Category Archives: LibLink

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

LibLink: Layla Moran: If Philip Hammond thinks driving a train is so easy “even a woman can do it” maybe a career change is in order

In an article for the Independent at the weekend, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran took Philip Hammond to task for his alleged remark that driving a train is so easy “even a woman can do it.”

She pointed out that they can, but how many women do this highly paid job?

The key fact from the latest Hammond row was glossed over, but it is the real scandal: that just 5.5 per cent of train drivers are women. And the average annual salary of a train driver is just shy of £50,000, way higher than most women earn a year. What, I want to know, are ministers doing to enable more women to drive trains?

Hammond, she said, had form for sexist remarks:

Earlier this year he accused Labour MP Mary Creagh of being “hysterical”. Her crime? Daring to ask the Chancellor about the effect of Brexit on British businesses with bases in Ireland.

The question was all too pertinent. I was talking to one of the country’s most eminent constitutional lawyers last week (sorry Philip, but she did happen to be female) who flagged up the issue of the Irish border as one of the very most intractable in Brexit negotiations. Her conclusion was that ministers have no solution, because there is no solution.

And, of course, he is not the only Tory known for such casual sexism:

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LibLink: Nick Clegg – Nick Clegg: We were the world’s leaders in democracy. Now it’s Germany

Nick Clegg has the following to say in his regular column for Inews:

The more you lose your grip, the more you hold on to what you know. It is a sure sign that an institution is in steady decline when it fixates on past glories. A belief in the traditions of the past often masks discomfort about the challenges of the present.

And so John Hayes, a jovial mid-ranking Conservative Minister with reliably anti European, traditional views, revealed more than he probably intended when he recently declared in the House of Commons, “I will not be taking interventions by anyone who is not wearing a tie, on whatever side of the house they sit.”

21 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg – a deal can be done on freedom of movement

Writing in the Financial Times, Nick Clegg shows how, as on many other issues, British politicians are wrongly blaming the EU for the consequences of decisions taken in Britain affecting immigration from EU member states.

Crucially, there is far more latitude for member states to apply restrictions to freedom of movement than is commonly appreciated. The Belgian authorities aggressively deport EU citizens who do not work and cannot support themselves. Under EU law, the UK authorities could do the same for EU citizens who have failed to find work after six months. Access to Spanish healthcare requires registering with

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LibLink: Vince Cable: Labour won over young voters but it is betraying them on Brexit

It is pretty likely that Vince Cable will be our next leader. There has been some concern about his position on freedom of movement and membership of the single market. The is hardly surprising given that he wrote a New Statesman article headlined “Why it’s time to end EU free movement” back in January.

There are signs that his line on Brexit has softened since last year,  and his record is a million miles better than Labour’s. We’ll take no lessons from them  given that 80% of their MPs voted against membership of the single market last night in Parliament and Vince, like all the other Liberal Democrats voted for it.

Last week, Vince wrote a piece for the Guardian on Brexit and how Labour is betraying the young people who voted for them in the General Election.

The party could be mobilising effective opposition to a hugely harmful hard Brexit, yet contradictions abound. Spokespeople attack this hard Brexitm but then sign up to leaving the customs union and single market, which is in essence what hard Brexit means. Others, including Sadiq Khan, argue that the party should campaign to stay in the single market.

Labour was brilliantly successful in the election at mobilising young people, who were angry that their European future had been stolen from them but who perhaps didn’t scrutinise the small print in the manifesto. Before long they will. They may not know that Jeremy Corbyn ordered his troops into the division lobbies to support the extreme Conservative-Ukip Brexit, but may now notice his insistence that Brexit is “settled”. Make no mistake, on Brexit Corbyn is betraying many who followed him.

He looks at the reasons why Labour has abandoned the pro EU stance of Blair and Brown before looking at the issue of immigration. He is scathing about Labour’s stance:

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LibLink: Recalling Michael Gove is an act of environmental vandalism – Ed Davey

In an article in The Guardian Ed Davey writes:

Perhaps Theresa May has a sense of mischief after all. Putting Michael Gove in charge of the Department of the Environment is much like putting a wolf in charge of the chicken coop. To say that the Gove pulse is unlikely to race too much faster over environmental concerns would, from my experience of working with him, be an understatement. He probably regards global warming as an excuse to reduce winter fuel payments.

May bringing in her old enemy demonstrates her crippling weakness. This desperate attempt to buy off those who might bring her down may help her own survival for another few months. Sadly, it will do nothing to help the survival of the planet.

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LibLink: Tim Farron on Theresa May and counter-terrorism policy

Under the heading “Theresa May can’t be trusted to get it right on counter-terrorism policy” Tim Farron writes in the Guardian today:

Theresa May set out her position on Sunday, stating, “Enough is enough.” It was a highly political speech that set out the choices she intends to make that will affect all of us: our security, our freedoms and the way we live our lives. These are important choices with important consequences. But the real choice is between what works and what doesn’t.

Theresa May accused the police of crying wolf over the impact of cuts to their numbers, and their concerns that the public were being put in danger. However, the blunt reality is that the one decision she could take that would have the single biggest impact is to reverse those cuts.

Whilst acknowledging the challenges that the Internet brings he criticises her for wanting to control it:

If we turn the internet into a tool for censorship and surveillance, the terrorists will have won. We won’t make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Why the Liberal Democrats believe a legal, regulated cannabis market would improve public health

Nick Clegg has been writing in the BMJ outlining our position on Cannabis.

He compares criminalisation of drugs to the prohibition of alcohol in the States:

Far from controlling and eliminating alcohol use, the “noble experiment” of prohibition drove users towards increasingly potent and dangerous drinks. With no regulatory levers in place except the threat of arrest (which had to be set against the promise of handsome profits for those who defied the law), there was no effective way to control the market. The ensuing public health crisis was one of the key motivations behind the repeal of prohibition in 1933, when President Roosevelt signed a new law allowing the sale of beer with a maximum alcohol content of 4%.

For spirits in 1926, read “skunk” in 2017. “Skunk” is a direct result of prohibition. New cultivation methods have pushed up potency over the past 20 years. Just as 1920s-era bootleggers didn’t bother to produce and smuggle high volume, low alcohol beer, so the illicit cannabis industry has responded to criminal enforcement by developing products that maximise profit, with no consideration for the health of its customers.

He goes on to talk about the merits of regulation:

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