Category Archives: LibLink

For highlighting articles by Lib Dems that have appeared elsewhere in the media.

LibLink: Claire Tyler delivers the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture

Baroness-Claire-Tyler-1Baroness Claire Tyler is our spokesperson for mental health in the Lords, and on Saturday she gave the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture at the Social Liberal Forum conference. The full text has now been published, but we can give you a taster here.

The title of the lecture was ‘Wellbeing – a modern take on Beveridge’ and she began by saying:

I think it is entirely appropriate to be revisiting Beveridge at a conference entitled ‘Rebooting Liberalism’. It’s neither regressive nor intellectually lazy to be looking to the past as we seek to move forward. Far from it – we are fortunate to have an incredibly strong intellectual tradition within the party and in seeking to both clarify and communicate exactly what we stand for, we could do much worse than draw on the ground-breaking work of one of the grandfathers of modern Liberalism.

Tagged and | Leave a comment

LibLink: If I’m Lib Dem leader, we’ll oppose fracking

Tim Farron has been writing for Politics.co.uk about his desire to see the party change its policy on fracking. The headline is entirely misleading, because what he actually does is show respect to the party’s processes by saying he’ll ask the Federal Policy Committee and Conference to reconsider the issue. But why?

The UK should not be pursuing another fossil fuel source, when there is so much potential for renewable generation from tidal and hydro that is still untapped. I would like the party, through the federal policy committee and the conference, to think again about our existing policy on fracking.

Tagged , , , , and | 46 Comments

LibLink: Norman Lamb: It would be easy for our party to shelter in our comfort zone but it would be very, very wrong

Norman Lamb has been writing for the Huffington Post about his vision for the future of the Liberal Democrats.

The next few years can’t just be about making ourselves feel better; we must be far more ambitious than that.

That means broadening our policy and political thinking, daring – once again – to be radical and challenging. It is why I am proposing a renaissance in our approach to political action and debate, reaching out to include the many – particularly young people – who share our values and instincts but are put off by closed party structures and, even worse, by tribalistic political thinking.

Our task now is not just to devise short-term tactics or louder opposition. We will succeed when we have a long-term, coherent and persuasive set of strategic ideas for Britain.

The good news is that Liberalism fits our age. Britain has become less collective, citizens and consumers feel more empowered and many individual rights – through equal marriage for instance – are better recognised.

What are his key issues?

Tagged , and | 23 Comments

LibLink: Paul Burstow on leaving the elderly at death’s door

Paul BurstowIn the Telegraph today, Paul Burstow expresses his concerns for social care under the Conservative Government. He writes:

Ninety per cent of NHS leaders now believe that social care cuts are directly affecting patient care, while social care leaders report that over half of the providers they work with are facing financial difficulties. This is not sustainable.

Social care has always been the poor relation of the NHS, but in the last Government, Norman Lamb and I made the reform of social care a priority, and, we made more progress in five years than the previous government did in thirteen. We secured an extra £7.2 billion, reformed social care law putting well-being and prevention centre stage, limited individual exposure to care costs and made sure no one should ever again have to sell their home to pay for care. And we laid the groundwork for bringing the NHS and social care together with one budget.

But he sees all that being placed at risk.

Tagged , and | 2 Comments

LibLink: Cllr Keith House: The New Housing Finance Institute can help Councils build homes

Eastleigh Council leader Keith House has written on the party website about the potential of the new Housing Finance Institute to ensure that we build the houses we need to tackle the housing crisis we face in this country:

The aims of the HFI are to increase housing supply across all tenures; to unlock opportunities for the public sector and to help business to deliver and finance housing.

The HFI was a key recommendation of the Government-commissioned Elphicke-House Report 2015. Over the course of a year-long review, Natalie Elphicke and I listened to more than 400 organisations from across the nation. The organisations came from all parts of the housing and finance industries as well as local and national government. They made the case for a new approach that would bring everyone together. The idea for the HFI was born and made a key recommendation of our report. Councils can do more, working with housing associations and developers, with private and public finance. My own Council, Eastleigh, is building homes for affordable and private rent, and homes for sale.

There are three things the HFI can do:

Tagged , and | 1 Comment

Leadership LibLink: Norman Lamb: It’s time to halve the prison population

Earlier this week, Norman Lamb wrote for the Huffington Post outlining a strong, liberal case for putting fewer people in prison. It’s powerful stuff:

There can be no other area of public policy, with the exception of the related issue of drugs reform, where establishment politicians so readily bang the drum for the exact opposite of any evidence-based solution. Our prisons clearly fail to rehabilitate: half of those released reoffend within a year, including six in ten of those on sentences of less than twelve months.

Liberal Democrats must lead the call for drastic and urgent action to reduce crime, protect victims more effectively, help criminals turn their lives around and protect taxpayers money: we must push for a Ministry of Justice target to halve the prison population by 2025.

Maybe we should look at the reasons people commit crime and tackle them, says Norman:

Tagged , and | 8 Comments

LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott: Tories might pull their hair out but they’re not going to get a parliamentary veto in the EU

Former Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber Edward McMillan-Scott has been writing or Politics.co.uk about the Tories’ efforts to ensure that national parliaments can veto EU laws that they don’t like.

Edward clearly knows a fair bit about how the EU works, arguably significantly more than your average Eurosceptic Tory backbencher. He’s been in on the organisation within the EU that actually does represent the rights of national parliaments and it has asserted itself in recent years.

He explains how the process works:

Also posted in Europe / International | Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

LibLink: David Hall-Matthews on Liberalism in anxious times

David Hall-MatthewsIn its quarterly journal Juncture, IPPR has published an article by David Hall-Matthews entitled “Liberalism in anxious times: Constructing a clear, positive liberal vision for society“.

David’s starting point is Nick Clegg’s resignation speech in which he said that liberalism was under threat, and not just in the UK. Is that true?

Globally, Putin’s neo-dictatorship and ISIS terror are fundamentally illiberal – but they are no more significant than recent liberal turns in international relations, such as the increasing economic strength and political integration of the BRICs.

In the UK context, is the astonishing success of the Scottish Nationalist party (SNP), with its broadly social-democratic approach, really a threat to liberal values? For Clegg, having fought a centrist, makeweight campaign, all radicals are a threat. He went as far as to cite ‘unity’ in his speech as a fundamental liberal value, though it could be argued to be the opposite of liberal respect for difference. Ed Miliband, too, found himself forced to decry the SNP as a nationalist danger, primarily for tactical reasons. Both ultimately found it difficult to convince floating voters that their differences from the SNP were greater than their common values.

After the general election debacle, and with a Lib Dem leadership campaign underway, there is an opportunity, as well as a necessity, to set out a clear, positive liberal vision for society.

Tagged and | 6 Comments

Bearder: Liberals must save the EU-US trade agreement, but we must ditch ISDS to do so

Writing for politics.co.uk, Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder writes a strong defence of the proposed free trade agreement between the US and EU, but takes the view that the now much-maligned Investor State Dispute Settlement proposal (which in any event has been temporarily abandoned) must be replaced with a much more accountable form of dispute resolution:

A trade deal with the US has the potential to bring major benefits to the UK economy. Currently the US is the biggest export destination for UK small businesses, with over half of all small exporting firms doing business there. But barriers to trade between the EU and the US, such as tariffs or different standards and regulations, can make it difficult for small companies to expand their businesses across the Atlantic.

Tagged and | 18 Comments

LibLink: Tavish Scott: Principles and warm wit with a highland accent

Shetland MSP, who started out his career, like Danny Alexander, as a party’s press officer back in the 80s. That involved working with a young Charles Kennedy and he writes about that experience in a tribute written for the Yorkshire Post:

On one such occasion the MPs joined a demonstration with students at Inverness College. Charles spoke and debated with the students and had them eating out of his hand. They laughed at his jokes and nodded at his serious observations. We then drove to Portree. The next day, on the three-hour drive back to the Highland capital, Charles gave me a political tour de force on the Highlands, nationalism and Britain. The lessons of that discussion stay with me to this day.

Fast forward to 1999 when Tavish was an MSP:

Tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

LibLink: Danny Alexander: The Charles Kennedy I knew

Danny Alexander has been writing about his memories of Charles Kennedy for the Spectator. His first experience of him was when he was a party press office and Charles was already an MP:

The first time I spoke to him was as a young press officer for the Scottish Lib Dems, nervously recommending that we cancel a press conference because the material was not quite ready. I expected the hairdryer treatment, but he was pleased. ‘When you have nothing to say,’ he replied, ‘best say nothing at all.’ He followed his own advice — which meant that, as party leader, he did not imitate the frenetic pace of Paddy Ashdown. This earned him criticism, but his style was to pick battles carefully, and fight them well.

He supported Danny in his campaign to become an MP in 2005:

When I was selected to contest the Highland constituency next to his, then held by Labour, I expected to see little of him. I was wrong. He gave ample and generous support, letting me sit in at his constituency surgeries to better understand how Parliament works — or, more accurately, how it should work. He taught me that politicians should never lose sight of who they’re working for.

Danny talks about Charles’ Highland crofting mindset:

Tagged , and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Norman Lamb: We can build a new progressive, liberal movement of change across the country

Yes, I know, lots of leadership stuff today – but then, there’s a lot out there and it is a Very Big Thing for the party at the Norman Lamb badgesmoment.

Norman Lamb has outlined his vision for Politics Home. Trust the people, he says:

As liberals, we fundamentally believe that government can’t pick and choose which human rights are important, or who should have them.  We believe that powerful organisations – both public and private – must be open and accountable.  And we believe that, when people use the internet, they don’t surrender the right to privacy from government snooping.

And at the very heart of my liberalism is the idea that we must trust in people. That we must take power away from unaccountable institutions and give it to individuals – so that they can decide how to live their lives, rather than being told what to do by the state.

Nearly a decade ago, I won a long battle with the Labour government to force the then-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to publish lists of the individuals he met.  That principle now extends across all government ministers – and is crucial in holding ministers to account for the way that decisions are made.

And it’s important to give those most vulnerable a proper say in what happens to them:

Tagged , and | 11 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron: The best argument for the Liberal Democrats? A Tory Queen’s Speech

Over at the Huffington Post, leadership hopeful Tim Farron has been writing about the Queen’s Speech and why it shows that a strong liberal voice is needed.

On Europe, the referendum on our membership of the EU is an issue already threatening to turn into a parody. Cameron has just barred two groups from voting – 16 and 17-year olds, who engaged fantastically with the Scottish referendum; and most EU citizens resident in the UK, who can already vote in local government elections. Probably two of the groups most likely to vote to stay in the EU! There is also the fact that Britain will take over the rotating EU presidency in July 2017. That Britain could be in charge of the EU while simultaneously campaigning to leave it is a just a bizarre scenario. Will we see the referendum brought forward? Regardless, this is going to plunge many businesses into huge uncertainty and put many of their investment plans on hold.

Closer to home, we see the Snooper’s Charter back on the agenda. This is going to make internet service providers collect and store vast amounts of data – such as what websites you’ve been on, who you’ve been emailing, when, from where – and make this data available to government on request. Big Brother is well and truly here. Tories often complain that the Liberal Democrats blocked them from implementing the Snooper’s Charter – and I’m dead proud that we did. The one question we must all ask Theresa May, and Tory MPs who will support her Snooper’s Charter, is: how do you protect our freedoms by destroying them?

We also see more ‘tough talk’ from David Cameron on immigration. Wages of some illegal migrants will fall under the scope of the Proceeds of Crime Act and will be confiscated. This could hit the genuinely vulnerable and exploited migrant worker who earns £23.60 after doing a 60-hour shift. If this makes no sense to you, it doesn’t make sense to me either. This is, yet again, the politics of gimmickry and division.

He ends with an invitation:

Tagged , and | 28 Comments

LibLink: Tom Brake – The Human Rights Act

Over at the party website, Tom Brake has been writing about the importance of the Human Rights Act. The Tories may have apparently watered down planned action to repeal it but they are absolutely desperate to do so. The last thing we should be doing is letting up our campaign to convince the public about the need for the protections the ECHR and Human Rights Act provide.

He outlines some of the people who have been helped by the HRA.

Take for example, 90-year-olds Richard and Beryl Driscoll. They lived together for more than 65 years until, in 2006, he was moved into a residential care home.

He could not walk unaided and she was blind. She relied on her husband as her eyes and he relied on her for his mobility.

They wanted to remain together but the council said it wasn’t possible to accommodate them in the same nursing home.

But thanks to a campaign that argued their treatment breached their human rights – specifically their right to a family life – the council were forced to back down and they were reunited.

It’s difficult to believe that, without the protection afforded to them by the HRA, there would have been a happy ending.

The same is true in Europe too. Up until 2004, it was possible for two gay men to be prosecuted for having sex if one was aged 16 or 17, even though it was legal for heterosexual couples.

This blatant unfairness was only removed as a result of an ECHR ruling, one the right to a private life, a clause that causes heartless Tories such distress.

And, in 2002, a male-to-female transsexual – asked Strasbourg to determine whether there had been a violation of her right to respect and family life.

Why? Because Britain did not legally recognise her changed gender and did not let her marry. Her victory was a huge step forward in the battle for trans-equality in this country.

Our current human rights legislation has also blocked blanket interception of private messages by the state, protected our right to a fair trial and prevented indiscriminate police stop-and-search.

You can read the whole article here.

Tagged , and | 6 Comments

LibLink: Ryan Coetzee: The Liberal Democrats must reunite, rebuild or remain in opposition

Ryan Coetzee has written a long article for the Guardian in which he analyses our election defeat and looks to the future.

He looked at the three fronts of the electoral battlefield, Scotland, Labour-facing and Tory facing seats. He looked at the Tories’ fear tactics throughout the campaign:

About four weeks from election day it became clear that The Fear was hurting us. We tried everything we could to counter it: fear of a Tory minority government in hock to its own right wing, Ukip and the DUP; fear of Tory cuts to welfare, schools and other unprotected departments; ruling out participation in any government that relied on SNP support; offering ourselves as the only guarantors of a stable coalition. All of it was trumped by The Fear, and on a scale we didn’t see coming.

I cannot help wonder what would have happened if Miliband and Clegg had turned round to David Cameron and told him that he was talking nonsense. By ruling out coalition with the SNP, we legitimised his depiction of them as the ultimate bogey party. They were never going to anything other than a pain in the backside. They aren’t monsters. The worst they would be able to do would be to propose amendments on the likes of Trident which would be voted down by virtually everyone else bar a few of us and a few Labour lefties. I understand, I think, why we didn’t do that – it hadn’t gone so well when Clegg faced down Farage, however much we might admire his courage in doing so. I suspect, though that a joint initiative to combat the Tory fear might have helped Clegg and Miliband see they could work tougher and  combat the ridiculous Tory scaremongering. Mind you, Labour’s policy platform was so weak, it might all have been in vain anyway.

Also posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 85 Comments

LibLink: David Howarth’s thoughts on the way forward

David HowarthOn the Social Liberal Forum website, David Howarth (who was MP in Cambridge before Julian Huppert) has been telling us five things that we should never do again:

  • We must never again accept coalition with the Tories 
  • We must never again promote coalitionism
  • We must never again push centrism 
  • We must never again ignore evidence
  • We must never again fail to have the will to change 

and three things we should do now:

  • Clarify our values 
  • Find new ways of promoting our values
  • Rebuild a core vote
Tagged | 71 Comments

The final Liberal Democrat party election broadcast – all 3 versions: It’s decision time between self-interest and grievance or Lib Dem fairness, tolerance and decency

Here’s the party’s final party election broadcast, It’s decision time now for all the people we’ve met in the series. The film argues that Liberal Democrats have brought compassion and fairness, built on consensus and co-operation, to Britain.

Your vote will be the difference between a government of self-interest and grievance or a coalition of tolerance and decency.

Here’s the Scottish version and listen to who is voicing it. There’s more emphasis on what we stopped the Tories doing.

Tagged , and | 12 Comments

LibLink: Stephen Tall: Two signs which show the Tories think they will fail (again)

Stephen Tall has been writing for the Times’ Red Box blog. He reckons that it’s been clear all along that the Tories have known perfectly well they won’t get a majority, for two reasons:

The first piece of evidence is the Conservative manifesto itself, an unfunded wish-list which vows to turn the budget deficit into a surplus, while simultaneously promising tax-cuts for everyone, more money for the NHS, freezing rail fares — all to be paid for by unspecified welfare cuts and, fingers crossed, economic growth. How else to explain this unsquareable circle other than as a bartering tactic for future coalition negotiations?

And the endorsement of the Tory press for us? It’s not a coincidence:

The second piece of evidence is the endorsement of the Lib Dems by usually Conservative-leaning newspapers in their traditional “If we had a vote” leader columns. Given the battering meted out to the party by the press these past five years, most of us had written off these write-ups. Instead, The TimesThe Sunday Times, the FT, the Economist, and, yes, even The Sun, have all called on their readers to consider voting tactically for the Lib Dems where the party’s fighting Labour.

It’d be naïve to think they’ve been won over by our policy “red lines” or Clegg’s distinctly upbeat campaign – they’re making nice because they think it’s the most likely route to the continuation of some form of Conservative-led government.

Tagged | 28 Comments

LibLink: Baroness Zahida Manzoor: Why Muslims should vote Lib Dem

Lib Dem peer Zahida Manzoor has written for Muslim News setting out the reasons that Muslims should find it easy to vote Liberal Democrat. First the basics:

The Lib Dems are the party of opportunity. We believe everybody, no matter who they are, should be given the same chances in life. We want to do all we can to make sure everyone has the opportunities to get on in life.

Conservatives are seeking to remove some of the basic freedoms in the European Convention of Human Rights, which sit strongly alongside the principles of Islam. We are the only party in

Tagged , and | 3 Comments

LibLink: Kavya Kaushik: Britain’s immigration debate has taken a turn for the toxic

Ealing Southall Liberal Democrat candidate Kavya Kaushik has been writing for the New Statesman about the effect of the sort of rhetoric we’re hearing in the immigration debate.

She was annoyed by Evan Davis’ comments about Nick Clegg’s family background during his leader’s interview last week and recognised Nick’s obvious irritation:

The choice to fixate upon Clegg’s multicultural upbringing, suggesting it to be out of touch with “British” people, made for uncomfortable viewing. For centuries immigrants have been an integral part of the British working class. Within the context of the current immigration climate, it feels like further demonisation of BME people.

Davis’s intention was unlikely to be intentional racial discomfort, but Clegg’s furious reaction mirrored that of many children of migrants. Our Britishness is consistently questioned despite having lived in the UK for our entire lives. Casual racism is on the rise, particularly within politics. On the doorstep a BME canvasser is increasingly likely to hear “I don’t want your people here”, and worse. These experiences lead to racial sensitivity and passing comments questioning multiculturalism vs Britishness can be interpreted as a personal attack when coupled with modern attitudes to race in Britain.

Hang on! What was that?

On the doorstep a BME canvasser is increasingly likely to hear “I don’t want your people here”, and worse. 

Tagged , , , and | 16 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron says the deaths this week are a wake-up call. We need a change of direction

Tim Farron MP speaks at the rallyIn an article for the New Statesman Tim Farron writes:

The tragic deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean this week must force us to change direction.

Immigration is one of the major issues of this election and Labour and the Conservatives continue to portray all immigrants in a negative light. But immigration is not an issue which can be solved by Britain on our own. Or by oversimplifying and stoking fears based on one stereotype. The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto will not ignore the plight of refugees playing a lottery with their own survival.

Tagged and | 25 Comments

LibLink: Jo Swinson: Shared Parental Leave is an important step to the wider cultural change that they need

Jo Swinson has been writing for the Huffington Post about what the Liberal Democrats have done on child care and parental leave.

 Liberal Democrats in the coalition government have taken important steps to support parents with childcare costs despite the challenging economic situation. We extended free early years education to 15 hours a week for three and four year olds, and introduced 15 free hours for four in 10 two-year-olds – those from the most hard-pressed homes. We are also introducing Tax Free Childcare to save working families up to £2,000 per child per year from September.

But there’s more to come. Not only a tripling of paternity leave, but extra help with childcare costs.

We also want to extend free early years education to all two year olds. We know that pressure to budget for childcare costs doesn’t just start when a child is two years old, and that the costs can prevent parents from returning to work. We are committed to bridging that gap so that free childcare is available for working parents from the end of paid parental leave. On average, this will save working parents the equivalent of £2,670 a year.

Tagged , , , and | 14 Comments

LibLink: Jo Swinson: Across much of Scotland, Lib Dems are the only party who can beat the SNP

Jo Swinson has written for Scotland on Sunday’s Election Essays series. First of all she outlines the Liberal Democrat contributions to the Government:

The last five years have demonstrated beyond doubt that the Liberal Democrats made the right decision and are a force for good in government. We’ve taken tough decisions to get growth up and the deficit down, while also protecting the public services on which we all rely. We have been able to deliver vital Liberal Democrat policies, while preventing the Conservatives from dancing to the right-wing tune of their Eurosceptic backbenchers and the populism of Nigel Farage’s Ukip.

As a result, the economy is recovering strongly: we grew faster than any other G7 country last year, and we’re borrowing half as much as we were in 2010.

You don’t have to choose between governing fairly and balancing the books as Labour and Conservatives would have you believe:

Liberal Democrats will balance the books by 2018, and do so fairly. We won’t drag out the pain for years longer like Labour, or slash public services to the bone like the Conservatives. These parties will try and convince you that you have to choose between eliminating the deficit or protecting public services. You don’t. With the Liberal Democrats’ balanced plan, we can do both.

Tagged and | 10 Comments

LibLink: Layla Moran: Six ways to break British research

All parliamentary candidates are being deluged by emails from organisations and constituents on a huge range of subjects. One particular missive comes from Vote Cruelty Free which encourages candidates to sign up to the following six pledges:

1) Ban experiments on cats and dogs.
2) End the secrecy surrounding animal experiments.
3) Stop importing monkeys for use in laboratories.
4) End non-medical experiments.
5) Stop genetically modifying animals.
6) Stop suffering in the most extreme experiments.

Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon has written an article for the Our Kingdom website in which she looks at these pledges and explains why she can’t sign up for them because of the effect it would have on British research and ultimately be worse for animals as research is driven to parts of the world where animal welfare is not taken as seriously as it is here.

First, a general overview and the benefits of well-regulated life science research:

On February 24, Britain took the historic step of legislating to make mitochondrial donation therapy possible, offering hope to those carrying mitochondrial defects and creating the possibility for them to have children without passing on the diseases that currently afflict — and usually kill — over 100 babies each year. But medical progress depends on a global ecosystem of life sciences research. Development of novel techniques to a level where mitochondrial donation could be trialled in humans relied on earlier studies using macaques, for example.

Britain is at the forefront of much of this research and, in addition, currently has the highest animal welfare standards worldwide. It is already illegal to conduct animal experiments if an alternative exists and illegal to use cats or dogs if a different animal could be used. Research on animals for cosmetics or on great apes for any application is banned outright. I’m proud that the UK has such high standards and proud that the Liberal Democrats have worked hard in the UK and Europe to drive further improvements.

And then she tackles the substance of the 6 pledges:

Tagged , and | 2 Comments

LibLink: Jo Swinson: Why the Government is spending £2 million to tackle bullying

This week, Lib Dem Equalities Minister Jo Swinson announced the eight organisations who will receive £2 million of government money to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. To accompany that announcement, she wrote an article for Pink News explaining why this money is needed:

Earlier this year singer-songwriter Sam Smith publicly came out and talked openly about being bullied at school. Denying he was gay made the bullying worse and the thing he most hated was how his friends and family heard the names he was called. Fortunately he’s gone on to have a multi-million album selling, Grammy winning career so I think we know who has had the last laugh.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing; bullying can take a terrible toll, have a devastating effect on a young person’s education, isolate them from their peers and damage their self-esteem for life.

How widespread is the problem?

Tagged , , and | Leave a comment

‘Almost certain that Tim Farron will be leader later this year’ – Stephen Tall

Tim Farron Nick Clegg 2010 Photo by Liberal Democrats Alex Folkes Fishnik photography

With his usual uncanny knack and impeccable insight Stephen Tall is bang on the money over on PoliticsHome:

Tagged , , and | 93 Comments

LibLink … Tim Farron: The Conservatives are underplaying our hand in Europe

Tim Farron speaking - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsJust before conference Tim Farron posted on Huffington Post on a totally different subject – Conservative foreign policy.

He writes:

The Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the deterioration of human rights in Russia should be a key concern of all our political parties. If we are to stem the violence in Ukraine, we need a strong and united Europe, as much as we need wise thinking from the US and other players. But I am concerned that the Conservative leadership is crippled by an overblown and insecure fear of Ukip. We are punching below our weight in Europe. Cameron is in danger of putting party politics above peace in Ukraine and Europe – and our national interests.

Tagged and | 11 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg and Richard Branson: We have been losing the war on drugs for four decades. End it now.

Nick Clegg Glasgow 2014 by Liberal DemocratsIn a major keynote speech today, Nick Clegg will call for responsibility for drugs to be moved from the criminal justice system to the health care system. In that, he has the support of Richard Branson and the two men have written for the Guardian’s Comment is Free section. First of all, they show how the current system is both wasting money and failing:

 Since the “war” was declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971, we have spent over £1tn trying to eradicate drugs from our societies. Yet the criminal market continues to grow, driving unimaginable levels of profit for organised crime. We devote vast police, criminal justice and military resources to the problem, including the incarceration of people on a historically unprecedented scale.

In many parts of the world, drug violence has become endemic. As Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, visits the UK, we should remember the estimated 100,000 people killed in Mexico alone since 2006. Yet tragically, the sum total of enforcement efforts against drug supply over the past 40 years has been zero. Efforts at reducing demand have been similarly fruitless. Here in the UK, a third of adults have taken illegal drugs and the gangs are doing a roaring trade. The problem simply isn’t going away.

While other countries around the world are rethinking their approach, Britain remains stubbornly, truculently wedded to the old way, with tragic human consequences:

And yet we desperately need better solutions in this country. One in six children aged 11 to 15 is still taking drugs; 2,000 people die each year in drug-related incidents; the use of unregulated “legal highs” is rampant.

At the same time, the police are stopping and searching half a million people a year for possession of drugs, prosecutions of users are close to record levels, and prison cells are still used for people whose only crime is the possession of a substance to which they are addicted. This costs a lot of money, which could be better spent on treatment and on redoubling our efforts to disrupt supply. And it wrecks the lives of 70,000 people a year who receive a criminal record for possession and then find themselves unable to get a job.

As an investment, the war on drugs has failed to deliver any returns. If it were a business, it would have been shut down a long time ago. This is not what success looks like.

Tagged , , , and | 14 Comments

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.

Tagged and | Leave a comment

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:

Tagged and | 6 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 6th Jul - 5:56pm
    Just to clarify: the only problem I have with the Electoral Reform Society is that they don't explain STV properly. For as long as people...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 6th Jul - 5:46pm
    I agree revolution should not always be a dirty term (I support a peaceful revolution in Hong Kong, for example). However in the West it...
  • User AvatarGraham Evans 6th Jul - 5:43pm
    A lot of the discussion seems to have focused on operational structures. However, while this can be important in getting people elected, in terms of...
  • User AvatarSir Norfolk Passmore 6th Jul - 5:40pm
    I agree entirely with TCO and Greenfield. So, it seems, does Norman Lamb. I'd commend p28 of his "Giving Power to People" booklet: http://backnorman.co.uk/index.php/book/ Specifically,...
  • User AvatarGordon 6th Jul - 5:35pm
    "We have an English party but it is run by an executive who are elected from representatives elected from regional conferences by regional voting representatives...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 6th Jul - 5:32pm
    I support an abstention on this, unless Assad requests for help, which would give us the right to cross his borders. I am not supporting...
Mon 6th Jul 2015
Wed 8th Jul 2015
Thu 9th Jul 2015
Fri 10th Jul 2015
Sat 11th Jul 2015
Sun 12th Jul 2015
Thu 16th Jul 2015
Sat 18th Jul 2015
Sun 19th Jul 2015
Mon 20th Jul 2015
Thu 23rd Jul 2015
Sat 25th Jul 2015
Sun 26th Jul 2015
Mon 27th Jul 2015
Thu 30th Jul 2015
Sat 1st Aug 2015