Author Archives: Prateek Buch

Opinion: On child poverty targets, on which I agree with David Laws

“A fair, free and open society, in which… no one shall be enslaved by poverty.”

The fundamental basis of our party’s constitution – its very soul – is the elimination of poverty. We may disagree amongst us on how best to achieve this ambitious goal, but there’s little dissent on having it as a goal, particularly when it comes to the blight of children growing up in poverty.

As Caron made clear, we find ourselves in government with a party that doesn’t share many of our values – rarely is this crystallised as starkly as this week’s battle over child poverty …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 14 Comments

Opinion: Tools to make the recovery stronger, fairer

The Social Liberal Forum’s amendments to Nick Clegg’s economy motion – supported by an unprecedented number of voting representatives – seek to ensure that the party retains distinctive, independent economic narrative up to and beyond the next election. The narrative behind Nick’s motion – which, to be clear, has a great deal that Liberal Democrats can be proud of – is clear enough. Here is the rationale behind our amendments.

On housing, the motion highlights government guarantee schemes that are yet to scratch the surface of the housing shortage, and recognises that “house building remains well below historical averages.” The …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 19 Comments

Opinion: Three blind men and the UK economy

In Indian folklore there’s a tale that goes a little something as follows:

Three blind men are confronted with an obstacle in their path. Stretching out a hand, each grabs a part and describes what’s in front of them. “My word,” says the first man, “we’re faced with some trees – so strong and thick.” Quoth the second man, “You are mistaken, for we face a snake – thin and wriggly.” Disagreeing with them both, the third man says, “You fools! It’s a wall we must scale – the size of a house.” Passing by, a sighted man takes

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Let’s rid our political economy of inequalities of power

LIBOR-fixing, ineffective banks, corrupt Parliamentarians and the Murdoch press may not appear to have much in common with the fact that median earnings have become decoupled from growth in economic productivity – signifying rewards accumulating to a few at the very top. To my eyes, however, they are all symptoms of the same phenomenon: that the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a few, hidden from adequate scrutiny and the power to affect change, impinges on our freedom to live lives free from poverty, ignorance and conformity.

To any liberal with a …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Opinion: We must resist illiberal responses to the Woolwich murder

web snoopers charterThe Social Liberal Forum is urging Nick Clegg to continue resisting the pressure from Conservative and Labour Parliamentarians for a “Snooper’s Charter” as a result of the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

At our recent Annual General Meeting, the SLF passed a motion urging the Liberal Democrat leadership to “resist all intimidation and blandishments by the Conservatives and others to support such legislation and to retain our outright and… to campaign vigorously against all threats to restrict our long-held liberties and rights from unauthorised State surveillance.”

Condemning the murder in …

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

Opinion: One last chance to achieve far-reaching libel reform

The Defamation Bill is nearly law. Several key reforms needed to protect free debate are already included in the Bill, thanks to the tireless work of the Libel Reform Campaign (declaration: I have acted as an adviser to the campaign), the heroic defence of free speech by individuals in the face of financial ruin, and Parliamentarians from both Houses, with Lib Dems leading the charge.

At the very last, however, a Tory attempt to scupper one of the most important provisions that was included in the bill needs to be defeated if the ensuing Act is to achieve …

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: George Osborne doesn’t get it… again

This should have been a budget for growth, helping the UK economy to recover from the deepest and longest depression on record. George Osborne’s announcements on childcare, investment in industrial research and of course raising the personal income tax allowance to £10,000 are welcome steps in the right direction. They are all are clear examples of Liberal Democrat influence in the Coalition, not least the flagship move on the tax threshold. These measures, however, don’t go nearly far enough to support businesses starved of credit or households facing escalating living costs and squeezed incomes – where was …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 7 Comments
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    That is quite a high turnout for a local by-election while 2015 was General Election day.. Not all that mysterious...
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    @Caracatus "so Boris and Farage who told you Turkey was weeks away from EU membership have been proved wrong and you think that justifies your...
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    @rightsaidfredfan - so Boris and Farage who told you Turkey was weeks away from EU membership have been proved wrong and you think that justifies...
  • User AvatarCaracatus 29th Jul - 8:32pm
    Hangers and Forest Ward the turnout in 2015 was 76%, in 2016 it was 27%. 2015 result: ONSLOW, Judy, Con: 983 OWSNETT, Neil, Lab: 184...
  • User AvatarJohn Grout 29th Jul - 7:45pm
    My concern is that NATO does not really involve itself in internal affairs of its members, being primarily a defensive alliance. That alliance would surely...