Category Archives: LibLink

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

LibLink: Paddy Ashdown: Tories’ Royal Marine cut plays fast and loose with UK defence

It makes sense that Paddy should write for the Plymouth Herald on defence given the city’s strategic importance.

He took the Government to task for cutting the Marines – about which he knows more than most people:

For more than three centuries – from Gibraltar and Trafalgar to Normandy and Afghanistan – the Royal Marines have epitomised those qualities. They have fought in more theatres and won more battles than any other British unit. In our nation’s hours of danger, they have been, as Lord St Vincent predicted in 1802, “the country’s sheet anchor”.

So the news that the Government is cutting 200 Royal Marine posts – at such a volatile time in world affairs – should concern us all. They are committing this folly in response to a crisis of their own making.

The cost of Conservative foolishness doesn’t end with the Royal Marines. They’ve cut personnel numbers, breaking their manifesto promise not to reduce the Army below 82,000. Troops on the frontline are deprived of basic equipment and combat training has been slashed, putting soldiers’ lives in greater peril. Warships sit idle at quaysides. No wonder top generals have accused the Government of “deception” over defence.

The Tories are very practised at talking tough on defence in elections. But look at the history: it’s always Tories who cut most on defence in government. It’s now clear that Mrs May will get back in because of the hopelessness of the Labour Party. But it would be very dangerous to give her a big enough majority to ignore us again.

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LibLink: Sarah Olney: Brexit undermines universities at every turn

Sarah Olney has written an article for the Times Educational Supplement talking about the difficulties facing universities as a result of Theresa May’s push for a hard brexit.

Citing Cambridge University’s assertion that Brexit poses a significant risk to our Higher Eduction sector, Sarah outlines this in detail:

Unfortunately, the Conservative government doesn’t seem to be listening. Theresa May has chosen to pursue the hardest and most destructive version of Brexit possible: taking us out of the single market and the customs union, and even threatening to do so without a new trade agreement with the EU. The government is also refusing to guarantee the rights of EU nationals  living and working in the UK to remain after Brexit.

The government’s hard Brexit policies and rhetoric risk driving away international students and academics. The number of EU nationals applying to British universities has already fallen by 7 per cent compared with last year, despite the government’s assurance that those starting this year won’t face higher fees after Brexit. Some 53 per cent of foreign academics are now actively looking to leave the UK, and 88 per cent say that Brexit has made them more likely to do so in future.

And what about the EU’s Erasmus programme? It gives 16,000 British students the chance to study abroad every year but the government has made no commitment to maintaining or replacing it after Brexit. Last year, the Liberal Democrats delivered a petition to No 10 and the European Parliament, calling on them to save Erasmus. This petition was signed by more than 10,000 people.

And contrasts the Lib Dem view:

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LibLink: Amna Ahmad: The Tories’ response to the refugee crisis shows that they are turning their back on the world

Lib Dem candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Amna Ahmad, has written for the House magazine about the ongoing refugee crisis.

We have always helped those seeking sanctuary, even at times when we faced domestic challenges and hard times, and we must continue to do so. Recognising others’ need even when we have distractions of our own is part of our identity, or “British values”, and I will not allow Brexit or Nigel Farage to take that away.

Furthermore, at a time when we are seen by many to be turning our back on the rest of to the world, behaving with compassion in the way we relate to those fleeing their homes sends a hugely significant message of unity and understanding to other nations, and we will find it affects our standing in the world for years to come.

But Theresa May has shown that she does not care. Under her government, the Conservatives have U-turned on two previous pledges, including one to take more refugees from Syria and another to help abandoned child refugees.

She outlines what the Liberal Democrats would do:

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Lib Dems will give you a choice about the future

In an article for the Times Red Box, Tim Farron points out the huge differences between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat visions for the future:

The contrast between the Liberal Democrat manifesto and the Conservative one couldn’t be starker. We would extend free school lunches to all primary school children and invest an extra £7 billion in schools and colleges, to make sure funding rises in line with both inflation and pupil numbers. Instead, Theresa May wants to take free school lunches away from 1.9 million children to fund her obsession with grammar schools.

Our manifesto commits to capping the cost of

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LibLink: Vince Cable: After years of hiding from the public, Fred Goodwin will face the music over RBS’ failure next month

Vince Cable wrote an interesting article in City Am last week about the imminent appearance (on polling day, of all days) of Fred Goodwin, the former head of RBS in a court case brought by 9000 retail investors.

Goodwin, alongside RBS itself and several other former executives at the bank, are defendants in a case brought against them by 9,000 retail investors, including many current RBS employees. The trial starts in less than two weeks (22 May) and Goodwin will be called to the stand after the opening remarks. The claimants allege they were wilfully misled over the true financial woes of RBS during the £12bn rights issue of 2008, which was supposed to stabilise the bank. Within months, RBS had to be rescued by the government, which spent £45.5bn of taxpayer money to stop it from collapsing.

Vince notes that Goodwin’s defence is being publicly funded and he still enjoys a lucrative RBS pension:

Goodwin has spent the past seven years hiding from a public still furious that his dreadful calls – notably the 2007 purchase of Dutch bank ABN Amro – helped bring Britain’s economy to its knees. He left RBS in 2009 and was later stripped of his knighthood. But he has never been properly taken to task for his failures.

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LibLink – Nick Clegg: Scrapping free school lunches is an attack on struggling families

Nick Clegg writes with great passion in the Guardian about the Tory plans to scrap universal free infant school lunches:

So much for compassionate Conservatism. So much for helping the “just about managing”. During my time as deputy prime minister, I repeatedly blocked the Conservatives from proceeding with tax, welfare, education and pensions policies that did not cater for the neediest in society. I became wearily familiar with the Conservative party’s habit of placing greater priority on the needs of “their” voters than those of society at large.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Emmanuel Macron’s victory shows why Britain needs a liberal opposition

Tim Farron has been writing in the Mirror about the example Macron’s victory in France sets for Britain. He doesn’t pretend that it means that the Lib Dems will bound to victory:

So, I won’t try to claim that the success of Macron in France last night means that the Liberal Democrats will win a majority next month.

What is does mean is that there is a place for outward-looking, forward-thing politics.

It means that the far-right can and should be fought and held to account.

It means that we don’t have to settle for the status quo.

In France, Macron has broken through the twentieth century left/right divide of socialism and conservatism to make a clear case for a new liberalism.

The British people can do what our neighbours across the Channel have done and reject the same tired choice between the UKIP-pandering Conservatives and an out-dated Labour party who are still fighting the battles of the 1950s.

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    Simon Shaw. Okay 7 years. Fact is Corbyn is not and hasn't been PM. Where has this happened on May's watch and has nothing to...
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    Regarding Labour's tax plan. Labour's robin hood tax on City without exemption for primary markets is utterly stupid, compared to EU FTT.
  • User AvatarEugene 29th May - 9:19am
    Advice from a Labour member- I supported you in Richmond Park and wanted Labour to stand down- now that is settled...... Get all of your...
  • User AvatarDenis Mollison 29th May - 9:16am
    @Simon Shaw I am not a Corbyn hagiographer (if that means what I think it does); if I were, I'd have moved to the Labour...
  • User Avatarexpats 29th May - 9:07am
    Manfarang, make up your mind... All the articles of talks between Corbyn and Sinn Féin leaders (Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, etc.) that are used to...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 29th May - 8:55am
    @Denis Mollison "Simon, Lorenzo The issue was whether Corbyn sometimes turned a blind eye to violence. No it isn’t. Our government, and May as part...