Author Archives: Mike Tuffrey

Now is the time…. to come to the aid of the party

 

Most of us are still coming to terms with the general election, but democracy waits for no disappointed politician. Straight away in London we must get candidates in place for the May 2016 elections to the Greater London Authority.

Adverts have just been published for selection to London Mayor and London Assembly list (11 members) and constituencies (14 members). The timetable is tight to get a mayoral candidate and list members in the field by early September, as the other parties are doing, with the constituencies running in parallel.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Conference: Nuclear power – the raw politics

SizewellWill the Lib Dems ditch their historic opposition to nuclear power? That debate is set to be one of the main flashpoints at the Glasgow conference. New polling evidence – published here for the first time – shows the outcome will affect support among key voter groups – ‘our market’, as the jargon goes – with all that means for key seats and the overall result of the next election.

Of course the debate itself will be about technical details: how nuclear technology can be called safe when no solution has yet been found for waste that remains lethally radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years; whether the promise of no public subsidy can be true if Brussels has to approve funding guarantees as “state aid”; and how renewables will ever gain critical mass if the high costs of nuclear crowds out resources and public funding for newer technologies?

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Tagged and | 10 Comments

The Green Book – new directions for Liberals in government

green-bookYesterday saw the launch of a book project that I’ve been working on with colleagues over the last year. Between us, we persuaded 27 authors to put pen to paper and say what should be in a programme for government, one that’s fit for the world we live in today. Some 70 people from business, NGOs, academia, think-tanks and political parties joined us in Westminster for the launch.

Our choice of the title “Green Book” is a very conscious nod towards the Orange Book of a decade ago and indeed Lloyd George’s Yellow Book – really authored by John Maynard Keynes – 85 years ago. Last week I wrote how times have changed since then.

Each author has a specific point of view but all were united in saying we can’t go on as we are, both as a country and as a party. As editors, we were clear that the LibDems are now a party of national government; we need a programme to put before the voters that’s frank about the challenges Britain faces: the first industrialised nation that has largely exhausted its natural resources and now has to compete for energy, food and raw materials with the burgeoning economies of India, Brazil and China.

Posted in Books, News and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Yellow, orange, green… time for new book, and a different approach

Back in 1928, publication of The Yellow Book – the report of a party inquiry “Britain’s Industrial Future” – provided the basis for Lloyd George’s 1929 general election programme “We can conquer unemployment!”. It put the party firmly in the camp of an interventionist economic strategy, with John Maynard Keynes as its intellectual lodestar. With the Great Depression ranging, the party firmly rejected laisser-faire liberalism.

Come 2004 and the Orange Book -subtitled Reclaiming Liberalism and edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall – challenged what some were calling nanny-state liberalism. It promoted choice and competition and argued that the Liberal Democrats …

Posted in Books, News and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 8 Comments

Opinion: The making of a manifesto – why this time it’s about gut instinct, not policies

The days of being the ‘nice party’ – the all-things-to-all-people party – are well and truly over. Sharing in government has seen to that. Thankfully, contributors at the Lib Dem Voice fringe meeting in Brighton, about the next manifesto, were commendably realistic. Discussion focused on suggestions for new signature policies, like a penny on tax for education of yesteryear or (say it softly) tuition fees last time.

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | 32 Comments

Opinion: Good news on affordable housing, but spare me the house builders’ crocodile tears – their share prices have doubled

Winning an extra £300m from the Treasury for affordable housing and tackling empty homes is good news by any standard (well done, Andrew Stunell, and thanks for all you did at DCLG). Moving forward on the £10 billion government guarantees for infrastructure spending is positive too. And if the Montague Review to encourage private renting is implemented, that’s proof patience can be rewarded…. I spent ten years on the London Assembly calling for both Labour and Conservative mayors to act. Back in June I had put housing at the heart of a four-point plan for a sustainable recovery. So it is great to see this issue come to the fore.

But forgive me for not believing the crocodile tears from developers about how they can’t afford to start work on ‘commercially unviable’ sites. The Times just revealed they’ve been quietly squirreling away land banks big enough for a quarter of a million homes. Not unviable, so much as slightly less massively profitable. Just look at their share prices. They’ve doubled over the last year even before the boost this announcement gave them (Taylor Wimpey up from 30p to 54p; Barratt up from 76p to 150p; Persimmon up from 425p to 700p). Yes, doubled. Not bumping along the bottom, like the rest of the economy.

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

Opinion: Nothing to fear but fear itself

Mike Tuffrey seeks inspiration from Roosevelt in advocating a four point plan for a sustainable economic recovery.

With all the depressing news about the economy, I can recommend a re-reading of the inaugural address of newly-elected President Franklin D Roosevelt, given in the depths of the Depression on March 4, 1933. Aside from his well-known call to arms against fear itself, he did a nice (and topical) line in banker-bashing too: “Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men”.

Posted in London and Op-eds | Tagged | 7 Comments
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    Build our independent economy on hi-tech industries as over 40 of the world's most eminent applied scientists, including 8-Nobel Laureates told the Blair government during...
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    @Matt, I think it was David Cameron who said he would honour the result of his referendum.
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    @AndrewR - interesting question. As I read Art 50* once notification has been given then the treaties cease to apply on two years from that...
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