Author Archives: Mark Thompson

Opinion: Oh no! Ed’s got us!

Well he has hasn’t he? I mean this ruse to force a vote on the a mansion tax is piece of political genius surely? The Lib Dems will look like fools traipsing through the lobby with the government whilst Labour dangles something that the party in general and Vince in particular has wanted to bring in for years.

Won’t they?

There’s no denying it’s an eye-catching move clearly designed to embarrass the Lib Dems. But of course the party’s MPs will (largely – a few backbenchers may peel off of course) vote with the government on any opposition motion of this nature. …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 58 Comments

Opinion: It’s time for Nick Clegg to make the liberal case on drugs policy

The Mail on Sunday yesterday reported that the Home Affairs Select Committee report into drugs policy, reporting this morning, is going to recommend that the option of legalisation should be seriously considered and a Royal Commission should be set up to report on the issue prior to the 2015 general election.

As readers of my blog will know, I am a long standing supporter of liberalisation of our drug laws. So this report is a breath of fresh air as far as I am concerned. – A sensible pragmatic look at the problems with

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems should park Lords reform. For now.

I am an enthusiastic supporter of electoral and constitutional reform in this country. I have been arguing for years that the First Past the Post system for the Commons is hopelessly out of date and unfair and that there is no place in our constitution for an unelected second chamber. I was delighted when the coalition agreement included action on the latter and heartened by Nick Clegg’s various comments in the early days of this government that made it clear he was throwing his full weight as Deputy

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 38 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems should not fear a Lords reform referendum

We got battered last year. So it would only be natural if we were to be a little wary of plunging headlong into another referendum for changing our political system so soon after the public rejected our proposal for AV for the Commons by such a wide margin.

There are now rumblings from Conservative MPs and also the Labour leadership that any change to the Lords should be subject to a referendum. Nick Clegg has strongly argued that this is …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 19 Comments

Gender Equality and MPs – is our performance as bad as it looks?

I am very unhappy with the number of female Lib Dem MPs. 7 out of 57 is not good enough and we need to improve. The leadership programme which assists those from underrepresented groups to become candidates will hopefully help.

7/57 = 12.3%. So, less than an eighth of our MPs are women. The Conservatives have 48/307 = 15.6%, Labour 81/258 = 31.4%. Activists from the two other parties have pointed this out to me on numerous occasions. They are right to. It is embarrassing. We definitely need more female candidates. In 2010 we only had 134 (21.3%). The Conservatives had …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Opinion: How much does geographical accident influence politics?

I have been wondering for a while how much of a role geographical accident plays in politics.

When I first decided to get involved with politics a few years back I chose the Liberal Democrats because they were the party that most closely matched my views. In my local area, the party did not have any council seats but there are a small group of very dedicated and experienced local members and campaigners who have fought a number of local and national elections with alacrity since I joined.

The situation, though, has got me thinking about how political careers are nurtured and …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments

Opinion: The progressive case for aligning pension ages across the public and private sectors‏

The government is pressing ahead with plans to align pension ages across the public and private sectors. By 2020, both men and women in the private sector will have their retirement ages aligned at 66. But if the public sector is left unreformed, many people working within it would still be able to retire with their public sector pension available from the age of 60 or 65 (depending on whether they are male or female).

There is a progressive case to be made for aligning the public and private sector in this respect. Recent research has shown that currently the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments
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