Category Archives: LibLink

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

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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LibLink: Nick Clegg: The EU knows Theresa May is deluded on Brexit and soon the Tories will

Nick Clegg has been writing for the Guardian on Theresa May’s approach to Brexit. The article was published before May made her bizarre statement in Downing Street yesterday. Here is what Nick had to say later about that:

Theresa May’s desperate, bizarre statement could have come word for word from Nigel Farage.

The Coalition of Hard Brexit between the Conservatives and UKIP is now complete, and it will be hard-pressed families up and down the country who will suffer most.

In his Guardian article, he looks at the costs we are already paying for Brexit – which, remember, we were told would cost us nothing an in fact give us more money to spend on our NHS:

Voters are already aware that the cost-free Brexit they were promised is unravelling. The £350m a week for the NHS, the VAT cut and the instant solution to immigration have all evaporated. Instead there is the chilling grip of a growing Brexit squeeze on people’s income and public services.

Sterling is about 17% lower against the euro than it was in summer of 2015 (a lesser devaluation, of 14.3%, undid Harold Wilson’s government), which has led to inflation rising from around zero to 2.3% today. With average earnings continuing to stall, the cost of living is rising as we are forced to pay more for imported goods. Prices on supermarket shelves will go up. Energy bills will increase. And the cost of holidays this summer will be higher too, with everything from ice creams to hotel rooms noticeably more expensive.

Brexit will damage public services too. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s growth estimates, coupled with the chancellor’s revelation in November that he will have to borrow about an extra £15bn a year from next year to plug the Brexit gap, amounts to a £59bn Brexit dent in the public finances over five years. That’s money that could have been spent on hospitals, schools and social care. The chancellor will have no choice but to cut elsewhere or raise taxes to provide our public services with the additional funding they desperately need. Whatever his choice, it’s you – the taxpayer – who will foot the government’s Brexit bill.

We voters need to understand the consequences of May’s reckless strategy, he argues:

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LibLink: Vince Cable: We are heading towards a dangerous one party state and only a Liberal Democrat fightback can prevent it

Vince Cable writes in today’s Independent of the dangers of the Tories being given carte blanche to do what they like as Labour disintegrates:

The Prime Minister wants an opposition-free parliament in which to pursue the extreme version of Brexit she has chosen. Her cruder – or more honest – supporters talk about “crushing the saboteurs”. Those of a more squeamish disposition talk about letting Theresa May (known by her activists as “mummy”) get on with her task without distraction.

In normal circumstances, the Labour Party would rally opposition to her plan. But they are compromised by the Brexit vote of many of their constituencies, and by the voting record of their MPs. And the leadership is a crippling liability, far worse than in 1983. Michael Foot was, at least, a fine orator and writer, a stalwart party loyalist. The latest episode in this tragic farce was the endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn by the more Stalinist of the two factions of the almost-defunct Communist Party of Great Britain.

But what difference could a strong contingent of Lib Dems make?

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LibLink: David Laws: It’s time for Theresa May to ditch grammar school plans

David Laws, our former Schools Minister now heading up the Education Policy Institute (which used to be the CentreForum think tank) has been writing for the Observer. He’s driven a coach and horses through the Government’s case for grammar schools, which he says even fails to convince Education Secretary Justine Greening.

It is one of the worst kept secrets in Westminster that education secretary Justine Greening is not the biggest supporter of the policy that is now the social mobility “flagship” of Theresa May’s government – expanding the number of grammar schools.

Greening must be aware of the clear UK and international evidence that selective education both fails to raise overall standards, and undermines the prospects of poor children. Education Policy Institute researchers last year analysed the government’s own schools data and drew two key conclusions. First, that almost no children on free school meals get into grammar schools – a risible 4,000 out of more than eight million pupils in the whole of England. Second, that although there is a small benefit for pupils who are admitted to selective schools, this is offset by the worse results for other pupils in areas with a significant number of grammar places.

He outlines how he poorest children will be the worst affected by the move to grammar schools:

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