of nausea that this policy gives me.

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Opinion: Down with marriage

bouquetIt’s always the smallest things that seem to end up creating the biggest noise. Take the current debate over marriage: I know it seems like a big issue, but if you really look, it’s a debate about semantics and contracts that’s become complicated by the fact that history is so unclear about its origins.

The Church thinks that marriage is theirs and that therefore they have a right to dictate who gets to do it. I used to be partly persuaded by the fact that marriage was the Church’s brand and that those of …

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

Opinion: Spectators are as important as athletes to develop a sporting nation

Only in Britain could we end up having a debate about success and its ongoing legacy that sounds both ambitious (let’s seize the moment) and a like a moan (well we won’t do as well again)! Of course it is right that we start the debate now and ride the momentum whilst sport is on the front pages and the nation is discussing more than football.

Of course, participation is the key goal but evidence shows that the presence of an Olympics alone does not create a huge change …

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    Awful though the Calais and Dunkirk camps sound, there are far worse things going on in refugee camps elsewhere :- http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/11/africa/nigeria-suicide-bombing-boko-haram/ I wonder why we...
  • User AvatarTony Rowan-Wicks 13th Feb - 12:24pm
    Welcome Simon, and I agree that volunteers can assist the professionals and keep open the services we value and need for a thriving community. Closing...
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    I have a lot of respect for Shirley, even if I disagree on some things. I might watch the interview later if I find the...
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    Alliance News (winter 2016) contains an item about their former leader from 1994. "The recent visit of Dr John Alderdice to the United States increased...