Author Archives: Nick T

Is income inequality in the UK growing?

We have yet to see the full text of all the motions to be debated at Spring Conference in York, but it appears that this motion on economic policy has been selected.

There is much in the motion I agree with, and some places where I think it is lacking, but it was this line in particular that caught my attention, in the “conference notes…” section:

growing inequalities in wealth and income, coupled with unfair and regressive action against the poorest people in the country, now exacerbated by the assault on welfare spending.

It struck me because the most recent analyses of income inequality in the UK that I have recently read have concluded that the trend since the early 1990s is of broadly stable levels of income inequality, with falling levels after the financial crash of 2008/9.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 36 Comments

IfG interviews former Lib Dem ministers, feat. Browne, Swinson, Hughes, Featherstone, Cable, Huhne

The Institute for Government did a lot of work during the coalition looking at how this (by English standards) unusual arrangement was working, and could work better. Now we have (for now at least) moved beyond coalition, the IfG has been interviewing ministers who served in the last government, seeking their reflections on their time there.

The IfG website has transcripts of a number of interviews with both Conservative and Lib Dem former ministers. The Lib Dems featured are:

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The case for Syrian air-strikes: not overwhelming, but strong enough

In the early hours of 21 August 2013, rockets began to land in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. The civilian population of Syria had now become used to this, since Bashar al-Assad had decided over 2 years earlier that in response to a peaceful uprising against his totalitarian rule he would prosecute the most brutal military campaign by a ruler against his people that this century has seen. But this attack was different: the rockets were filled with sarin, a highly toxic nerve agent.

When the images of the hundreds of people killed and thousands injured began to circulate, there was international outrage of a level not so far seen in the Syrian Civil War. Momentum gathered for a military response. Obama’s red line had been crossed. Enough was enough.

Only it wasn’t. Obama dithered. Miliband played politics. Assad survived to kill another day.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 69 Comments

LibLink: Norman Lamb MP – My son’s struggle with OCD showed me the unfairness people with mental illness face

Norman Lamb has been much in the news this week, having launched a cross-party campaign for mental health to be treated equally with physical health across the health service. Norman has written a piece for the Guardian drawing on themes that will be familiar to party members from his excellent conference speech earlier this year.

Here’s an excerpt:

When our oldest son, Archie, was 16, he was clearly very unhappy. He eventually told us just how distressed and troubled he had become. We got a referral to our local children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder followed.

Posted in LibLink | Tagged and | 5 Comments

The Lib Dem legacy: right to 30-day refund becomes law

The BBC reports:

New consumer protection measures – including longer refund rights – have come into force under the Consumer Rights Act.

For the first time anyone who buys faulty goods will be entitled to a full refund for up to 30 days after the purchase.

Previously consumers were only entitled to refunds for a “reasonable time”.

There will also be new protection for people who buy digital content, such as ebooks or online films and music.

They will be entitled to a full refund, or a replacement, if the goods are faulty.

The Act also covers second-hand goods, when bought through a retailer.

People buying services – like a garage repair or a haircut – will also have stronger rights.

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TTIP update: A Liberal in charge, and a new investor dispute proposal

Container Ship tradeYou can catch up with my previous pieces on TTIP here:

A new face at the negotiating table

It’s a few months since I last wrote here about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed trade and investment agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union and United States. It is Liberal Democrat party policy to support TTIP, so it is worth keeping up with developments in the negotiations.

Since my first post in July 2014, one of the most significant changes has been the replacement in November 2014 of Karel De Gucht as European Commissioner for Trade by Cecilia Malmström.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 39 Comments

Leadership election results out today – what you need to know

tim farron norman lamb squarish by paul walter2 months of campaigning, 25 hustings, 20,000 miles covered by the candidates to attend 100 events (according to the Guardian, anyway) — the leadership election comes to an end today, as the ballots are counted and the result is declared.

The count itself will take place at the offices of Electoral Reform Services in London, attended by a select group. The result will then be posted first on the Lib Dem Twitter feed and Facebook page, hopefully sometime between 4 and 5pm.

Posted in News | Tagged | 10 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRoland 12th Feb - 10:20pm
    Junior doctors are highly intelligent people who have read the proposals for themselves & are not just listening to the BMA. If they think the...
  • User AvatarVictor Grayson 12th Feb - 9:34pm
    £22billion in foreign investment that is, sorry.
  • User AvatarVictor Grayson 12th Feb - 9:33pm
    @RC@petermartin2001-although figures are very difficult to dig out it would seem that the UK receives an average of £22 billion per month and invisible earnings...
  • User Avatarpetermartin2001 12th Feb - 9:19pm
    @ Victor Grayson, "what proportion of the monthly government borrowing requirement do you think is attributable to the balance of payments deficit ?" OK. Lets...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 12th Feb - 9:02pm
    Ok, enough about housing now. We're supposed to be talking about conference.
  • User Avatarpetermartin2001 12th Feb - 8:58pm
    @RC @Victor Grayson. I'd say we are in some agreement on the difficulty in the attribution of causality. Nevertheless that's not to say there isn't...