Author Archives: NewsHound

LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott: Letter from a disunited kingdom

Former Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott ahs written an open letter to his former Brussels colleagues explaining from a pro-EU British perspective what the hell is going on over here.

As you all know, what started as former prime minister David Cameron’s attempt to pacify the UKIP tendency within the Conservative party – the reason I left it – has resulted in the dominance of that group in the Theresa May administration, and their determination to push for a hard Brexit – and as soon as possible. Do not underestimate their determination to sever all ties with the EU at whatever cost to the UK: they are ideologues, mostly inspired by what they believe is Thatcherism, but in reality in many ways resembles 1930s political extremism.

As a lifelong pro-European, with 30 years as an MEP, the last ten as a Vice-President, I know most of the key players on both sides of the argument in Britain, and many of the EU politicians too. I urge you to ignore the ideologues and listen to the silent majority: in a recent poll, 56 per cent said they do not want Theresa May’s Hard Brexit.

Today I am one of many in the UK campaigning not just for the British parliament to have a meaningful role in all the stages ahead and also for an “outcome” referendum if and when the negotiations produce an agreement.

So why did Leave win?

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Nick Clegg: The EU is facing a liberal insurgence. Now is not the time for Britain to leave

Nick Clegg has been writing for the Independent in the wake of the Dutch elections in which the racist populist Geert Wilders didn’t do as well as expected. He recounted a family gathering in the Netherlands at Christmas time.

What was striking when we were talking about the Dutch elections, however, was almost everyone around the table wanted to cast a vote that provided the best guarantee of keeping Wilders out of power. For most, that seemed to point towards supporting Mark Rutte, the affable and skilled Dutch PM, even if they’d never voted for him before.

It worked and the lesson, he finds, from D66’s success is not to pander to populism. Be yourself.

The polarisation of politics along new lines – no longer left vs right, but now open vs closed – is mobilising voters against right-wing populism. We are witnessing the beginnings of a liberal backlash against the backlash against liberalism. Of course, it wasn’t just Mark Rutte’s VVD which benefited, but other parties too.

D66, the second Liberal party in the Netherlands (lucky Dutch to have two liberal options) did well, surging to almost level pegging in the polls with Geert Wilders and adding seven seats to their tally in the Dutch Parliament. D66 are, ideologically, most similar to the Liberal Democrats in Britain. Alexander Pechtold, their experienced leader, told me when we met how he was going to run an unapologetically pro-European campaign. He was not going to bend to the populist times. His decision paid off handsomely.

And he sees the chance of reforms that would make British voters want to stay in the EU.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , and | 35 Comments

LibLink: Jo Swinson: if we lose focus, progress on gender equality can easily be lost

Jo Swinson has written a piece for the Huffington Post as part of their “All women everywhere” series in which she warns that progress on gender equality is under threat.

The chairman of Tesco’s board may feel that white men making up three quarters of his board constitutes being an “endangered species” but Jo sees the progress she made as a minister being eroded:

With the efforts of Vince Cable, Lord Davies, Helena Morrissey and many others we drove women’s representation in FTSE boardrooms up to record levels, yet Egon Zehnder found that the proportion of women appointed to Boards in 2016 actually decreased. The Equality & Human Rights Commission finding last year that 54,000 women a year lose their jobs due to pregnancy and maternity discrimination is shocking in itself, but even more so when you consider that this figure has almost doubled since 2005.

In all the metrics about how many years it will take to achieve gender equality in any given field we are used to depressingly distant dates like 2067 or 2095. For women in technology the answer to when equality will be achieved if current trends continue is never.

Some men, she remarks, see a tiny number of women in power as a threat. She wrote this before the Tesco Chairman’s comments so clearly proved her point but she cited the usual social media whinging about International Women’s Day:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: I don’t want my 3 sons to grow up in a world where girls feel second rate

Another Lib Dem woman who inspires many – in fact, she makes a mission of Inspiring Women is Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.

She has written for the Telegraph about the need for men and women to work together to make life better for the next generation of boys and girls.

She outlines the threats to hard-won progress:

In the US, President Donald Trump is putting into question women’s reproductive rights; in Russia, laws are being considered to decriminalise some aspects of domestic violence.

Just last week, a Polish MEP declared that women should earn less than men because they are “weaker, smaller and less intelligent.” Breitbart, the right-wing website pioneered by Steve Bannon, now Trump’s chief strategist, has claimed that birth control makes women unattractive and crazy. And so on.

Women still suffer from society’s expectations:

Posted in LibLink | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

LibLink: Willie Rennie: Lib Dems will make case for public vote on Brexit deal even after Article 50 is triggered

Willie Rennie, writing in the Perthshire Advertiser has made the case for a vote on the Brexit Deal. People can change their minds, he said, like the public did over Iraq. He reminds us that Charles Kennedy was vilified for his anti-war stance but he was vindicated in the end. And even if the government refuses to do something, it can be made to think again:

If you think about the fuel duty protests in the year 2000. There was a UK Government with a majority of 179 in the House of Commons. It didn’t have to have an election for two years. But it still changed its policy in response to an evident change of public mood.

A Brexit deal referendum would be the right and democratic thing to do. When they look back at this time our grandchildren will be perplexed that we did not take our time and ask ourselves the question if we really wanted this.

If the Brexit deal is damaging to jobs, the economy, our environment and the country’s security why would we not ask the British people. Why should we let bureaucrats and politicians behind closed doors make decisions that will have an impact on generations to come? Liberal Democrats will provide the focus for a democratic mandate that lets the British public have a say.

When Willie was MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, he was a member of the Defence Select Committee. He had some observations to make about Britain’s place in the world:

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Newby: Brexiteers will not intimidate the Lords

In an interview for The House magazine, Lib Dem Lords leader Dick Newby has said that support in the Lords is growing for a referendum on the Brexit deal. However, he says that even if that amendment is lost, the campaign for the people, not MPs or the Government, to have a final say on the deal, will continue:

But the fight for a second vote will not stop once Article 50 has been triggered, Newby insists. Indeed, “it’s just the beginning”, he adds, saying the Great Repeal Bill and other Brexit legislation could be amended. In the meantime, the Lib Dems will be campaigning across the country arguing the case for a do over.

Newby says it would be “implausible” for MPs not to grant a second referendum if public opinion shifts in favour of Remain in the coming months. Parliament bequeathed the decision on EU membership to the public once, why would it prevent it again, he queries.

“We will look at every opportunity to get this provision for a vote of the people at the end,” he declares. But are Tony Blair, who has called on Remainers to “rise up” against Brexit, peers et al the right figureheads of this movement? “I think that everybody involved in public life has a right to make the argument, but this is a people’s issue now… it’s not in the hands of the Commons.”

He was speaking before Monday’s vote in which an amendment calling for us to stay in the single market was lost because Labour peers were whipped to oppose it. There are still hopes that at least the right to remain for EU nationals will pass.

There has been a bit of an onslaught from the Brexiteers, predicting all manner of consequences if the Lords dares to do its job and scrutinise the Government’s legislation.  Dick says that peers won’t be overly bothered by the invective coming their way.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | Leave a comment

Kirsty Williams on building last year’s elections and building an education system that inspires pride and confidence

Kirsty Williams has been speaking to the South Wales Argus about her role as Education Secretary in the Welsh Government. She has great ambitions for the role.

I want to have an education system that the profession are proud of and parents and learners have confidence in.

That is quite a high bar, and she wants to work in partnership with those groups, unlike a certain former English education secretary whose tenure in office seemed to alienate everyone.

I am confident that by working together we can achieve my ultimate goal, which is to have a first-class education system for Wales and one which people around the world will want to come and look at, what were the changes we undertook and what were the reforms we put through that led to that system.

But I can’t do it on my own. I can only do it in partnership with parents, learners and educators.

What was it, though, that inspired Kirsty to get involved in politics as a young woman?

Growing up in Llanelli, Ms Williams cited watching family members working in the steel industry lose their jobs and seeing a lecture by Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Roy Jenkins, later a Lib Dem peer, as one of the biggest influences on her political development.

“I just remember listening to the lecture and thinking ‘I can’t say it in the same words he can but that’s the kind of community and society I want to live in’,” she said.

Being brought up in a family where politics was discussed and debated sparked her interest:

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 25th Mar - 11:07pm
    Red Liberal I was once in Labour, or twice ! Too social democrat for old Labour.Too liberal for New Labour ! I became what I...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 25th Mar - 11:00pm
    I understand and sympathise with the march. I do so with Bill above criticising the march to. As with the EU unless it reforms it...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 25th Mar - 10:49pm
    I understand what Ruth means even if some don't ! I think sometimes it is an age thing. Those of the Tim, Ruth, my own...
  • User AvatarFiona 25th Mar - 10:30pm
    Your logic is flawed Ben.
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 25th Mar - 10:24pm
    Tony I don't think you actually read the post - it was about keeping going and that London has seen it all and so much...
  • User AvatarTim13 25th Mar - 10:16pm
    Peter, I am surprised you say you haven't met anyone who likes closer integration or ever closer union. There are many of us - certainly...