Category Archives: News

It’s going to be a bit quiet around here for a couple of weeks…

As you read this, I’ll be on my way to the beautiful Highlands for two weeks. I need my spiritual home to work its restorative magic on me.

I have decided that I’m going to have a proper break. In previous years, I’ve still done meetings and continued to write for LDV albeit at a reduced rate.

This year has been a bit of a rollercoaster. From the personal drama of my husband’s serious illness last Autumn to the Council elections to the General Election and starting a new job, I’ve …

8 Comments

LibLink: Christine Jardine: The country cannot afford a Summer of Brexit discontent

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine has set out some thoughts on our strategy as we respond to the total mess that the Tories are making of the Brexit negotiations.

In an article for the Times Red Box (£), she sets the scene:

The internal squabbling of our chancellor, foreign secretary, and Brexit secretary — to name just a few of the clowns at play — is making the chances of a poor deal for the UK, or a catastrophic failure to get a deal at all, all the more likely.

Instead of knuckling down and approaching negotiations with a seriousness befitting the task, Davis has so far shown up to a photo-op without even pretending to have the necessary papers and briefings, then taking the first Eurostar home. No doubt heading straight back to the journalists to criticise his leader. It rather undermines the negotiation of critical issues like EU citizens’ rights, a solution for Northern Ireland and the UK’s debt to the EU when your so-called chief negotiator would rather be at home leaking cabinet papers.

But this is all part of a hard hearted strategy. She thinks that they are trying to create such a bad atmosphere that in a year’s time, they walk way blaming the EU for the failure.

Tagged and | 13 Comments

How do we measure the evolving will of the people?

The 2017 Liberal Democrat manifesto boldly sets out in section 1.1 the intention to hold a second referendum on EU membership (or indeed, a first vote on the Brexit deal). As a LibDem supporter and remainer in an area which voted 70% to leave, I was simultaneously pleased and worried at the announcement.

When asked by Nick Robinson on the BBC Question Time Leaders Special about the second referendum, Tim Farron made it clear that the result of the referendum is respected, though the people ‘didn’t vote for destination’. Whether true or not, I believe that the type of Brexit that the majority of people voted for needs ratifying in some way, which one could argue a second referendum could allow.

But much more importantly, the question of overturning Brexit, in my opinion is entirely reliant on a second referendum. Polly Toynbee wrote an insightful and interesting piece for the Guardian a few days ago. She argues that a second referendum is naturally divisive, and that an ‘indefinite limbo’ could be ‘the least worst option’.  Whilst I entirely agree that referenda are by their very nature divisive, particularly close ones, I disagree with the idea of a second referendum being wrong. I believe that Brexit can only be overturned by the will of the people to avoid the potential backlash over the perception that the ‘political elite’ have ignored people who feel long-forgotten by the system. The only means to avoid the backlash is to allow the will of the people to overturn the will of the people.

However, whether there is a taste for it is unclear, and what it would take for the minority Conservative government to call one is undetermined. Opinion Polls are famously unreliable at the present. One can pick and choose an opinion poll based on their opinion on a second referendum. For example, YouGov suggest that the support for a second referendum sits at 31%, whilst against sits at 58%. Conversely, Opinium suggests that the support for a second referendum is growing, now sitting at 41% compared to against at 48%. 

Tagged | 39 Comments

My message to liberal Tories: join us

During the General Election campaign I found myself in an interesting position. Standing as the candidate for the most liberal, pro-EU party, I found myself against an incumbent MP who spent a lot of time talking about his enthusiasm for Europe. He also spoke often of the need for ‘liberal pluralism’ and his enthusiasm for a change to the voting system.

28 Comments

Here, there and everywhere – a report back from Federal International Relations Committee…

So, (some of) you very kindly voted for me last year to serve for three years as a member of Federal International Relations Committee. And, as promised, I am reporting back on what I’ve done, as well as making a few comments on our recent meeting on 13 July.

I’ve spent much of the first half of 2017 bringing the Committee up to constitutional speed. I produced our first Standing Orders in January, and have since amended them to create some formal process for selecting our candidates for positions on the Bureaux of Liberal International and the ALDE Party, following …

Also posted in Europe / International and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cheers, Tim

I have to say I’m feeling sad tonight. Two Summers ago, I worked hard to elect Tim Farron as our leader. I’d hoped he’d be there for one if not two Parliaments, at least a decade. I felt  that the party needed his Tiggerish energy and passion even if his 100,000 members target scared me slightly.

Tim inspired us to pick ourselves up, raise our eyes and fight. He took on the fight for the most vulnerable, speaking up for the thousands of refugees fleeing war in Syria. He made it his mission to present a coherent case for unaccompanied children to come to this country, even trying to enact it into law. I was never prouder of him than when he was the first party leader to head to Calais and Lesvos.

Tim was not one to always make life easy for himself, as we saw from the Syria vote. He was prepared to risk upsetting his core support on the left of the party. Nor did he shy away from the battles we needed to have. On diversity, he was prepared to lead from the front, supporting the Electing Diverse MPs motion which was passed in York in 2016.

His leadership was a whirlwind of campaigning at all levels around the country. He went to Council by-elections to the winning Richmond Park parliamentary by-election. He was brilliant in the Scottish and Welsh elections last year.

He was proactive in the fight for LGBT equality, arguing for an end to the gay blood ban and for transgender rights. What a signal it sent to young people struggling with their gender identity to have a major political leader sitting in the front row supporting a motion on transgender rights.

And on that “sin” issue, I wrote the first time it came up that I didn’t think that politicians should be pontificating about any sort of sin:

Tagged and | 17 Comments

Swinson: BBC Gender Gap should be a wake up call

We’ll all have seen those BBC pay figures today. How senior executives must have wept into their prosecco when Chris Evans proved to be such a failure on Top Gear.

On one level, you could be appalled at someone getting paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to read the news, or spout childish banalities on the radio. On the other, you can recognise that if they didn’t pay those rates, nobody we’ve ever heard of would be on the BBC – and as soon as we had heard of them, they’d be off.  Given the general high quality of the …

Tagged , and | 25 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAndrew Tampion 23rd Jul - 1:13pm
    I don't think that it is unreasonable to point out that asking people to vote again on a substantially unreformed EU is likely to get...
  • User AvatarHywel 23rd Jul - 12:45pm
    "Nobody is going to offer David Davis a free hand to rewrite the fundamental principles of the EU treaties" Yes as regards the Brexit negotations....
  • User AvatarNick Hopkinson 23rd Jul - 12:37pm
    David Evershed should not fall for the Eurosceptic myth about the 1975 referendum - the geo-political context and political imperative of the European project was...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 23rd Jul - 12:34pm
    "Where is the evidence that the EU would reform?" Some very valid questions are being asked here, but we should be careful to avoid seeking...
  • User AvatarMike S 23rd Jul - 12:06pm
    and the policies that come out of those messages and vision, giving the Lib Dems a CLEAR identity which is DIFFERENT to the tories or...
  • User Avatarfrankie 23rd Jul - 12:05pm
    Try P C Hodgell God Stalk, a dark fantasy, bit like Brexit ;)