Category Archives: LibLink

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

LibLink: Nick Clegg: Brexit Lords have a cheek to complain about EU democracy

Nick Clegg turned to the subject of EU democracy in his Standard column this week.

He was quick to point out the irony of members of the House of Lords castigating the democracy of the EU:

With more than 800 members, the House of Lords is only second to China’s National People’s Congress in size and is about as undemocratic: unique in Europe, its members can revise and amend the laws of the land without anyone actually being elected. It is, in short, an affront to the basic democratic principle that those who make the laws of the land should be elected by those who obey the laws of the land.

Yet this obvious inconsistency appears to have escaped Lord Lawson et al when they berate the EU as “profoundly undemocratic”. I find what they do every day in the House of Lords profoundly undemocratic too.

The rest of our democracy is riddled with faults too:

Similarly, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and the other Brexit ministers appear to be entirely untroubled that they serve in a Government that garnered no more than 24 per cent of the eligible vote. Such an undemocratic outcome — wielding unchallenged power when three quarters of voters either voted for another party or didn’t vote at all — is, it seems, acceptable to these high priests of democratic virtue.

The truth is that our own democracy is in need of a complete overhaul. Westminster is hopelessly stuck in the past: MPs are not allowed to shake each other’s hands on the parliamentary estate; we can’t call each other by our names and must instead use arcane titles such as “my right honourable friend” or “the gallant and learned gentleman”. We are not allowed to clap in the Commons so we register our approval by manically guffawing and waving papers instead.

The EU has its flaws, but it’s not lack of democracy that causes the problem:

What I would never advocate, however, is that Westminster and Whitehall should be razed to the ground or that we should quit our democratic institutions altogether. Yet that is precisely what Brexiteers are inviting us to do: respond to the flaws in the EU, which are numerous, by turning our backs on it altogether.

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LibLInk: Christine Jardine: A European Journey

Scottish Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson Christine Jardine has reflected on the EU referendum as her daughter sets out on a journey round Europe. She thinks back to how her grandmother felt seeing her son go to Normandy – to fight in a war. She imagines her horror and panic when he briefly went missing and was found injured. All this, she argues, amounts to a powerful case to stay in the European Union:

My daughter and her friends have already visited Thiepval, the Normandy beaches, a concentration camp.

They have studied that period of European History which is about to pass from living memory, and regard it as their own, as Europeans.

When they talk of either World War what I hear is not blame or criticism of other nations but a recognition that, as a continent, we screwed up.

And they do not talk in terms of former enemies and allies, but of neighbours, fellow Europeans with whom we are building a common, and better, future.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Beware the brash bluff and bluster of the Brexit sharks

Nick Clegg has taken prominent Leave campaigners to task over their recent pronouncements in his latest Standard column:

He draws an analogy from the iconic tv programme Happy Days:

As the writers of the TV show Happy Days approached their fifth season they were running out of ideas for storylines. So, in the season premiere, they sent the Fonz to Los Angeles where, in a bid to prove his bravery, he put on a pair of water skis and jumped over a shark.

That moment spawned a phrase — “jumping the shark” — which is used to describe the moment when something is taken too far, loses all credibility and makes everyone involved look silly.

In recent weeks, the Brexit campaign has jumped the shark.

He then looks at the wilder pronouncements of Boris, Farage and Penny Mordaunt before turning on an old adversary of his, Dominic Cummings. Nick and Cummings have some pretty serious history. I doubt that they are on each others’ Christmas card lists.

Dominic Cummings, a senior figure in Vote Leave, has suggested that those who believe we should remain in the EU are like the appeasers of the 1930s. Wearing the slightly crazed look of someone who jumps sharks for a living, Cummings told the Commons Treasury Committee that the “conventional wisdom” of today is as misguided as it was then. The fixation with the Nazis among Brexiteers is as historically illiterate as it is revolting.

Cummings has asserted that the Cabinet Secretary, Jeremy Heywood, is running an intimidation scam out of the Cabinet Office, threatening people to toe a pro-European line. I saw the Cabinet Office at work for five years. It is a slightly herbivorous part of the government machine. The notion that it is the Whitehall equivalent of the Sopranos is laughable.

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael on the Extremism Bill

 

We have just caught up with an article by Alistair Carmichael in The Independent. The headline itself offers a jolt: “The Extremism Bill means that the Queen’s speech might be the only one you hear from now on”. Writing just before the Queen’s Speech last week he claimed:

This Government still seems wedded to the notion that if you ban something it will go away.They banned psychoactive substances, despite zero evidence that it would reduce harm. They tried banning encryption, making all of our data less secure. Now they are trying to ban “extremist speech” via an Extremism Bill which they will introduce in the Queen’s Speech tomorrow.

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LibLink: There’s no way to deny it, the Lib Dems are on the rise again

Last week’s election results show that, overall, the Liberal Democrats are fighting back argues Tom Brake in an article for the Huffington Post.

Our party made the most gains in the English local elections, increasing our share of seats more than any other party, now having 45 more, passionate Councillors working hard for their communities.

We strengthened our support in the liberal heartlands of Eastleigh and Cheltenham. We dominated the results in Southport, Cumbria and in Watford, where we took control of the council. And we gained seats in cities like Hull, Rochdale and Manchester thanks to my fantastic former colleague John Leech, who will provide the only opposition to Labour there.

Up and down the country we’ve seen the green shoots of liberalism grow up in communities disillusioned with an impotent Labour party dubbed as the worst ever Government opposition, and a heartless Conservative Government imposing ideological cuts to valued public services.

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LibLink: Roger Roberts: Forcing teenagers back to war zones another example of Tory inhumanity

“Inhumanity” is a word that you should use with caution, but when you are looking at a Government that has no compunction about sending child asylum seekers back to war zones the minute they turn 18, when they may have grown up here and have nothing left to go back to, then they’ve earned it.

Roger Roberts is laying down a marker for the future as this country prepares to take in some unaccompanied child refugees. What will become of them when they turn 18? Will they be sent back to a devastated Syria where they may have no connections, no …

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LIbLink: Cathy Bakewell: In the last days of the Housing Bill, peers will fight for equality

Liberal Democrat peer Cathy Bakewell has written an article for Politics Home in which she outlines the work that Lib Dem peers are doing to try to make the Government’s Housing Bill less bad.

Lib Dems have been leading the charge on many aspects of the fight, and three of the five remaining obstacles to the legislation passing are Lib Dem amendments. These are measures to make new homes more flood resilient and low carbon, and to give communities a Neighbourhood Right of Appeal when a council deviates from their local plan.

These things have become sticking points for us, because as we know from our local activism it’s not just the quantity of housing that desperately needs attention, but also the quality.

It’s no good ploughing ahead and building thousands of homes which make future homeowners liable to flooding and responsible for higher energy bills, when simple and cost effective changes could be made at the building stage to protect them. We need more homes, but they must be sustainable.

As well as the impact on individuals, it’s the impact on the environment that matters. If we are serious about making the Paris Agreement a reality and tackling climate change, then we absolutely have to reduce the carbon emissions from homes, which are huge contributors.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJennie 1st Jul - 2:12pm
    *applause and whistling*
  • User AvatarSandy Leslie 1st Jul - 1:59pm
    So far I have not seen an explanation as to why any of the remaining Tory hopefuls would engineer 2 votes of no confidence and...
  • User AvatarChris Bertram 1st Jul - 1:52pm
    @john - It's the only analysis I've been able to find. If there's another that tells a different story, then fine, let's see it. But...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 1st Jul - 1:35pm
    I think this is a brilliant piece. Immigration is good for all of us and its benefits are seen in things we have or use...
  • User AvatarMax Wilkinson 1st Jul - 1:34pm
    @Dave - we can certainly try at the local level to ensure enough houses are built. I suspect our efforts are often focused on the...
  • User AvatarSuzanne fletcher 1st Jul - 1:31pm
    On hols in EU so only skimmed these comments but a lot about immigration being said. Can I suggest people refer to our policy doc...