Author Archives: Rob Blackie

Opinion: Five quick thoughts on what we do next

Firstly we all need to take a few days off. Losing so many of our MPs is incredibly painful – when we know how they were champions of liberalism, as well as great local representatives. It’s easy for us to post-rationalise our problems to fit our existing prejudices, but smarter to take a short break.

Secondly we shouldn’t assume that everything winners do is good, and everything losers do is stupid. There are doubtless many things we did wrong, but not everything we did was wrong. Equally while we may have been hit hard by the other parties, we shouldn’t assume that aping them is the right solution.

Thirdly we should recognise that our problems fighting Labour, the Tories and the SNP may be very different. It is unlikely that there is one message or campaign technique that will allow us to be successful against all of these opponents.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 72 Comments

Opinion: How to interrogate a terrorist using diabetic biscuits

Is it more effective to force people to do things, or to charm them?

The surprising answer that’s tucked into the US Senate’s recent investigation into terrorist interrogation, is that, even with hardened Al-Qaeda terrorists, charm is usually more effective.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Opinion: Keep the Bank of England Independent

Conference on Monday will debate an amendment from the Social Liberal Forum (SLF) to the Economy Motion which calls the government to “monitor closely the progress of the Bank of England, ensuring it has a refocused mandate that allows monetary policy to aid growth, reduce the unemployment rate to below 6% creating at least a million jobs, and to address weak income growth, targeting a higher level of national/median income.”

Who could possibly disagree with that? Well, me for a start. In practice this is reducing the independence of the Bank of England.

Liberal Democrats have long argued that the Bank of …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Tagged and | 11 Comments

Opinion: How can we build a liberal movement?

Like a lot of Liberal Democrat friends, I was inspired by Barack Obama’s determination to build a long term movement for change across America. And for a couple of years I’ve been trying to copy his volunteer led approach to political organising, with some success.*

One element that is crucial to motivating volunteers is to have superb candidates, who are themselves heroes to their communities. This, of course, is a large element of good traditional community campaigning.

So I was delighted to see that in Peckham we are using our candidate’s amazing life story as the main motivator of volunteers on …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Can we campaign on Lords reform?

Let’s face it, Lords reform doesn’t come up on the doorsteps often, however important it is.

But there is one group of people in Britain who Lib Dem Voice readers know, who care deeply about Lords reform. Campaigners for AV, who most of us have spent the last 6 months working with, are overwhelmingly in favour of Lords reform.

So today we can all use Lords reform as a great campaigning opportunity. Simply create a local petition (like this one)  to make sure that your local MP votes for and campaigns for a 100% elected Lords.

Then send this petition to …

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

Opinion: How are councils making savings?

Getting a picture on what’s happening across the country on council spending is difficult. We all hear stories, whether it’s the a plan to close a library or a conversation I had a few weeks ago with a friend who works in Brighton, who told me that the council had avoided almost all frontline cuts to services through efficiency savings.

Last week some surprising figures have appeared in an overlooked survey by the Financial Times. They show that at least half of the spending cuts that councils are making will have no impact at all on frontline services.

The Financial

Posted in Local government | 14 Comments

Opinion: We were prudent in opposition – time for Labour to follow our lead

Labour have refused to provide any detailed alternative to the Coalition’s tax and spending plans. They have also implied that during their recent period in government that nobody challenged their irresponsible tax and spending plans. This is simply a lie. Not only did the IFS explain their irresponsibility as far back as 2003 , but so did the Liberal Democrats.

There’s an easy way to test how responsible we were while we were in opposition. Every year since 1992 the Liberal Democrats have produced an Alternative Budget setting out our alternative to the government’s tax and spending plans, as well …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 23 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 26th Sep - 1:50am
    @John King Thanks for the comment. I've changed the page to take out the links to the "fringe of the conference" tweet, as that was...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 25th Sep - 11:39pm
    Agreed about LBJ, Hywel. One of his big strengths was gaining votes in Congress for his bills, by hook or by crook.
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 25th Sep - 11:35pm
    Thanks Lorenzo - from October 1st, I'll be posting some more about things I noticed on my tour of the USA.
  • User AvatarFiona 25th Sep - 10:58pm
    At risk of stating the obvious, Uber has a lot going for it, or it wouldn't be popular, but they have been asked, repeatedly, to...
  • User Avatarfrankie 25th Sep - 10:56pm
    It looks like poor David will be sent home again to do his homework. I can't work out if he fails to do it hoping...
  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 25th Sep - 10:54pm
    I don't see why political parties should be able to keep (what is after all sensitive data) on people in perpetuity. There is also an...