Category Archives: News

Last chance to apply for ALDC internship – a Lib Dem Jobwatch special

The Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners, to give it its Sunday name, is recruiting two paid Campaigns and Communications internships based in Manchester from next month to June next year.

From their site:

This is a full-time role, paid at the UK National Minimum Wage (£6.50 per hour for over 21 years olds), based at our Manchester city centre offices.

ALDC is the national organisation for Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners. This is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the work of the organisation in the run up to the 2015 General Election.

The successful applicants will be helping us with our campaigns output, our communications and social media, and also helping campaign ‘on the ground’ with one of our partner local parties in Greater Manchester.

Successful candidates must have sympathy with the aims and values of the Liberal Democrats.

The deadline for applications is Monday 22 September 2014.
Interviews will take place in central Manchester on Tuesday 30 September 2014.

You can find out more details, including how to apply, here.

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Dorothy Thornhill selected as Liberal Democrat candidate for Watford

Dorothy ThornhillMy co-editor Stephen Tall is incredibly efficient. He’s off on holiday, but he managed to edit his post on where we are with candidates in our held and top target seats to include Dorothy Thornhill’s selection in Watford before he headed to the airport at some ridiculous hour of the night.

Dorothy is currently in her fourth term as Mayor of Watford, elected for the first time in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, 2010 and in May this year. She’s a former teacher.

Party President Tim Farron welcomed her selection on Twitter last night:

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UPDATED: Full list of Lib Dems standing in our held seats and top 50 targets

We’re less than 8 months away from the May 2015 election so here’s my latest running check on how candidate selection is going in our held and key target seats…

Lib Dems winning hereI published a first draft of this list a year ago, and asked readers to help me update it. Many thanks to those of you who have helped me keep it updated, including the party’s Candidates Services Office. Here’s the latest version of the list of (re-)selections in our held seats and the top 50 targets for the party.

It’s a snapshot of how the party’s doing in getting people in place in the battleground seats that will determine the extent of Lib Dem influence in the next parliament:

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Meanwhile, in Clacton… Meet the Lib Dems’ by-election candidate, Andy Graham

andy-graham-at-clacton-lib-dem-officeEvents in Scotland have rather dominated these past few weeks, but we shouldn’t forget there’s another election soon to take place: the by-election in Clacton triggered by Douglas Carswell’s defection from the Tories to Ukip.

Early polls shows Carswell is the front-runner to retain the seat in his new colours. The local Lib Dems have selected a candidate to fly the party’s colours: Andy Graham, “a former teacher in Clacton has performed in shows at the Clacton’s West Cliff Theatre”.

Details of how you can help Andy in Clacton are as follows:

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LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League: how it stands after Week 4

Congratulations to George Murray, whose Marauding Fullbacks lead the LibDemVoice Fantasy Football League after Week 4 with an impressive 264 points. That puts him in 4,909th place in the global league of more than 3.2 million players.

Just three points then separate the next four players and fewer than 20 points the entire top 10. For the record, I’m languishing at 29th, not helped by my insane decision not to make Diego Costa my team captain in the week he scored a hat-trick. Ah well. At the other end of the table, by the way, Ceredigion Premier is ranked last, with 53 points. Still, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

fantasy football wk 4

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++Breaking news: Alex Salmond resigns as First Minister of Scotland

As I write Alex Salmond is holding a press conference where he is announcing his resignation as First Minister of Scotland and (again) as leader of the Scottish National Party.

While his cause is not one that is endorsed much here on Liberal Democrat Voice, he has clearly brought his party and the independence movement a very long way indeed. That is an achievement to give credit for, even if we rather wish he hadn’t.

So the thread below is open for your comments on Salmond’s contribution to politics, and it wouldn’t be entirely inappropriate to lean more towards tributes than we …

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Opinion: Reaching out to young people

I’ve just submitted an article for the ‘Youth 100’ for this year. I’m honoured to have been asked to contribute to the publication, still regarded as a national expert on youth issues. Having spent most of my career working with or on behalf of young people I am constantly exercised about how we as a party connect with them. Post tuition fees – how do we once again become the party of choice for young people?

It’s not easy, but I think the popular brands I’ve been reflecting on this week have some lessons for us. Among other things, …

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Scotland says no to independence: here’s my first thoughts the morning after

The people of Scotland have spoken. As that sound echoes, here’s what I think its rejection of independence means…

The SNP are strengthened:

45% of the Scottish electorate voted Yes. That’s a far higher figure than many of us would have predicted even a few weeks ago. Yes Scotland’s campaigning, driven by the SNP, has proved far superior to Better Together’s, driven by Labour. If the Nationalists resist the temptation to turn in on themselves they can expect to reap the electoral rewards of their grassroots activity next May. The Scots, by decisively rejecting independence, have lost their negotiating leverage: I expect them to turn to the SNP as an insurance policy against being forgotten about by Westminster. That poses a big threat to Labour, but also to the Lib Dems — after all, one-fifth of our MPs sit for Scottish seats.

The Tories are weakened…

Did Cameron panic or was it one of those things that seemed a good idea at the time? I’m referring to the ‘vow’ he co-signed with Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, published in the Daily Record, promising more powers for Scotland and the safeguarding of the Barnett Formula financial settlement for Scotland. This opens up a whole Pandora’s Box of constitutional questions which are likely to dominate debate at least until Christmas. That part of it won’t bother Cameron: the irresistible logic of devo-max for Scotland is de facto home rule also for England – in other words, English votes deciding English laws – which, given the Tories’ strength in England, boosts their prospects of remaining in power, at least in the short-term. However, the promise to retain the Barnett Formula is another matter altogether. It offers an obvious opportunity to Nigel Farage to exploit: “It’s right that Scotland should have more powers,” he’ll say, “but it’s also right that there’s a fair financial settlement for the English, too. Public money should be allocated according to need.” And the worst of it is he’s 100% right on this, and he’ll now be the lone voice among the four main party leaders able to make that compelling case to the voters in the lead-up to the next general election. The Tories (as well as the Lib Dems and Labour) have placed ourselves on the wrong side of this issue.

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Senior Liberal Democrats react as Scots vote to stay in UK

The sovereign will of the Scottish people, by a margin of, give or take a bit, 55%-45 %, is to stay in the UK. In voting No, they put their trust in David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to deliver more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Here’s how senior Liberal Democrats reacted. First,  Nick Clegg:

I’m absolutely delighted the Scottish people have taken this momentous decision to safeguard our family of nations for future generations.

In a dangerous and uncertain world I have no doubt we are stronger, safer, and more prosperous together than we ever could be apart.

But a vote against independence was clearly not a vote against change and we must now deliver on time and in full the radical package of newly devolved powers to Scotland.

At the same time, this referendum north of the border has led to a demand for constitutional reform across the United Kingdom as people south of the border also want more control and freedom in their own hands rather than power being hoarded in Westminster.

So this referendum marks not only a new chapter for Scotland within the UK but also a new chapter of constitutional renewal across the UK.

Willie Rennie:

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Must do better, UK

Whatever the outcome of Scotland’s independence referendum, we should all be shocked at the magnitude of the Yes vote. Surely we should never expect more than a few percent of any population to wish to renounce their citizenship due to dissatisfaction with their government and country, and opt instead for some smaller, weaker, largely untested and unknown alternative. That around half of a population may wish to do this might be expected in Iraq or Syria, but not in one of the more stable, peaceful, prosperous and free parts of the world.

How, then, has it come to this? Yes, there …

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++ Mike Hancock MP quits Lib Dems

mike hancockMike Hancock, elected as Lib Dem MP for Portsmouth South in 2010 but suspended from the party following allegations of sexual harassment made by a constituent, has resigned from the party, according to the Independent:

(Hancock) spent almost five years denying that he had sexually harassed a vulnerable constituent until eventually he admitted in court that he had behaved in a way that made her “feel deeply uncomfortable and discriminated against”.

He was suspended from the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary group and lost his seat on Portsmouth Council. The party has

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Scottish independence referendum: open thread…

No yes scotland photo by kyoshi masamunePolls closed at 10pm in the referendum which will decide if Scotland remains within the United Kingdom. The final opinion poll of the campaign – YouGov’s, released an hour ago – points to a 54% No, 46% Yes result. Within a few hours we’ll know how accurate that forecast is.

Certainly those involved in the Better Together camp seem confident of victory. After all the tension of the last fortnight, it might all prove to be something of an anti-climax: a narrow but decisive confirmation …

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Anti-politics: the Lib Dem problem

A very interesting blog-post from two Southampton academics, Will Jennings and Jerry Stoker – Parties and anti-politics – examines the problems each of the four parties has with the current mood of anti-politics (hat-tip John Rentoul). Its introduction summarises its argument:

How and why do political parties struggle to ‘get’ anti-politics? They all nod in speeches and policy statements in the direction of public disenchantment with politics but fail to take tackling its causes seriously. UKIP seek to exploit it, the Tories want to wish it away, Labour under Miliband claim innocence and ineptness in their defence, while the Liberal Democrats misread it and think constitutional change is the answer.

The section on the Lib Dems is especially worth highlighting:

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What do you think will be the result of the Scottish independence referendum? Your predictions, please…

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TAlmost all the polls have now been published and election day is tomorrow – so the time has come to put your pundit’s reputation on the line and say what you think will be the result of the Scottish independence referendum.

A quick reminder for those who’ve been fogged by the blizzard of polls in the last couple of days:

    Ipsos MORI: Yes 49%, No 51%
    Panelbase: Yes 48%, No 52%
    ICM: Yes 48%, No 52%
    Opinium: Yes 48%, No 52%
    Survation: Yes 48%, No 52%
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Labour to cut short their party conference?

Manchester Town Hall ClockThe Labour party is planning to cut short their party conference if Scotland votes Yes, according to leaks to Huffington Post.

The conference is due to run in Manchester from this Sunday through to next Wednesday, but they are assuming that Parliament would be recalled on Monday if Yes wins. In that event, it seems all ministerial speeches and fringe meetings will be cancelled, “with the exception of the keynote address from Labour leader Ed Miliband next Tuesday” .  That does not leave much, and delegates who are not MPs will be left to create their own entertainment in Manchester.

photo by:
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Decentralisation decade – Nick Clegg responds

Last Friday Nick Clegg was speaking about devolution at an event organisation by the Institute for Public Policy Research. It marked the launch of their publication entitled ‘Decentralisation decade: A plan for economic prosperity, public service transformation and democratic renewal in England‘.

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Is Mike Crockart voting Yes to Independence?

You might think so from these photos of his office in the heart of Edinburgh West

Crockart yes 1

Crockart Yes 2

Not for the first time, his staff have had to take down Yes posters which had been glued on to the office windows.

Yesterday a cavalcade of Yes cars parked outside the office and played loud music next to Mike’s No Thanks street stall. Why do they bother with nonsense like that.

This, sadly, is one of the milder incidents of intimidatory behaviour which are becoming commonplace across Scotland.  I have lost count of the number of committed and passionate No voters who have very politely declined to take a poster because they are worried that their windows would be knocked in if they display it. It shouldn’t be like this. 

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Charles Kennedy launches new Liberal Democrat Poster van tour “Why would we walk away?”

Charles Kennedy poster launch

 

 

In Glasgow this morning, Charles Kennedy launched a new Liberal Democrat poster campaign reminding people of the good things that the UK has created together. Why would you walk away? is its theme. 

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Willie Rennie: If it turns out that Alex Salmond has been talking codswallop, there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t go back

Willie Rennie has made a video talking about the great assets of the UK, asking why would we ever walk away from those great things. I’d have lost the tie and sat him down and got a more casual jacket, but he’s talking a lot of sense. He also emphasises the irreversibility of independence, even if  Alex Salmond is found to have been completely wrong.  Enjoy.

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Vince Cable on the road

Vince Cable smiling - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsVince Cable is responsible for the UK car industry, so what was he doing driving around his constituency in a sporty Japanese car? It seems the Guardian had invited him to check out a Mazda MX-5 as a guest passenger for their weekly motoring column. As Laura Barton says:

It has a sleek, muscular grace, and runs thrillingly low to the ground – though taller passengers such as Cable have some trouble exiting.

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Jim Wallace: Team Scotland within the UK – the best solution

Back in the day when we had a Scottish Government that was more bothered about doing everything it could rather than complaining about what it couldn’t do. When it found it didn’t have the power it needed, it found a way round. That Government, which  implemented transformative social and political change from fair votes for local government to free personal care to leading the way on freedom of information, land reform and the smoking ban, would not have achieved all it did without the leadership of our Jim Wallace. This is a guy who knows how to make things happen. …

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The Liberal Democrats, the first 25 years

liberalhistoryOn 3 March 2013, the Liberal Democrats marked their twenty-fifth birthday. The story of the party since 1988 has been a dramatic one, from near-extinction, through a failed realignment of the left, a period of rapidly changing leaders, and then into government, for the first time for a third party for sixty years. The latest issue of the Journal of Liberal History (issue 83, summer 2014) is a special edition looking at the key factors contributing to the party’s survival and success, up until entry into coalition.

The party’s campaigning ability is obviously key. From 1997 onwards the Liberal Democrats have managed to win significantly greater numbers of seats than their predecessor parties, often on smaller proportions of the national vote – the outcome of a combination of intensive local campaigning and an increasing targeting of resources on winnable seats, together with a steadily more professional party organisation. In the first article in the issue, Mark Pack examines the evolution of the party’s campaigning techniques and structures.

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Pro-UK rally in Trafalgar Square at 6pm TONIGHT

If you’re in London and you want Scotland to stay in the UK, head for Trafalgar Square at 6pm. A rally is taking place to show solidarity across the UK. Fraser Nelson wrote about it in the Spectator:

What’s the point of holding a rally in London? It’s true that no one there will have a vote, but this is for those who still love this county and can’t bear to sit back and watch it fall apart. Those who want to do something, no matter how small. The rally should enforce a point : that the UK is an extraordinary union of

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Update on Network of Experience

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKEarlier this year I floated up the idea of setting up Network of Experience for Lib Dems who had either lost their seats or decided to stand down and asked if anyone would be interested. I am pleased to say the reaction to the idea was good and it was felt that there was a need there for something like this. We have now set up a steering committee of myself, Mary Reid, Fiona White and Kay Barnard.

We have decided to launch the Network in January as there is so much else happening over the next few months. In particular I thought it was much better to wait until the Presidential election is over with.

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Nick Clegg’s statement on David Haines’ murder: Islamic State an affront to every peace loving Muslim in the world

Nick Clegg has made the following statement about David Haines’ murder:

The barbaric murder of David Haines is a crime of the most horrendous kind.

My thoughts at this time are with the family of David Haines who have experienced something no family should ever have to go through.

This murderous organisation calls itself Islamic State.

But it is not a state, it is a brutal terrorist outfit whose actions are an affront to every peace loving Muslim around the world.

No religion could possibly justify such grotesque acts.

The British Government will not rest until these killers face justice.

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Shirley Williams wows Dunfermline – in pictures

Shirley Williams has been an absolute star these last few days. She came to Scotland on Thursday and will be here until Tuesday night. She’s already travelled the length of the country. She spoke at the Liberal Democrat rally on Thursday night, went to Orkney for a hugely well attended debate on Friday night and was back in Fife yesterday afternoon.

She spoke to voters on the High Street where both campaigns were out in force. I’m sure the Yes campaigner with the megaphone who yelled out “Bow down to your Imperial Overlords” as we all assembled for a photo.

Shirley group photo Dunfermline

 

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Liberal Democrat Voice Awards: Nominations close tomorrow

Just a reminder that nominations for the LDV Awards close tomorrow so if you haven’t sent them in, please do so as soon as possible. The event takes place between 10 and 11 pm on Saturday 4th October in  Castle 3, in the Crowne Plaza, Here’s a reminder of the details:

This year’s awards are as follows:

  • Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year
  • Liberal Democrat Blog-post of the year
  • Liberal Democrat Tweeter/Facebooker of the Year
  • Best use of social media by an elected representative (Tim Garden award)
  • Best online campaign run by a Liberal Democrat
  • Lib Dem Councillor of the Year
  • The Lib Dems’ Favourite Tory MP award
  • The Lib Dems’ Favourite Labour MP award
  • Best online campaign of the year (non Lib Dem)
  • Best photograph of a Liberal Democrat Parliamentarian or senior Councillor or party figure (real life)
  • Best photo-shopped photo of a Liberal Democrat Parliamentarian

We are asking for nominations by email to me at [email protected] for the shortlists for these awards. They will then be judged by our esteemed panel of judges. Liberal Democrat Voice and any official blogs run by the party aren’t eligible either. We are extending the deadline to midnight on 15th September, so you have an two weeks.

Send us your nominations plus a very brief – and I’m talking no more than a sentence – reason why. We will then compile the shortlists from those and poll to our members’ forum.

Send in your nominations by email to [email protected] and remember to state which award category you’re nominating for, in each case.

The shortlists will then be put to a vote of our forum of party members. That’s right. This year, we are giving our readers who are members of the party the chance to choose the majority of our winners.

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Charles Kennedy: No with a purpose and a future

I’ve been saying for months that someone should sit Charles Kennedy down on a sofa and film him talking about the referendum. And last week, somebody finally did. This is the first excerpt and it’s very good. Enjoy – and share widely. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in the referendum, everyone loves Charles…

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The day Alistair Carmichael made me cry

Carmichael at Lib Dem No RallyOn Thursday night an all-star cast of Liberal Democrat giants addressed a rally of party members and supporters in Edinburgh. We had 2 Cabinet Ministers, 2 former and a current Scottish leader, 3nformer federal leaders and one of my political heroes, Shirley Williams.

I had had a quick read of Alistair Carmichael’s speech before the event, so I really have no excuse for the fact that it made me cry when he delivered it. The way he talked about taking his 5 week old baby to the polling station to vote for change in 1997 and how the family is going together to vote for a liberal vision of the future on Thursday made me fill up.

There was also a powerful “I’m not a nationalist but…” segment where he says that if you think our problems can be solved by maps or only in Scotland then, actually, you are.

Please excuse the photo. I arrived in plenty of time but spent so long blethering to folk, which isn’t like me at all, that the only seat left was right up at the back.

I was a bit sceptical about holding the rally in the first place and to be honest, I still am. I reckon that several hundred people out on the streets talking to voters would have been a much better use of our time. However, it has given us a rich variety of good quality speeches, including videos from Mike Moore and Charles Kennedy, who was filmed from the top of Aonach Mor on a wonderful sunny day. It was a fantastic sight.

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Opinion: The economics of independence have been lost in the smoke of battle

As economic issues have come to the fore in the referendum campaign, I find myself, oddly, sympathising with both sides in the debate, not for what they are saying, but for what they can’t say. You can imagine the story lines:

In an astonishing admission that has left the Yes campaign in tatters, Alex Salmond has accepted that the markets will be adversely affected in the short-term by a vote for independence.

or;

The Better Together campaign was in free fall yesterday when Alistair Darling agreed that an independent Scotland would be economically viable and could be more prosperous in the longer term.

Intuitively, …

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    Oops - just to clarify .... and the satirical points in all but the final paragraph are? I actually think John's earlier points are politically...
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    Rebecca Hanson, That is completely at odds with my experience of the period and completely at odds with what Thatcher and her ilk said at...
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    Paul Barker No, your proposition doesn't make sense. Everyone has to be reselected, MP, or PPC. An advert has to go out, under Party rules...
  • User AvatarAllan 21st Sep - 12:11am
    Just my 2 cents First yes we must with haste give Scotland a fair deal Second how many voters do you think in England will...
  • User AvatarMichael Kilpatrick 21st Sep - 12:11am
    Yorkshire Guidon, as someone brought up in Yorkshire (in Sheffield Hallam, to be more precise) I would equally love to see a directly elected and...
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    For many jobs, there are some criteria which help set the pay rate. Some examples of criteria are: > number of hours/days per week >...