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 | 4 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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Mitchell 12th Feb - 8:20pm
    I support rehabilitative centres and support. Perhaps the penalties for drug possession and drug use need to be examined in further detail for certain or...
  • User AvatarJohn Mitchell 12th Feb - 8:08pm
    I fully support the Liberal Democrat proposal to increase income tax by 1p in Scotland. The Lib Dems have also clearly stated where they wish...
  • User AvatarRoland 12th Feb - 7:57pm
    @Merel - "Aren’t you just a teeny bit concerned that we have none" No! However, I am very concerned that it seems for every parliamentary...
  • User AvatarGlynn 12th Feb - 7:50pm
    @Billy Boulton It works pretty well in Amsterdam, you can only smoke Cannabis inside designated coffee shops and tobacco/cigarettes is prohibited. You can still sample...
  • User AvatarRoland 12th Feb - 7:45pm
    Simon - I detect some nimbyism in the tone of your comment! Some of the biggest nimby's are those who shout nimby at others who...
  • User AvatarSimon McGrath 12th Feb - 7:16pm
    @David @caron - its nothing whatsoever to do with flooding - its everything to do with Nimbysim - as i'm sure you know full well....