Author Archives: The Voice

Norman Lamb: Fixing dysfunctional mental health services takes time

Nobody could ever accuse Norman Lamb of political spin. He’s been in his ministerial job for 2.5 years and he’s totally honest about the still poor state of mental health services, particularly for young people. He says what he’s trying to fix it, but the pace of change must be frustratingly slow for him. He (and Paul Burstow before him) and Nick Clegg have done a massive amount in recent years to transform and improve mental health services but it’s more than a one-term job.

Norman has been talking to the Bournemouth Daily Echo about what he’s done and what he has set in progress. It’s clear that the effects of his changes will be felt for many years to come.

First of all, he talked about tackling stigma and getting people to talk about mental health more – partly because that then opens the way to a properly funded service:

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Helena Morrissey evaluates party’s progress on her recommendations

Last year, Helena Morrissey published her Report into the Processes and Culture of the Liberal Democrats and made 9 recommendations for change. Here are Stephen Tall’s and Caron Lindsay’s thoughts on it from then.

It was always intended that Helena would come back and evaluate the party’s progress on implementing her recommendations. Her progress report is published today and can be seen here.

This is what she has written in the foreword:

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Vince’s Royal Mail privatisation: independent report concludes “the right decisions were made”

An independent report by Lord Myners published today has concluded Vince Cable and the Government made “the right decisions” during the process of selling off Royal Mail.

royal mail sell off

The BBC explains the background:

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LibLink: Tim Farron – CIA report shows we should fight even harder for liberal Britain

Writing in New Statesman, Tim Farron argues that liberalism is not a given, is under threat and we should fight for it:

We cannot continue to take liberalism for granted. We need to articulate our liberal values loudly and clearly to stop a creep into authoritarianism built on a currency of fear.

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Two Liberal Democrats win European awards

Its awards season at the moment and last week the focus shifted to Europe where the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe held its annual LeaDeR (Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians) Awards. Two British Liberal Democrats were successful.

David TuttThe first was Cllr David Tutt, Lib Dem group leader of East Sussex County Council and leader of Eastbourne Borough Council who had been nominated for the Achievements in Government prize by MEP Catherine Bearder. He won for:

…his visible leadership in having put core liberal values of innovation, forward-thinking and opportunity into action in transforming what was officially the worst Council in the south-east of England into one widely recognised as among the very best in the country.

Catherine explained why she nominated David:

David has worked tirelessly in Eastbourne to ensure the town continues to go from strength to strength and when I heard about the awards I was delighted to put David’s name forward as I know the huge impact his work is having on the Eastbourne community.

 David is now a winner, just as he’s made Eastbourne a winner.

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Clegg: senior Labour ex-ministers should give evidence to UK torture inquiry

Nick Clegg Q&A 12Last week came the revelations from the US Senate Intelligence Committee about the extent of the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

It immediately promoted questions about what the then Labour Government knew about what was happening on the watch of its closest ally. Nick Clegg has called for senior ex-ministers to give evidence to Parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC) on what they knew about torture conducted by UK or US intelligence agencies in Iraq or Afghanistan, as The Guardian reports:

The deputy prime minister said

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Vince Cable on the Tories’ “extreme ideology”

As we reported yesterday,, on the Andrew Marr show Vince Cable said:

We are committed to financial discipline but we’re not veering off to the kind of extreme ideology that the Tories seem to want.

Here is a video clip:

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

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 15600  visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

 Reasons to be careful about new analysis suggesting Lib Dems “set to lose several more seats than national polls with uniform swing would predict” (77 comments) by Stephen Tall

Game on in Gordon! Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine has to defend seat against former First Minister Salmond (25 comments) by Caron Lindsay

Clegg’s letter to Burnham: “you may have inadvertently misled” Commons on Labour’s NHS privatisation record (31 comments) by The Voice

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Vince speaks out against “devastating and ideologically driven” Tory spending cuts plan

Vince Cable Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 Photo by Paul WalterThe Tories have been “well behaved” over the past few years because the Liberal Democrats have kept them on a tight leash, apparently. So said Vince Cable on the Andrew Marr Show this morning. He said that we were now getting a glimpse of what they would be like without that leash, adding that the consequences of their spending decisions would be that there would be around half as much money to spend on Police, defence, local government and social care.

He highlighted the differences between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat approaches to the economy and what a vote for each would mean:

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Clegg: No country can prosper without basic freedoms

From earlier this week, here’s Nick Clegg’s message for Human Rights Day:

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Julian Huppert: Commons should debate ban on fisting and watersports porn

Julian Huppert MPPinkNews reports:

A ban on the production of certain types of porn in the UK will be the subject of a debate in the House of Commons, if a Lib Dem MP who opposes it gets his way.

Brought in by the Audiovisual Media Services regulation 2014 last week, the ban states that any online paid-for porn such as Video on Demand (VoD) must adhere to the same rules set out for those producing DVDs. Those rules are set out by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC), and ban

photo by: Policy Exchange
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Stephen Lloyd resigns as PPS over underinvestment in A27

The Eastbourne Herald is reporting that Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has resigned as PPS to Ed Davey over the £75m proposed for investment in the A27 in the Autumn statement.

Stephen is quoted

After all the work and cross-community effort by so many local residents and businesses in Eastbourne and Willingdon, I am profoundly disappointed by the proposal put forward by the Department of Transport. Instead, there is a vague promise for some time in the future. This isn’t jam tomorrow, but more like the possibility of jam sometime, if we’re lucky, in a few years.

He said, “Ever since I

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Clegg’s letter to Burnham: “you may have inadvertently misled” Commons on Labour’s NHS privatisation record

clegg on leveson 2Nick Clegg fielded Prime Minister’s Questions today, during which he noted that Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is “the only man in England who has ever privatised an NHS hospital”. Mr Burham complained that Nick had misled the House of Commons over the issue of Hichingbrooke Hospital, accusing him of “sheer inaccuracy”. The Lib Dem leader lost no time in responding:

Dear Andy,

I see that you raised a Point of Order in the House of Commons and that you accused me of “sheer inaccuracy”. I am always happy to confirm the accuracy of what I have said.

Posted in News, Parliament and PMQs | Tagged , , , , and | 32 Comments

Liam McArthur highlights Swinson’s and Featherstone’s work and supports ambition action on violence against women

Last week the Scottish Parliament debated violence against women during the 16 days of action between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and International Human Rights day. Liam McArthur led for the Liberal Democrats. He noted that in the ninety minutes of the debate, 9 women would face violence at the hands of their partners.

It was a sensible, consensual debate which you can read here.  Liam’s speech in full is published below:

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In the next month 21 seats will short-list their wannabe Lib Dem MPs

Lib Dems winning hereHere’s the full list of selection contests in the coming month available for Lib Dems on the approved parliamentary candidates’ list, together with the closing date for applications.

The following seats have selections in progress and are currently advertising for candidates:

Posted in Selection news | Tagged | 4 Comments

“Tories running dirty tricks call campaign against Lib Dems”

Tessa Munt photo by Keith EdkinsThat’s the headline in today’s Mirror newspaper:

The Tories have launched a nasty dirty tricks campaign in a knife-edge constituency ahead of the next election. Conservative activists are ringing voters in marginal Wells and pretending to be calling on behalf of the respected local Lib-Dem MP Tessa Munt. They then ask the voters if they wanted to see David Cameron or Ed Miliband as Prime Minister at the next election. The calls were all made from a number in Southend, Essex. The Mirror has confirmed that

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Taunton Deane Liberal Democrats select Rachel Gilmour

Rachel GilmourFrom the Taunton Deane Liberal Democrat website:

Rachel Gilmour was selected at the members’ hustings on 6 Dec 2014 in Taunton by a full turnout of Members as their prospective Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 General Election.  She succeeds Jeremy Browne , MP,  who will stand down when parliament is dissolved in March 2015.

 

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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…

Abusive site Wings over Scotland is embedded into the Scottish Government and Yes movement: Willie Rennie proves what we knew already (62 comments) by Caron Lindsay

And it’s goodbye from me as Lib Dem Voice co-editor (37 comments) by Stephen Tall

What is going on with the Liberal Democrat Media Strategy? (26 comments) by Caron Lindsay

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Liz Barker leads first ever Lords debate on Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women’s health

Last Wednesday, Baroness Liz Barker, who made one of the most fantastic speeches of the entire debate on same sex marriage,  led the first ever debate on health services for lesbians and bisexual and transgender women.

The ignorance and even ridicule LBT women have faced from health professionals in the accounts Liz and others shared during the debate is truly astonishing. There does not seem to be a widespread understanding of even the very basic issues they may face.

The Minister’s reply was a bit frustrating because he basically agreed with everything that was being said but didn’t offer any actual, concrete proposal to make things better.

You can read the whole debate here, but Liz’s speech in full is published below:

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Happy Christmas from the Cleggs: here’s Nick and Miriam’s festive photobooth card

Nick Clegg’s Christmas card has been unveiled today – a photobooth set of four shots depicting he and Miriam as Nick pulls on a red Santa hat.

clegg famil xmas card

The insta-reaction from the Twitterati has been positive:

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Willie Rennie excluded on profanity grounds

Well, sort of.

He tried to sign up to a news website the other night and this is what happened:

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In full: Baroness Northover’s speech to launch the DFID disability framework

Lindsay NorthoverBaroness Northover is parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for International Development. Here is the speech she made today, in the Houses of Parliament, to launch the DFID disabilty framework:

I’m delighted to be here with you today, to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Although the UK Department for International Development and many of you in this room have been increasingly focused on disability inclusion in recent years, it is now that we are really beginning to see this issue get the attention it deserves.

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Nick Clegg’s message for World AIDS day

Strong stuff from Nick – talking about the importance of tackling stigma, and the part sex education plays in that.

Here’s the text:

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

7 ver 4 fullMany thanks to the 17,200 visitors who dropped by Lib Dem Voice this week. Here’s our 7 most-read posts…

Opinion: Taxing stuff: What George Monbiot got wrong (41 comments) by Max Trueman (an oldie from 2011)

Alex Folkes: Cornwall Council and its Chief Executive have serious questions to answer (25 comments) by Stephen Tall

The “nowcast” for 2015 which gives the Lib Dems 28 MPs (78 comments) by Stephen Tall

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++ And the new President of the Liberal Democrats is…

Sal BrintonSAL BRINTON!

Many congratulations to her and well done to all three candidates for competing in an excellent campaign. This post will be updated with fuller details and reaction in due course.

Special thanks also to the staff and volunteers who have been counting in Liberal Democrat HQ since early this morning. It’s been a bit of a marathon with initial problems in getting the votes verified but they’ve all done a great job.

Posted in Party Presidency | Tagged , , , , and | 46 Comments

A longer read for the weekend… David Laws on ‘Education: Lessons from this parliament and directions for the next’

david laws centre forumDavid Laws, Lib Dem minister for schools, delivered a keynote speech at CentreForum this week, ‘Education: Lessons from this parliament and directions for the next’.

As the title suggests, it was a reflection on the Coalition’s policies, and in particular the Lib Dems’ achievements. But also a look forward to what he sees as the major educational issues and what Lib Dems should be seeking to do in the next parliament.

You can read the full text over at CentreForum’s site here. But here’s an excerpt in which David looks to the challenges of the five years to come…

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Nigel, was there something you forgot to do?

Nigel farage photo by norbert1As the net migration figures come out today, Nigel Farage has never been far from a tv camera. He’s been on the BBC News Channel. on the Daily Politics, spreading his ill-informed nonsense that we have an open door to half a billion people as if the entirety of Europe was going to pack up and come here to live.

It must have slipped his mind that he was supposed to be in Strasbourg this morning, voting down the European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker. He must have also forgotten to take part in the debate on the motion on Monday. The funny thing is, he’s been in Strasbourg this week, lining up to meet the Pope.  UKIP MEPs don’t often trouble the Parliament with their presence, but you would think that Farage would have bothered to turn up to support his own motion! He and others including France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen had wasted Parliament’s time with the motion which was roundly defeated this morning.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt spoke against it in the debate and he didn’t mince his words:

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Liberal Democrat members and ministers talk mental health for Channel 4’s political slot

Last week, the Liberal Democrats used their Political Slot with Channel 4 to talk about mental health. Norman Lamb said that it was “morally wrong and economically stupid” to deny people with mental ill health speedy treatment and talked about Liberal Democrat plans to introduce waiting time targets over the next five years.

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In full: Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Conference

Willie Rennie speaking at Lib Dem Spring conference, Liverpool 2008Here is Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Conference in Dunfermline this Saturday.

Thank you to everyone who sent kind wishes following my period of absence from the political stage. I was undergoing an operation to replace a mangled disc in my neck.

It was an emergency, not for any medical reasons, but because our campaign director Adam Stachura said it was hindering my canvassing technique.

Lying on the theatre trolley as the needle was about to be injected into my hand the doctor declared she knew exactly who I was.

It was even more alarming that she looked remarkably like Nicola Sturgeon.

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Nick Clegg taking questions on mental health on Mind’s Facebook page today

nick clegg live tweet town hall 1st may 2014In a Facebook first, Nick Clegg will be taking questions on mental health over on Mind’s Facebook page this lunchtime, starting at 12:30 pm.

He put this brief video on his own page to explain why he thinks this is important and is quoted on Mind’s website:

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    Totally agree with David and Nigel. A wonderful tribute by Nick. There was another very moving tribute given at the funeral by Steve Atack which...
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