Author Archives: NewsHound

LibLink: Norman Lamb – Supporting general practice

Norman LambThe GP magazine has run a piece by Lib Dem health minister Norman Lamb on the party’s plans to support general practice.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Liberal Democrats are proud to have ringfenced health spending over the course of this Parliament. With an ageing population, and emerging medical challenges, such as the growth in long-term conditions, facing our health service it may be a given that protecting health spending is a sensible thing to do.

That was not, however, the case in 2010. The coalition has made sure that we have protected the health budget, but the Labour party said that this was irresponsible, and in Wales have cut the health budget by 8%. Sadly, on this crucial area there is simply not consensus.

When faced with these emerging challenges what is needed is to look at how we approach providing health care. We need big shifts in care: from repair to prevention, from fragmentation to integration, from impersonal to personal. That is why we are committed to providing better care, closer to home, and combining health and social care budgets. We also want to see more joined up care – hospitals working with GPs, district nurses and social care workers. There is also an opportunity to better utilise technology in our health service, but at the heart of any changes will be GPs.

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Danny Alexander: “We would all be diminished by Scottish independence”

imageWith just a month to go before the referendum on Scottish independence, Danny Alexander gave an interview to yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph emphasising that a vote for independence would be forever and that he would be “desperately sad” to see the UK, with its strong social and economic ties, break up.

He suggested that people from other parts of the UK could urge their family and friends in Scotland to vote No on September 18th.

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LibLInk: Lord (Paul) Tyler – Just Deserts?

Paul TylerOver at Lords of the Blogs, Lib Dem peer Paul Tyler gives short shrift to the complaints of his parliamentary colleagues complaining that the red benches cannot accommodate the 22 new peers appointed last week:

What a nerve! If on 10th July 2012, having given the Government’s Bill a huge second reading majority, those very same MPs had allowed it to make progress, this alleged problem would have been solved. Egged on by Peers and journalists, they broke their manifesto promises to bring democracy to the Lords by playing party games. Had the Reform Bill passed, political appointments would have ceased by now and we would be preparing for the first election of 120 members representing every region and nation of the UK, next year. The choice was theirs two years ago: popular election or party patronage. They are now getting what they asked for.

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LibLink: Shirley Williams on a role for Europe in solving the Gaza crisis

Many thanks to Paul Walter for bringing our attention to this piece, written by Baroness Shirley Williams for the Guardian last week.

In it, she calls for a more activist stance by the European Union, given her view that America is not, and cannot be, an effective mediator between the two sides in the Gaza crisis.

The EU, as the main financier of the Palestinian Authority, is in a position to influence the PLO and to work with the Arab League on a settlement. The US remains Israel’s essential ally, but as a mediator is hobbled by the dependence of its

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LibLink: Tessa Munt – Why I’m boycotting Israeli goods and services

Tessa Munt photo by Keith EdkinsTessa Munt, Lib Dem MP for Wells in Somerset, has explained over at her own website why she’s taken the decision to boycott Israeli goods and services:

This summer, the majority of people I meet out and about are disturbed, upset and angry. It’s clear that Israel has crossed a line. It’s not ok to drop bombs on civilians and the sight of parents carrying the remains of their small children in plastic bags is sickening. Bombed hospitals and schools, an entire population stunned and damaged is criminal. It simply cannot be justified.

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Norman Baker: in profile

normanbakerThe latest Total Politics magazine has a profile of Lib Dem health home office minister Norman Baker. Here’s a snippet:

at the Home Office, Baker’s relationship with his boss Theresa May has developed into one of mutual respect. (May apparently told Baker early on that she didn’t know where the “spitting tacks” comment had come from.) According to one fellow MP: “He probably likes her because she stands up to Number 10. For her part, Theresa May doesn’t suffer fools gladly. It would’ve leaked out if she was unhappy with him.”

Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

“Homeowners could get payout if house values fall” – Nick Clegg on garden cities

In an unexpected intervention – an interview on BBC’s “Countryfile”, Nick Clegg has suggested that existing homeowners in areas where new garden cities are to be built could be compensated for any fall in value that might be caused by the building work;

We could maybe give deductions on council tax over a period of time during which the garden city is being built, we could possibly also say to those homeowners where they think the price of their homes will be effected, we will guarantee the price of their home, by buying it, if you like, up front.”

The …

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LibLink: Norman Baker – I want to see the end of all animal testing

Norman BakerIt is, perhaps, unusual for a minister to declare that he or she would like to see the end of part, or all, of their job. But then, Norman Baker isn’t necessarily your average minister. It is ironic that, given his record as an anti-vivisection campaigner, he was given responsibility for the regulation of animal experimentation. In an interview with BBC News, he said that he wants to see an end to such testing, although he understands that it “would not happen tomorrow”.

Unexpectedly perhaps, the number of experiments using …

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LibLink: Julian Huppert – We can’t tackle revenge porn using existing laws

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem PPC for CambridgeLib Dem MP for Cambridge Julian Huppert has wirtten an article at Politics.co.uk explaining why he’s supportive of a new law to make revenge porn illegal. First, he sets out why the it’s a problem that needs tackling:

These images were typically taken with consent, or by the victim themselves – but there was no consent for them to be broadcast to everyone, but rather an expectation that they would be kept secret. This causes immense harm to the victims – the shame and humiliation of

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LibLink: Nick Clegg – Israel must open talks with Hamas

Clegg Speech 40Writing for today’s Guardian Nick Clegg has this to say about the ongoing conflict in Gaza:

The daily images of human torment in Gaza have been harrowing and heartbreaking. More than 1,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed. Were it not for international aid rations, half the population would be without food. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are seeking shelter in UN schools – and even these offer little safety.

It is difficult to deny that Israel’s military action appears disproportionate and, combined with the Gaza blockade, is resulting

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael – Independence vote is far too important to shun

AlistairCarmichaelWriting in the Scottish Daily Record, Alistair Carmichael praises that paper’s “Missing Million” campaign.

It seems 300,000 people have not registered to vote, and many others will probably not turn out on referendum day.  The paper had already been urging readers to exercise their vote, with a 16 page pullout yesterday, and they are now actively tracking people who are not on the roll.

Alistair writes:

The Daily Record. There’s a reason it’s called Scotland’s Champion and the “missing million” campaign shows why.

On September 18, you, I and every other eligible voter will have

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LibLink: Alex Proud – “If you believe politicians are useless, you’ll end up with useless politicians”

In the Telegraph today, Alex Proud — who self-describes as “A lapsed Liberal and a rugged, Gladstonian Liberal who likes free markets and the odd gunboat, but a Liberal nonetheless” — reflects on his recent meeting with Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes:

… sitting between Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg I was reminded for the first time in ages just how inspiring good politicians can be. They force us to think outside the box of our own petty concerns and project ourselves onto a national and even global stage. They remind us that we can change the world for the better. They actually made me feel like a teenager again – raging against Thatcher while still admiring her steeliness and her ability to bend the country to her will. Dare I say it, they even ignited a spark of nostalgia for a time before my birth, when we felt we could stand up to dictators, end war and make the next generation fairer and healthier.

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The Right Hon Norman Lamb MP

LDV awards norman lambNo, that isn’t an error.

Norman Lamb has just been made a member of the Privy Council, which entitles him to be given the Right Hon treatment.  That privilege is automatically bestowed on Cabinet ministers, the Leader of the Opposition and senior judges, but other ministers are added from time to time.

From my research (ie a quick look at Wikipedia), I have discovered that the Privy Council advises the monarch, and in the past was the most powerful body in the country. Today, its powers have been transferred to the Cabinet, which technically is a committee of the Privy Council.

Membership is for life and at present there are 600 members of the Privy Council.  They only meet in full on the death of a monarch, or, intriguingly, when the Monarch gets engaged, which last happened in 1939.

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Baroness Barker: Nicky Morgan’s appointment “disappointing”

Protest against a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriageThe appointment of former treasury minister Nicky Morgan to the post of education secretary and minister for women and equalities has come under fire from Liberal Democrat peer Elizabeth Barker given Morgan’s recent opposition to same sex marriage (though it should be pointed out that the responsibility for the implementation of same sex marriage has been given to skills and enterprise minister Nick Boles).

Pink News has the story:

Speaking to PinkNews, Baroness Barker said: “It is good to see equalities firmly within education,

photo by: Fibonacci Blue
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LibLink: Stephen Tall: Early stages of Labour

Photo by Riots Panel - Riots Communities and Victims Panel receptionOur Stephen Tall has written a column for Total Politics in which he suggests that the Liberal Democrat manifesto next year will have much more in common with Labour than the Conservatives.

First he sets the scene in the wake of the European and local election results and the Oakeshott coup:

Clegg knows he needs to do more than just survive. Limping towards 2015, acknowledged to be a survival election for the Lib Dems, won’t be good enough. He must inspire the troops that a great liberal victory is possible (or, more realistically, that a truly awful defeat can be avoided).

So Clegg’s sought to re-focus the party’s sights on the 2015 election.

photo by:
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++Ian Swales MP to stand down at next election ‘for personal reasons’

Photo by Keith Edkins - 640px-Ian_Swales_at_Sheffield_2011GazetteLive has the details:

Redcar MP Ian Swales is to stand down at the next General Election.

The Liberal Democrat, who was elected in 2010, said the decision was due to personal reasons.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my local area in Parliament,” he added.

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Nick Clegg: £104 million investment is an important day for Hull

City HallWho’d have thought Nick Clegg would write for the Daily Mail? Well, actually, not THAT one, but the Hull Daily Mail about the Government’s £104 million investment in local infrastructure which will be spent on transport links, housing and flood defences. It’s a Liberal Democrat initiative to have local councils and communities decide where money is best spent – good old fashioned liberal decentralisation.

He talked about how he has put his vision into practice:

I wanted to see every part of Britain given more freedom than at the start of this

photo by:
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Tessa Munt speaks out about being sexually abused as a child

Tessa Munt photo by Keith EdkinsThe Western Daily Press has the story:

An MP who campaigned for an inquiry into historical paedophile allegations has revealed how she was sexually abused as a child.

Tessa Munt told how she kept silent for decades about the abuse because she feared she would not be believed.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Why politicians need to get tech savvy – or get left behind

web snoopers charterWe know that Tim Farron is an early adopter of new technologies. Just look at him on Twitter.  He’s written for the Huffington Post about how important it is that policy makers keep up with technological changes. He also outed himself as doing something we’d not really expect of him:

So while catching up with the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty, my ears pricked up during a talk by Joanna Shields, Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister. We live in a world where a three year old can be more

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Does George Osborne really want to derail the future of our planet?

Earth Day 2007 - Atlantic ReflectionTim Farron was on punchy form when taking on George Osborne’s lack of ambition on climate change in an article in the Independent this week. He did not mince his words:

Osborne’s destructive rationale for overspending on our planned carbon budget is this: without a new strategy agreed, the UK would be ahead of its planned share of emissions cuts within the EU. It can therefore weaken its ambitions and still meet the old targets – there is nothing holding us to the necessary action to tackle

photo by: FlyingSinger
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LibLink: Danny Alexander: A like-for-like Trident replacement isn’t justifiable in terms of security or cost

110301-N-7237C-009Danny Alexander has written for the Guardian in response to yesterday’s Trident Commission report. He continues to make the case that the policy passed at Liberal Democrat Conference last September, which cut the number of submarines was the right one for two reasons.

First of all, we don’t need continuous at sea deterrence because the nature of the world has changed:

During the cold war, there was a credible threat of a surprise massive attack against this country or Nato allies. Our nuclear forces needed to be available within minutes in order to give credibility to our policy of deterrence. This is why we maintained continuous at-sea deterrence; we kept at least one armed submarine on patrol 24/7, 365 days of the year. But the Berlin Wall has been down now for 25 years and the threat of “state on state” attack is much reduced.

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“The Guardian view on the Lib Dem Orange Book”

The GuardianAs we noted earlier this week, the tenth anniversary of the publication of The Orange Book was marked by a conference hosted by CentreForum on Tuesday. Today The Guardian publishes an editorial reflecting on the book’s impact a decade on. Here’s an excerpt:

The book certainly signalled that the Lib Dems were not – or not only – a party of protest for those who resented tuition fees or the Iraq war. The market-minded emphasis of David Laws, who proposed a social insurance model for the NHS in his essay,

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LibLink: Jenny Willott – Gender equality is not just for women

jenny willottJenny Willott has co-written an article at the Huffington Post with Michael Kimmel, a New York Professor of gender equality for the Huffington post. They argue that everybody benefits from a  more equal society.  They talk about how the evens they attend on gender equality are predominantly female and call on men to do what they can to campaign for equality:

Real equality will only come about with the active involvement of both men and women. The time has come for men to enter this debate, not as outsiders but as

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LibLink: Maajid Nawaz on the rise of ISIS and what the UK should do about it

Maajid Nawaz,Some rights reserved by RossFrenettHampstead and Kilburn PPC Maajid Nawaz has been writing for the Daily Mail in his day job role as Chair of the Quilliam Foundation. He looks at the rise of ISIS, the potential dangers for the UK and how we should respond.

The greatest challenge is how  to tackle the growing crisis.

First of all, direct Western military intervention would be extremely unwise in the current climate. That would be the greatest possible clarion call to unite jihadists under the ISIS banner.

Britain has up to 500 citizens

Posted in News | 27 Comments

LibLink: Robin Meltzer: Water cannon must not be allowed on the streets of London

License details  Released under the GNU Free Documentation License. (Original text : de:GNU-FDL)View moreNick Clegg made clear his opposition to the use of water cannon in London the other day on Call Clegg. He said:

Personally I think it rubs up against the long tradition of policing by consent on London’s streets. It creates an embattled sense of how police work and I don’t think it is in keeping with our long tradition.

Now Richmond Park’s Liberal Democrat candidate Robin Meltzer has added his voice to the

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LibLink: Norman Lamb: Volunteers play a key role in the health care system

Care in the home Some rights reserved by British Red Cross

Norman Lamb has been writing for the Eastern Daily Press about the importance of volunteering. He looks at the sorts of things people can do and the difference it makes. He sees spending time with others as a very important part of keeping people healthy.

Last Friday I set off from my constituency office in North Walsham to visit an elderly lady I met through a local volunteering scheme. My job is to take her books from the

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LibLink: Jeremy Browne – The Lib Dems must define themselves more clearly

Jeremy Browne - Minister for Crime PreventionFormer Lib Dem minister, Jeremy Browne, fresh from publishing a book calling for the party to return to ‘authentic liberalism’, has issued a further plea in The Spectator for Lib Dems to get distinctive ahead of the 2015 election. Here’s an excerpt:

The Liberal Democrats will struggle to command support in this marketplace without having a sharp definition. The appeal of cautious centrism is limited. …

Where is the demand for a tepid Milibandism or a watered-down Cameronism? Why buy the low calorie version when the full-flavour

photo by: ukhomeoffice
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LibLink: Sam Ghibaldan: Clegg needs to be assertive

Clegg on OsbourneI’m not going to lie, I bet a lot of you are thinking Sam who? Chances are if you live in Scotland, you’ll be less curious because you will know that he was a Senior Special Adviser to Scottish Liberal Democrat Deputy First Ministers Jim Wallace and Nicol Stephen. As such, his perspective on who the Liberal Democrats should proceed in the run up to the General Election is highly relevant. In a recent Scotsman column, he said that Nick Clegg needs to get out there and shout about our core beliefs.

Some of the headlines faced by Nick Clegg were also seen in Scotland:

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Liblink: Stephen Williams on zero carbon homes by 2016

Stephen Williams MPThe Queen’s speech tomorrow will include a Lib Dem commitment to make every new home built in England from 2016 zero carbon. As Stephen Williams says:

This was one of Nick’s earliest environmental priorities and it has taken the combined guile and will power of Sir Andrew Stunell, Don Foster and myself as well as Nick’s dogged determination to make it a reality.

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Clegg: I will survive

Posted in News | Tagged | 40 Comments



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