Author Archives: Stephen Tall

Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall. He writes a fortnightly column for ConservativeHome and 'The Underdog' column for Total Politics magazine. He edited the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead, and is a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum. He was awarded the inaugural Lib Dem ‘Blogger of the Year’ prize in 2006, was a councillor for eight years in Oxford, including a year as Deputy Lord Mayor, and appears frequently in the media in person, in print and online. Stephen combines his political interests with his professional life as Development Director for the Education Endowment Foundation, though writes here in a personal capacity.

LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 28

Congratulations to Edward Douglas, whose Use Your Ed lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 28, just ahead of Mark Finney’s Aston Villarreal and Simon Stokes’ Back of the Net.

But let’s also hear it for three players outside the top 10: Guy Burton (Hackney Marsh 2nd XI) was Manager of the Month for February, closely followed by James Ludley (Ludley’s Line-up) and Ashley Wilkes (Le Saux Solid Crew).

LDV wk 29

There are 219 players in total and you can still join the league by clicking here.

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged | 1 Comment

LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 25

There’s no change at the top of the table, with Mark Widdop’s Midtable Obscurity (1,445 points) continuing to lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 25, just ahead of Paul Revell’s Sock Monsters (1,435) and Edward Douglas’s Use Your Ed (1,424).

But let’s also hear it for a couple of players outside the top 10: James Ludley’s Ludley’s Line-up had the best week’s performance, with 94 points, with Andrew Wiseman’s Wiseman Wanderers not far behind on 87 points.

ldv ffl 25

There are 219 players in total and you can still join the league …

Posted in Fantasy Football | Tagged | 4 Comments

LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 24

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 19

Congratulations to erstwhile LDV day editor Mark Valladares, whose modestly titled Creeting Gentry FC (1,128 points) start 2016 in pole position in the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 19. It’s a fiercely contested position, though — just 37 points separate the top 10.

But let’s also hear it for three players outside the top 10, who were the highest scoring managers in December: Michael Brown’s Mike’s Dream Team v5 (372), Benjamin Andrew’s Pleased to Beat-chu (363) and Steven Garrett Thirteen striders (362).

ldv ffl 19

There are 219 players in total and …

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 16

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 14

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Stephen Tall’s diary: liberal jottings on the week’s big events

Honest doubt

I wrote on Syria last week that I was “mystified by those who’ve already made their minds up with cast-iron certainty on either side”. That’s still the case despite, and probably because of, the eruption of passions leading up to and beyond Wednesday’s vote. The UK is, after all, already involved in military action against Isis in Iraq. Sure, extending those airstrikes to Syria represents an intensification and, like any bombing campaign, requires serious consideration. But that is a question not of basic morality (if it were there should have been an equally strenuous efforts to cease attacks in Iraq) but of likely effectiveness.

And that, of course, is the known unknown of this week’s debate. None of us truthfully knows what will be the consequences of extending the campaign to Syria; just as we don’t know what might have happened if MPs had voted against action. There is no possibility of a controlled experiment which allows us to pose the counterfactual. All we are left with is our own opinion: which of the options facing us is most likely to result in fewest deaths? Ultimately, it’s as utilitarian a decision as that.

Which is why I get fed up with simplistic shroud-wavers shouting “blood on your hands” at those who support intervention. Innocent people are dying every day in this conflict, and further deaths are plotted daily by Isis, so delaying further this supposed “rush to war” will also directly lead to fresh casualties. See, we can all indulge this moral blackmail arms-race — but it gets us nowhere. Decisions like these are shades-of-grey. I respect opinions on both sides of the divide on Syria, but most especially those honest enough to recognise they may be wrong.

The worm’s turned

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 11 Comments
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