Author Archives: Laura Willoughby

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

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

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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Opinion: Will the Lib Dems stand up for creative industries?

A Labour friend of mine was smugly telling me about last week’s launch of the Labour Creative Industries Network. Much of this reminded me of their ‘Cool Britannia’ efforts circa 1997.

However, it also got me thinking about how the creative industries see us. We too have some nice words about creative businesses on our website – but do we really have a sense of how we want to support and promote this economically and culturally important sector? The DCMS is the only department where Lib Dems have no ministerial presence. There is a hair’s breadth in arts policy between …

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Liz Rorison passes away

As many of you know, our dear friend and colleague, Liz Rorison succumbed to a short illness on the 24th of June.

Music was such an important part of Liz’s life it is no surprise that she is fondly remembered for giving melody to the party’s liberal enthusiasm at the annual Glee Club. Nearly everyone shares the memory of her at the piano playing with huge energy and with a great big smile on her face as Ralph Bancroft led the party faithful in a rendition of The Land.

She first played the piano at an informal singing gathering at the Scarborough …

Posted in Obituaries | Tagged | 6 Comments

Opinion: Are the Government in danger of recreating the GLC by the back-door?

When is localism not localism? When it comes to London apparently!

As the Localism Bill makes its way through its committee stages in the House of Commons the clauses that have an impact on London were rushed and hardly discussed on Tuesday afternoon.

This is unfortunate because this is the one part of the bill where the idea of localism is stopped dead in its tracks. In contrast to the localist approach applied across England in the rest of the bill, when it comes to London it seems that devolution stops at a regional level.

There are three specific proposals in the …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Tagged and | Leave a comment



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  • User AvatarRichard S 23rd Oct - 7:26am
    I am not sure that “sharp tongue” tells the whole story. He was and is very persuasive, sometimes more patiently assertive than I could ever...
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    Caron wrote ---"Anyway, back to Donnachadh. There will be many figures from the establishment in the Ashdown and Kennedy Eras who will have felt the...
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 23rd Oct - 1:42am
    @Mark Valladares I really don't see what is possibly ad hominem about pointing out the fact that Tony Greaves has both said "This idea is...
  • User AvatarMark Argent 23rd Oct - 1:33am
    Perhaps unelected peers are no more scandalous than shoeing candidates into safe seats in the Commons — the fact that (for example) Boris Johnson is...
  • User AvatarDonnachadh McCarthy 23rd Oct - 1:07am
    Thanks Caron. Yes I agree using nearly 30 police in military formation to arrest someone for the "crime" of having a folded tarpaulin under my...
  • User AvatarRichard S 23rd Oct - 12:50am
    Wasn't part of the constitutional crisis that the Governor-General can dismiss the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister can also replace the Governor General, so...