Author Archives: Nick T

Surprises are not the same as radicalism – or where George Osborne went wrong

Yesterday’s budget certainly had plenty of surprises. But it says something about the state of our politics that not allowing sensitive information leak ahead of the budget speech counts as a political success. Because surprises — rabbits out of hats — are not the same as radicalism, whatever much of the media, or Osborne himself, would have us believe this morning. The budget, when looked at more closely, was notable for its timidity, not its profundity.

In identifying the nonsense of those on low wages paying relatively large amounts of tax, only to receive it back with interest in tax credits, the chancellor identified a genuinely ridiculous (and illiberal) legacy of Gordon Brown’s time at the Treasury.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Russia, ISIS, globalisation and the EU – Norman and Tim answer foreign affairs questions

LDV recently put some questions on foreign affairs to the two leadership contenders. Here are their responses.

1. Can you summarise in around 100 words what a liberal foreign policy looks like in your view?

Tim Farron:

Liberals are proud and passionate internationalists because we believe in the rights of all people – no matter what they look like, what they believe or where they are – to live in peace, free from poverty, ignorance and conformity. We understand that only by working with other countries through strong international institutions can we make that a reality and build a fairer, greener, freer world.

It is in neither Britain’s interests nor the world’s to close ourselves off, but also that intervention abroad must be rooted in international law, decided through international institutions and clearly justified on humanitarian grounds.

Norman Lamb:

Our Party is proudly internationalist. Our leaders have often been lone voices, Paddy demanding rights for British citizens from Hong Kong, Charles opposing the Iraq War, Nick in taking on Nigel Farage‎

I share these courageous liberal values‎. Liberal values are universal – they do not respect borders.

For me Britain should play a global role and prompt Europe to do more for peace, in tackling poverty and climate change, and in standing up to oppression.

We must also be able to defend those who need our protection, our allies, and ourselves. Enduring adequate funding for our armed forces means debating Trident’s future when our world is far more threatened by terrorists and cyber attacks than by nuclear war, and pursuing reform to make sure our forces are effective and efficient.

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LDVideo: Commons tributes to Charles Kennedy from Cameron, Clegg, Farron, Lamb and others

It is usual, after the conclusion of Prime Minister’s Questions, for the chamber of the House of Commons to quickly, and noisily, empty. Yesterday, however, the House remained full, in sombre, reflective quiet to hear tributes from members to Charles Kennedy. The Speaker, John Bercow, shared his reflections first, followed by David Cameron, Harriet Harman and Nick Clegg.

You can see the full one hour and thirteen minutes in the video below, or via this link, and below the video are the times at which you will find various speeches from a selection of MPs.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Party membership passes 50,000, with over 5,000 new members since Thursday

Lib Dem membership 50,000About 80 people an hour have been joining the party since the polls closed on Thursday, taking membership levels back up to those last seen in about 2011. Even the 2010 surge following the leaders debate only took membership up to just over 60,000, so if these extraordinary increases continue we may find ourselves completely reversing all the decline that occurred in the first couple of years of the coalition.

Party chief executive Tim Gordon has just emailed members with the timetable for the leadership election that will now take place (see below) and all those who join the party before 3 June will be able to vote.

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Lib Dem/Tory waverers wanted continuity, but they voted Conservative to achieve it

It was always going to be true that the 30 or so seats where the fight was between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives would end up delivering one of the most important stories of election night 2015. Liberal Democrats hoped, of course, that this would be for the reason that they were the hallmark of the party’s resilience. But they were newsworthy in the end because they were symbols of the Lib Dem defeat, and the vehicles of delivery of a Conservative victory.

That the tens of thousands of voters in those seats who wavered between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives were the most important of this campaign had been known to both governing parties, of course, for months if not years. They were ruthlessly targeted from every angle: leaflets, phone-calls and visit after visit by senior politicians.

And in the end they made their decision, and they made it in David Cameron’s favour. The prime minister’s message, that only a Conservative vote could guarantee continuity and avoid the risk of a Miliband-Sturgeon government, ultimately prevailed.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 230 Comments

Majority happy to see Lib Dems play a role in government

If the key Lib Dem aims of the last five years were first to prove that coalition government can work in our majoritarian, outdated democratic system and secondly that Liberal Democrats can be trusted to govern in the national interest and deliver liberal achievements, the election campaign has brought positive news on both fronts.

It is easy to forget how coalition was talked of before the 2010 election. It was the common view of most of the media and political establishment that coalition government, if even possible, would be weak and unambitious at best.

It is therefore a remarkable turnaround for it to be considered quite widely that a coalition this time round (and particularly one involving the Liberal Democrats) would provide the most stable, moderate government.

Posted in News | Tagged | 16 Comments

A foreign-policy-free election?

RAF lightning II aircraft photo by defence imagesFor all its crudeness, the barrel bomb has to be one of the most brutally effective weapons around. An old oil drum, filled with that now all too familiar combination of explosives and steel detritus, dropped onto its fuse-laden nose from a helicopter, it seems, kills and maims in just the right proportions to terrorise those left behind.

It is little wonder, then, that the barrel bomb is Bashar al-Assad’s weapon of choice in his effort to wear down those parts of Syria with the impudence to have thought they could do better. It tells you all you need to know about the man that, having discovered that the wretched things seem to be particularly effective when aimed at young children, the regime, like so many despots before, has found schools to be an especially desirable target.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 23 Comments
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    Richard 10:52 am In the last few decades of the twentieth century there was a remarkable turning to God among a section of the Turkish...
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    Paul In British politics, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill were pro-Greek and wanted war; the Conservatives in the coalition his government were pro-Turk and rejected...
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    I find it ironic that this is written by someone who failed four times to get elected. AWS BAME and any other acronym are not...
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