Category Archives: LibLink

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

LibLink: Tim Farron – Government can’t conduct Brexit talks like a hostage negotiation

Tim Farron is getting a lot of visibility on a range of subjects at the moment. In the Guardian he writes about foreign policy in respect of Boris Johnson in an article entitled “Boris Johnson has been humiliated – his circus show isn’t funny any more“:

And this is what Conservative Brexit ministers gloating and briefing against Johnson should realise: just as Johnson was humiliated at the G7, so Britain will be humiliated in Brexit negotiations if ministers go in firing off demands like a hostage negotiation. You simply can’t have a good deal while demanding a hard Brexit, especially if you leave the decisions to Johnson rather than trusting the British people with a say on the final deal, as Liberal Democrats demand.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Why I support Trump’s Syria strike

Tim Farron has written for the Guardian about why he has decided to support the US action in Syria on Friday morning. There are caveats, though:

However, we disagree with the way in which he conducted it – unilaterally, without allies, outside of a wider strategy. Trump saw a wrong and wanted to react, no doubt in large part to differentiate himself from Barack Obama. But taking matters into his own hands without thinking of the consequences, without a wider plan, without considering what next, exposes both his naivety about how the world works and his potential to create instability on an international scale.

So, how should the UK respond now? Trump has made it clear that this was a one-off, which Michael Fallon has echoed, and we should welcome that. This wasn’t about intervention in Syria. The purpose was twofold: to send the strongest possible signal of condemnation of Assad’s actions, and to ensure he is much less likely to be able to act in that way again. The Syrian regime and their Russian allies may be acting outraged on their respective state television channels, but they have been sent a message they will surely not now ignore.

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LibLink: Jackie Pearcey: Only the Lib Dems can stop a hard Brexit

Writing on the Times Red Box site (£), Manchester Gorton’s brilliant Lib Dem candidate Jackie Pearcey has said that only the Lib Dems can offer national opposition to a hard brexit and take on a Labour Party which takes people for granted.

She outlines some of the ways that they have done so in Gorton – in a city where they have all but one councillor:

Residents here are also tired of being ignored by the Labour-run council, which has become a de facto one-party state. This constituency is full of proud communities, passionate about improving their area. I was proud to serve as a councillor here for 21 years, fighting hard with local people to protect green spaces and improve services.

Years of neglect by the council have taken their toll. Many of the roads now have more craters than a lunar landscape. A deeply unpopular decision to reduce bin sizes has led to an epidemic of fly-tipping. Small business owners are struggling with soaring rents. These are the symptoms of a Labour party that takes voters for granted and is more interested in spending cash on glitzy developments in the city centre than investing in the neglected suburbs.

A Labour win would let them off the hook, she says:

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LibLink: Tom Brake: The Westminster Attack was an assault on democracy, let it not be an assault on freedom too

Tom Brake wrote for The House magazine about the threats to civil liberties in the wake of the Westminster attacks. He said that the appropriate response to the horror was:

What the attacker sought to do in his rampage was to instil fear and division, erode our democracy, shake confidence in our institutions and rupture our way of life. Our response must be more unity, more democracy, and steadfast humanity in the face of evil. We must always counter hate with love. We will remain open, tolerant and united.

The article was written before Amber Rudd effectively conceded that she had been talking rubbish about encryption, but he highlighted why that was a bad idea and went on to talk about how the sweeping powers the Government had given itself could be absued in the wrong hands:

The bigger issue, of course, is this will not be effective. The 2015 Paris attacks were planned on non-encrypted burner phones, and the attackers were known to the authorities. The issue was the lack of police resources to track potential criminals, not the lack of access to encrypted messages. And drowning our intelligence services in a mountain of irrelevant data is unlikely to help, as the Danes recently discovered.

The Snooper’s Charter was a startling overreach when it was voted through last year, and this would be a horrifying extension of it. Few of us would give the government a key to our house to look through our drawers without a court warrant, and we must be careful to treat our online belongings with the same respect.

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LibLink: Brian Paddick: If we value our national security, we will avoid a hard Brexit

A couple of days before Theresa May’s ill-judged ultimatum in her Article 50 letter over trade and security, Brian Paddick wrote for the Guardian about how hard Brexit could damage our security. That’s right. If Theresa May gets her way, we will be less safe.

He started off by talking about last week’s attack at Westminster in which 4 people, PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Leslie Rhodes and Kurt Cochran were murdered. How do we balance the need to keep Parliament accessible with the safety of those in and around it?

That security must be balanced with an obligation to keep parliament open to the people. We shouldn’t turn Westminster into Fort Knox, even if such a thing were possible. But we can improve security, for politicians, staff and, crucially, police on the frontline.

Those officers are not armed. Armed support is a distance away. No one wants an ostentatious display of force, which would only increase that sense of alienation many feel about “Westminster”. But this attack shows, alas, that armed officers should be directly behind that frontline. Otherwise lives will be lost that could be saved. In this attack, I gather, it was only because a minister’s armed close protection officer happened to be close by that the assailant was stopped.

While millions are spent on surveillance powers and the security services, over the past six years £1bn has been cut from the Metropolitan police budget. That’s huge.

He went on to talk about how a hard Brexit could compromise our security effort both in cost and co-operation. 

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder – Dear Prime Minister – Playing Hard Ball On Brexit Will Only Weaken Britain’s Position, Not Strengthen It

Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder has been providing some advice to the prime minister over on the Huffington Post:

Dear Prime Minister,

This weekend I had the pleasure of joining the tens of thousands of people marching in London against your vision of a Britain after Brexit.

A sun-soaked Parliament Square provided a brilliant back drop to what was also a celebration. As you know, this weekend marked the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, and while we marched in London your European contemporaries met in Rome to mark 60 years of peace in the EU.

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LibLink: Catherine Bearder MEP: Playing hardball on Brexit will only weaken Britain’s position, not strengthen it

From today, Britain becomes an outsider to the EU. We start to negotiate our exit with the other 27 member states. What emerges cannot possibly be as good as we have now. The cost of leaving and its effect on our children’s future is going to be substantial. How much that is remains to be seen. Much will depend on how the Government approaches the negotiations and the Article 50 letter doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. If you want to inspire goodwill, you have to throw some into the mix. Instead, the letter, if you read between the lines, is a bit of an ultimatum on security.

That is not going to go down very well in Brussels and nor should it, really.

Catherine Bearder has written an open letter to the Prime Minister. She knows exactly what she’s talking about because she knows Brussels. Doing the ultimatum stuff and throwing your weight around isn’t going to work.

Prime Minister, please reconsider your hard line – you have failed to answer some of the most pertinent of questions about this process and that fills so many of us with dread.

As one of the UK’s directly elected members of the European Parliament I can tell you that your approach has been met with incredulity by our partners across the Union. My friends and colleagues cannot understand the stance you have taken and your hard-nosed approach before the negotiations have even begun.

They are not only saddened at losing a friend but they are worried about Brexit hitting them and their countries in their pockets, and concerned about nationalist elements in their own countries.

But their main priority is keeping the EU together, stopping the tide of nationalism and preventing Brexit from stealing the next two years on the EU’s agenda.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarThomas 24th May - 2:29pm
    Frankly, the fate of Liberal Party would have different if Asquith somehow disappeared from politics in 1916. Since 1914, Asquith had become the party's liability.
  • User AvatarGareth Hartwell 24th May - 2:16pm
    I agree it is a very nice thing to do. Paddy sent me a personal letter once to say thank you too, I was very...
  • User Avatarexpats 24th May - 2:01pm
    Michael Cole....It is a matter of record... Ah, so that is your answer?...BTW, Whose record... I don't expect 'chapter and verse' but, as it's a...
  • User Avatartpfkar 24th May - 1:46pm
    Yes nice touch, and good to be reminded of that this week. I think we do need to address the Buckingham / speaker issue. Not...
  • User Avatarjames 24th May - 1:41pm
    I'm afraid the old style liberal politics is now over - people are looking for solutions. The Alt-Right and light-right bloggers/vloggers are now moving to...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 24th May - 1:40pm
    @David Evershed "The members in Buckingham do not feel included or appreciated since their decision to stand an official Lib Dem candidate in the Buckingham...