Author Archives: NewsHound

Lib Dems poll 20% among children and young people

Thanks to York Membery for pointing us in the direction of the First News election poll. The newspaper aimed at children polled its readers and found that the Liberal Democrats are on 20%, which compares very well with our current poll ratings of rather less than that.

The Tories were only able to muster 27%, while Labour were ahead with 32%. The Greens took 15%.

This shows that there is definitely hope for the future.

It’s interesting to see that so many young children have a good impression of us, especially as …

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Voter to Jo Swinson: “We’ve missed you”

The New Statesman has a profile of the East Dunbartonshire seat where Jo Swinson is hoping to regain the seat she lost to the SNP in 2015.

It’s clear that she is held in great affection by the voters:

The Liberal Democrat candidate is happy to play on her personal connection to the constituency where she was raised. This election has come so soon after the last one, at which Swinson lost the seat to the SNP, that she can run on her record. She had a reputation as a hard-working local representative, and voters seem to have retained a remarkable fondness for her. One young mum I encounter confirms Swinson has her vote, and then adds: “I feel connected to you. We’ve missed you.”

Another supporter admits that Swinson’s personality is swaying her choice. She dismisses sitting MP John Nicolson – “I don’t like him. Jo did more for us” – before turning to Swinson and softly saying: “I’m so glad you’re back.”

It’s impossible to tell if there are tears in Swinson’s eyes as she steps away from the doorstep, or just drops from the relentless rain. “When you’ve lost your seat and you know you worked hard, you know it’s not personal,” she says. “But still it’s nice when people actually say stuff like that and confirm it.”

And the New Statesman is on to the SNP’s spurious claims (which they are making in Edinburgh West and North East Fife too) that it’s the Tories that are their main opposition. 

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Why the Liberal Democrats believe a legal, regulated cannabis market would improve public health

Nick Clegg has been writing in the BMJ outlining our position on Cannabis.

He compares criminalisation of drugs to the prohibition of alcohol in the States:

Far from controlling and eliminating alcohol use, the “noble experiment” of prohibition drove users towards increasingly potent and dangerous drinks. With no regulatory levers in place except the threat of arrest (which had to be set against the promise of handsome profits for those who defied the law), there was no effective way to control the market. The ensuing public health crisis was one of the key motivations behind the repeal of prohibition in 1933, when President Roosevelt signed a new law allowing the sale of beer with a maximum alcohol content of 4%.

For spirits in 1926, read “skunk” in 2017. “Skunk” is a direct result of prohibition. New cultivation methods have pushed up potency over the past 20 years. Just as 1920s-era bootleggers didn’t bother to produce and smuggle high volume, low alcohol beer, so the illicit cannabis industry has responded to criminal enforcement by developing products that maximise profit, with no consideration for the health of its customers.

He goes on to talk about the merits of regulation:

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Frank Bruno to campaign for Norman Lamb today

Norman Lamb has the endorsement of a heavyweight today. Frank Bruno, who is a great supporter of Norman’s work as health minister although he doesn’t support any political party, is visiting North Norfolk to campaign for him.

From the Eastern Daily Press:

Since meeting Mr Lamb during his time as a Health Minister, the pair have worked together on a number of initiatives to improve mental health support.

Bruno, who is not party political, is a long-time ambassador for people suffering from mental health problems and has spoken of his own experiences with bipolar disorder and will join Mr Lamb on the campaign trail.

The pair have worked together on a number of initiatives to improve mental health support.

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Paul Keetch obituary in the Telegraph

The Telegraph has published an obituary of former Liberal Democrat MP Paul Keetch who died last week at the age of 56.

Locally-born and a former city councillor, Keetch built on the efforts of previous Liberal candidates – among them Sir Robin Day. He ousted the long-serving and highly regarded Sir Colin Shepherd by 6,648 votes when the national anti-Conservative swing became irresistible, then fought hard to hold the seat, his majorities in 2001 and 2005 being 968 and 962 respectively.

Keetch was an assiduous party defence spokesman from 1999 to 2005, when Charles Kennedy dropped him. His main concern was the SAS, based in his constituency, but he became a tenacious campaigner on service welfare issues, with the interests of other ranks particularly at heart. It was Keetch who ascertained prior to the Iraq War that half the troops heading for the Gulf had refused a voluntary anthrax jab. He probed, uncomfortably for the MoD, why only three officers had been caught by drug tests, compared with 3,400 junior ranks. Keetch suspected the military had done its best not to test officers.

He also championed the cider industry, which was in the doldrums when he founded the All-Party Cider Group in 1997. Bulmer’s of Hereford recovered soon after on the back of a marketing campaign for Magner’s Irish cider, halting a situation in which many Herefordshire growers were grubbing up their orchards. In 2007 cider overtook beer in off-licence sales.

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LibLink: Brian Paddick: The Liberal Democrat plan in the fight against terrorism

Brian Paddick has written a piece for the Huffington Post about the Liberal Democrat ideas to tackle terrorism in the wake of the appalling atrocity in Manchester.

At times like this received wisdom is that Liberals should stay quiet and allow others to offer tough solutions and new laws to eradicate violent extremism and terrorism. Us bleeding-heart liberals have nothing to say and should stick to hand-wringing. That is wrong.

If we want to continue to live in an open, democratic society that values freedom and civil liberties we must accept that we can never be 100% safe, but that doesn’t mean we do nothing either.

The first is about stopping people becoming radicalised in the first place – and that means getting rid of Prevent:

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Jo Swinson’s election car-share

It is a truth pretty much universally acknowledged that East Dunbartonshire is one of the key battlegrounds and best hopes for a Lib Dem gain in the UK. Our Jo Swinson is fighting to regain the seat she lost to the SNP in 2015. I’ve been in the constituency twice this week and have been impressed by the number of Jo Swinson posters in people’s gardens. It feels much more visible than it did back in 2005 when she was first elected.

The Scottish Sun has done an election car-share type thing with her in which she talks about life in and out of politics – including her early days of campaigning back at school.

I tell you what I did crusade on at my school Douglas Academy. I was on the school council and one of the campaigns I ran was for uniforms to be changed so that girls could wear trousers if they wanted to.

“I didn’t particularly want to wear trousers but I thought it a matter of principle. I made my case about how it would be warmer if they could wear them in the winter.

“And I remember the assistant head saying to me quite pointedly, ‘Well it might be warmer than a very short skirt’.

She also talked about her experience working in the lingerie department of Marks and Spencer’s.

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