Category Archives: LibLink

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

LibLink: Tim Farron: The EU is bloated and bureaucratic but it just needs reform

You can’t say Tim Farron isn’t brave! He’s written for the chiefest of the Brexity newspapers, the Daily Express.

The comments under his article are in the main as you would expect. When the nicest thing you can see is a comparison to Ashley Peacock from Coronation Street, you know it’s not going down well in some quarters.

However, as we know, commenters do not always reflect the opinion of the majority of readers. We need to win people over to the Remain cause  and we’re not going to do that by snuggling up to passionate pro-Europeans.

Here’s what he had to say:

There is no doubt in my mind that to work alongside those countries who share our interests and share our values, we need to remain.

And there is no doubt in my mind that to be the beacon of hope and freedom, in a turbulent and dangerous world, we must vote to remain.

We are a proud nation that stands tall in the world. We are home to freedom, ingenuity, creativity.

He then goes on to tackle the sovereignty issue:

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Kirsty Williams on supporting teachers, pupils and students: her vision for Welsh education

Kirsty Williams has been talking to Wales Online about her plans on education secretary. Here are some of the best bits:

On supporting teachers

She used tact and sensitivity, unlike some education secretaries in Whitehall. You are not going to get anything done in schools without getting teachers onside.

“I think there is some excellent practice,” said Ms Williams.

“I think that there are schools and other education institutions that are doing amazing work and children that are having a great education experience, but my concern is that it is not universal.

“There are too many variables between schools – even between schools that find themselves in the same local authority.

“What I want to do is focus on making sure that good practice, that undoubtedly exists within the system in Wales, is shared and adopted by all schools so all of our children, regardless of where they live, have access to the very best education.

“What I have been struck with in recent weeks is that the profession in many areas does not feel valued and I want to raise the status of the teaching profession.

“We are going to be asking a lot of them, it is they that will make the difference to school standards in Wales, not me in an office in Cardiff Bay – so we need to support them to do the job that we expect of them.”

Curriculum reform

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LibLink: Tim Farron – Britain braced for momentous day of decision

Tim FarronTim Farron writes for the Yorkshire Post today, looking behind the Blue on Blue punch up to see what is at stake for the region.

The leave campaign wants you to forget that voting to leave will endanger our access to the world’s most valuable single market. Over 250,000 jobs in Yorkshire, or almost one in 10, are linked to trade with the EU. I would never suggest these jobs would all vanish if we left, but the fact is Yorkshire remains hugely dependent on trade with

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Shirley on peace and economic prosperity that EU offers

Shirley Williams has been out and about campaigning for us to stay in the EU in the same way as she campaigned for Scotland to see in the UK. She took part in a question and answer session in Wales based around the question “What has the EU done for us?”

Shirley’s answer was clear. She talked about how the EU had secured the peace in Europe:

The main motivation behind the EU was to end wars in Europe after the horror of two world wars and for 71 years we have not had any wars in the territory covered by the EU governments,

She said that the campaign had become too personal and vicious, deviating from what actually matters:

One aspect of it I deeply regret is that it has been much too personal,” she said. “Much too bitchy and in many ways much too involved in one issue – that is, who is going to be the next Prime Minister of this country.

I think that’s a great pity as this is a very crucial issue – they have been few more crucial since the WW2. Whatever side of the argument we are on it is a travesty and a shame to allow it to become a slanging match between two sides of one party, which is essentially what it has become. The debate has been less impressive than it should have been and we have heard too few voices saying pretty much the same things.

Then she talked of the importance of being in on the discussions, working out with our neighbours how to deal with the huge challenges of the day – and cited the Paris climate change talks as an example of what can be achieved.

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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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarStevan Rose 29th Aug - 3:26pm
    "Extraordinary stats, Stevan. Where are they from? " You requoted the source... they're votes. We had that referendum, the public thought they voted on the...
  • User Avatartonyhill 29th Aug - 3:15pm
    I like your analogy with the phone war, Caron, except that in 1940 no one thought that everything was going to come out all right,...
  • User AvatarChris Burden 29th Aug - 3:08pm
    @ Stevan Rose "60% of the population are not interested in the voting system. Two thirds of those that are interested prefer FPTP. We had...
  • User AvatarAl 29th Aug - 3:07pm
    But isn't the referendum a once in a generation thing? Don't you have to shut up, eat your cereal and accept the result so that...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 29th Aug - 3:00pm
    James King You speak such real sense ! My point is that we can agree with each other without alienating other members who are actually...
  • User Avatarpaul barker 29th Aug - 2:58pm
    I completely agree with Caron on this, our position should be unambiguous. I havent left Open Britain because they seem to be saying that they...