Author Archives: Rob Parsons

Agenda 2020 Essay #3 What it means to be a Liberal Democrat today

Editor’s Note: The party is currently running an essay competition for members of the Liberal Democrats, to submit 1000 words on the theme “What it means to be a Liberal Democrat today.” The deadline for contributions is 2nd November. If you would like us to publish your submission, send it to [email protected]

I am a Liberal Democrat because I have a sense of justice. Justice means everybody getting a fair chance without the playing field being tilted against them throughout their lives. Justice does not mean everyone being treated the same all the time. Equality before the law is a sine qua non, but equality …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Time to consider all-women shortlists?

I find myself changing my mind on the subject of all-women shortlists. I’ve always been somewhere between agnostic and sceptical on the basis that it’s fairer to have open candidacies in which the best person gets chosen. If the playing ground needs to be levelled, it is best to do it in training and support rather than fixing the rules for appointments. I based this partly on my now shaken belief that, whatever happens in the other parties, the Lib Dems are nice, our hearts are in the right place, so self evidently good choices will be made.

But three things have shaken that belief. Firstly the Rennard affair, and not just the issue itself but the number of people vigorously defending the status quo; secondly, the endemic sexism still visible in society at large, catalogued in visceral detail at Everyday Sexism; and thirdly, the two separate reports published recently on the shape of the elite in our society – still overwhelmingly male. Patriarchy remains alive and in rude good health, in the party as well as in society at large. The playing field remains permanently tilted against women (as well as against BAME people), and the only way in which we can be fair about that situation is to tilt it back. And niceness won’t cut it. All women shortlisting seems a crude tool but I know of no better one at the moment.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 58 Comments

Opinion: TTIP: What could possibly go wrong?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is an agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the USA to allow for freer trade between the two. We received an upbeat assessment of its progress and potential from Nick Thornsby a couple of weeks ago. It is currently Liberal Democrat policy to support it, but I have serious reservations about whether we are doing either liberalism or democracy any favours in this instance.

A trade agreement that reduced barriers and increased access to markets, thus lowering prices for customers, and increasing quality would be a great thing. However, this is not …

Posted in News | Tagged and | 33 Comments

Opinion: The male voice on Female Genital Mutilation

Please note that the second paragraph of this article contains some graphic details of the procedure of FGM which some people might find distressing.

I’m very glad to see Liberal Democrats at the forefront of the drive to rid this country and the world of female genital mutilation (FGM), one of the most horrible expressions of male power over the female. The debate about it, around the world, as well as in this country, is often blurred by comparisons with male circumcision, which many people also campaign against actively (and in my view rightly). When the topic of FGM comes …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 76 Comments

Opinion: Managing the NHS

nhs sign lrgI agree with Norman Tebbit. There, I’ve said it. The antique rottweiler was writing in the Telegraph in response to a number of intemperate comments made on another column about the service received from staff at the NHS. He said, among other things, “when things go wrong, as they have often done in the NHS, I believe it is right to blame the officers, especially the more senior ones, rather than the troops”. I agree with him whole heartedly on that point, though not on …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 7 Comments

Opinion: 2013’s banana skin?

Banana skin - Some rights reserved by purplemattfishThe LibDem Voice end of year survey gives us, as usual, much food for thought.

Net approval of the coalition’s record is down to 14% from 41% a year before. “Three big hits seem to have been responsible: first, the row over the NHS Bill; secondly, the omnishambolic March budget; and thirdly, the collapse of Lords reform”.

What issues might derail us this year? One is slowly poisoning our society, and with it the claims of the Liberal Democrats to be a party of fairness.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 37 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarATF 6th May - 11:05pm
    One of our finest. Never not be inspired by her dedication to the Liberal cause. Whilst I understand the sentiments express by Bill le Bretton,...
  • User AvatarDJ 6th May - 10:22pm
    Kirsty Williams was a large part of the reason I voted Lib Dem's yesterday and it is sad that she has stepped down as leader;...
  • User Avatarpaul barker 6th May - 9:58pm
    Across England, both Labour & Tories made small losses, The Greens are level pegging & Libdems & UKIP made gains. We made the most gains...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 6th May - 9:55pm
    I have nothing bad to say about Kirsty, but I think she has made the right decision here. I said last night my three suggested...
  • User AvatarJohn Nicholson 6th May - 9:38pm
    I am not sure why they bothered to try bury this item of news. Too many of us are school governors and relieved by the...
  • User AvatarViosr 6th May - 9:16pm
    Clootie, your thoughts now? The North Isles result was not too shabby for the Libs. You might want to have a heart to heart with...
Sat 7th May 2016
Sun 8th May 2016
Tue 10th May 2016
Sat 14th May 2016