Author Archives: The Voice

Baroness Lindsay Northover on developing evidence-based policy to strengthen LGBT rights across the world

Tonight, Lindsay Northover, our International Development Minister is giving a speech at a Sexuality, Poverty and Law Symposium in Brighton, outlining DFID’s new approach to LGBT rights in developing countries.  Lindsay and Lynne Featherstone before her have been integral in putting DFID on the front foot in prioritising LGBT rights and protections everywhere DFID works.

The symposium is part of an ongoing DFID-funded research programme led by the Institute for Development Studies in Brighton, which will produce evidence-based, practical options for activists and policymakers for strengthening legal protection of LGBT people and sexuality rights. The research will also build understanding of the links between sexuality, gender plurality and poverty with the aim of improving economic policy and programming to support people marginalised because of their sexuality.

Here is her speech in full:

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Open Doors: The Sequel – All four versions of the second Lib Dem PPB of 2015

We brought you the first in the Open Doors series of broadcasts at the end of January. Here is the second in which Willie Rennie’s scarf tying doesn’t improve, Kirsty Williams speaks Welsh and there are lots of good reasons to vote Liberal Democrat with much more policy detail.

Feedback about lack of appropriate accents has clearly been listened to and they have slotted in different comments from each person to each version so you really do have to watch them all.

England

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Labour apologises for making false claims about Tory candidate in Brent Council by-election

Labour Party logoVoters in Kenton ward in Brent go to the polls tomorrow in a by-election. In May last year, the Conservatives took all three seats with Labour being some 14% behind them.

The Times (£) reports that Labour have been forced to withdraw a leaflet which claimed that the Conservative candidate wasn’t even voting Tory any more. The leaflet contained an image of a feedback form to a Labour leaflet from someone with the same name as the Tory candidate who said they had voted Tory in 2010 and wouldn’t be doing so this time because he didn’t like the Tory policy on immigration.

The original leaflet, which Mr Maurice claimed was sent out at the same time as postal votes, said:

“Even the Conservative candidate for the Kenton by-election has said he will not be voting Conservative.”

The Tory candidate deployed a handwriting expert to prove that the form had not been written by him and has threatened to sue the Labour party. He also alerted the police and his team warned that a close loss in Thursday’s council by-election could lead to a re-election.

In a statement, the Labour candidate Vincent Lo said he was “deeply sorry to Mr Maurice for any harm he has suffered as a result of our mistake”.

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Nominations sought for Scottish Party Awards

Scottish Liberal Democrats have their Spring Conference in Aberdeen from 20-22 March. At that event, a series of awards will be presented for outstanding service and commitment to the party. Nominations are sought from members for the following:

  • The Rae Michie Quaich for best contribution to membership recruitment and retention
  • The SWLD Quaich for the Liberal Democrat who has done the most to advance diversity within Scotland in the past year
  • The Robin McSkimming Award presented by East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrats to the person who has done most for their community
  • The Russell Johnston Award presented by Argyll & Bute Liberal Democrats for Best Conference Speech
  • The John Morrison award presented by the Office Bearers for outstanding leadership/dedication/success in local government
  • The Sheila Tennant award presented by LYS for an outstanding contribution from an LYS member
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LibLink: Kirsty Williams on more power to Wales

Kirsty WilliamsKirsty Williams would ‘”be very happy” to see a Lib Dem Secretary of State for Wales. As she says in an interview with Wales Online, under the Coalition the party has produced three Scottish Secretaries.

Having Liberal Democrats as secretaries of state gives us the best possible chance of wrestling power out of Whitehall and giving it to Wales.

She reflects on the devolution of the NHS Budget to Manchester.

You know, the fact that that kind of responsibility can be passed down without any referendum at all and here in Wales each step of the devolution pathway we have to have a referendum… The irony of that is not lost on me.

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LibLink: Tim Farron on the general election and afterwards

Over on the Huffington Post, Tim Farron talks about the election campaign from his constituency in Cumbria.

People need to believe they are not just going through the motions. We are not just doing it because we hate the Tories or because we like winning elections or because it’s a way of me getting a job. It’s about the things you can do with power.

He confesses that he would like to be a minister in a future Coalition; it was his role as Party President that precluded that, but also allowed him to emerge from this Parliament with a reputation untainted by proximity to Tories.

He was asked about the reports that claim he wants to be Leader, to which he responded:

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Live this evening – Nick Clegg’s “State of Mind”

It’s one of those headings where the speech marks are essential …

Nick says he wants to “lift the lid on what it is like for the one in four people in the UK who suffer with mental illness”. He will be hosting a programme this evening on LBC in which he will interview people with mental health problems and those who support them, followed by a Q&A.

You can watch the programme live at 7pm today.

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Julian Huppert as you have never seen him before

Well, maybe not the real one – but we thought you might like a late night treat.

LGBT+ Chair was inspired by this on Pinterest. Like many Liberal Democrat activists he’s an admirer of Julian Huppert for the way he’s been such a strong supporter of equal rights for all and the way he’s spoken up for transgender people as well as being a strong, credible expert on matters relating to science.

So he decided to adapt the Pinterst picture as a tribute to the Huppertmeister.

Post by Dave Page

We think there should be badges of this at Conference with proceeds going to Julian’s campaign. Can someone please make this happen?

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Tweets and snapshots from the Campaign Trail

Our Liberal Democrat campaigners have been out and about knocking on doors. The selection of tweets that follow represents a tiny snapshot of the work going on across the country. The Liberal Democrats are bright, bold and determined in the run up to May 7th.

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Kirsty Williams: Liberal Democrats have been the positive story of this Coalition

rally kirsty williams 1It’s Welsh conference today and Kirsty Williams is giving her keynote leader’s speech. In it she will emphasise what the Liberal Democrats have done within the coalition, saying that we have been the good news story of the last five years. She will say:

We have been the good news story, the positive story, the shining light that has come from this Coalition

It is Liberal Democrat policies that are making the difference.  Whether it is raising the tax threshold, revolutionising the pensions system, or introducing equal marriage, we have

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In Full: David Steel’s eulogy for Lord George Mackie

Lord George MackieWe are grateful to David Steel for sending us his eulogy to Lord George Mackie who died at the age of 95 last week. 

One of the noticeable traits of George Mackie was his reluctance to talk about his wartime exploits in Bomber Command.  We of a younger generation wanted to hear more of the events which led to his remarkable survival and the awards of the DSO and DFC, but the tales had to be coaxed out of him. He was never boastful.

It is a huge privilege to be asked to speak here about his role in politics – for me it is a small labour of love, because I owe my entire political career to him.  In 1962 when I had just graduated in law but had no intention of becoming a lawyer he offered me a one year post as assistant secretary of the Scottish Liberal Party at the princely salary of £895.  Because Alec Douglas-Home as new PM delayed the election it turned out to be two years during which I was heavily involved in several by-election campaigns and in fund-raising.

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The LDV debate: Should politicians release their tax returns? Part Two

The issue of politicians and their tax returns has been in the media once again recently, sparked in part by increased scrutiny of tax avoidance measures. The prime minister has said (via the chancellor) that there are no plans to publish his returns, while the man who would like to be in his shoes, Boris Johnson, said on a trip to the US last week that other UK politicians should follow his lead (and those of their US counterparts) in publishing their returns.

Here. the Voice’s Nick Thornsby and Paul Walter debate the issue. Please do share your thoughts in the comments below. You can read Part One here.

Nick Thornsby: A number of people in response to our opening gambits went further and suggested that the tax affairs of everyone should be a matter of public record. In some ways I would have less of an issue with this than singling out politicians for special attention (though I am unconvinced by the logic of the argument).

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Final reminder: Secret party elections – deadline tomorrow at noon

There are some more secret elections happening. We feel it’s our duty to disseminate the information as widely as possible.

Here are the details of the positions available and how to get yourself nominated:

All persons elected to these posts will hold office for the calendar years 2015 and 2016.

For the election of:

  • One Vice-Chairs of the IRC
  • Three members of the SAO Review Group
  • Two members of the FE Candidates’ sub-group (meets with JSCC)
  • One representatives on ALDE Congress
  • Two representatives to the LI Congress

The election regulations approved by the Federal Executive in May 2009 are attached for information.

Nominations must be supported by two voting members of the outgoing or incoming Federal Executive, a list of whom is attached, and must be returned, with 75 word statements , no later than 12 noon on 27 February 2015 to David Allworthy, [email protected]Scanned nominations will be accepted.

David Allworthy, Deputy Acting Returning Officer, 20 February 2015

Posted in News | 7 Comments

Tories try to take credit for Lib Dem Steve Webb’s Pensions Triple Lock

As the election campaign hots up, all the parties are emailing those who have signed up to their email lists on all sorts of issues.

In the past few days, we’ve seen one from Harriet Harman admonishing the recipient for not responding to Labour’s opinion survey. It had one question, basically “Are you voting Labour?” There wasn’t even a “maybe” option.

We’ve seen a missive David Cameron (or his digital equivalent) has emailed to his distribution list to take credit for the pensions triple lock. The wording looks like it’s been copied and pasted from a Liberal Democrat equivalent.

Now, everyone knows that that was Liberal Democrat pensions guru Steve Webb’s idea. If you look in the 2010 Tory manifesto, you see a commitment to restoring the link to earnings, but that’s about it.

In contrast, this is what the Lib Dem manifesto had to say:

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Things to do in your lunch hour: Last chance to respond to Scottish Government’s ID Database consultation

A couple of weeks ago, James Baker told us why the proposals in Scotland to use the NHS identity database and use it effectively as a surveillance tool was wrong and dangerous:

One of the stated aims of the changes proposed is that it would make it easier to ‘trace people’, the examples given are tracing missing children or ‘health tourists’. This is a giveaway as to the increased surveillance capabilities the scheme would create. If it’s able to trace children through civic transactions recorded on the system then it will be able to trace political campaigners, people’s whose library books are overdue, potentially anyone who comes to the attention of the authorities.

The consultation is alarmingly lacking in detail as to how the new database system would work, and what safeguards would be put in place.  If implemented as suggested it would almost certainly raise the possibility of a legal challenge over the breach of people’s right to privacy, and additional  compliance issues with data protection laws. At the very least such a major change in people’s relationship to the state  should be the subject of a public debate, not rushed through by officials using changes in obscure regulations. If these changes are to occur they need to be done through the use of primary legislation not a change in regulations. This seems a request it would seem hard for any reasonable Scottish Parliamentarian to deny.

The Scottish Government is consulting on this and today is your last chance to make your views known. You can do so here. It is worth a few minutes of your time to ask the Scottish Government to think twice before introducing such a step.

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So what’s Miranda Grell, formerly convicted of homophobic smears on her Liberal Democrat opponent, up to these days?

Way back in 2006, Miranda Grell was elected as a Labour Councillor in Waltham Forest, East London. The following year, she was convicted of making false statements about another candidate, the Liberal Democrat Barry Smith. From the BBC:

Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court heard in police interviews Grell admitted she had discussed Mr Smith’s sexuality with one local resident.

She said she told the man Mr Smith claimed to be married despite having a 19-year-old Thai boyfriend.

Grell put the mistake down to political immaturity and inexperience at campaigning.

But another resident, Caroline Dargan, told the court Grell had a similar conversation with her.

Outside court Ms Dargan told BBC London: “(Grell) just started to talk about the Lib Dem candidate. She made some suggestions about him being gay, and I sort of knew that.

“But then I felt the conversation deteriorated into her saying that he was actually interested in young oriental boys.”

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Reprise: Those secret party elections with a nomination date of noon on Friday

There are some more secret elections happening. We feel it’s our duty to disseminate the information as widely as possible.

Here are the details of the positions available and how to get yourself nominated:

All persons elected to these posts will hold office for the calendar years 2015 and 2016.

For the election of:

  • One Vice-Chairs of the IRC
  • Three members of the SAO Review Group
  • Two members of the FE Candidates’ sub-group (meets with JSCC)
  • One representatives on ALDE Congress
  • Two representatives to the LI Congress

The election regulations approved by the Federal Executive in May 2009 are attached for information.

Nominations must be supported by two voting members of the outgoing or incoming Federal Executive, a list of whom is attached, and must be returned, with 75 word statements , no later than 12 noon on 27 February 2015 to David Allworthy, [email protected]Scanned nominations will be accepted.

David Allworthy, Deputy Acting Returning Officer, 20 February 2015

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LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 14,700 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

The Times: The Lib Dems are “great survivors” (51 comments) by The Voice

The Independent View: Commons must debate Medical Innovations Bill before election (59 comments) by Dominic Nutt

Guardian’s coverage of Lib Dem election campaign accentuates the negative (52 comments) by Caron Lindsay

Posted in Site news | 2 Comments

Pauline Pearce seeks nomination in Hitchin

The “Hackney Heroine” Pauline Pearce has applied to be the Liberal Democrat candidate in Hitchin for the General Election:

From the Hertfordshire Mercury:

Pauline Pearce – dubbed the Heroine of Hackney – could stand as the Lib Dems’ candidate for Hitchin in next year’s General Election.

The Hackney resident, who moved from Hitchin eight years ago, said: “Plain and simple, it’s home to me.

“I’m a Hitchin girl, I know quite a bit about the issues down there, especially concerning the youngsters.

“I want to help kids and let them know what they can do to open their eyes and turn their lives around.”

Miss Pearce has yet to be formally selected to contest the Hitchin and Harpenden seat, currently held by Tory Peter Lilley, but hopes are high.

She became a symbol of Londoners’ outrage at the wave of criminality which followed the death of Mark Duggan in 2012.

After the clip went viral, she was courted by politicians and community leaders, even expressing her intention to stand for Lib Dem president.
Pauline has since been elected to the Party’s Federal Executive.
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Some more secret party elections you can stand in – act by noon next Friday, 27th February

There are some more secret elections happening. We feel it’s our duty to disseminate the information as widely as possible.

Here are the details of the positions available and how to get yourself nominated:

All persons elected to these posts will hold office for the calendar years 2015 and 2016.

For the election of:

  • One Vice-Chairs of the IRC
  • Three members of the SAO Review Group
  • Two members of the FE Candidates’ sub-group (meets with JSCC)
  • One representatives on ALDE Congress
  • Two representatives to the LI Congress

The election regulations approved by the Federal Executive in May 2009 are attached for information.

Nominations must be supported by two voting members of the outgoing or incoming Federal Executive, a list of whom is attached, and must be returned, with 75 word statements , no later than 12 noon on 27 February 2015 to David Allworthy, [email protected]. Scanned nominations will be accepted.

David Allworthy, Deputy Acting Returning Officer, 20 February 2015

Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Comments

An inspiring talk for a Saturday morning – John Loughton on his journey from poverty in Edinburgh to talking to world leaders

John Loughton grew up in poverty in Edinburgh. He is a truly inspiring character. In this video he talks about his life and how he founded a youth leadership organisation that has worked with thousands of young people across the world.

John is a member of the Liberal Democrats and if you look at his Wikipedia page, you’ll see just some of the things he’s done and the powerful circles in which he has moved.

 

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The Times: “Lib Dems are great survivors”

Writing in the Times (£), Philip Collins makes some predictions about the Liberal Democrats’ fortunes. He reckons we’ll be part of a coalition with the Conservatives after the general election. I suspect party members will have a different feeling until we see what’s on offer. Collins also has some fairly unpalatable recommendations for the party, such as ditching climate change.

He reckons we won’t face the wipeout many predict:

The party’s own polling is the clue to the relentless optimism of its senior personnel. Where they have a presence on the local council and the sitting MP, the Lib Dems are competitive. Ukip will help them against the Tories and the electoral system that Lib Dems have always hated is coming to their rescue. There has been a lot of speculation about where Nick Clegg will go after the election. My own bet is Sheffield Hallam, about once a fortnight.

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Nick Clegg on the Liberal Democrats’ vision for a world class early years education system

Nick Clegg has made a major speech on early years education and  child care to the Pre-School Learning Alliance. He pointed out that as a result of Liberal Democrat input, an extra £1 billion has been put into child-care in this Parliament and that only the Liberal Democrats would protect that level of spending in the next Parliament. In contrast, the Conservatives would cut it, at a cost of £625 per child. Not only that, but welfare cuts would affect low income families.

Here are the main points of his speech:

Over the last five years, we’ve made it one of our biggest priorities in this Government to ensure that every child – whatever their background or circumstances – gets an equal shot at the successful future they deserve.

Disadvantaged background start to bite early:

 So much so that, if you’re a child born into a poor family in this country, you will already have fallen behind a child with richer parents by the time you’re 2 years old.

That’s before you step anywhere near a classroom and it has absolutely nothing to do with your talent or potential – just the circumstances of your birth. Without focused action to change it, that gap between you and your peers will continue to get bigger as you grow up. So that when you turn up, proudly wearing your new uniform, for your first day of school, you will be well over a year behind your better-off classmates. Morally and economically, we simply cannot afford for so many children to have their future written off like that in this country.

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Scottish Liberal Lord Mackie of Benshie dies at 95

Lord George MackieLiberal Democrat peer Lord George Mackie died today at the age of 95. As the Herald reports:

A famous Liberal Democrat peer Lord Mackie of Benshie has died aged 95, a decorated airman with Bomber Command in the second world war as well as a renowned farmer.

He was a chairman of the Caithness Glass company and a hotelier at John O, Groats.After the war he took over a farm at Benshie in Angus and subsequently set up a cattle ranch at Braeroy near Spean Bridge.

George Mackie, from a renowned farming family in Aberdeenshire, was elected as MP for the old Scottish Liberal Party in Caithness and Sutherland in1964. But he served only until 1966 when Harold Wilson’s Labour Government went back to the country to seek a larger majority. Mackie lost narrowly.

In 1974 he was offered a life peerage. His brother John, who had been on the Labour benches while he was in the House of Commons, also arrived in the House of Lords as a Labour peer.

Posted in News | 10 Comments

The LDV debate: Should politicians release their tax returns? Part One

The issue of politicians and their tax returns has been in the media once again recently, sparked in part by increased scrutiny of tax avoidance measures. The prime minister has said (via the chancellor) that there are no plans to publish his returns, while the man who would like to be in his shoes, Boris Johnson, said on a trip to the US last week that other UK politicians should follow his lead (and those of their US counterparts) in publishing their returns.

Here. the Voice’s Nick Thornsby and Paul Walter debate the issue. Please do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Nick Thornsby: Like the prime minister, I am “relaxed” at the prospect of him and him alone releasing his tax returns for public consumption. Any individual is welcome to do so. But we know, of course, that this is unlikely to be isolated to the PM himself: the floodgates will be open, and all senior and aspiring politicians will, in time, be forced to release theirs. Hooray, some might think: a victory for transparency. I disagree.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 47 Comments

LDV’s Sunday Best: our 7 most-read articles this week

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 16,600 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Lib Dem spin doctor feels “disenfranchised” (44 comments) by The Voice

Liberal Democrats publish their General Election manifesto front page (59 comments) by The Voice

Nick Harvey: ‘If you think we are going to spend another five years being shafted (this time) by Labour, you’ve got another think coming’ (113 comments) by Paul Wlalter

Posted in Site news | 1 Comment

Nick Clegg and the woodland craft class

Ease yourself gently into Sunday with this video of Nick Clegg helping Oxfordshire schoolchildren with their woodland craft class. He was there on Thursday with Oxford West and Abingdon candidate Layla Moran ahead of the manifesto front page launch.

Ok, so there’s no hard policy, but it’s pleasant and the kids seem to know quite a lot about him.

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Manifesto front page: Welsh and Scottish versions

As we said in our post about the front page of the manifesto, the Welsh and the Scots would have slightly different versions. Here they are:

The Welsh version says we’ll deliver a stronger Wales, with more powers, home rule and fair funding. Devolution means that our priorities on health and education need to be tailored. We’ve already ensured that the Pupil Premium, which delivers extra money to help disadvantaged kids in school, has been implemented in Wales and say we’ll deliver continued investment. On health the priority is more resources and safe staffing levels, consistent with Kirsty Williams’ bill to put staffing levels on a statutory footing.

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Liberal Democrats publish their election manifesto front page

Manifesto_Covers_2015The Liberal Democrats are today launching the front page of their General Election manifesto. The front-page will set out the five Liberal Democrat priorities for forming a government after May 7th. The Scottish and Welsh Liberal Democrats will also today unveil their manifesto priorities, including greater devolution of power to Scotland and Wales. Nick Clegg will launch the campaign on a visit to a primary school in the Conservative-held constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , and | 60 Comments

++Lib Dems to publish election manifesto front page tonight

At one minute past midnight tonight, the Liberal Democrats will publish the front page of their 2015 election manifesto, outlining their main priorities for governing the UK.

This is a great move by the party, capturing the voter’s attention with our main focus areas, up-front in the campaign.

We’ll carry the full details here on Liberal Democrat Voice from one minute past midnight tonight.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 8 Comments
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