Author Archives: Mike Biden

St George for Europe!

Let’s celebrate – it is St. George’s Day! St George is not only England’s but one of Europe’s most popular patron Saints. Today he will be celebrated across Europe, especially in Portugal, Malta and Romania where he is their national saint as well.

Far from being a unique icon of Englishness he is the very embodiment of how European the English are. He is celebrated and venerated by all the Christian traditions including Greek Orthodox, Catholic and the Church of England. He is also venerated in Islam and is therefore perfect for a modern forward looking internationalist country like England.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Let’s talk about peace

Almost all Liberal Democrats agree on the EU.  A remarkably high number give the same reason for their support – Peace. Securing peace was the primary goal of the Founding Fathers of the European Union. Making war unthinkable and impossible through economic integration and prosperity were the means to the end.  Peace and Prosperity.

The debate so far has focused on the economic arguments.  After years of political debate and endless studies it’s no surprise that the impact on the economy and our jobs is the top concern of most voters.

But polling shows peace is a decisive argument in favour of remaining in the EU.

It does not rate as highly and is mentioned only by those who are already supporters and some therefore draw the conclusion it is not useful to talk about it. I disagree. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 15 Comments

“An Engaged and Constructive” policy for Europe

 

Austin Rathe has launched a consultation of Lib Dem members on our views regarding the European Union and the forth-coming referendum. I was quick to reply.  As a long term supporter of the European Union and its aims and having played an active role in the European election campaign last year I have definite views.

The referendum is not simply about what we like and don’t like about the EU, but more fundamentally about what sort of country we want to be and what role we seek to play in world affairs. A recent study rated Britain as the world’s leader in “soft power”, a result that supports the view that Britain is the most influential country in the world.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 41 Comments

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 37 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoe Otten 30th Jun - 1:00pm
    Sound as always from Vince. I have resisted signing the petition for a rerun of the referendum for similar reasons. However, I don't think we...
  • User AvatarRoland 30th Jun - 1:00pm
    @david franks - I agree with your point, although I would include the UK press, in following their own agenda, have also contributed over the...
  • User AvatarJennie 30th Jun - 12:57pm
    You lost me at the immigration bit. Sorry, Vince.
  • User AvatarPeter Kemp 30th Jun - 12:53pm
    Add my house to the list :) 100% remain surrounded by leave ( I am in VERY conservative Broxbourne in Herts ) ;)
  • User AvatarMichael Beckett 30th Jun - 12:51pm
    A real tour de force on the way forward by Vince Cable.
  • User AvatarDavid-1 30th Jun - 12:41pm
    @Steamdrivenandy: I do not know from where you derive your figures, but according to polls, Leave voters were considerably less than half of Labour (11%...