Author Archives: Mike Biden

Opinion: Let’s talk about the candidates

Nick Clegg made a fine speech in Eastleigh on Monday morning recalling the fighting spirit that saw us win a famous victory.  He made a good case for why voters should vote for the Liberal Democrats with references to our Labour and Conservative opponents. He gave our activists and volunteers much needed encouragement to make a final push before polling day. But one thing he did not mention was our excellent candidates.

One of the best reasons for voting Lib Dem in one of our 60 target seats is the outstanding calibre and proven track record of many of our candidates. It is not just the party that has proved itself over the past five years, it is our MPs themselves.

Over the past five years our MPs have built an outstanding record of individual achievements. The roll of honour is long and it is always possible to find someone that any voter will admire, whether it be Steve Webb on pensions, Danny Alexander in the Treasury or Ed Davey on Green Energy or Lynn Featherstone on FGM and Jo Swinson on Gender Equality or Vince at the Department of Business or Norman Lamb on Mental Health – it is not just the issues we have tackled but the people who have done the hard work who are recognised.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 29 Comments

Opinion: The case for a “Great Reform Pact”

The election draws near and the battle lines are being set -but they are being laid down on the principles of old, whilst the country cries out for change.  More than anything, voters yearn for responsive local Government and not authoritarian diktats from afar in London or Brussels. They want their voices heard. The two party system is broken but our democracy remains in the past.

We need leadership and a vision of a modern democracy that will give people a real say and the freedom to act.

Do Clegg and Milliband have the statesmanship to seize a unique opportunity this May? All the leaders know that in all probability they will have to do a deal after the election if they want to be in or share power.  So why not do a deal now, before the election?  If the Labour, Green and Liberal Democrats come together in an electoral pact there is every chance they will win a clear majority of MPs.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 82 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrat messages

Liberal democratsCongratulations to Ryan Coetzee and his team for giving us the official new Government policy of a ‘Stronger Economy and a Fairer Society’.

The problem with a really good line like that and similar advertising slogans such as “It’s Good to Talk” is that they become not just commonly accepted and universally recognised but they also become generic. As such they completely lose their power to influence choice or differentiate one product from another.  “It’s Good to Talk” ended up not only promoting BT but also selling a lot of mobile phones for their competitors. I know – it was my budget as the Sales & Marketing Director that paid for the campaign.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 30 Comments

Opinion: The messenger or the message?

nick_clegg_vince_cable_budget_2009_bCoalition government is very tough on the junior party.  No surprise there. The prize, in our case, was lots of our favourite policies implemented – something we haven’t achieved for 100 years. The downside is a massive amount of negative media coverage.

Your coalition allies hate you because they see you as imposing policies on them. The opposition see it as an open goal, a chance to squeeze you out of the next election.  It is a two party nut-cracker with the potential to crush us.  The voracious appetite of the press pack has a constant supply of stories.

photo by: Nick-Clegg
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 37 Comments

Opinion: Why do UKIP and the ONS ignore my son?

UKIP logoAbsolutely fed up with UKIP quoting only one side of the story – they have done it for years over the cost of the EU without taking into account the cash returns through the CAP, research grants etc.- I decided last night to check the immigration statistics.

Latest figures appear to be 27th February 2014 from the ONS. The ONS, like UKIP, conveniently forgets that Britain is IN the EU. British migrants, such as my son who went to work in Paris two and half years ago …

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Opinion: Astra-Zeneca and a Fairer Society

PfizerThe approach by Pfizer to acquire Astra-Zeneca raises yet again the question of what criteria should be used to evaluate the merits of large international corporate acquisitions.  I would argue that too often the real issues are lost in xenophobic arguments about the loss of national champions – though that is a legitimate concern in this instance.

No compelling rationale for this merger has been put forward.  The Directors of Astra-Zeneca do not see one. Straight forward commercial agreements between the companies to buy and sell individual assets, drugs patents or to …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 29 Comments

Opinion: Is Europe “falling behind” – or is it leading the way?

Where did George Osborne get his figures from? Who writes his speeches?

A quick look at Wikipedia offers four sources of data for GDP per capita in 2012.  The first and simplest comes from the IMF (as it omits odd places such as Monaco and Liechtenstein).

Of the top 30 no less than 14 are members of the EU, 7 are major oil producers, 3 are the great trading hubs of  Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland and the remaining 6 are Australia, Canada, United States, Japan, Iceland, and Israel.

At 23rd in the list the UK is …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Leveson – Do we need a new Court of Appeal?

It looks like we are going to get a new Code of Practice and a system of voluntary self-regulation by the press. But is that all we need? Shami Chakrabati wrote an instructive objection to the concept of “legal underpinning” and has subsequently said she “would rather leave the question of whether the tests are met to the courts and not to involve a quango . . .” (such as Ofcom). As one of the six advisors to the commission and an expert in Human Rights Law, she is in a good position to comment. What is

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 2 Comments

Leveson: a devastating case for changing the status quo

Leveson has made a devastating case for changing the status quo of press regulation. A system which abuses many innocent people in an “outrageous” way must be reformed.

History shows us that this is a repetitive problem. In their pursuit of sensational stories, in order to sell more copies, editors and journalists eventually go too far, their behaviour sinks so low that there is a scandal, and action is taken to restore the rule of law and acceptable standards. The system works but at a terrible price including many individuals whose lives are ruined.

The challenge issued by Leveson is to improve the system, to introduce an innovation that retains the integrity of the press and yet provides the protection of the law to individuals.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 23rd May - 8:09am
    Interesting background socio-political analysis from Guy immediately followed by Bill le Breton's excellent comments and (Gareth Epps) links. I will be visiting/revisiting these over the...
  • User AvatarHelen Dudden 23rd May - 7:51am
    A country with history. Things are not easy there at present, again, not an article. I comment on Brussels 11a and the Hague Convention it...
  • User AvatarTCO 23rd May - 7:22am
    @Alex Macfie yes I'm well aware of the Liberal Revival starting in local government. But basing any hopes of national revival on that track is...
  • User AvatarTCO 23rd May - 6:56am
    @Mark Argent that's a very perceptive analysis. There's a seductive line of thought that wishes to "takes us back to the days of Kennedy" when,...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 23rd May - 1:44am
    What truly bothers me is that we have part of the UK government essentially spying on the Scottish government (via the French!), and everyone seems...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 23rd May - 1:33am
    Roland: "It’s a oath of allegiance not some aspirational mumbo jumbo." No, it is. That's exactly what it is. The problem is that you don't...
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