Category Archives: News

Kirsty Williams on the “divisive” political atmosphere

Former Welsh Lib Dem Leader Kirsty Williams has spoken out about the unpleasant divisiveness of our political atmosphere after one of her team was racially abused and she had the unsettling experience of a man making a shooting gesture and telling her Liberals should be shot.

From Wales Online:

Describing the change she has seen since the EU referendum, she said: “I think ever since the Brexit vote I think politics has become very divisive in a way I haven’t witnessed in all these years and I think in some ways that has unleashed something where the country is very, very, very divided and that’s to be regretted and unfortunately I don’t see how that divide is going to be healed.”

Acknowledging the responsibility of politicians to take care in the language they use, she said: “I think all politicians at all times need to be mindful about how they express their arguments.

“There are legitimate arguments to be expressed but words are powerful and the influence politicians have is powerful and therefore there is a responsibility on all of us to be very mindful about how we conduct ourselves and the language we use.

She described what had happened to her volunteer and the effect that has on people:

“Unfortunately it just seems that this kind of discourse is becoming the norm. We’ve had a volunteer racially abused this week.

“She feels that she can’t go and deliver any leaflets because she was racially abused while just out delivering leaflets.”

The volunteer was someone who wanted to “do her bit in support of the values she believed in and unfortunately feels she won’t be able to do that again”.

The AM fears such experiences will stop people from getting involved in politics.

“That’s the issue, isn’t it,” she said. “Why would people want to put themselves and potentially their families through this?

Read on to find out how she reacted to a Conservative sign being planted in her hedge.

I do agree with Kirsty that politics can be pretty vicious at the moment. I am not sure it’s any worse than when I started out back in the 80s, though. It did calm down for a while in the late 90s. It used to be Labour who were the worst. Power came too easy to them and they responded with an aggressive arrogance to anyone who tried to take it from them. 

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Farron: Corbyn putting politics before people at a time of tragedy

Jeremy Corbyn seems hellbent on squandering any advantage that he may be gaining in the polls due to Theresa May’s stumbling over the “Dementia Tax.” She really struggled in her Andrew Neil interview on Monday night. She’s laid her weakness bare. Her opponents should be all over that. Instead, Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to make some comments linking terrorism to British foreign policy at a time when people are really hurting after Manchester, which, as well as being insensitive when people are hurting, is also opening the door for all the usual attacks on him. He had the chance to go on the front foot and he fluffed it. It’s hardly the first time. Remember the Article 50 Bill…

Tim Farron has called Corbyn out, accusing him of putting politics before people:

A few days ago, a young man built a bomb, walked into a pop concert and deliberately slaughtered children. Our children. Families are grieving. A community is in shock.

Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to use that grotesque act to make a political point. I don’t agree with what he says, but I disagree even more that now is the time to say it. That’s not leadership, it’s putting politics before people at a time of tragedy.

Earlier Paddy had said that, yes, there is a time to think about what the attack means for the direction of future policy – but not now.

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Labour and the Tories are talking about the IRA but, as ever, not about Ireland

The recent revelations about Diane Abbott’s support for Irish nationalists in the 1980s have not been particularly surprising. For many old enough to remember the horrendous violence and terror the IRA inflicted on people, such support is unpalatable; but we already knew that, as a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, she was likely to have shared his rigidly anti-West approach to world affairs. Criticism of the British State’s policies can of course be healthy, and indeed must be present in a functioning democracy. But in the pattern of Corbyn‘s criticisms there seemed to be something more extreme, an apparent dislike of the State that led him to become close to IRA leaders. The claim that he was purely concerned with peace is rather belied by the absence of his reaching out to any unionists prior to the creation of Stormont in 1998.

It is not wrong for the Conservatives and the national newspapers to be pointing out these things. Many people of voting age are too young to have experienced the IRA threat. But there is another reason that people should be aware of Corbyn’s perspective, and which the Conservatives are not highlighting: understanding Corbyn’s views is relevant to the situation we find ourselves in right now.

It is noticeable that, even recently, Corbyn has only condemned the IRA in the vaguest possible terms while pointing out that force was used by the State too. He believes in a united Ireland. And that is of course legitimate, but were he to become Prime Minister it would have potentially profound implications for Northern Ireland on account of Brexit, and would change completely the dynamic of discussions around the future of a border that has extraordinary political significance.

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The campaign starts up again

It’s the first day of national campaigning since the Manchester attack on Monday night.

For Tim Farron, it’s not an immediate return to hostilities. Instead, he’s going to Warrington to visit a Jonathan Ball/Tim Parry Peace Foundation in Warrington.

The Foundation was set up by the parents of the two boys who were killed by the Warrington Bomb in 1993.

Tim wants to learn about the charity’s work.

Later he will attend a remembrance service at a Mosque with the Ahmadiyya community in Manchester.

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WATCH: Lib Dems replace Party Election Broadcast with personal message from Tim Farron about Manchester

Powerful stuff from Tim Farron tonight. We withdrew our scheduled Party Election Broadcast and replaced it with two and a half minutes of Tim talking about the Manchester attack and how it bringing people together, not creating the division the terrorists want.

He talked about the Manchester he loves and the experience of being at the vigil on Tuesday night.

It was a very heartfelt and moving monologue, an act of solidarity before the election campaign starts again in earnest tomorrow. It’s not going to win us seats, but it is a good thing for our country.

Watch it here. A transcript is below.

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Former Lib Dem MP for Hereford, Paul Keetch has died

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Paul Keetch, former Liberal Democrat MP for Hereford. We offer our sincerest sympathy to Paul’s family and friends.

The Ross Gazette has a report which begins:

Paul Keetch, former Liberal Democrat MP for Hereford died on Wednesday, May 24th in London, aged 56.
Paul was a liberal, a democrat and an internationalist and amongst Liberal Politicians, a rarity in that he had never lost an election.

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Statement from Mark Williams on Manchester attack

This is Welsh Lib Dem leader Mark Williams’ statement on the Manchester attack.

I am deeply shocked and saddened by the events that took place in Manchester last night, which took the lives of at least 22 people and has injured 59 more.

This attack is an act of utter barbarity that was aimed directly at thousands of our children and young people.”

I praise the brave action of our emergency services, who acted quickly to tend to those at the Manchester Arena.

As a parent myself, I can only imagine the anguish that many are feeling, and my thoughts and prayers go out

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